The Arbella Drum and Bugle Corps was once the pride of Salem! The combination of two all-girl drum and bugle corps, Arbella, nautically styled to represent Salem’s nautical history, took its name in 1975, and a few years later took the DCI All-Girls Championships in Birmingham, AL – not bad for a bunch of girls whose average age was 12.5 (many of whom could barely read music)!
In the early 80’s membership was bolstered with the introduction of boys. This was controversial for many members, but the Corps went on to produce another quality program until it finally folded in 1983 due to financial pressure – as so many drum corps had done in that era.
Arbella was always extremely lucky to have a motivated and dedicated board and parent involvement to keep the ship afloat – as well as the most talented instructors in the field – virtually all went on to become Massachusetts Drum Corps and Music Educator Hall of Famers. We could not have appreciated it at the time, being so terribly young, that we had the absolute VERY best people teaching us – many are still at the top of their fields and active in the local area teaching other corps and high school bands.
It is a love of drum corps and this same passion for exellence that a few former Arbella members and instructors created a founding Board in 2011 for a NEW Arbella. 2012 was our Inaugural year.
We launched in a January at an Open House that was well attended by old friends, family, alumni and Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll, who was very excited about the prospect of a new Arbella to grace the streets of Salem once again. We marched in a few local parades and festivals, and our new uniforms, styled after the early Arbella nautical uniforms, brought back alot of fond memories to the crowds!
In the summer of 2012 we launched a mini corps that performed at many local festivals and parades.
In 2016, we launched our Independent Regional A Color Guard, ARBELLA INDEPENDENT,
under the direction of Joel Dube. Arbella was comprised of students from all over the North Shore – and beyond: Danvers, Beverly, Salem, Acton-Boxborough, Merrimack, Groveland…. we made a wonderful first impression in the NESBA and WGI circuits!
For Winter 2018, Arbella has moved up to Independent A Class and is fielding a larger unit with kids from all over now!
We have also launched Arbella SoundSport, a music ensemble to perform on the 2018 DCI East Allentown SoundSport Stage.
We are excited to be building a program that will not only cultivate quality performers and musicians, but dazzle and entertain the local community. We welcome you to get involved! Follow our calendar for performances or share our social media posts and help spread the word! We are always looking for support in any form, and we thank you in advance for any help you can offer.