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Everything posted by MikeRapp

  1. Cadets v.s. Boston Crusaders

    It’s discouraging to say this, but over the last decade of following DCI very closely, it seems very clear to me that the path to medaling is two things: show design/concept that heavily weights guard and body gesturing, and being a destination for age out talent. Probably not in that order. It’s just undeniable. There are a limited number of experienced, accomplished marching members. You cannot compete for a medal anymore if your corps isn’t dominated by those marchers. When Blue Devils wins medals every year and has massive age outs every year, you can’t argue with the model. Yes they have stellar coaching, stellar design, and great planning, but all of those things depend on and are accentuated by the best talent available every single year. I know someone used to keep track of average age of experience and correlated that to final placement, and it was truly amazing how lock step they were. I continue to hope for the underdog corps to make a charge. It’s just not going to happen the way DCI scores shows. Crossmen, Academy, Phantom, Scouts, et al, they are all losing many of their most accomplished marchers every offseason to the perennial medaling corps. Until DCI offers some incentive to do otherwise, that will continue to be the norm. Cadets has an unparalleled history, but you just cannot compete for medals when your best marchers are graduating to other corps, and the high schoolers at Crossmen, Academy, Mandarins and Blue Knights are auditioning at BD, BC, Crown and now Cavaliers and Boston. I don’t care who your teachers are or how many medals are in your trophy case. There appear to be more top level corps now, but if you fall below a certain level in this activity, it can take a very long time to get back into medal contention. Kids have increasingly short memories. And with show design changing so dramatically, it doesn’t help when you are no longer a popular corps and your banner shows weren’t Down Side Up and What Dreams Are Made On from a creative standpoint. As shows get more complex and more expensive to produce, that gap is likely to widen.
  2. Cadets v.s. Boston Crusaders

    The continued rumors of staffers not being paid anywhere near on time is scary, though. You cannot run an organization with so many bodies on the road for months with constant money issues, it eventually catches up with you.
  3. 2018 DCI tight grouping predictions

    Times have changed. There are twice as many elite corps now. I definitely agree that design vision is a dominant issue in DCI. That’s quite different from the era when “faster and louder” put you in medal contention. Cadets have no chance if they continue to put shows on the field like the last few. That said, a great show concept alone doesn’t make you a medalist, as Academy proved two seasons ago.
  4. 2018 DCI tight grouping predictions

    Cadets2 grads won’t put Cadets into medal contention. There are too many other elite corps now. The way DCI does scoring, it’s now almost impossible to contend for a medal with a corps that doesn’t have a huge contingent of college kids who have marched with other finalist corps. You can’t put a massively difficult show on the field in September with a bunch of high school kids, or DCA move ups. Crown, BD, Bluecoats, SCV and now probably Cavaliers and Boston are much more likely age out destinations than Cadets. That’s just too many open positions. It’s not like the old days, where Cadets were an almost certain medalist.
  5. Cavaliers v.s. Bluecoats

    Bluecoats, to me, lost their position more than Cavaliers gained it. Their ballad never worked as the anchor of the show. I’ve not liked much of the new Cavaliers show design style. It was my least favorite show of the finalists. But in the end they continued to execute the concept at an increasingly higher level as the season progressed and they peaked at the right time. There just wasn’t another level to Jagged Line, and I think their previous three shows raised expectations that they would do something fantastic down the stretch. It just didn’t happen. It was still my favorite show, but when it comes to scoring entertainment value isn’t always the decisive factor.
  6. 2018 DCI tight grouping predictions

    With so many age outs, it’s tough to expect SCV to remain in medal contention. They will no doubt benefit from a lot of move ups from Vanguard Cadets, but to remain a medalist contender you have to have a corps dominated by destination marchers. Likewise, this to me is the key year for Cadets. If they don’t make a comeback, which I think is unlikely, you could see them drop to the lower half of the finalists for some time to come. They have always been one of the few destination corps for experienced marchers, and I frankly don’t see that happening anymore. There are other more compelling options now, especially with Boston establishing themselves as an east coast medalist contender. I’d be surprised if their competitive grouping doesn’t end up being with/against Phantom and Crossmen. I’m still holding out hope that Knights finally make that next big leap forward. They will always be cutting edge musically, but will they design around a visual concept? Hopeful but not optimistic. They will remain in the second grouping until they get religion from a design and story telling standpoint. Bluecoats will contend for the gold, with Blue Devils and Crown. I have a sneaking suspicion Crown will emerge with their second gold medal this year.
  7. Btw, in case you hadn’t heard, Nashville was awarded an MLS Franchise this week, and will be constructing a brand new soccer stadium on the fairgrounds property. I don’t know whether DCI would rather play there or at Vanderbilt, but the option is coming. Stadium is expected to be the state of the art, and will seat around 40,000. https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/08/14/nashville-mls-expansion-bid-stadium-plan-renderings
  8. It’s my impression that the trend to the left, if you will, in drum corps is certainly a trend. I mean that in terms of social issues, sexuality and “more.” It’s not lost on me that the shows have, in general, certainly reflected this. Definitely in terms of attire and what is considered normal and, from what I have seen and heard, accepted conduct off the field. I’m not altogether sure shows are “darker,” but they certainly have tended to be more overt and “blunt”in their themes and execution. Many of you may consider me a prude, or behind the times. I am a creative director by trade, so I’m certainly not insensitive to Creative license. That said, I wouldn’t want my daughter to wear some of the guard uniforms I’ve seen of late, and definitely would not approve of my kid traveling with some of these corps based on what I have heard of their off field culture.
  9. I’m not sure you would be able to field a competitive guard going that route. While I grew up on traditional drum corps, there’s no argument that the quantum expansion of guard has fundamentally changed the activity. I don’t see kids ever choosing to go back to the days of marching and twirling.
  10. Best DCI Ballad Ever

    Send In The Clowns. *drops mic* I will say, Elsa’s Theme still remains as the one ballad I continue to go back to time and again when I want to feel the unique power and emotion of drum corps.
  11. Against this entirely. Shows would not become more appealing or musically better by cramming more bodies onto what is already a very crowded field. Then you add exponentially more cost, not just in buses but food, Insurance and management. Its also undeniable that the older and more experienced members would always gravitate to the top six corps. This is why the NCAA adopted hard roster limits for all scholarship sports. Bigger name schools with more resources would just sign kids to stand on the sideline to keep them from competing with them at another school.
  12. Cadets 2018

    On that topic, are we to assume from this info they have arrived at a show theme and general design concept?
  13. Is Atlanta in or out?

    They used it for soccer. And with Music City now World Class there may be a compellingly case to be made.
  14. Cadets 2018

    Can any board not see what Hopkins is doing? His MO has always been to build an organization that is likely to collapse without him as a poison pill for any change of leadership. It blows my mind that any average businessperson would allow such leadership and management malpractice.
  15. Carolina Crown 2018

    Cadets is merging with Boston?
  16. As I have said many times, there are now quite a few World Class alums running bands in the Nashville area. There is plenty of home grown talent to give Music City a great base to grow from. And it’s a great city to send your kid off to if you are in Indy, Atlanta, Memphis or Mississippi
  17. So would Blue Devils and Vanguard then receive twice the take from World Class revenues?
  18. Cadets 2018

    This sort of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated in any public company. Why they tolerate and even support it in an organization supposedly focused on educating young people is truly baffling. Makes you wonder.
  19. Blue Knights 2018

    My digs aren’t random, they are wholly consistent. I don’t like much of what they are putting on the field.
  20. Blue Devils 2018

    I would imagine one big draw is also marching with kids who are mostly around your age and experience. Not many college kids want to spend the summer with 75high schoolers.
  21. I’ve waited 30 years to see a Nashville corps in World Class. Quite a day for the Music City.
  22. Just because it's the offseason, I wanted to say that Alabama A&M played at Vandy this past weekend, and their band got a long, very long, standing ovation after halftime. They flat out blew the paint off the walls of that stadium. And it struck me how few of those truly stellar marching members will ever darken the door of a DCI audition.
  23. What about Batallion? How far away from world class are they?
  24. It would have been practically impossible. Who would choose to march in a non G7 corps? Only those who did not have any other options. The G7 was designed to be a self fulfilling prophecy.