news-category: Campus News

Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps Returns to Gardner-Webb for Training Camp

World-Class Student Musicians and Performers Will Spend a Month at GWU

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—After cancelling camp and its touring season last summer, Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps will return to Gardner-Webb University on June 5 for an intense month of learning. The group, which includes 184 members, 40 teaching staff, and 10 administrators plus athletic training staff, will be on campus until July10.

Carolina Crown, one of the premiere marching ensembles in the world, has multiple awards in brass, color guard, visual, and percussion. Having been a championship finalist for the past 17 consecutive years, Crown was “crowned” the title of World Champion most recently in 2013. Based in Fort Mill, S.C., the Corps has partnered with Gardner-Webb since 2007 for practice and rehearsal space prior to its national tours.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the musicians held monthly camps in Fort Mill through February 2020, said Nancy Coates, director of Drum Corps Operations. “We cancelled our season officially in April,” she noted. “From that point until present, our members have continued working on show music and choreography virtually. We held audition in the fall virtually as well.”

Coates said administrators have made several adjustments to ensure a safe environment, instituting strict protocols related to COVID testing, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, providing hand sanitizing stations, visitors in the dorm buildings, and meals. “While some DCI (Drum Corps International) corps are choosing to do a shortened tour, at Crown we made the decision to guarantee our members a challenging and comprehensive learning experience sitting in one place at Gardner-Webb,” she explained. “Our members are required to enter all of their health information into a database that we use, which includes vaccines and a physical. We will be using the dining hall exclusively for the first four weeks we are on campus, and using our kitchen truck for the last week.”

At the end of the camp, instead of leaving on a tour, the members will celebrate with a banquet. “The last week we will be doing a lot of in-uniform filming and live streaming of the production and some other special section specific pieces,” Coates shared. “Our filmed production will be shown on the big screen at DCIs event in August, but we will not be attending in person. We plan to have our banquet for the members on July 4th before our week of filming, and we will depart Gardner-Webb on July 11th.”

This year’s show, Project21, is unique and different—a homecoming for thousands of people who have been involved in the organization through the years. A cinematic experience, affectionately titled “In My Mind…”, it will focus on the theme “No matter where your road leads in life, you will always have a home at Carolina Crown.” The production will explore music from different genres, including “Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor, “Long Time Traveler” by The Wailin’ Jennys, “Seize the Day” by Peter Graham, “Gravity” by Sarah Bareilles, and “Toccata Andromeda” by Paul Halley.

Coates said everyone in the organization is ready to be all together again on the GWU campus. “We are beyond ecstatic to be back in person!” she asserted. “Our members, staff and volunteers are anxious to perform as an ensemble again. It will be therapeutic for all of us who have missed each other, and so miss listening to and watching these talented performers. We are grateful for the long time relationship we have with Gardner-Webb where we feel comfortable and confident we can provide a safe environment for our members. It was heartbreaking to have to cancel last season, and everyone very much missed all of our friends we’ve made over the years at Gardner-Webb in the dining hall staff, campus police, and all who coordinate our stay. We can’t wait to get started!”

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About Carolina Crown

Established in 1988, Carolina Crown, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to “develop lifelong excellence in young people.” Carolina Crown achieves this goal through performance opportunities and a commitment to education in the performing arts with core values of integrity, commitment, respect and excellence.

About Gardner-Webb

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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