Skyliners’ 2024 production shares serendipitous connections with the corps’ upcoming season.

For the New York all-age corps, 2024 is a year of new horizons — a year of change. It will feature an inaugural journey through the DCI Summer Tour, as a member of the all-new DCI All-Age Class.

It’s a year in which Skyliners — an All-Age corps with deep traditional roots that date back to the 1950s and the earliest days of Drum Corps Associates — intend to reimagine their performance identity, and embrace a more modern creative style.

Their 2024 production, albeit unintentionally, falls right in line. “One Day I’ll Fly,” as show designer and brass arranger Tim Allen noted, is about change.

The New York Skyliners are set to take audiences on a mesmerizing journey of transformation with their 2024 show, "One...

Posted by New York Skyliners Drum & Bugle Corps on Tuesday, January 16, 2024


“What you're going to get is a kind of metamorphosis show,” Allen said, “where we start with the caterpillar stage, and it goes through its lifecycle in a chrysalis, and then it pops out at the end with a bunch of color, the gorgeous butterfly.”

A show concept with plenty of room for visual representation, Allen said the corps will use “personification” to bring its production to life.

“We're telling the story from the voice of this creature, through all of the lifestyle changes of a butterfly,” Allen added. “You'll see a lot of stuff that has to do with giving that character its own voice.”

According to Allen, in many ways, Skyliners’ 2024 production will be a departure from the corps’ recent style of performance.

For many years, Skyliners’ identity has been focused on big band jazz and Broadway show tunes, as well as a relatively minimal approach from a visual standpoint.

Allen noted, for example, that Skyliners’ past productions have featured many of the same ear-worms. In the same way that Madison Scouts had “Malaguena” and Troopers had “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, Skyliners made much of its proverbial “living” on Broadway numbers like “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” and “42nd Street.”

“We can't just do ‘42nd Street’ anymore and expect too many people to just know it,” he said. “They'll tap their fingers, but you can't really expect that to play well to today's crowd, as much as it may have 20 or 30 years ago.”

In an effort to modernize the corps’ music tastes while still plugging into its identity, Skyliners’ 2024 production will include Broadway music — drawn from “Moulin Rouge” — paired with Eric Whitacre’s “Fly to Paradise” and David Holsinger’s “Abram’s Pursuit.”

“We're trying to adapt, through sound design, storytelling and characterization,” Allen said. “Staying true to our colors in terms of some of the music as best we can, but also branching out into this new wave.”

With “One Day I’ll Fly,” the New York corps also plans to open new doors into a more complex visual design.

“We are in the process of making a prop that's actually a chrysalis,” he said. “And then, at the end of the show, that opens up, and here comes a big butterfly.”

While watching a high school marching band production that was themed around a beehive, Allen found a creative spark for his own drum corps’ concept.

From there, the show design process got off and running.

“I ran with that through the course of November,” he said. “The design staff started talking about how we can go from point A to point B with the show in December, and now we're writing it.”

“One Day I’ll Fly” draws much of its thematic inspiration from a quotation from the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Maya Angelou:

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

While the story-driven concept of the prodction was inspired in real time, the basis for its deeper meaning was largely happenstance.

“I was doing some research, and it just kind of popped up,” Allen said of the Angelou quotation. “It was just very random, and maybe I got lucky. But I read it and said, ‘Yes, that's what we're doing.’”

Skyliners’ inaugural venture onto the DCI Tour will feature four appearances in July and August — at events in Clifton, New Jersey; Landisville, Pennsylvania; Mt. Olive, New Jersey; and Rochester New York — before culminating in the corps’ first-ever appearance at the DCI World Championships in Indianapolis.

And according to Allen, it’s an adjustment. There are certainly nerves, he noted, but excitement is soaring.

“For the people that haven't been, it's a brand-new experience,” he said. “They've never been in a stadium that size. They've never taken a road trip that far. It's exciting.”

View the Skyliners’ 2024 DCI Tour schedule