Kidsgrove Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps is based in Kidsgrove in the British Midlands (Great Britain). They have enjoyed such recent successes as a very close 2003 DCE second place and third place at both the 2004 DCUK and DCE Championships, emerging as the top British corps in the DCE circuit each year.
In the Beginning
The origins of Kidsgrove Scouts D&BC dates back to the early years of scouting between 1908 and 1910. Kidsgrove Scout group has no official records of its early years, these were destroyed in the great HQ fire of 1960. There was definitely a Corps around in 1910, if not sooner, because the scout troop took its roots from the year the Scout Association was founded in 1908. In the early days the drum corps was taken to camp to do the necessary job of parading the troop on Sunday mornings as well as playing the Reveille and Lights out. It was noted from the records before the fire, that the corps won one of its first contests in 1921 at Rhyl. During the annual camp in 1921 the corps entered the Rhyl Carnival Band Contest and won 1st prize, a silver bugle! During the years between the World Wars the Scouts led all the main parades in the area and helped to finance the local hospital. The Scouts always led the parade, marching and then changing into training equipment to give a PE display. During the Second World War the group survived with younger members as everyone over 17 was away on service.
The Great Fire of 1960
A great fire destroyed the HQ in 1960 along with all the band instruments. The corps was not insured, however the band rose out of the ashes and borrowed drums and bugles from the North Staffordshire Boys Brigade. Due to the availability of cheap Eb trumpets, at £1 each, the corps changed over from Bb bugles to Eb trumpets. It is worth noting that in 1962 the present Corps Director paraded with the Madison Scouts at their State Fair. By 1964 a regular band practice had started to formulate. The Corps strength at this time was 1 bass drum, 5 snares and 12 trumpets. By 1965 the corps were ready to enter the first Scout Nationals, but got cold feet and planned to enter the year after. The corps found out however that the 2nd Scout National competition was to be held in Brighton - a million miles away in those days - and they could not afford the transport. In the 3rd Scout Nationals of 1967 Kidsgrove marched onto the field of competition for the first time in some 40 years. With 13 members - 1 bass drum, 4 snares and 8 trumpets - the corps was placed 13th and needless to say did not win. The first success was achieved in 1968, a 2nd place in the Novice Class and so the Kidsgrove Scout band became a name recognised nationally. In 1970 top three status was achieved alongside 13th Coventry, 1st Atherton and 31st Warrington by beating 31st Warrington into 3rd place.
Champions At Last
In 1972 Kidsgrove Scouts were crowned National Scout and Guide Band Champions. The years between 1968 and 1976 were very strong and the corps travelled all over the UK playing in competitions wtih a membership strength of 24 Eb trumpets, 4 bells, 10 snares, 2 bass drums, 4 tenors and 2 drum majors. By 1982 the corps were ready for a change and purchased their first G bugles.
The Modern Era
Kidsgrove Scouts' 1999 season was crowned by two magnificent performances on Finals day at Sixfields Stadium Northampton. Sporting a changed uniform of all white, the finals performance earned Kidsgrove Scouts their highest ever DCUK placing of 5th. However the highlight of the day was the electric performance in the pre-lims earlier in the day which deservedly attained 2nd place to put them in a commanding position to compete for a top three placing in the finals.]
2000 - 90th Anniversary Year
In 2000, Kidsgrove Scouts celebrated 90 years of scouting in Kidsgrove. Two events took place during the year in recognition of this landmark. The first event took place on St George's Day (16th April). The Scouts paraded through the town followed by the District St George's Day service in the Kidsgrove Sports Centre Hall. The second event was a 90th Anniversary concert staged at Kidsgrove Town Hall featuring Kidsgrove Scouts, Scottish Brass and The Anchormen D&BC.
Despite giving everything they had and achieving their highest score in DCUK Open Class competition, the Scouts were pipped by 0.9 of a point by Phantom Knights and Southern Aurora who tied for 3rd place. Although that 3rd place proved elusive, both the Prelims and Finals performances were thoroughly entertaining and proved that the Scouts are equal to the best on the day.
Kidsgrove finished in 4th place at DCUK finals with their 2001 production, "Mediterranean Travels"
In what was described by many people as one the best DCUK finals for a number of years, Kidsgrove Scouts produced their best performance at a DCUK finals event to date. An extract from Mike Waddington's report of Kidsgrove Scouts' DCUK finals performance:
- I didn’t really want to refer back to my era of Drum Corps (the late eighties and early nineties) but in this instance please forgive me and bear with me. I make no apologies for the following comparison. You see, I personally thought that Kidsgrove Scouts were excellent tonight and reminded me of the great Imperial Knights who I always remember as the "People's Champion". The Imperial Knights were always popular with the crowd yet, for reasons only known to the judges, could never topple the Dagenham Crusaders or the Green Lancers. The Imperial Knights were the great entertainers and the ones who always pleased the audience. Often, when they were announced as being in third position, the crowd would boo in disbelief.
- I’m not suggesting that Kidsgrove Scouts should be champions but I would suggest that they had earned the right to be considered "People's Champion" tonight. Those who remember this era will know what I mean and hopefully, understand where I’m coming from.
- The overall package from Kidsgrove Scouts was professional, fast and furious, creative and electrifying. The whole Corps treated us to a pulsating show that was slick, spectacular, exciting and full of energy. This show, like those of the Imperial Knights, left the crowd wanting more. People sat nearby were convinced that they had just seen a championship winning performance from this highly talented Corps. Do I need to say anymore?
The did not enter the DCUK circuit in 2003, but came out in fourth place at BYBA finals and were beaten to first place by Jubal at DCE finals. Jubal's musical performance enabled them to edge out the Scouts' overall visual performance by the narrowest of margins - 0.1 point. In the prelims session in the morning the positions were reversed, setting up the prospect of a mighty encounter for the finals. DrumCorpsOnline.tk describe the stunning performance by Kidsgrove Scouts in the prelims:
- The English guests Kidsgrove Scouts received a warm welcome. Supported by the crowd, this corps did a performance many Dutch corps would be jealous about. Jazzy and very clean. Although they have a relatively small hornline, they played with almost unbelievable power and sound balance. Especially the visual book and their visual performance which resulted in a first place. Malaguena, amazing.
2004 saw Kidsgrove take their most impressive placing in DCUK Open Class, playing a show based on the film 'Pirates of the Caribbean', emerging in 3rd place after what was a very competitive season by all accounts. Once again, the Scouts were the highest scoring British corps at the DCE European Championships, placing third behind Beatrix and the defending champions Jubal.
Kidsgrove celebrated their 95th anniversery by playing at the local town hall along side High Brass. The whole corps took part in the St. georges day parade, the following day, to mark this occasion along with the prersntation of the silver Acorn (a prestigious scouting award)to Corps director, John Swindells, for his duties to the Scout Group and the corps. In competition they again raised their standards reaching second place, scoring a personal best at 93.8, just missing out to champions Senators by 0.6 of a point. In DCE the Scouts came 2nd, with 80.025 in prelims behind beatrix by 1.6 points. They stood above old rivals Jubal (5th) by 3 points, but slipped to 4th in finals with Beatrix 1st followed by Northern Star and Jubal, after only being awarded an extra 1/2 a point in addition to their prelims performance.
Some text taken from Kidsgrove Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps > History
- DCUK - Drum Corps United Kingdom
- BYBA British Youth Band Association
- DCE - Drum Corps Europe
- Drum Corps United Kingdom (DCUK)
- Drum Corps Europe (DCE, English)