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WGI, Time for a change?-


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#11 old skool drmmr

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:43 AM

"old skool drmmr", are those triples yours? They look to be in very good condition... and, best of all, without Slingerland's really *lousy* designed carriers: either version. I've always wondered what non-marching manager at Slingerland approved their manufacture. Oh man... those carriers were AWFUL!


You betcha! I picked them up used at an old drum shop about 15 or 20 years ago. Not sure where that carrier came from, but I got it with the drums. It might be a more recent design. Definitely much better than the old ones!
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Beatin' them tubs since '71.

#12 old skool drmmr

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:48 AM

Cute picture, but Jeff's point is contrary. Those who spend too much on "sissy dancing" stuff will soon learn they can't win with it.

I like WGI scoring because the math tells you where to place the emphasis.


That's interesting, because if I look back at my WGI PIW dvds over the years, it seems to me that MCM was one of the first groups that really started to integrate a lot more of the body movement into their visual programs. I think they did pretty well last year, with a program that had lots of sissy dancing. That being said, those kids definitely played their nuts off.

Edited by old skool drmmr, 14 November 2011 - 12:49 AM.

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Beatin' them tubs since '71.

#13 InspaDave

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 05:59 AM

That's interesting, because if I look back at my WGI PIW dvds over the years, it seems to me that MCM was one of the first groups that really started to integrate a lot more of the body movement into their visual programs. I think they did pretty well last year, with a program that had lots of sissy dancing. That being said, those kids definitely played their nuts off.


That's the key. The top 4 in PIW incorporate a significant amount of movement, but never they never sacrifice the music. For them the visuals come from the music.
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We're dealing with an activity populated by experienced, seasoned performers who have consciously decided to take part in a subjectively evaluated activity open to criticism.

this style of jazz is what almost killed the idiom in the 70s. There's a reason jazz artists moved away from the coked out Miles Davis style of jazz.

#14 actucker

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:36 PM

That's interesting, because if I look back at my WGI PIW dvds over the years, it seems to me that MCM was one of the first groups that really started to integrate a lot more of the body movement into their visual programs. I think they did pretty well last year, with a program that had lots of sissy dancing. That being said, those kids definitely played their nuts off.


Well you're going to have to get used to the "sissy dancing". The direction the visual aspect of the activity is taking is toward a more ballet style of movement. Many of those groups actually warm up with a ballet style warm up rather than a traditional basics marching warm up. That's where the activity is headed. When it first started, there were groups that would try to get away with playing really simple stuff over that movement, but they weren't successful for very long. The name of the game is simultaneous responsibility. The more you have to focus on, the more credit you get if you achieve it.

#15 Stu

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:56 PM

Well you're going to have to get used to the "sissy dancing". The direction the visual aspect of the activity is taking is toward a more ballet style of movement. Many of those groups actually warm up with a ballet style warm up rather than a traditional basics marching warm up. That's where the activity is headed. When it first started, there were groups that would try to get away with playing really simple stuff over that movement, but they weren't successful for very long. The name of the game is simultaneous responsibility. The more you have to focus on, the more credit you get if you achieve it.

And percussionist have no one but themselves to lay the credit (or blame) upon; because that ballet ("sissy dancing" as some call it) direction is due to the nature of the indoor percussion activity being historically driven by, and historically underneath the banner of, Winter *Guard* International, and not Winter *Percussion* International.

Edited by Stu, 14 November 2011 - 02:56 PM.


#16 actucker

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 03:40 PM

And percussionist have no one but themselves to lay the credit (or blame) upon; because that ballet ("sissy dancing" as some call it) direction is due to the nature of the indoor percussion activity being historically driven by, and historically underneath the banner of, Winter *Guard* International, and not Winter *Percussion* International.


I'm not trying to blame or explain any of it. It is what it is. Some people will like it, and some will not. The fact is, that ballet driven visual concept is not just present in the winter circuits. Having just returned from watching grand nationals in indianapolis, all of those kids are dealing with similar kinds of visual responsibilities. Drum corps is no different. I don't have a problem with it. I think it adds a new element to the visual aspect of the activity. Of course there are some who won't like it, but that's neither here nor there. My point is that it is not going away. That's what this activity is now, and there's not a whole lot that's going to change that. The fact is, the groups that are winning, are not only doing the "sissy dancing", but also playing the dog **** out of the drums. If you don't want to see the sissy dancing, and are only interested in good music, this probably isn't the activity for you.

#17 Stu

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 07:09 PM

I'm not trying to blame or explain any of it. It is what it is. Some people will like it, and some will not. The fact is, that ballet driven visual concept is not just present in the winter circuits. Having just returned from watching grand nationals in indianapolis, all of those kids are dealing with similar kinds of visual responsibilities. Drum corps is no different. I don't have a problem with it. I think it adds a new element to the visual aspect of the activity. Of course there are some who won't like it, but that's neither here nor there. My point is that it is not going away. That's what this activity is now, and there's not a whole lot that's going to change that. The fact is, the groups that are winning, are not only doing the "sissy dancing", but also playing the dog **** out of the drums. If you don't want to see the sissy dancing, and are only interested in good music, this probably isn't the activity for you.

I agree that high execution and demand in all areas is the key to being competitive enough to *win*. And I can see reason behind ballet moves if that movement is in relation to visually interpreting ballet musical arrangements; or even classical music arrangements which is associated with ballet. But it seems extremely silly and pointless to me that percussion units now *have* to perform those ballet moves in all genres, such as rock music, jazz music, techno music, new age music, etc, to have a chance at crawling up to the top tier in WGI, BOA, and now somewhat in DCI. And when you look at scoring down the line mid-pack in WGI and BOA, those that focus more on executing ballet over all else certainly do score higher than those who focus on playing well over all else. Again, this is *guard* driving the percussion bus which is the historical aspect I referred to earlier.

Edited by Stu, 14 November 2011 - 07:11 PM.


#18 actucker

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:51 PM

I agree that high execution and demand in all areas is the key to being competitive enough to *win*. And I can see reason behind ballet moves if that movement is in relation to visually interpreting ballet musical arrangements; or even classical music arrangements which is associated with ballet. But it seems extremely silly and pointless to me that percussion units now *have* to perform those ballet moves in all genres, such as rock music, jazz music, techno music, new age music, etc, to have a chance at crawling up to the top tier in WGI, BOA, and now somewhat in DCI. And when you look at scoring down the line mid-pack in WGI and BOA, those that focus more on executing ballet over all else certainly do score higher than those who focus on playing well over all else. Again, this is *guard* driving the percussion bus which is the historical aspect I referred to earlier.


It doesn't really matter what is motivating it. The fact is, doing all of the movement, and doing it well is a lot harder than simply marching from one dot to the next. That's why groups continue to do it, and continue to get more credit than groups who don't. Just like variety and demand are taken into account on the comp side of the PA sheet, the same is true for the vis sheet. And if you really pay attention to what groups are doing, you'll find that over the years, the movement has gotten more and more specific to what is going on musically, and the judges are becoming more and more critical of a lack of visual musicality. The movement has to fit the music. This is most prominent in the world class groups, but its even starting to filter down to the open and A class groups. As for your argument about the middle of the pack, I can see your point, but a group who tries to take that route will always be in the middle of the pack. Its no different from a group who doesn't attempt anything visually, assuming that they can get to finals on music alone. That's not what this activity is anymore. You're not going to see groups make finals that can't play, but you also won't see groups make finals that can't move well.

Having just come home from Grand Nationals, I can tell you that there was a huge drop off in how the groups that made finals sounded compared to the groups that didn't. That is not to bash on the groups who didn't make finals, but the difference was certainly there. Sure, most of those groups also had a wide variety of different visual demands varying from drill responsibilities, to velocity to body movement. The fact is, this is a visual activity. To be an elite group, you have to be executing high demand at a high level on both sheets. The combination of those things help to boost the effect sheets as well. There will always be groups who try to pad one sheet over the other, and sometimes a really high number on one sheet will be good enough to get you into the middle of the pack. There were groups who made semis this weekend just because of a really strong music or visual number. But none of those groups had any chance at making finals. If anything, on the sheets, there is an advantage to groups who play really well. The performance sheets are exactly evenly weighted, but there is twice as much weight given to music effect than visual effect on the BOA sheets.

Again, this is what this activity is now. The visual side of the game is a bigger part of the game than it was 20 years ago. That doesn't mean that the music is suffering at all. If you want to be good, you have to do all of it. If you don't want to be good, then why do it at all?

#19 Stu

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:54 AM

It doesn't really matter what is motivating it. The fact is, doing all of the movement, and doing it well is a lot harder than simply marching from one dot to the next. That's why groups continue to do it, and continue to get more credit than groups who don't. Just like variety and demand are taken into account on the comp side of the PA sheet, the same is true for the vis sheet. And if you really pay attention to what groups are doing, you'll find that over the years, the movement has gotten more and more specific to what is going on musically, and the judges are becoming more and more critical of a lack of visual musicality. The movement has to fit the music. This is most prominent in the world class groups, but its even starting to filter down to the open and A class groups. As for your argument about the middle of the pack, I can see your point, but a group who tries to take that route will always be in the middle of the pack. Its no different from a group who doesn't attempt anything visually, assuming that they can get to finals on music alone. That's not what this activity is anymore. You're not going to see groups make finals that can't play, but you also won't see groups make finals that can't move well.

Having just come home from Grand Nationals, I can tell you that there was a huge drop off in how the groups that made finals sounded compared to the groups that didn't. That is not to bash on the groups who didn't make finals, but the difference was certainly there. Sure, most of those groups also had a wide variety of different visual demands varying from drill responsibilities, to velocity to body movement. The fact is, this is a visual activity. To be an elite group, you have to be executing high demand at a high level on both sheets. The combination of those things help to boost the effect sheets as well. There will always be groups who try to pad one sheet over the other, and sometimes a really high number on one sheet will be good enough to get you into the middle of the pack. There were groups who made semis this weekend just because of a really strong music or visual number. But none of those groups had any chance at making finals. If anything, on the sheets, there is an advantage to groups who play really well. The performance sheets are exactly evenly weighted, but there is twice as much weight given to music effect than visual effect on the BOA sheets.

Again, this is what this activity is now. The visual side of the game is a bigger part of the game than it was 20 years ago. That doesn't mean that the music is suffering at all. If you want to be good, you have to do all of it. If you don't want to be good, then why do it at all?

Nowhere on the judging sheets is there an indication on what type of movement has to be performed or what type of music has to be played; so according to the sheets there just needs to be a qualitative combination of music, drill, visual, and GE no matter the style for a unit to win. However, the people driving the WGI percussion bus, BOA, and to some extent DCI are now completely fixated on ballet movement type GE (ie what some call sissy moves). And even though the sheets are neutral, where any style *should* be able to win if it is performed better than all other groups, I doubt very seriously that, for example, the best show-band drum line in the world, which happened to perform their dance movements better than the ballet moves of MCM, and played their music better than RCC, would ever place anywhere near the top in WGI, or in BOA, or DCI for that matter. Go ahead, show me my error; where in the judges sheets does it state that ballet movement takes precedent over show-band dancing? Or is it just as I contend which is that the people in charge of WGI choose to inject their own human bias toward ballet dancing into what is supposed to be a neutral judging system?

Edited by Stu, 15 November 2011 - 09:35 AM.


#20 actucker

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:58 AM

Nowhere on the judging sheets is there an indication on what type of movement has to be performed or what type of music has to be played; so according to the sheets there just needs to be a qualitative combination of music, drill, visual, and GE no matter the style for a unit to win. However, the people driving the WGI percussion bus, BOA, and to some extent DCI are now completely fixated on ballet movement type GE (ie what some call sissy moves). And even though the sheets are neutral, where any style *should* be able to win if it is performed better than all other groups, I doubt very seriously that, for example, the best show-band drum line in the world, which happened to perform their dance movements better than the ballet moves of MCM, and played their music better than RCC, would ever place anywhere near the top in WGI, or in BOA, or DCI for that matter. Go ahead, show me my error; where in the judges sheets does it state that ballet movement takes precedent over show-band dancing? Or is it just as I contend which is that the people in charge of WGI choose to inject their own human bias toward ballet dancing into what is supposed to be a neutral judging system?


I didn't say it was on the sheets that you had to do ballet. What I said was, the more demand in your show, the more credit you will get for what you are achieving. Doing ballet while you play is harder than simply marching dot to dot. Could there be other ways to get that demand? Sure. But this is the way most of those groups have decided to increase their visual demand. Simply marching won't cut it anymore.

As for your show band analogy, we're talking about completely different animals. Show bands, for the most part, are focused on entertainment much more than fine tuned execution. Even the best among them don't do the exact same movements across the band, and the music is often not as clean also. This is not a knock on show bands, as I have a lot of respect for what they do. But their focus is on completely different things. They wouldn't win at BOA because BOA is looking for extremely high levels of execution. They'd probably do well in effect, but not as well on the performance sheets.

I've been teaching in this activity for a long time, and I can tell you, I've never gotten a tape that said "you should do some ballet under what your playing". I have gotten the comment that there needs to be more visual representation of the music, and more variety in the visual package. The judges aren't biased towards one type of demand over another. The real question is, why are you biased against WGI?




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