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Saving Drum Corps part I: Defining the problem


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#21 garfield

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 05:46 PM

You have some interesting points here, but there is one that I think frames this discussion in an important direction, that being the merit of the activity.


Yes, merit. Great point. Might also be thought of as "relevance".

There's still lots of merit. Again, look at the kids when their done with their show. You can tell. Merit is not the issue. The issue is how to spread it to a greater number of kids.

There's good reason to. Still.
"nosce te ipsum", DCI. "nosce te ipsum".

#22 GUARDLING

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 08:16 PM

While Elphaba said most of what I would have to reply and many of you have chimed in with your memories, I must most ardently add as I have said many times before.

  • If these are World Class Drum Corps, why then are they sleeping on floors and eating from what can only be called roach coaches?
With all the money we didn't have we always slept in Hotels and Motels and ate in restaurants while we were on tour.
  • Why do these so-called World Class Drum Corps have so many money problems when the members are required to pay thousands of dollars each just to participate?
I was a member of a "Class A" drum corps who funded itself by running a bingo once a week and we never required our members to ever pay a fee or any dues.

All else has been said over and over on these pages. There is no solution to what DCI has become.
Yes, I do love to see these fresh-faced adults going through their paces.
No, I do not love that I have to have a second mortgage just to buy a ticket to a venue in which I cannot hear a blessed thing other than the synthesizers.
Yes, I appreciate the time and effort put forth by these fresh-faced adults through their try-outs and camps and travel and so forth.
But no, I do not think for one single second that they appreciate the year-long efforts we gave to play and march for our 6 to 7 month competition seasons.
Am I whining? Heck no. I wouldn't trade my time and my experience for one single minute of those adults who are "marching" now. Why? Because those are memories (selective though they may be!) of my youth. My adolescent days are precious to me. There will never be any going back to how Drum Corps was. But I ask you: Will any of these adults in uniform ever experience thee thrill of seeing for the first time a corps they have never seen in person before?
There's the rub, my friends. There is no thrill for these people ... ever. And it's a shame.

although it is different and I do think that kids do miss out on some things that we experienced BUT as k a kid now of their experience, ask them what they want and what makes them happy, ask them what they consider exciting..many things will be the same and many things will be different. The big difference is ( good or bad ) its their time, their corps their experience. We can and should hold on to our time and experiences but not selfishly detract from theirs. We , back in the day took our time and ran with it, shouldnt they have their time, most of all their way.

#23 84BDsop

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 10:04 PM

They have posh off-season meetings in places like Cancun, Hawaii, and American Samoa

Oh please....show your proof....put up or shut up.

And stating that all the directors are evil people? I may not like a lot of what Hop has done, but he's hardly up there with Voldemort or Sauron....get a grip.

Your cred just got got shot down in flames with those claims.
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#24 Tim K

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:04 AM

You asked for full disclosure of age in an earlier post—I'm 49. Turn the big 50 this year so if you sense wisdom and experience in my words, then I've really fooled you, but thank you. Some of the names I mention in an earlier post are names from Massachusetts drum corps past, or all but one have passed away. I knew these men long after their drum corps day. When I said "merit" you and I may be of a similar mindset, an example being one of the names I mentioned Fr. Joe Kierce, one of the founders of the St. Kevin's Emerald Knights. He was legendary in the Boston area for his huge CYO which included athletics, drama, debating, dances, and the pride and joy—the Emerald Knights. Fr. Kierce wanted as many young people involved in parish activities as possible and believed that the drum corps offered the greatest opportunity to involve the most people. It was equal opportunity. Great musicians could make it a great corps, and someone who didn't have much ability could be part of something larger than themselves. He and those involved with the Emerald Knights had a clear idea of what they wanted to do for the kids and drum corps was a way to make it happen. That's why I say merit as the first priority.

Fast forward to today. I do believe drum corps today does fill many of these needs. I love the Boston Crusaders and local pride spills from me, even though I know most of the kids who march are from Florida and Texas—football country. In drum corps these kids are part of an elite group. Were they in the elite ranks of the high school pecking order? Probably not in parts of the country where football is king. Yet in drum corps they become rock stars and that's great. I'm not the biggest fan of all the dancing in color guards today, I want to see dance on a stage, not a field, personal preference but that has been the trend for about thirty years now. Would the same young people, especially the boys, be free to perform in this manner in another setting? Probably not, but in drum corps they use their God given talents and are applauded with good reason. As far as the smile son faces after a performance, one of the best shots of Carolina Crown's 2011 DCI performance is not the action on the field, but all the smiles after the performance. I love it.

My pointing out the importance of merits was to redirect the thread a bit. Most of the posts seem to be diatribes against DCI and with the belief that if DCI is reformed, more corps will appear. That's an oversimplification at best. If people want more drum corps, like the great leaders of yesterday they have to first of all think about what they want to do for the kids, determine if drum corps is the answer, find likeminded people, and raise funds and start a corps. There is an organization Drum Corps North America trying to revive local corps and circuits. It will take time but my guess is that the leaders involved are trying to do something positive for a variety of young people which is what I believe is most important and will spread to a wider number of kids which you rightly state as a priority.

Yes, merit. Great point. Might also be thought of as "relevance".

There's still lots of merit. Again, look at the kids when their done with their show. You can tell. Merit is not the issue. The issue is how to spread it to a greater number of kids.

There's good reason to. Still.


Edited by Tim K, 13 January 2012 - 12:07 AM.




#25 reallyoldfrt

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 10:43 AM

Oh please....show your proof....put up or shut up.

And stating that all the directors are evil people? I may not like a lot of what Hop has done, but he's hardly up there with Voldemort or Sauron....get a grip.

Your cred just got got shot down in flames with those claims.


And your gullibility quota has just taken a boost. Look up the locations of past DCI management meetings.

And I never wrote that ALL directors were evil. I wrote that I thought MANY of them were. That conclusion is based on 60+ years of experience in the activity. I will admit that what I wrote is an over simplification. All corps directors have always looked after themselves, and their units. Nothing about that situation has changed. And it isn't all wrong. What is wrong is that many of them would willingly screw any other unit, or the activity itself, by adopting a shortsighted view when the "self advantage" concept butts up against a "what's in the best interest of the activity". conflict.

I have had DCI directors tell me that non competitive corps had no right to exist. I could name names, but what would that serve. It's enough that that mindset exists. Ironically, these were guys who ran corps that simply "made up the field." They never had a real shot of winning. Their corps have made up the field for decades, and persevere to this day.

The big difference between now and BITD is that BITD the directors did not run the activity.

I believe that it is a conflict of interest to have the directors running the activity. A separate, outside Authority, not connected with, or beholden to, any corps should run the activity in the best interest of ALL corps. Does that mean limiting the big boys, and giving everyone a level playing field? You bet it does. Does it mean kowtowing to the median? Yes. It does. Does it mean adopting the lowest common denominator? By. No. Means.




#26 MikeD

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:26 PM

I gather from the tone of the posts here, and the complete-sentence thoughts being expressed, that Tim, Puppet, and Oldfart are "old guys", and I have always highly valued the chance to learn from people older and more experienced than I. I wonder if Tim and Oldfart and Puppet would share their ages? Disclosure: I'm 52, probably a youngin to you guys, and I went to my first show in '72. Guardian and DrillMan and I argue lots on the WC threads; I like to get this, seemingly, "older" viewpoint. I probably share lots of your feelings anyway.


Not sure how old, but I know Puppet marched with St Rita's Brassmen as a mello player pre-DCI.
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#27 MikeD

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:40 PM

Given the indisputable fact that, under the stewardship of DCI, over 95% of all corps that existed in 1972 have taken the eternal dirt nap. If you want to argue that most of those corps lacked any artistic merit, you might be partially right. But all those corps provided a healthy, positive social environment for their members, and all of them had a fundamental right to exist. That is probably the single most un-American principle of DCI. They sincerely believe that; if corps is not actively seeking a national championship, or lacks the where-with-all to do so, they have no right to exist, except as a source of talent for the Big Boys to harvest.


Just because DCI existed starting in 1972 does not mean that all corps were "under the stewardship of DCI". The majority of local-style corps had very little to do with DCI back in the 70's, unless a DCI show happened to be in the area and needed a few fill-ins, or champs were close by for local corps to attend.

Those corps had every right to exist, if they could draw enough members and had the resources to do so. I taught/judged in the Garden State Circuit from the mid-70's to around 1980, and I saw many corps die off...not due to DCI, but because those corps were not able to cope with a changing world. Insurance costs, inflation, fuel costs, VFW/AL/CYO sponsors pulling away...a lot of these local corps were the blood, sweat and tears of a couple of incredibly dedicated people, many of them not all that expert in the business side of things.
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#28 GUARDLING

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:53 PM

Just because DCI existed starting in 1972 does not mean that all corps were "under the stewardship of DCI". The majority of local-style corps had very little to do with DCI back in the 70's, unless a DCI show happened to be in the area and needed a few fill-ins, or champs were close by for local corps to attend.

Those corps had every right to exist, if they could draw enough members and had the resources to do so. I taught/judged in the Garden State Circuit from the mid-70's to around 1980, and I saw many corps die off...not due to DCI, but because those corps were not able to cope with a changing world. Insurance costs, inflation, fuel costs, VFW/AL/CYO sponsors pulling away...a lot of these local corps were the blood, sweat and tears of a couple of incredibly dedicated people, many of them not all that expert in the business side of things.

You are so right although so many people don't want to hear all that logic. Easier to blame DCI or whatever or whoever I guess. The world changed and that's the bottom line and It cant be brought back , at least not without dealing with the way the world is NOW...and a boat load of money..lol

#29 84BDsop

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:55 PM

And your gullibility quota has just taken a boost. Look up the locations of past DCI management meetings.

YOU were the one who claimed they had meeting in American Samoa...presented it as fact...prove it.
Sam Signorelli
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#30 84BDsop

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 11:12 AM

Hmmmm....since others utterly destroyed you while replying to this same thread on another part of the board (especially Mike Boo)....you have no rebuttal??

Anyone? Bueller?

*cricket cricket cricket*

I thought so.

Next time you go on a long rant, at least try to get ONE "fact" correct.
Sam Signorelli
'84 Blue Devils "A"
'84-'85 Keesler AFB Blue Knights

'86 Dagenham Crusaders (DCUK)
'87 Empire Statesmen Sr.
'94-'97 Nightfire
'02-'06 SoCal Dream Sr.
'04 Crunchy Frog
'07 Blue Devils Alumni
'08 En Garde




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