DUBUQUE, IA – Pork magnate Harry Hamm, Director of the Moon of lowa Drum and Bugle Corps, has announced that his unit will suspend competition for 1997 and will instead take part in a series of unconventional artistic ventures. Hamm, whose corps won the National Championship at last year’s Daughters of the American Revolution convention, believes that the Moon has reached the pinnacle of drum corps excellence and is ready to enter the world of avant-garde entertainment.

The Moon of Iowa’s first such appearance will be on May 1st in Big Sur, California, where the corps will participate in a pagan May Day feast. Members will perform around a maypole, and the event will culminate in a sacrifice to Spamphos, god of meat. Iowa hogs supplied by Hamm will be roasted over a bonfire fueled by the corps’ old cadet uniforms.

Maypole in Brentwood, California

Later in the month the corps will be at the Schenectady Film Festival. Ed Flack, the unit’s archivist, will screen his entry, “Heat Rash and Cold Breakfast” a documentary about the Moon’s 1996 tour.

Hamm plans a multicultural smorgasbord for 1997. His percussion section will mark the summer solstice with a display of Japanese ritual drumming at a Toyota plant in Knoxville, Tennessee. Then, the entire corps will help celebrate Nordic Week in St. Cloud, Minnesota with a song and dance revue aboard a flaming longboat during a simulated Viking funeral. And the color guard is scheduled to have a dizzying Columbus Day, which they will spend rolling down Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy, encased in enormous Lucite bocce balls and doing rigorous equipment work.

But Hamm and his corps are not so wrapped up in show business as to be bereft of higher values. On July 4th, the Moon of Iowa will give an exhibition at Sarajevo Stadium in Bosnia for U.S. peacekeepers. In a bow to tradition and patriotism, the corps will reenact the 1966 VFW Nationals, taking the roles of all 12 finalists. Hamm, known for his attention to detail, has financed costly tattoo removals for several of the Moon’s members in preparation.

And Harry Hamm wants the public to trust that the Moon of Iowa, while at times seeming to be all things to all people, is at heart simply a drum and bugle corps.

“Drum Corps has always been an art,” he says, “like painting or poetry or poker. We’ve just taken it to a new level.”

A new level indeed! Drum Corps has come a long way since the days of the off-the-line and the color presentation. Harry Hamm would like to be drum major for the activity’s bold march into the future.