Upper Darby Drumline World Champs! - KMSP-TV

Upper Darby Drumline Takes World Championship Title

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Members of the Upper Darby "Marching Royals" won an international competition over the weekend. Members of the Upper Darby "Marching Royals" won an international competition over the weekend.
UPPER DARBY, Pa -

It's been quite a drought since the Phillies won the World Series back in 2008. So you'll be happy to know one local team is bringing plenty of pride back to our region. The Upper Darby "Marching Royals" won a huge competition over the weekend, and are now drumline world champs. They're hard-working, they're talented, and they're incredibly loyal. Any major league team would be impressed at what it took to pull it off.

Monday morning, the Royals showed Fox 29 what practice might have looked like, at Upper Darby High School. Kyle McKay behind the marimba, Sam Thomas and his buddies playing the drums as they somehow pull off complicated dance steps, while Ryan McElhaney spins magic with his cymbals. 43 high school students altogether, putting on an incredible performance. "It's kind of like a Broadway show that they do, that's thrown into seven minutes on a 60 by 90 tarp with drums and percussion instruments," Jason Majerczak, Upper Darby High School's Indoor Drumline Director, explained to Fox 29.

Indoor drumline doesn't quite have the same cachet as the high school football team. But on this day, the students are stars. "It's really cool," Senior Sam Thomas, a drummer, insisted. "It's really cool walking the halls, seeing everybody recognize that we won." That's because the Marching Royals pulled off the performance of their lives on Saturday, and won the Indoor Drumline World Championship in Ohio. "Just standing there after they announced us winning, it was like just so emotional," said Senior Emily Glackin, a dancer. "We all started crying and cheering." Sam Thomas said it was hard-earned. "We practice way more than any extracurricular activity. And like now we're finally getting the credit for it."

Much deserved credit, because they make it look easy. But it's not. Kyle McKay demonstrated how he plays the marimba. "After a while that really starts to hurt your hands here, as you can see," McKay said, pointing to a large patch on his finger. "Yeah, it's a really big callous, and you get them here on (the palms of) your hands too." Ryan McElhaney agreed that pain sometimes accompanied practice. "Hours and hours, literal blood, sweat and tears. Literal blood, 'cause these can cut you," he added, pointing to his cymbals.

12-hour practice sessions on weekends turned them into family, and made them champions. When their moment arrived, they were ready for their big life lesson. "Really, just that hard work pays off," McKay explained. "And I know it sounds really corny, but it's the truth."

They had a long drive back from Ohio Sunday. But when they arrived in Upper Darby, police and fire escorts awaited them. And so did dozens, if not hundreds, of people, cheering them on. They are the pride of Upper Darby.

You can watch the "Marching Royals" competition on YouTube.

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