All Cozy, All Good!

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Cozy’s DCA Planet

by Cozy Baker

DCA goes to Pittsburgh, W-S, Annapolis, Baltimore, Indy, Cincy, L.A.?

"I always give myself such very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." ~ Alice per Lewis Carroll, “Alice In Wonderland”

Defying Journalism 101; i.e., introduction paragraph, I’m just going straight into a talons flailing philippic like the orations of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon in the Fourth Century B.C. Some of our DCPlanet posters belong on not-wanted posters…Hmm, I just wrote an intro paragraph.

Corps nuts can truly go macadamia at times, myself included. I went ballistic back in late July when a DCP moderator ironically closed a thread that had gone off to discussing Freedom of Speech. That seems so trivial to how some of our DCPers have become “RAMDesque” lately.

Some of the Ernesto rain must have diluted the blood to the brain. Thinking cap…shako? Thinking cap…tam? Thinking cap…shades? How about keeping the thinking cap in at least vibrator alert mode?

[Note: All opinions stated are mine, associated with no corps, no association. When discussing possible championships sites, I’m thinking about locations, not stadiums.]

Shadow_7, DCP poster, has a right to his opinions and has stated: “I think that if things were moved to say Indianapolis, you’d see some growth. Imagine, MSARP (Madison Alumni), Cavalier Alumni, Phantom Alumni, Colts Alumni, Glassmen Alumni, Bluecoats Alumni, Northshore, Derby City Nights, Cincinnati Tradition, and a variety of others that would then have a financially feasible chance to make it to DCA. Maybe not all of these exist, or exist as a DCA competitor at the moment, but if they were given say a four-year notice that this will happen in 2010, who knows?”

My knee-jerk reaction: I’d love to see DCA have the championships outside of the Northeast. Having lived in the Midwest and driven 495 miles one way to march Empire Statesmen, also 375 miles to wail with the Kilties, uphill both ways to do corps, I’d love to see the DCA Championships in Cincinnati, Indy or some other Midwest site. Maybe this could happen in 2012 to 2015.

Now living in Dixie, I’m blown away by the growth and enthusiasm here with Alliance, CorpsVets, Gulf Coast Sound, having Heat Wave back, Music City Legend, Shenandoah Sound, etc. I would like to see a championship in Winston-Salem or another appropriate site. A compromise could be Annapolis or Baltimore.

Reality: This must be well thought out. Perhaps it’s just too early, and that time is still 5 to 10 years from now, with a championship site on the edge of the NE towards the Midwest or SE as a compromise in the next few years. Maybe, Pittsburgh, W-S, or some site like that might just work.

Pittsburgh has corps nuts and tickets would sell. Just don’t ask them to cooperate to field a large corps. Mon Valley Express knows all about that. While Winston-Salem is working on a fine facility and has energetic community leaders, I worry about the walk-up ticket sales as do many others, including Tom Peashey.

An unnamed DCA official mentioned Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Akron,OH as possible DCA Championships sites. I stress these cities were simply thrown out flippantly in a casual conversation. Personally, I like Pittsburgh or Buffalo. (I know little of the stadium facilities. I’m merely thinking geography.)

Yet, if one were to consider Buffalo, then why not just keep the Labor Day weekend festivities in Rochester, a proven winner? My memory seems to recall that 1996 Rochester was the highest ticket sales ever for DCA or, at least, in the most recent 10 years. Ticket sales for the 2006 Finals in Rochester were again fantastic. Ernesto screws up comparisons for Prelims, but I’m sure the advance sales were exceptionally high. Hence, if a larger stadium could be found in Rochester that offers an in-your-face front sideline, Rochester remains a site that is acceptable in distance for the NE, Midwest and some Southern corps.

Time to do DCA in a dome?

The Syracuse Dome intrigues me. I despise the RrrCccAaa Dome in Indianapolis, possibly the worst acoustics of any North American stadium. I’ve attended Bands of America Regional and Championships with bands I’ve worked with in Indy. The new stadium being built in Indy which will host the DCInternational Championships in 2008 and for 10 years, as well as hosting Bands of America for decades? might be feasible for DCA in 2015 or so.

Any dome will add extra expense.

I’m not a fan of indoor championships, but I do have to admit the Georgia Dome suited my soprano and my ears just fine at the DCI Regional last July. I could hear what few soloists DCI offered and the batteries were not that overpowering like they are in the RrrCccAaa Dome.

It’s too soon to go ‘Westward, ho!’

How about going west of the Continental Divide? For anyone who has read my off-season projections into a parallel corps dimension in the year 2020 in DCWorld (Subscribe at, I’d say that any attempt to put the DCA Championships in the West before 2020 would be like sending out the Donner Party in Conestoga wagons. California? No way before 2020.

DCI is set to go to Pasadena

Yep, DCInternational has finally committed to going all the way to Pasadena. About time. This is a historic venture for DCI. Please don’t compare. DCI has many more corps, oodles of fan$ on the central plains, west of the Great Divide and on the Left Coast. They’ll survive fine.

DCI has a much larger budget. Note that DCA returns the majority of its profits to each member corps. If DCA has an off year financially, that exponentially cripples each DCA member corps.

DCA honchos see that the horizon is expanding and are venturing out. Please be patient. When the time is right, the championship sites will eventually be in other necks of the woods.

Alumni corps are crucial to DCA Championships

The Alumni Spectacular is an important part of the package. Our alumni have lower budgets than competitive corps typically. Go too far from the NE and we will lose some of them. A compromise of having the DCA Championships on the edge of the NE would still not endanger the Alumni Spectacular, I believe. The further one stretches the miles for the alumni corps, the fewer corps will be able to make the trek.

Fan$, fan$, think fan$!

My biggest concern is the fan base. Having lived in both the Midwest and Dixie, my opinion is that it is still too risky to host the championships away from the NE for the next few years. DCA’s piggy bank needed the $$ boost from Rachacha, which came about despite the pelting pejoration of Ernesto, I’m sure. To risk a championships away from the NE right now, a bold experiment, could hurt DCA immensely if the fan$ don’t come.

“Build it and they will come.” ~ “Field of Dreams” movie

My retort to this quote is, “Bull dung! If DCA hosts the championships in the fields of America’s cornbelt or beyond; i.e., West, in the next few years, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson’s ghost, some crows, redwings, and not enough paying fan$ will be plodding through John Deere country.

The Troopers’ Jim Jones and others begat DCI with the Combine. If DCA hosts Labor Day weekend in combine country or further west before it’s ready, DCA will cut and thresh its budget. Try selling tickets to “Norwegian bachelor farmers combining in their antique McCormack’s.” (Apologies to Garrison Keillor.)

DCA dudes and dudettes in California

Mike Nash, DCP’s darkman, board of SoCal Dream and drum major, posted, “I’ve been involved in the DCI-Pacific Senior/All Age division from the very being. We want to start our own circuit, so we went to DCA and, since there was no other DCA corps on the West Coast, it would (have) been hard for them to give the support we needed like DCA judges, shows, etc. So, we went to DCI-Pacific for help and to see if we could perform in a few shows. It was a hard and long process, but we were able to get a few shows. Yes, we had to go on first. So what? Yes, we didn’t get paid. So what? But we got to perform, and then, in the following years, we could nurture and network and maybe get more shows, get judged on DCA sheets, a vote, and maybe get paid.

Yes, we here at Dream travel north 7 hours to perform in Northern California, no pay, going on first, etc. But we get to perform, clean up our shows, and get judged so we can get ready to perform at DCA Champs weekend.”

Nash continued, “DCI and DCA are networking together for the betterment of drum corps. I know this because I was the contact for making sure (that) we seniors had DCA sheets last year; so, I had contact with the head judges in both associations to make sure everything was working.”

I have a unique position: I have competed in corps from the NE, Midwest and South, and have officially visited all-age and DCI events last summer in California during two trips. During my second California trip, I found there were a few glitches in the DCI/DCA cooperation regarding scoring sheets, but all the DCI officials, especially Gene O’Brien, show coordinator, were receptive and friendly about assisting the DCA corps. Similarly, Tony DiCarlo, DCI show coordinator, and the Spirit hosts bent over backwards to help at the DCI Jacksonville, AL, show.

I can say I have no problem with DCA Central, DCA Pacific or DCA South attending DCI meetings and seeking more opportunities. I see no conspiracy, and this comes from a guy who has not forgotten the demise of the four-day U.S. Open and three-day DCMidwest.

With Empire, I enjoyed one, maybe two, DCA contests most summer weekends. Lucky us. Lucky me. With my own corps, Mirage Sr., we had opportunities with DCM, thanks to Roman and Sue Blenski and Murray Davis. Mirage did DCA in Pennsylvania when we could. We took what we could get – Anything to get Mirage in front of a drum corps crowd. The Kilties, the Minnesota corps et al. used to enjoy the opportunities with DCM, but always tried to get to DCA contests when possible.

This past summer, with CorpsVets, we were thankful to do exhibitions with DCI shows. Thank you, DCI, Spirit, etc. It was not fun coming on first, but we still appreciate the chances.

Pretend you’re in the shoes of the corps management of River City Regiment, Dream or Renegades. You had to come on at 5 PM or shortly after in the heat at a DCI show on July 8 or 9, when there were not that many fan$ in the stands…Now, it’s the off-season, and you are thinking of aught seven. Realistically, it’s a bit early to think of a summer of DCA contests on the Left Coast; so, what do you do? Make that management decision. If it were me, I’d be attending DCI meetings, seeking opportunities, as well as the DCA meetings.

Let’s suppose that all three California DCA corps will eventually host their own DCA shows in a few years. That’s wonderful growth for DCA, but that still does not provide enough performing opportunities for all the hard work preceding Labor Day weekend. Hence, working with DCI, even after establishing three DCA shows in California, is logical.

Midwest corps and Muchachos

Place yourself in the role of a Midwest corps staff person. I’ll bet you’d be seeking performance chances at DCI contests, working for more DCA contests, etc. The Govies, Chops, Minnesota Brass, Kilties, Lakeshoremen, Music City Legend, Royal Airs, Cincinnati Tradition, etc., are simply taking care of business by attending the DCI meeting.

The Manchester Muchachos are also making the right choice by seeking opportunities in their local area, DCI Atlantic.

I call all of these wise decisions. It’s what I would do. DCA is growing. DCA cares. DCA will eventually reach well beyond the NE. Louisville beckons. Denver has desires.

Yep, Shadow_7, 11th sucks!

Shadow_7, while posting eloquently above, went a bit overboard, I believe, when he spoke of not liking coming in 11th place with the Racine Kilties. I have personal, multiple “experienceS” with that sinking feeling of just barely missing out on the Sunday night Finals.

I marched with the Kilties in 1999…Got 11th in Allentown. (Love that stadium, park, and I&E/MC.) The saving grace was that the late beloved Mickey Petrone, DCA president, et al., invited the Kilties to do an exhibition Finals night. J.C. Caspers lost his mello slide just before his solo and sang a solo in his superb baritone voce that erased laps.

Recruited to march Kilties again in 2003 by Jim Sobacki, sop soloist, to fill a needed spot for Gerry Kelsey’s “Auld Lang Syne” closer, I spent a long time watching the guard rehearse at a spring rehearsal. The guard was small, full of talent, but needing more numbers.

Asked why I was watching the cg, I responded, “Just checking to see if we’ll make Finals.” “What do you think?” I said, “We’re borderline.”…Scranton: The Kilties came up short again. It takes a larger guard to present and interpret the program.

Without going into what each corps from second place to last, heck, even the repeat champ Buccaneers, might do to improve, I’ll only say, I do feel the pain of anyone who does not make the cut for Finals.

An undefeated championship season warms the heart so much better. I’ve won, lost, and prefer to have a superb staff wind me up, turn me loose and let me entertain, all while competing ferociously.

I’ve been reading DCP Forums trying to catch up since I returned home Sep. 21. The “Fiasco” thread, while it has numerous good points, disgusts me with the negativity. The only good thing about it is that with the "Fiasco" title, it has stayed on-topic; thus, the DCP censors let it stay.

There are some fine suggestions being posted, and DCA is listening.

Soapbox is being pushed aside. I’ve said my piece. I’ve played my heart out. Now, it’s time to practice hard to prepare to do it all o’er again. Let’s all be “corpsgasmic” in aught seven.

Posted by on Wednesday, October 11th, 2006. Filed under DCA ... All-Age, All-Good!.