Local family helps earn world corps championship
Sandee Conlin and her four daughters are champions of the world - at least in Drum Corps Associates standards.
Drum Corps Associates is the governing body for senior or all-age drum and bugle corps in North America. DCA was formed in 1965 as the first heir to the modern drum corps activity, breaking from the classic style, and has crowned 49 Open Class World Champions (two ties) and 16 Class A World Champions (one tie) in 47 years of Open Class and 15 years of Class A competitions.
Conlin, a New Richmond resident, is corps director of the Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps, based in St. Peter, Minn. Her corps was named champion of the Class A competition on Sunday, Sept. 4.
Her four daughters - Averyel Hagel, Monique Hagel, Yvette Hegel and Sophia Gustafson - are also members of the corps.
"We were the winningest corps in Class A," Conlin said.
With a score of 84.93 (out of 100), the corps beat Fusion Core, a Morris County, N.J.-based corps, by one point.
"DCA is an East Coast dominated activity," Conlin said. "For both Minnesota corps to win both Class A and Open Class, that just made it that much more special."
Minnesota Brass, a St. Paul, Minn.-based corps, won the Open Class competition for the first time in that corps' history. Minnesota Brass scored 98.35, beating the Buccaneers, who have been undefeated for six years.
Conlin said while it's fun to win, that's not the goal of the Govenaires.
"Our sole purpose is to entertain the crowd," she said. "Winning was just the cherry on top of the sundae."
Conlin first got involved with the Govenaires in high school. At the time she was marching in the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps of St. Paul, a corps that disbanded years ago.
"I had a friend who marched with the Govenaires and she asked me to march too," Conlin said. "I've been with them ever since."
Conlin played in the drumline before becoming corps director in 2009.
Her four daughters were born into the drum corps community, she said.
Averyel, 22, has been marching since she was 14. She plays bass in the drumline. Monique, 21, plays trumpet. She has been marching for six years. Yvette, 17, just completed her second season in the color guard. Sophia, 13, just finished her first year in the color guard.
Conlin also has a son, Grant, who doesn't march.
"His excuse is that he's only 7," Conlin said with a laugh. "He's already said that he wants to be a drummer."