2009/2010 DCA Rules Congress Report
DCA President Gil Silva had help from Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks in opening the 2009/2010 DCA Rules Congress at the George Eastman House Museum. Rarely are politicians as drum corps savvy and cooperative as this “cross party” pair. Both spoke about their sincere appreciation for all DCA and drum corps in general have done for the Rochester area and promised their complete cooperation in making the 2009 championship another success story. A record number – 30 corps – were represented.
This, of course, was a hardworking weekend with over 150 in attendance and many separate meetings, caucuses and seminars going on simultaneously. Seminars on everything from show design to fund raising were well received including a most appropriate and very funny session presented by DCA Vice-President, Larry Hershman, called Drum Corps 101 done Jeff Foxworthy style. “You may have a problem if: It takes longer to explain your show concept to the judges than it does to perform it!” That and many more gems of wisdom were most well received.
DCA’s new judging team headed by Judge Coordinator John Kreitzer joined by Brass Caption Chairman Rich Guillen, Percussion Chairman John Stauffer and Visual Chairman Tony Smith set the tone of cooperation as all three elements worked together to investigate potential changes and various new adjudication techniques. Much time was spent on cooperation between Brass and Percussion and consideration was given to a 7-judge panel and the changes that would require. In the end, the corps decided on a freshly “tweaked” 9-judge panel similar to the previous 2 seasons, but with some new language and a new look to the sheets and criteria scale.
From the outset, it was obvious that the multitude of “younger” corps – many aligned with the Class A movement – were going to have substantial input to all aspects of the rules and adjudication system. This culminated in a significant change in DCA policy. Prior to this day, Class A was designed and intended to cultivate more corps and give newer and smaller corps an avenue to strive for and improve until they ultimately make the top 10 corps status. Several changes were initiated that now clearly separate Class A from Open Class. In recognition of the growth of the Class A movement and conceding that many Class A corps – for one reason or another – intend to remain Class A, much discussion addressed this situation. The final vote to solidify this class definition was that at the DCA Preliminary Competition at Championships, the Class A Prelims will occur first and then, Open Class. All corps declaring Class A status at the beginning of the season will compete against each other with a designated number (depending on the number of entrants) moving on to the finals to compete for the Class A championship. Should a Class A corps score higher in Preliminary Competition than an Open Class corps or, perhaps, even achieve a top 10 position, they will NOT be moved to Open Class as previous rules required. They will compete for the Class A championships. Any movement of a Class A corps to Open Class would only occur when the corps has more than 65 performers or elects to compete in open class.
Many other topics were covered, discussed and voted on. Most of which were basically operational issues with little effect on the final product. One proposal that got some press prior to the congress – the proposed use of amplification of pit equipment – became a non-issue as the proposal was voted down in the Percussion Caucus by the percussion instructors – never making it to the directors for consideration.
Allen Buell and the staff of the George Eastman House and International Museum of Photography were the perfect hosts. A reception Saturday evening for all participants was a great opportunity for everyone to socialize and reflect on the day’s happenings. Tours of the 35,000 square foot George Eastman House were conducted giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy the historical setting for a most successful weekend. A few final votes and housekeeping on Sunday morning were quickly concluded and President Silva thanked everyone for their hard work, cooperation and input and closed the books for another 2 years on the DCA rules and regulations.