Spartans Drum & Bugle Corp began marching to the beat right here in Milford in 1955, and over the decades has continued to offer a one-of-a-kind musical experience to youths in the southern New Hampshire area, teaching the values of music, performance art, and community.
“It’s a fantastic experience. It’s like marching band times one thousand,” said seventeen-year-old Dallas Quinlan, a baritone horn player in the Spartans organization, and a local of the Nashua area.
The Spartans are a summertime corps for youths aged 14-21, who spend their summers traveling all over the country performing at concerts and parades, and competing in competitions against other corps.
To call the Spartans just a band would be a disservice to all their hard work and dedication. Over 100 Spartans perform fully choreographed and highly complex music and dance routines, moving synchronously throughout their performance, complete with a color guard. Like Cirque Du Soleil or other popular acts, the Spartans develop original performances every year to dazzle their audiences; 80% of the 2017’s show, called Connected, consists of original music.
“Every movement in the show explores some aspect of human connectivity, like the connections people make through social media,” said Quinlan.
Watch their amazing performance from last year here!
The Spartans have been known to rehearse for as many as fourteen hours in a single day leading up to a performance so that they get it perfect. It’s a dedication that has earned them the honor of performing in several inaugural parades, such as those for Carter, Reagan, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush, and one of the top color guards in the country, which has won a national championship five of the last eight years.
The Spartans truly live a tour lifestyle for the two months they’re on the road every summer. They sleep on cots and air mattresses in schools and gymnasiums, and rehearse in soccer fields and parking lots. They’re supported by four buses and two tractor trailer trucks, one of which boasts a full kitchen.
“Everything we need for the summer is on the busses or in the trucks,” said Paul LaFlamme, leader of Spartans Drum & Bugle Corp since 2009.
It’s a grueling commitment, but the Spartans are united by their passion for music and performing, and often find the rigorous schedule highly rewarding.
“As hard as it is, without a doubt it’s the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done,” said Quinlan. When you’re rehearsing 14 hours a day in the heat, you develop really strong bonds with other people.”
They are bonds that run deeper than their tour and performances, as they seek to embody their motto: Respect. Responsibility. Commitment.
“We try to uphold these tenets in everything we do,” said Quinlan. “Respect: we never swear while in uniform. For responsibility, we try to always support friends and family and the community. The commitment is in time and money, not to mention whatever else we might be doing with our summer.”
Paul LaFlamme has lead the Spartans out of the Boys & Girls Club of Nashua since 2009. Laflamme joined in 1986 and aged out in 1994, but his history with the Spartans goes much farther back; LaFlamme’s grandfather was the founder of the Spartans!
“I’ve been around it my whole life. My first memories are of being strapped in a bus and traveling around with the band,” said LaFlamme.
The Spartans are able to continue dazzling crowds because of the many volunteers who support them, and because of generous donations from local communities and businesses. The organization is supported almost entirely by volunteers, fundraisers, performance fees, and tuition.
July 2nd – The Spartans host Friends and Family Night at Stellos Stadium, Nashua, NH. They will be rehearsing at 7 pm, with a trial run of their new show at 8 pm. This event is free.
July 22nd – The Spartans’ home show is in Everett, MA for the city’s anniversary. This event is free.
Please check out the Spartans today at: https://spartansdbc.org/!