Brass and percussion musicians and color guard performers from local band programs descended Nov. 30 on the gym at the Laurel Boys and Girls Club to join a new drum and bugle corps.
Thunder Brigade, a program of the nonprofit Mighty Sounds Production, is just beginning to recruit members for what organizers hope will be a competitive drum and bugle corps that will perform locally at sporting events, parades and concerts, and compete next August in the 2014 DCA World Championships in Rochester, N.Y.
"This will be a full-fledged drum corps," said Reginald Alignay, of Waldorf, who is director of events and membership for Thunder Brigade.
According to Alignay, Thunder Brigade is the first drum corps based in Maryland since the late 1970s. Practice sites will also include facilities outside of Laurel, and the next open house is Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, in College Park.
Thunder Brigade's executive director is Terrell Smith, the assistant band director at Stevenson University who also works with the University of Maryland drumline. Other Thunder Brigade leaders include program coordinator Mark Lortz, director of bands at Stevenson University and former director of bands at Westminster High School; John Miliauskas, the group's visual designer and program consultant who is associate director of bands at Towson University.
The corps is for musicians who are at least 14 years old; adults can also join.
At Saturday's open house, 31 musicians showed up, ranging in age from 16 to 30. Most of the teenagers were students in Montgomery County schools, Alignay said, but a few Prince George's County students also attended.
Musicians are encouraged in bring their own instruments, especially trumpets and snare drums, Alignay said, but Thunder Brigade can provide a few instruments and color guard equipment.
"We are so pleased to have the support of the local community and it's awesome to see so many band programs from our region sending talented and excited young people to participate with us. It should be a great first season," Smith said via email.
For information, contact 240-441-3775 or go to thunderbrigade.org.
This story has been updated.