CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Tournament of Drums is set to return to Kingston Stadium on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022.
The competition, featuring seven Open Class drum & bugle corps from throughout the United States and Canada, begins at 7 p.m.
The Hawkeye Tournament of Drums originated in 1950 at Hawkeye Downs, before moving in 1956 to Kingston Stadium.
Even before that time, a drum & bugle corps competition, called the Battle of Champions, took place starting in the 1930s in Cedar Rapids and other Iowa towns.
The inaugural Hawkeye Tournament of Drums, in 1950, featured seven Midwestern corps.
Festivities included a judged parade through downtown Cedar Rapids, a tradition that continued for years.
The Cedar Rapids Boys Drum & Bugle Corps hosted the show that year, at the same time announcing a name change to the Cedar Rapids Cadets.
At times, the Hawkeye Tournament of Drums held a beauty contest to select a queen, who would ride in a convertible during the parade.
“Hawkeye” was dropped from the show’s name in 1970, when Tournament of Drums was hosted by the Emerald Knights.
Various other hometown corps hosted the show over the years, including the Cadets, Cadet Bees, Moose Girls, Grenadiers, Nite Express and Grant Wood All-City Drum Corps.
The show lapsed from 2006 until 2015, when it was revived by a group of Emerald Knights alumni to mark the 50th anniversary of the corps’ founding.
Tournament of Drums has since been named a three-time recipient of the Best Drum Corps International Open Class Tour Event. The show relocated to Linn-Mar Stadium in 2019, due to construction at Kingston Stadium, and planned to return to Kingston in 2020, but was put on hold for two years due to the pandemic.
Veterans from some of the earliest corps in Cedar Rapids, including the Musketeers and Moose Girls, plan to attend this year’s show at Kingston Stadium, hosted by the Colt Cadets of Dubuque.
The show features five-time DCI Open Class champion Vanguard Cadets, from Santa Clara, California, along with the Colt Cadets from Dubuque; Gold from Bakersfield, Calif.; Guardians from Houston, Tex., The Battalion, from Salt Lake City, Utah; River City Rhythm from Anoka, Minn., and Les Stentors from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
Tickets are available at area Hills Bank and West Music locations for $17 and at the gate for $20. Children 5 and under are admitted free. The box office at Kingston opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.
“Marking Time,” a book that traces the history of drum & bugle corps in Cedar Rapids, will be available at the show. Find details about the book and Tournament of Drums at: iowamusicandarts.org