Fans at the Drum Corps International (DCI) Championship in Indianapolis last August were entertained by a very unique musical organization. A group of 70+ special challenged individuals brought the spectators to their feet with
The FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps is the first Differently Abled (Special Needs) Drum & Bugle Corps or “Corps” Style Marching Band to exist in the world. The Corps was founded in 2010 by Senior Music Specialist, Brian Calhoun and is based out of Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. FREE Performing Arts Adult Day Program & Respite Program in Old Bethpage, NY.
Drum Corps is essentially a professional marching band that requires the musicianship of a symphony, combined with the athleticism of a professional sport, mixed with the theatrics of a Broadway show. The FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps is comprised entirely of members who are Differently Abled (Special Needs), ages 20 to 50 plus, who live all throughout Long Island NY. The Corps currently has 70 members, divided into 4 different sections, Drumline, Front Ensemble, Color Guard, Brass, as well as a Drum Major. There is also a plan to add a 5th section to the Corps (Woodwinds) in the near future
Over the course of almost a decade, the FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps have marched in parades, provided halftime entertainment and performed all throughout Long Island NY, in addition to world-class events in front of thousands of spectators for the top Marching Arts Organizations, including DCI (Drum Corps International), DrumLine Battle, SoundSport, WGI (Winter Guard International)Sport of the Arts and USBands . Most notably at Walt Disney World, Nassau Coliseum, MetLife Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, J. Birney Crum Stadium, University of Dayton Arena and the NYC Columbus Day Parade.
The Corps has been featured by over 100 media outlets globally including ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX TV affiliates across the nation, The Associated Press, TIME Magazine and USA Today. The Corps has also appeared on News 12 Long Island, FIOS1 News and
The FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps was developed to help program participants achieve their goals and dreams through Music Education, Dance/Color Guard equipment instruction, inclusive community-based performance opportunities, travel opportunities, as well as assist with the further development of program participant’s independence, life skills, job skills, social skills, while implementing successful practices and philosophies utilized in Music Therapy in a fun, creative environment.
The primary goal of the FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps is to provide new opportunities to people of all abilities who are aspiring musicians, dancers, actors and athletes. The FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps strives to break down boundaries, eliminate stigmas and stereotypes by focusing on their member’s talents and abilities, not their disabilities.
The FREE Players Drum & Bugle Corps have won many awards, most notably for making history as the 1st Differently Abled music group.