Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps: Wikis


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The Glassmen
Location Toledo, OH
Division World Class
Founded 1961
Director Brian Hickman
Championship Titles none, 5th place in 1998, 1999, 2001
Uniform Black pants with broken shield on left leg. Black jacket with cream, shield located on right shoulder and another shield located at the bottom left connecting the broken shield to the jacket. Black and Cream Shako with a diagonal shield located in the front with cream plumes.

The Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps is a Drum Corps International World Class (formerly Division I) drum and bugle corps based out of Toledo, Ohio that was founded in 1961. A member of Drum Corps International, it is one of three World Class corps in Ohio, along with the Bluecoats and Capital Regiment. The name "Glassmen" comes from Toledo's prominent glass industry, which has earned the city the nickname of "the Glass City." They have placed fifth three times at DCI World Championship Finals (1998, 1999, and 2001) and have made the prestigious Top 12 fifteen times, most recently in 2009. In 2006, the corps made its first European tour, visiting France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England.

The current director is Brian Hickman, and the corps song is "Madre de la Tierra." Previously, the director was Dan Acheson, who left the corps to become the Executive Director of Drum Corps International in 1995.


Mission Statement

"The Glassmen provide opportunities that promote and develop life skills and personal enrichment through education, participation and performance" [1].


"The Glassmen organization strives to achieve three basic goals. The first goal is to attract, train and further the artistic skills of young people. The second is to teach life skills to young people, including money management, conflict resolution, teamwork, leadership, and time management. These skills, along with the summer touring experience, forever change the lives of the participants. The program produces not only dedicated and talented artists, but also self-sufficient, confident young people who have seen the positive effects that their behavior and talents have created. The third and final goal is to give a diverse group of people the opportunity to not only hear wonderful music and witness an extraordinary performance, but also to give them the opportunity to become a member of this very special organization" [2].


Originally founded as the Maumee Suns in 1961 by the Maumee Demons Senior Drum & Bugle Corps, the group performed in parades throughout Northwest Ohio in its early years [3][4]. Eventually entering the Ohio American Legion competition circuit, the corps was renamed the Glass City Optimists in 1967 [5]. Then, in 1971, the name “Glassmen” became official [6]. Glassmen is derived from Toledo’s standing as the “Glass Capital of the World" [7]. That same year, the corps entered Division II competition [8]. Following a couple years of inactivity which began in 1977, the Glassmen moved up to Division I, soon achieving DCI Member status in 1983, when they placed in the Top-25 [9]. Between 1985 and 1995, the corps set a drum corps record by consistently placing higher at finals every year, starting in 31st position and constantly climbing to 8th [10]. The director at this time was Dan Acheson, who was instrumental in shaping the new face of the corps and guiding them continuously upward. He went on to become director of Drum Corps International [11].

The Glassmen first placed in semi-finals in 1991 (17th), missed finals by a tenth of a point the next year, and broke into the Top-12 in 1993, where they have been all but two years to the present [12][13]. Since 1985, the Glassmen are one of five corps to break into the elite Top-5 without winning a title [14]. The other four are the Bluecoats, Boston Crusaders, Suncoast Sound, and Carolina Crown. [15]. During the time of their rise to 5th place status, Glassmen shows were often characterized as "boring," as the content was so high-brow. While this pleased judges, it did not always work well with the fans. The Glassmen have been featured in LIFE magazine, on PBS Finals broadcasts, and on Japanese television [16]. In 2004 the Glassmen began a partnership with Dynasty USA/DEG Music Products, Inc [17]. Most recently, the 2006 season saw the first European tour by the corps, where they spent time in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England [18].

Non-Competitive Activities

In addition to their usual summer DCI tour, the Glassmen also engage in a variety of extra performances, parades, clinics, and fundraising events, many of which have grown to be annual events.

EnterTRAINment Clinics

Chief among these are their EnterTRAINment clinics, which have the motto “training the leaders of tomorrow with the music of today” [19]. These events allow audience members to take the field with the corps in sectionals (brass, percussion, color guard), where they learn the basics of a day in the life of the corps [20]. Staff members explain basics of the activity, and the clinics conclude with a full show run-through [21]. During the 2006 season, the Glassmen gave a clinic in Peterborough, England during the "East of England" Invitational to over 500 local musicians and students [22][23]. Outside of this standard schedule, the Glassmen have also had the honor of giving additional clinics through the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) [24].

All-Star Review

This event is an actual drum corps competition that features the EnterTRAINment clinic and a number of Midwestern corps [25]. Hosted at the University of Toledo’s Glass Bowl stadium, and in recent years Whitmer High School stadium, this event was known as “Key to the Sea” throughout the 1970s and 1980s [26][27]. A typical line-up for this competition includes the Glassmen, Bluecoats, Southwind, and Cavaliers, with occasional appearances from other corps such as the Phantom Regiment [28].

Showcase Concert

The Glassmen have held this season-starting concert for the past two years and are planning to continue the trend in coming years [29]. This indoors event in late May features the entire corps musical repertoire, both in sections and as a drum corps [30]. The 2005 concert was held in Toledo at the Valentine Theatre, and the 2006 show occurred at the Maumee Performing Arts Center [31]. The 2006 Showcase concert also featured percussionist Mark Ford on the marimba [32].

Symphony Concerts

The Glassmen have performed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra three times, in 2004, 2006, and 2008 [33]. They presented “The Pines of Rome” in 2004, and 2008, and “The 1812 Overture,” in 2006 [34]. All performances were conducted by Chelsea Tipton II, a resident conductor with the orchestra [35].

Monte Carlo

Like a lot of groups in the drum corps activity, the Glassmen have a bingo hall to raise funds for the summer tour [36]. However, it is necessary to do some additional events to supplement the weekly income of this facility. The Monte Carlo fundraisers occur twice a year in February/March in Toledo, and they simply consist of 35 hours of poker in one weekend [37]. Cards are dealt by Glassmen members to local poker players [38].


The following table provides the repertoire, scores, and placements for the entire recorded history of the Glassmen [39]:

Year Position Score Theme & Musical Selections
1973 N/A N/A Enter the Conquering Hero – The Ecstasy of Gold – One Fine Morning –Declaration of Independence – Wooden Ships – We Will Never Pass This Way Again
1974 N/A N/A Scythian Suite – One Fine Morning – Skybird – In the Mood – We Will Never Pass This Way Again
1975 205th 63.050 Aristophonic Suite ‘The Wasps’ Overture – Hill Where the Lord Hides – March of the Three Oranges – In the Mood – Prelude for an Occasion
1980 42nd 45.550 N/A
1981 38th 53.600 N/A
1982 34th 55.500 N/A
1983 24th 58.250 N/A
1984 28th 68.900 Wind Machine – Groovin’ Hard – Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway – Chain Reaction
1985 39th 53.900 N/A
1986 31st 62.900 This Could be the Start of Something Big – Coconut ChampagneMisty – Everything’s Coming Up Roses (from Gypsy)
1987 30th 62.400 N/A
1988 25th 67.500 South 21st Street Shuffle – Caravan – Watch What Happens – Just a Gigolo
1989 23rd 68.700 Key to Her Fararri – Jive Samba – Caravan – Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
1990 18th 79.500 Suite for Jazz Orchestra – Threshold – In the Eighties – After All
1991 17th 78.500 Appalachian Morning – Escapades of Pan – After All
1992 13th 83.900 A Childhood Remembered- The North Wind – Madre de la Tierra – Escapades of Pan
1993 11th 82.800 A Voyage Through Imagination- Overture – Morning Sun on the Sailes – The Lion’s Breath – The North Wind – Sailing
1994 10th 83.900 Days of Future Past- Dawn – Another Morning – Peak Hour – Tuesday Afternoon – Nights in White Satin
1995 8th 88.300 A Joyful Celebration- Little Fugue – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee – A Mighty Fortress
1996 13th 82.700 An(other) American Revolution- Stars and Stripes Forever – Second Symphony, Fifth Movement – I Got RhythmRhapsody in Blue – Strike up the Band – An American in Paris
1997 8th 90.000 The Age of Gold: The Music of George Bizet- Scene and Variations – Changing of the Guard (from Carmen) – Intermezzo: The Mountain Pass – Farandole
1998 5th 92.800 Dreams of Gold: The Music of Alexander Borodin- Asia Fantasia – Prince Igor Overture – Notturo: String Quartet No. 2 in D Major – Kismet Suite – Polovetsian Dances (from Prince Igor)
1999 5th 93.700 Empire of Gold- Symphony No. 1 – Variations of a Hungarian Folk Song (The Peacock) – Entrance of the Emperor and His Court (from the Harry Janos Suite)
2000 8th 90.350 Music of George Gershwin - Piano Concerto in F
2001 5th 94.300 IMAGO - Panambi Invocation to the Powerful Spirits – Pameana No. 3 Impetuosamente – Concertino for Oboe and Strings – Panambi Dance of the Warriors – Pavana (from the Tres Versiones Sinfonica)
2002 8th 91.000 Odyssey – Javelin – Millennium Symphony
2003 14th 84.500 The Elements: Air, Earth, Fire & Water – AIR: Danza de los Duendes – EARTH: October – FIRE – WATER
2004 12th 85.950 Voice of One – Prologue – Diversions: Serenade for Orchestra – The Saint (from Seraphic Dialogues) – The Cave – Finale for Martha
2005 11th 87.700 A New WorldNew World Symphony
2006 11th 86.000 Beethoven: Mastery & Madness – Selections from Symphonies 1 to 8 – Moonlight SonataDiabelli Variations – Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy)
2007 11th 85.750 Gitano –– Alborada –– La Noche –– Danzas –– Fandango -- Source: Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol and Maurice Ravel's Rhapsody Espagnole
2008 11th 87.200 Kar-ne-vel - Life - Love - Passion
2009 10th 87.750 The Journey of ONE - Multiples of One (Joseph Curiale) and You are wherever your thoughts are (Steve Reich) -- The Heart Asks Pleasure First (Michael Nyman) and Tristan & Yvaine (from Stardust)[1](Ilan Eshkeri) -- Joy (from Awakening) (Joseph Curiale) and One (Harry Nillson}

Past Brass arrangers for the Glassmen's show music include Chris Tomsa, Bruce McConnell and Robert W. Smith. The current brass arranger is Don Hill. Past Percussion arrangers and instructors for the corps include George Shepperd, Lee Beddis, Colin McNutt, and Chris Hestin. The current percussion arranger is Rob Ferguson. In addition to their regular show music, the corps maintains a selection of encore tunes that are used for non-competitive events such as parades and stand-still concerts. These currently include the following:

  • Madre de la Tierra (corps song)
  • Time to Say Goodbye
  • Lux Aurumque
  • George M Cohan Medley


The Glassmen have a variety of traditional elements that reappear often in their programs. Chief among these is the modern corps symbol, a triangular shield (shown at top). Most shows have at least one occurrence of the shield in the drill, even if it appears for only a couple of seconds. Triangular forms are also prevalent in drill design. In addition to this, the color gold has been a traditional element, most notably in the successful seasons of 1997 through 1999. Another annual tradition is to modify the shield that goes on the left breast of the Glassmen uniform. Each year has a different variation on the corps symbol that corresponds to the show and adds individuality to each season without changing the simplistic, clean-cut look of the overall uniform [40].


  1. ^ Originally "Panis Angelicus" by Cesar Frank


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