Frequently Asked Questions

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The Kilties exist to provide an opportunity for participation in an all-age organization dedicated to achieving its full potential utilizing musical/ visual performance as the vehicle while promoting teamwork, friendship, character, goal setting and self-discipline. The organization is based in the belief that excellence and enjoyment are both attainable and are not contradictory terms.

The Kilties are an all-age corps…but what does that mean? It means that veterans of the activity, which decades of experience, march next to those experiencing drum corps for the first time. It also means that our membership encompasses students from later years of high school, adults into their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and yes, even 60s. The biggest test if you can be a Kiltie lies in your ability to do what is expected of you – perform at a level that allows us to put on the show (or parade or concert) our fans have come to expect.

Just as our members are diverse in age, they are also diverse in their past musical or marching experience. Some are former members of junior drum and bugle corps; some have come from marching bands; and some have never marched before, but have musical or dance experience. What matters most is the individual member’s desire to achieve excellence and willingness to spend the time they need outside of rehearsal to meet the expectations outlined for the next rehearsal. For members who need and/or want extra help, there are always members or instructors willing to help. All they need to do is ask.

You may have experienced or heard of other marching organizations where members are treated poorly or in a disrespectful way. We can assure you that this is not the case with The Kilties. In our organization, each member is treated with respect. We view each person who assists with the corps – whether they be marching members, staff, support staff, administration, or the person who cuts the tomatoes for the lunch sandwiches – as equally important to the success of the corps. Ask our bus driver, who is an employee of our chartered bus line. He was gratefully presented with a corps jacket two years ago. That’s how we treat people.

If there is one thing that truly sets The Kilties apart from similar organizations, it is the way the membership interacts with one another. The “plaid family” refers to strong bond established between corps members. The plaid family is there for one another. The plaid family greets new members with a genuine welcoming feeling. The plaid family may just be beyond any description we can put into words – It is something you just need to experience for yourself.

Interested in joining or at least receiving more information about membership? Simply click the “join” tab on this website (www.kilties.com) and fill out the online application. This does not obligate you to membership. It does, however, get you "in the loop" to begin receiving information on rehearsals, first kamp, etc.

The Kilties generally perform approximately 24 times in a season – all of them to appreciative crowds. The performances include concerts, parades and field shows (both exhibition and competitive). The Kilties are rare in that they view every performance of equal importance. To us, each parade, each concert and each time we take the field is a reflection of our performance level and commitment to personal and group excellence. We believe in entertaining the crowd and making them rise to their feet time and time again.

Kiltie Kamps, when there is no performance include, run from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Our time during the winter is often spent moving between sectionals, visual and musical rehearsals, enjoying the provided lunch and coordinated rehearsal segments.

The summer kamp schedules are the same times. The only difference is that our sessions are spent outdoors.

When a performance is involved, times are altered to accommodate travel, warm-up and performance requirements. Members can expect that there are some late summer nights due to performance times. You will also find that there are often informal member get-togethers on the Friday or Saturday nights of kamp weekends.

We have many members who do not live in Racine. Some come into town on Friday night and some arrive on Saturday morning. In either case, the Kilties have worked with the management of a local hotel, and we receive rooms at a reduced rate and without tax. The members are still required to pay for the hotel, but they pay for it through the corps rather than directly to the hotel. The corps can also help in lining up roommates to reduce the cost for individual members. In some cases, we can also place out-of-area members in the homes of local members.  You will always have a place to stay.

The Kilties’ schedule is one of the elements that draw many people to our organization. Many potential members realize, perhaps for the first time, that there is an option for a marching experience that fits with real life! The Kilties operate on primarily a weekend-only schedule.

In the winter (December through April), rehearsal kamps are generally one per month (sometimes twice in January). In the spring, kamps may increase to twice or three times per month, depending on how the calendar falls. June through August, the schedule allows for three full weekends off during this peak performance period. In September, the Kilties usually travel out east for Drum Corps Associates (DCA) World Championships over Labor Day weekend. Then we conclude our season in mid-September with our Great Lakes Brew Fest fundraising event (a work and performance for the corps) and our year-end banquet. In all, we are generally together 19-20 times each calendar year for rehearsals and performances.

There are occasions when our schedule includes weekdays. These occur on Memorial Day when we march a morning parade to conclude our Memorial Day kamp (members are dismissed after the parade to spend the remainder of the day with their families or friends), when the 4th of July lands on a weekday and on the Minnesota and DCA weekends when we leave on Thursday night for a Friday rehearsal.

The Kilties have among the lowest dues in the activity and have a payment plan which most members find to fit very well with their budget.  This year, the dues have been set at only $50 per member.  This is due to the reduced schedule of this season.

In short, you get a lot. We have added up the value of the member experience paid for by dues, and we can say that – undoubtedly! – members receive far more than they pay for in their modest Kilties dues. Dues include use of your instrument or equipment, instruction, the main part of your uniform (members have to buy accessories such as shoes and gloves), transportation to out-of-area shows and housing at out-of-town shows. Also, the Kilties will never charge an audition or a camp fee, as many similar organizations do.

Just like the “Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, The Kilties are proud to play G bugles. These are three-valve instruments very similar to brass in a marching band. The only difference is they are all keyed in G, rather than in mixed key. G bugles have a slightly larger bore, allowing for more sound from the instruments, thus creating that “wall of sound” that many people talk about when hearing a drum corps on G bugles.


The corps supplies instruments, so there is no need to purchase a special G instrument to play in the corps.

The Kilties uniform is consistently rated among the most recognizable and overall best uniform in the drum corps activity. Brass and percussion lines wear kilts in Buchanan modern tartan, black battle jackets and the appropriate accessories which include a sporran, a tam, etc.) The color guard uniform changes each year depending on the show theme, but will be wearing black with a plaid sash for parades this year.

Each year, however, new performance opportunities arise (the corps receives an average of 400 appearance requests each year), and therefore, it is difficult to say in advance where our performances will bring us; however, The Kilties generally travel within Wisconsin, into Illinois, Minnesota and to the east coast for DCA Championships.

The corps was founded in 1934 as an off-shoot of a youth YMCA camp. For many years, the corps was known as the YMCA Kilties. In the mid-1980s, the junior corps went inactive with the exception of several highly praised special alumni appearances. The corps re-emerged with a full performance schedule as first an alumni corps and then an all-age co-ed corps in the early 1990s.

Give us a call or drop us an email! We will be happy to speak with you. You can reach the corps by phone at (262) 634-2100 or email us at kilties.dbcorps@gmail.com.

Contact Us

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Kilties Hotline:
(262) 634-2100 
E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps
PO Box 085235
Racine, WI 53408



E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
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