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.
Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion.
~ Alan Bloom