LiveWire – with DCA President, Gil Silva

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DrumCorpsPlanet is happy to present our latest installment of LiveWire – with this edition featuring Gil Silva, President of Drum Corps Associates. As the President of DCA and a successful businessman, Mr. Silva’s schedule is insanely busy this time of year, preparing for the upcoming DCA performance and competition season. However, we were able to capture a few moments of his time to respond to some of the questions posed by our forum readers. Our sincere thanks to Gil and DCA Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Fred Windish, for taking the time to put this together and making this edition of LiveWire possible.

Editor’s Note: Several questions submitted to Mr. Silva were of a similar nature, so for brevity’s sake, we have condensed those questions and responses. g.j.

Gil Silva, President of Drum Corps Associates.
Edited by Geoff Jones, DCP Livewire Editor

Q: How would you describe DCA’s mission?
G.S.: The primary function of DCA is to provide an organization of all-age drum and bugle corps with rules and regulations, which provide for continuous progress and growth for all-age corps

Q: I’m quite familiar with the DCI corps and their Finals event, but have never really been too exposed to the whole DCA-thing. What differentiates DCA from DCI …and how are they similar?
G.S.: The major difference between DCA and DCI is touring. DCA corps all-age members do limited touring, usually weekends only, allowing corps members to better accommodate their employment and family obligations .

Q: Is it REALLY true – that a person of ANY age can participate in a DCA corps? I thought it was only for "seniors" – those over age 21.
G.S.: Well not really any age, usually all-age corps have a minimum age requirement and the maximum depends on the individuals capability. DCA corps members can continue their drum corps experience after the age of 2.

Q: What are your plans for growing the number of DCA corps and how do you plan to manage that growth? Are there any particular geographical areas that you’re targeting?
G.S.: The question of how we manage this growth is with patience and careful planning. DCA has established DCA South and DCA Central. Yes we are going through a growth spurt and there are various opinions as to the pace and substance of the changes. Our goal now is to support and encourage the regions we have.

Q: How can DCA retain the identity and historic values of the drum and bugle corps legacy, while continuing to grow the number of participants and reach out to new markets?
G.S.: Well this is the challenge that the Board of Directors of DCA is facing. We have a Strategic Planning Committee working on this. The history and legacy is very important, as well as the growth of the activity. There are no easy answers.

Q: What obstacles do you foresee in the road ahead for DCA? What will determine how successful you and the DCA team are in overcoming those obstacles? And what can we, as members and fans, do to help you overcome them?
G.S.: One of the biggest challenges we face is travel. The cost as well as the time involved for the individual members. With all corps facing increased fuel costs for traveling, this might be the biggest challenge for DCA and it’s members.

Q: Are there any plans to move DCA finals south or west in the next 5 years?
G.S.: We are presently accepting bid proposals for the 2008 and 2009 Championships. All proposals will be evaluated.

Q: Is there any interest in airing DCA finals on TV (ESPN) ?
G.S.: There is always an interest.

Q: Most corps from the South and West only come east for MAYBE one show before finals weekend due to financial reasons. Does this put them at a disadvantage being the judges have only seen them once or not at all?
G.S.: We are presently sending sheets and judges out to DCAS and DCAC to help in this situation. We are also, with the cooperation of DCI, sending sheets and criteria to DCI shows that are having DCA corps as part of the program. Including shows in California.

Q: I would like to know will the DCA championships ever be held in New England ?
G.S.: That would be fine with me, have your city send us a proposal.

Q: Does a day ever go by that you don’t thank God you know Dick Pronti?
G.S.: No never

Q: What are your thoughts on the creation of a DCA "Northeastern Region", which has local governance over their region’s activities – much like the other DCA regions do? This could then allow DCA and all of its members to organize and manage the Championships, without needing special rules favoring any particular region.
G.S.: This is a very interesting question, and has been discussed as a possibly. When DCA was founded, the idea was to unify the judging and prize structure that was in existence at the time, Most of the corps that decided to become DCA were in the northeast, and the only time they met corps from other regions was at the American Legion and VFW National Championships, wherever the convention was held in a particular year.

In the 1970’s the growth of DCA and DCI exploded on the scene. DCI with the touring concept became a national organization representing corps from all over the country. DCA experienced growth in the Northeast and corps from the Midwest and Canada were showing up at the DCA Championship. Still the majority of corps were from the northeast.

Now we fast forward to the situation we have today. DCA has created DCA South and DCA Central. Creation of these regions was a mandate from these members, recognizing that there was a need to expand. The majority of the corps that made that decision were from the Northeast, and I think sometimes people do not appreciate this. For over forty years DCA has been the center of all-age corps, the reason these corps came to us is the same reason DCA was founded. To unify the judging and prize structure and to compete with the best.

Do we need to declare the Northeast a separate region? That might be something to consider as DCA grows. Your reasoning that voting members are not chosen fairly is based on wrong information. You state that corps that finish 11th-14th in prelims have to attend 4 Northeast contests in order to gain full membership. That’s not correct. The requirement is that they must attend 4 sanctioned contests; it doesn’t matter where those contests are. Voting membership in DCA is a privilege that is earned by being competitive and active in the association. Your proposal, while flawed, is very interesting and as I have stated, has been a subject of discussion with the Directors of DCA.

Editor: Again, our sincere thanks to Gil Silva for taking time from his hectic schedule to answer some of YOUR questions. We’ll invite you to discuss this LiveWire interview in our DCA forums …. and stay tuned for future editions of LiveWire.

Posted by on Tuesday, May 9th, 2006. Filed under Uncategorized.