One thing that makes the marching band tradition from historically black colleges stand out is its emphasis on staying current.
When "Drumline Live" returns to the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto on Wednesday, the cast will perform the international YouTube hit "Gangnam Style" by South Korean pop star Psy.
"Relevance is one of our main goals to entertain our fans," said Brian Snell, the touring show's associate musical director. "We want to respond to the latest dance and song and what's happening in pop culture."
Inspired by the 2002 Nick Cannon movie "Drumline," the show was a big hit when it first came to the Gallo Center in October 2010.
The basic format is the same with 32 musicians and dancers covering a range of styles, including African, 1960s and 1970s soul, gospel, big band, swing, jazz and contemporary pop.
"It's a really good time," Snell said. "It's great for all ages, all audiences. It's not gender specific, age specific, racially specific. It's just music. It's fun and a good time."
The cast members include college students taking a break from school, alumni and even occasionally high school graduates. One recent tour member, who was cast out of high school, won a full college scholarship based on part in his participation in the show.
Musicians in the show audition by posting videos on YouTube. Snell said he also recruits by posting updates on social networking sites like Facebook.
Snell tries to keep a ratio of 70 percent returning cast members and no more than 30 new members in any given tour.
The production has been a hit with audiences all over the world, including in Japan and South Korea."They look at this as an American art form something that doesn't exist anywhere else on the planet."
New audience members are constantly surprised by how entertaining the show is. The show is more than just band instruments, flashy costumes and synchronized choreography.
"The most common things we hear every night is 'This is way better than we expected, so much more than we expected'," Snell said.
WHAT: Drumline Live
WHEN: 7 p.m., Wednesday
WHERE: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000
CALL: (209) 338-2100