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Drum and Bugle Corps show features world’s top 12

The Tour of Champions Drum and Bugle Corps show will be held at Northern Illinois University's Huskie Stadium on Sunday.
The Tour of Champions Drum and Bugle Corps show will be held at Northern Illinois University's Huskie Stadium on Sunday.

Michael Embrey considers this year’s drum and bugle corps show to be anything but the image of a marching band walking down a street.

“This is a sophisticated show,” Embrey said. “If you’ve seen a good college band, double that and it’s half of what you’ll see.”

Embrey, former Northern Illinois University band director, created the annual drum and bugle corps show at NIU more than 30 years ago. This year’s show on Sunday at NIU’s Huskie Stadium should draw at least 6,000 attendees, Embrey said.

The show, dubbed the Tour of Champions, will feature seven of the world’s top 12 drum and bugle corps, including the Phantom Regiment from Rockford and The Cavaliers from Rosemont. Phantom Regiment is billed as the host of the show, which runs about three hours.

Today, Embrey owns FunME Events, a sponsor of the show. Other sponsors include DCI and Kishwaukee Fest. Embrey said the event brings in dollars for the community because 90 percent of the attendees visit from out of town to see the show. Last year, tickets were purchased by residents of more than 24 states, Embrey said.

“I’ve heard comments from Fatty’s, O’Leary’s and the Junction about how it’s one of the busiest days of the summer for them,” Embrey said.

This year’s show will open with the NIU marching band performing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Thomas Bough, Huskie Marching Band director, said the summer event is a great opportunity for returning students and new students to connect and rehearse together for the first time.

“The show itself is fantastic,” Bough said. “A lot of the students have never seen a show like this before. The level of performance is very, very high and very exciting.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets prices range from $20 to $75, and can be purchased by calling 815-756-1263 or visiting Each corps will have a souvenir booth and food tents will be available.

“The performance level is very high,” Embrey said. “This is the cream of the cream. It’s like Broadway on grass.”


If you go

WHAT: Tour of Champions Drum and Bugle Corps show

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, doors open at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: NIU's Huskie Stadium, 1245 Stadium Drive South, DeKalb

TICKETS: $20 to $75; available at 815-756-1263 or

INFORMATION: Tailgate event will be held at Fatty's Pub & Grille, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway, prior to the show

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