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A retreat (or Grand Finale, Full Retreat) occurs at the end of a drum corps competition. All competing units march on to the field in assigned sections to stand at attention facing the crowd side of the stands. If the retreat is in Olympic style, all corps will enter the field together with each corps in single file. No pit percussion or guard accessories are generally brought by corps to retreat although pit members generally attend. One corps, often the corps hosting the show, will play a "street beat" or percussion only piece with a walking tempo for the benefit of the massed corps. In lieu of this, each corps may march on to a "tap" or soft beat from their battery percussion. Each corps generally has an honor guard at the fromt of their formation including the national flag of their home country, even if they generally do not have one in their field show. Each corps is represented at the front sideline by their drum major(s) while the scores are announced, usually in opposite order of finish. After scores are announced, the corps may gather to play a piece in mass such as "America the Beautiful" or "O Canada" as has been done in the DCI circuit. The winning corps (or home corps) may performs an encore show. This maybe a standstill show or a complete field show. In the past, corps would play themselves off one at a time, in opposite order of finish, trooping the champion and the stands, playing their corps song.


In the past it was a tradition for Drum Majors moving towards the front sideline to form up for retreat to attempt to be the last to arrive by means of walking very slowly. This was sometimes known as the "race to be last".

drum majors at retreat

See Also