The Cadets drum and bugle corps rehearse under the direction of Drum Major Ben Pouncey at Jenks High School on July 20, 2011. The Cadets were preparing for a show at Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium later that evening. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps is one of the oldest of the elite American groups attached to Drum Corps International. Founded in 1934 in New Jersey and currently based in Allentown, Pa., the Cadets have been traveling the country the entire summer, performing the same show in different cities every night, save for a few extended stays in larger cities such as Minneapolis and Houston. By the end of their tour, they will have racked up more than 20,000 miles.

The ultimate destination is Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the DCI World Championships in mid-August, a competition the Cadets have won nine times, most recently in 2005.

One thing most people wouldn’t think to consider is how much it takes to compete at the elite DCI level. Corps members are athletes, and drum corps is a sport. Training, athleticism, stamina and strength are critical.

Practicing on the FieldTurf at Jenks High School under noon sunlight in the midst of an excessive heat advisory, corps members had shed most of their clothes for the grueling rehearsal. I couldn’t imagine any other way to tolerate the heat — it was bad enough for me and all I was doing was taking pictures.

Several hours later, The Cadets’ caravan of buses, semis support vehicles pulled into the parking lot of Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium for the annual Drums of Summer event. By the time they arrived at 7:30 p.m., the show had already started with the performances of a few less talented corps. The Cadets shuffled off the bus, gathered their instruments again, and went through another 90 minutes of sectional warmups before marching in line to the field for their 9:21 p.m. appearance. An entire day’s work, for 10 crowd pleasing minutes.

Mallory Yohannan, Brandon Holmes and Lauryn Heller rest on the FieldTurf at Jenks High School during a water break at The Cadets drum and bugle corps rehearsal. With temperatures well over 100 degrees, frequent water were given to relieve the 150 musicians and color guard. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

The Cadets drum line warms up on a practice field at Broken Arrow High School before their performance at Drums of Summer, a Drum Corps International summer tour competition. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

Trumpet players for The Cadets drum and bugle corps stand in an arc formation in a parking lot at Broken Arrow High School before warming up for a performance of their show, Between Angels and Demons. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

Members of The Cadets drum and bugle corps help each other put on uniforms before their show. The Cadets and about 20 other World Class corps spend the entire summer traveling the country playing shows almost every night, leading up to the Drum Corps International World Championship in Indianapolis in mid-August. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

The Cadets drum and bugle corps march in formation from a practice lot to Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium. An entire day of rehearsal and travel boils down to a roughly 10 minute precisely choreographed show. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

The Cadets' 2011 show is titled Between Angels and Demons, and features dueling section of angels, in white, and demons, in maroon, performing to selections from the film's score. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World

The Cadets perform the finale of their show before garnering a standing ovation from the thousands on hand. The Cadets placed second out of nine World Class corps at the Broken Arrow show, behind only The Cavaliers of Rosemont, Ill. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World