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Meet the Crusaders / Aidan Williams

In celebration of the 2016 DCI Drum Corps Season, Band Shoppe and The Boston Crusaders are pleased to present Meet the Crusaders. This is part 1 of a 12 part series with Q & A with a few of the amazing people that make up this Corps of Giants!

Aidan Williams - 2016 Boston Crusaders Drum Major

(and 2015 Band Shoppe cover model!)

Meet the Crusaders / Aidan Williams
photo courtesy of the Boston Crusaders

Q: Whats your full name, age, and years how many years have you been with the corps?

My name is Aidan Williams and I'm 22 years old. This is my 5th year with the corps. It is also my bonus and age out year.

Q: Where are you from?

I am from West palm beach, Florida

Q: Where do/did you go to school?

I go to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. I will be graduating in December of this year.

Q: What do you study or what is your current major?

My majors are Actuarial Science and Risk Management & Insurance. I am studying to be an Actuary post-graduation.

Meet the Crusaders / Aidan Williams

Q: What is your role with the Boston Crusaders?

I played mellophone for 3 years and this is my second as one of the drum majors. Of course, I conduct and help keep the show together but my favorite part of the job is the role I get to play off of the field supporting my fellow crusaders.

Q: What was your inspiration to become a Boston Crusader?

After watching the 2011 quarterfinals in the theaters in high school, I knew I wanted to be a Boston crusader. I also had a friend in the corps and the camps happened to be in Florida, so it all worked out!

Q: What does being a Crusader mean to you?

I have an unending love for the organization after all that it has done for me. Being a crusader means to be a part of an accepting group of strangers who take on the task of putting a drum corps show on the field and end as a close family of friends.

Q: What advice would you give to future Crusaders?

Don't be afraid, you will easily find a home here.

Q: Who inspires you?

My bus driver, Sheldon.

B O N U S   Q U E S T I O N S !

Meet the Crusaders / Aidan Williams

Q:What is your favorite kind of cookie?

The pre-cut pillsbury cookies that have seasonal images printed on them.

Q: If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

Too much time on my hands, by Styx

Q: What is the one, single food that you would love to have right now?

An egg sandwich. All the way!

Meet the Crusaders / Aidan Williams

Q: What do you think cats dream about?

I think cats dream about how to take over the world.

It's LIVE. It's LOUD. It's BACK FOR 2016!

It's LIVE. It's LOUD. It's BACK FOR 2016!

Drums on the Ohio is once again a member of the DCI Summer Tour!

Band Shoppe is proud to welcome an outstanding line-up of drum and bugle corps from across the USA on Wednesday, June 29 to Reitz Bowl in Evansville, Indiana.

This event is built on the foundation of educating the young musicians of tomorrow. Corps that perform each year set an exemplary example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Only NINE MORE DAYS until The Sound comes back to Evansville!

As part of events leading up to the big show, Drums on the Ohio proudly presents the second annual Tri-state Color Guard Clinic. Students of ALL skill levels are invited to participate. Classes will be offered on Flag (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced), Rifle, or Sabre. The Tri-state Color Guard Clinic will be led by Michelle DeWitt and Band Shoppe's own, Will Stevenson.

Registration is open until June 29th.

It's not too late to be apart of the action! Drums on the Ohion gives any student from 6th Grade through 12th Grade an opportunity to perform the national anthem to kick off our show!

Registration is open until June 28th.

It's LIVE. It's LOUD. It's DRUMS on the OHIO! 

Here are all the details:

Date: Thursday, June 29

Time: Performance Start Time - 7:00pm, Gates open at 5:30pm, and Day of Show Box Office at the  Stadium opens at 12:00pm

Where: Reitz Bowl in Evansville, Indiana

Get your tickets now before it's too late!

Competing Corps - Listed in performance order 
The Cavaliers - Rosemont, IL
Blue Stars - La Crosse, WI
Troopers - Casper, WY
Colts - Dubuque, IA
Pioneer - Milwaukee, WI
Genesis - Austin, TX
Legends - Kalamazoo, MI
Music City - Nashville, TN

Find out more, buy your tickets, and more at!

It's LIVE. It's LOUD. It's BACK FOR 2016!

2016 DCI Tour Premiere at your local theater!

2016 DCI Tour Premiere at your local theater!

Marching Music’s Major League™ Premieres its 2016 Tour Live on the Big Screen!

Fathom Events and Drum Corps International invite you to join fans from all over the country as Marching Music’s Major League™ brings the sixth annual DCI Tour Premiere to select cinemas nationwide on Thursday, June 23! Drum Corps at the Cinema: 2016 DCI Tour Premiere features best of the best in marching.

The event will be broadcast live for the second year and will feature six of DCI’s top ensembles: Bluecoats (Canton, OH), Boston Crusaders (Boston, MA), The Cadets (Allentown, PA), The Cavaliers (Rockford, IL), Carolina Crown (Ft. Mill, SC) and Phantom Regiment (Rockford, IL).

Here are all the details:

Date: Thursday, June 23

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. CT / 6:30 p.m. MT / 5:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. AK / 2:30 p.m. HI

Run Time: 2 hours (approximate)

Ticketing: Click Here to see if your local theater is showing this exciting event!

Get your tickets now to catch all of the action LIVE on the big screen!

Competing Corps - Listed in performance order 
Boston Crusaders - Boston, MA
The Cavaliers - Rosemont, IL
Phantom Regiment - Rockford, IL
The Cadets - Allentown, PA
Bluecoats - Canton, OH
Carolina Crown - Ft. Mill, SC

Find out more, buy your tickets, and more at Fathom Events!

Flag Basics / Installment 2: Size Matters

If you read Part 1, you know that we talked a little bit about the Do's and Don'ts of flag design. Today, we are going to go over a few basic tips on selecting the right size pole for your flags, and the right size flags for your group.

Flag Basics / Installment 2: Size Matters
Forest Park Marching Rangers - 2012

Of course there are exceptions, and while you are free to utilize any flag dimensions you wish, these guidelines will help ensure your group maximizes the effectiveness of your flags on the field or floor. And of course, you’ll find a successful group that does exactly the opposite. Remember: there are no real hard and fast rules.

With flags, it's go big or go home! 

Well... mostly.

You want to make sure the size isn't so big it that becomes too cumbersome to spin. Remember, the larger your flag, the longer your pole should be. Most high school groups can easily handle 6 ft poles, while younger groups may need shorter poles. Typically, most high school groups use 5 ft to 6.5 ft poles.

Once you know big your pole is, you can move on to flag sizes!

Flags Sizes

The number on the left is the header length (sleeve), and the number on the right measures the width of the flag at its furthest point, including 3" for the width of the header.

Flag Basics / Installment 2: Size Matters

5 foot pole – 30” x 46”
5.5 foot pole – 33” x 50”
6 foot pole – 36” x 54”
6.5 foot pole – 39” x 58”
7 foot pole – 42” x 60”
7.5 foot pole – 45” x 64”

The idea behind these dimensions is that the flag should cover about half of your pole, this should help with balance. The flag sizes recommended above may be a little on the large side, experiment with different size combinations, see what works best for you and your group. Band Shoppe's Budget Flags are a great, inexpensive way to test common sizes and shapes.

Band Shoppe's line of custom flags are always made in the USA and are constructed using field tested techniques that ensure a superior product, hands down. Our free design service, including full color sketches and a quote packet, helps you visualize the end result. Band Shoppe's team of friendly Sales Staff and help you along the way, choose one of our in stock or custom designs shown on our website, work from your original drawings, or let our team create one for you.

Flag Basics / Installment 1: The Dos and Don'ts

Hi, friends! The blog team and I decided to do a post celebrating some of our favorite tips and tricks for flag design... we quickly realized it would take more than just the one post to cover everything. So, I've broken it all down into some easy installments!

Flag Basics / Installment 1: The Do's and Don'ts of Flag Design
photo courtesy of The Boston Crusaders

Let me first preface this by saying that for every item listed here, you’ll find a successful group that does exactly the opposite. There are no real hard and fast rules to great flag design.

Ready to get started? Great!

1. DON'T be afraid of color!

Flag Basics / Installment 1: The Do's and Don'ts of Flag Design
'Chilled Brights' from Design Seeds
Let's face it, color can be a little intimidating if it doesn't come naturally to you. Thankful there are tools out there to help. Try a free service such as Adobe Color CC or Colour Lovers to find user created color schemes or schemes based on images you provide. Some sites like Design Seeds will break it down into collections by theme.

Be sure to consider the mood of the music your are trying to compliment. Contrasting colors can create tension, perfect for a higher energy piece, whereas complimentary color schemes will help soften the mood bringing harmony. Even a vibrant or subtle splash can bring your music to life. Whether you go with a solid flag or a go daring with a pattern that features several colors - the options are nearly endless!

2. DON'T forget about context

If flag's job is mostly to help your group entertain the crowd at football games, then a go-to design in school colors could be the perfect choice. But if your flag is intended to compliment a competitive show or exhibition, remember to consider the context in which your flag will be displayed. Think about the field or floor color, your band and guard uniforms, as well as any props. Your flags should bring life to your show, not overwhelm it.

Visual cohesion is often the downfall of many good ideas – sometimes it is better to keep things simple.

3. DO start with a sample flag

A sketch is a great tool to help visualize the final product, but until you see the actual fabrics put together on the field or floor, and give it a spin, you may not know that a design is truly effective (before you commit a lot of time and materials). Samples are a great way to make sure the design, colors, and fabrics look great!

4. DO consider custom shapes

Band Shoppe offers ten standard flag shapes including Arc, Rectangle, Arc Curve, Curve, Slant, Teardrop, Shield, Pennant, Triangle, or Swing. But you're not limited to these shapes! We can work with your ideas to create a flag shape to perfectly compliment your show. If you choose a custom shape, remember to get a sample to make sure it spins the way you hope.

5. DO consider printing

Digitally printed flags are a great way to save an already lean budget. That 50 piece sewn flag that will accentuate your show perfectly? Print it! Also, consider printing on other fabrics. Along with the standard Poly China Silk, Band Shoppe offers three fabric options for digital flags, Crystal Clear Lame, Iridescent Ice, and Flag Twinkle. These other fabrics are a great way to add texture and shine to an otherwise nondescript image.

6. DON'T pick just any image for digital flags

Images with too much detail are going to get lost from the press box. With digital flags, less is often more in the outdoor arena. Instead, go for a bold photo or texture. Think stage makeup, details pop from far away when the they're exaggerated.

Flag Basics / Installment 1: The Do's and Don'ts of Flag Design
High Resolution Photo vs. Low Resolution Photo
Also, remember image resolution. Most images found on a basic Google image search, along with potentially being copyright protected, are just too small. That's why we ask for high resolution images, to obtain better quality printing. In the example, note the crisp detail on the high resolution image. This picture will look very good when it is printed. On the right is a low resolution image like you find on Google. As you can see, its quite muddy, and won't look any better on fabric. So where do you find High Resolution images? Shutterstock is our preferred stock image website – just let your Sales Representative know the image ID, and our design team will do the rest!  Choose either photos or vector illustrations.

7. DON'T give in to fads 

Fads come and go, but the tried-and-true options have stood the test of time. Lam├ęs, twinkles, and other novelty fabrics look gorgeous but are prone to damage. Should you choose to use these options, be sure to have a needle and thread handy. Likewise, digital flags are not always the answer. They are an easy way fit a theme, they're lightweight, and do not damage as easily as other options, but they just don't have the same WOW factor as a well designed sewn flag. Consider your options fully before committing to the latest trend.

8. And finally, DO trust your instincts

If a pattern, image, or color just doesn't sit well, then it's probably for a reason. Listen to your gut - your first thought is usually your best. Relax and don't agonize over a flag and don't be afraid to ask for help! If you're struggling to find the best option for a song, ask trusted friends, family, or other staff members. Help is always closer than you think.

Other Helpful Hints

  • White poles are usually a good choice and look nice when using white rifles. If you want more color, Band Shoppe’s Ultra Prop Film is a great option with easy application and a seamless look. If you choose to tape your flags to the pole, use tape that matches your pole or sleeve color. 
  • When using bolts to weight your poles, prevent them from moving around and clanking by wrapping them with foam tape, or consider using DSI’s Pole Weight Anchors.
  • Resist the urge to place an obvious hand check marker on your poles. They look terrible and can detract from the clean, polished look of your performance. Instead, slide a pony tail holder to the desired location and tape over it in the same color as your pole. This gives you a seamless look from far away but gives you a ridge that can be seen and felt. 
  • Use Budget Flags at practice. Your show flags will thank you by looking as good for your last, and probably most important performance, as they do for your first.
Do you have a favorite flag tip or trick you wish you would have known waaaay sooner? Let us know in the comments!

Crusader Cam: Season 3, Episode 2

Crusader Cam: Season 3, Episode 2
photo courtesy of The Boston Crusaders

Week 2 of the Crusader Cam is here! 

Get and inside look at the Boston Crusaders' tour, and view the 2016 Season from the member's point of view.

Tune in every Friday at 5pm for a new episode or stay up do date on Facebook!

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