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How do we save Drum Corps


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#41 Ghost

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:33 PM

And you also saw a lot of kids involved for the first time (some of them in the alumni units I believe). Blue Saints, for example, are active in SDCA. I think the support of the alumni associations is fantastic.

The truth - the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Clr_4sMxhr0


After the first three or four years of the Plymouth, MA alumni corps concerts, I stopped attending because they were primarily the same as previous years. Some new music, but you're limited inside with a stand still setting. My first thought after watching most of the video was other than family and friends, how many of the crowd was not family or friends? Plus, a very older looking crowd. For the same reason I usually only watch the highest level of professional sports, World Class is the only level of Drum & Bugle Corps which interests me. I wish these smaller organizations well, but since the whole activity has an extremely small following, I'll continue to be more interested with the major league teams.
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#42 Grandpa

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:40 PM

After the first three or four years of the Plymouth, MA alumni corps concerts, I stopped attending because they were primarily the same as previous years. Some new music, but you're limited inside with a stand still setting. My first thought after watching most of the video was other than family and friends, how many of the crowd was not family or friends? Plus, a very older looking crowd. For the same reason I usually only watch the highest level of professional sports, World Class is the only level of Drum & Bugle Corps which interests me. I wish these smaller organizations well, but since the whole activity has an extremely small following, I'll continue to be more interested with the major league teams.



You and Danielray will probably get along very well then.

Personally I'm far more excited about the growth of drum corps from the bottom up then the same old "will Cavies beat BD beat Cadets" blah blah blah every year.
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#43 jwillis35

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:52 PM

Everyone has some very valid points. I have always noted that the only corps that can really afford to compete at the national touring level (DCI large-scale events, regional championships, Finals) are the top 17 or so. Even groups like Academy are careful with how much they travel.

I look at some corps and I think they do have the right idea. Academy is one, whom I just mentioned. Pacific Crest is another. Maybe in the long run it hurts their chances of truly competing for the top 12, but I would rather be competitive, financially successful, and healthy and still provide a wonderful experience for the kids. This as opposed to taking too many risks early on and perhaps taking an "all or nothing" attitude. The Colts have been smart. They come out later in the summer, and that works for them and has helped to keep them healthy and stable.

The top 8 can be a cut-throat place to live. Until you have "big boy" money and are getting the talent and staff to compete at this level, it is best to stay away.

As for the OP's question about saving drum corps, I will agree, first off, that DCI should not be the only answer. DCI is a wonderful organization that can certainly provide marketing, judging, and help to facilitate regional and national-level competitions. They can handle the overall web presence and the media aspect. But...

At the root level, drum & bugle corps is, and has always been, about grass-roots efforts coming together in a community to start a drum corps. That's what it will take. It's not about saving DCI, it's about saving the art of drum & bugle corps. That can ONLY be done by people in various communities around the country who will join forces to create and manage a drum corps. This is not easy undertaking, and the economy, scholastic education, facility needs, staffing needs, and the ability to fund raise make the whole project a rather difficult venture.

The Canton Bluecoats were not started by DCI. The Cavaliers were not started by DCI, nor were the Blue Devils or Phantom Regiment. These organizations were started in communities, and they grew and grew and gained nationwide popularity through DCI competition, effective marketing, incredible performances, and many long, hard hours of labor by staff, members, administration, and volunteers.

Unless we start to see more community groups interested in starting a drum corps for the youth of the area and region, then the current model will continue to exist and we will all keep our fingers crossed that in 10 to 20 years there are at least 8 to 10 corps left.
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#44 Grandpa

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:57 PM

It's not about saving DCI, it's about saving the art of drum & bugle corps. That can ONLY be done by people in various communities around the country who will join forces to create and manage a drum corps.


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#45 JulesBry

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:11 PM

Totally agreed. Sometimes DCI can be it's own worst enemy. Just look at their own set of rules. If you're a start up corps you have to spend at least one year (probably two) in OC before you can even apply for WC. Alright, that's all well and fine, but if they don't nurture OC then where are they going to get more WC corps from? They just don't pop out of the woodwork.


I think Music City (Nashville) is moving that direction. They've grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and I expect them to push toward WC in the near future.

#46 perc2100

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:29 PM

I agree completely. The touring model is unsustainable for a lot of existing corps - getting into it from scratch can be done but it's a mammoth undertaking.


I think that Pacific Crest & AZ Academy have proven that you can have minimal touring (regional for first half of season, national the back half) and be both financially & competitively successful. If/when those corps become competitively successful, they will have more means (higher profile = more financial opportunities, higher camp turn-out, etc) to join the tour full time.

Make no mistake, it is highly unlikely that corps will return to a local-only type of touring model: there are not nearly enough corps in each region to make this viable for both corps & fans. Plus, members like to tour nationally: they can tour their region in their local HS bands. I think a reason why smaller corps can't sustain themselves is because kids aren't interested in just touring locally as much as nationally (a double-edged sword: expensive to tour nationally in order to attract membership vs cost-effective to tour locally at expense of filling out the ranks). If corps are financially not solvent then they shouldn't be on the road anyway; corps with lower means can learn a lot from PC & Academy's touring model.
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#47 JulesBry

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:29 PM

As for the OP's question about saving drum corps, I will agree, first off, that DCI should not be the only answer. DCI is a wonderful organization that can certainly provide marketing, judging, and help to facilitate regional and national-level competitions. They can handle the overall web presence and the media aspect. But...


And when DCI destroys the great success it has found by corrupting the activity with sounds and visuals that offend a huge portion of their fan base, we will need these smaller organizations to pick up the pieces and start the cycle once again. We may as well start now.

#48 willshockya

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:36 PM

For one there are no regional associations anymore. Back in the 60's thru the 80's there were regional associations; Drum Corps East, Drum Corps Midwest, Drum Corps West, Garden State Circuit and EMass to name a few. These need to be brought back into existance so the smaller corps can compete on a local level and grow gradually at a pace they want to. As of right now I believe you need to meet a number of criteria in order to be a world class corps.

#49 Grandpa

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:39 PM

I think that Pacific Crest & AZ Academy have proven that you can have minimal touring (regional for first half of season, national the back half) and be both financially & competitively successful. If/when those corps become competitively successful, they will have more means (higher profile = more financial opportunities, higher camp turn-out, etc) to join the tour full time.


A step in the right direction to be sure, but their annual budgets are still far beyond what a startup can hope to attain.

Make no mistake, it is highly unlikely that corps will return to a local-only type of touring model: there are not nearly enough corps in each region to make this viable for both corps & fans. Plus, members like to tour nationally: they can tour their region in their local HS bands. I think a reason why smaller corps can't sustain themselves is because kids aren't interested in just touring locally as much as nationally (a double-edged sword: expensive to tour nationally in order to attract membership vs cost-effective to tour locally at expense of filling out the ranks). If corps are financially not solvent then they shouldn't be on the road anyway; corps with lower means can learn a lot from PC & Academy's touring model.


The local circuit thing is already happening and growing. If a corps is unable to attain the financial levels to tour but is sufficiently solvent to operate at the local level, it still deserves to exist.
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#50 mobrien

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:48 PM

And when DCI destroys the great success it has found by corrupting the activity with sounds and visuals that offend a huge portion of their fan base, we will need these smaller organizations to pick up the pieces and start the cycle once again. We may as well start now.

You won't find many new corps or members looking to utilize an antique or vintage drum corps approach. If anything, they will want to be further out there than the WC corps are now. Kids now have no more interest in playing old timey drum corps then they have in using a Smith Corona to type up their homework assignments.

The past is past. If people want new, lower-cost, less-time commitment corps, they're going to have to accept the fact that people who would get excited about starting corps like that aren't going to be the old parish priest or scoutmaster types - they'll be men and women who already have experience with contemporary drum corps and WGI, and will be looking to go even further than they did before. My question is whether some of the roots movement supporters could stomach a new version of drum corps that's even less traditional than the version out there now.

Edited by mobrien, 01 August 2011 - 03:51 PM.





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