SYNCHING IN SOUND AND COLOR – The Seattle Cascade Drum and Bugle Corps may have dressed to match the overcast weather conditions. Their July 2nd show at Jack Whittaker Field was the troupe’s final local performance. They will not return next year. – Photo by Madisun Tobisch
The bleachers of Jack Whittaker Field were filled July 2 for the Seattle Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps final practice performance. The show marked an end of the two weeks the band had been occupying La Conner schools facilities. John Lennon’s “Imagine” was a crowd pleaser, leaving some in the audience teary eyed. It was an impressive show from the group. Members range from age 14 to 21, and all play a part in the group’s multi-part show. The group left the next morning, embarking on their 10,000 mile competition trail, ending in Indianapolis in August at a national championship. The ensemble’s departure came with a sigh of relief to some community members living near the school. “The assault of a full marching band and repetitive drills at full volume is an invasion to the expectation of peace and quiet [when continuous] from early morning to late evening and is extremely stressful to both me and my dog,” said Tracy McCain. Seattle Cascades came to La Conner last summer to practice after losing their space through a last minute cancelation in a neighboring town. “We had complaints from residents last year, but everybody kind of let it go because they were here on an emergency basis and the thought was it would be a one-time thing,” said La Conner Mayor Ramon Hayes. The news of the group’s return came as a surprise to him and others in the Town government. Tommy Williams, Seattle Cascades executive director, claims that the town of La Conner was not only aware of their return, but encouraged it. “The Chamber of Commerce was interested in having us back,” said Williams. Assistant Director Jeremy Bennett noted that La Conner School District Superintendent Whitney Meissner was also on board with the arrangement and that she personally knew affiliates of the organization. Meissner did not respond to questions by press time. Regardless of any miscommunications around the band’s return, some La Conner residents found themselves burdened again by the practice schedule of the group, which practiced seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Residents publicly voiced their concerns at June school board and town council meetings, Hayes telling residents the band would not be returning next year. “As much as we support the arts, we have a fairly small footprint here so we really can’t have an organization this big and this loud here for such an extended period of time,” said Hayes.