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Found 13 results

  1. Good bye to this forum. Indeed drum corps as I knew it died. All that is left is the show corps comprised of the music and dance majors. Gone are the local corps with local kids making music and having a good time. No auditions, just wanting to belong. Just take a look at the face book pages of the drum corp of the golden era and the 60s. There were hundreds, if not thousands of corps. From small to large. All enjoying the drum corps experience. It is all gone. Why, I am not sure. But, the sense off community is gone. Being a part of the community lost. The Golden era has died. My it rest in peace.
  2. I have posted in this forum trying to understand why drum corps as I know it has died, and I am sad to say that after hearing the responses, I must agree, it has changed into something else that I don’t like. I first want to say, that I was from a small local corps. We were sponsored by a local volunteer fire department. Most of went to the same school, and our parents were members of the local volunteer fire departments. The corps was formed in the 50’s and marched into the 80’s. Uncle Bert as he was known was the director for all those years. We were like family. We marched in local parades, participated in local M&M Circuits and performed at little league openings and special events. All we needed was a school bus and a step van for the equipment. There were no dues or fees. We raised money through fund drives going door to door or on standing on main street. You can’t compare the local corps to Hawthorne, the Skyliners, or Blessed Sacrament. We weren’t in the same league. But, we had spirit and drive. As for the corps of today, it’s like the music of today. It may be technically better. But, I don’t like it. I like the Hassles when Billy Joel was the keyboard player. It was just good old “Rock and Roll”. Just like the corps of the 60’s. So, what I’m saying is that sure in most people’s opinion today’s corps rock, I just miss my old time drum corps and wish it could live on. The sound was like rock and roll. But, I feel that our legacy is leaving out the very heart and soul of drum corp. The local kids who want to play in a corps. Not just those talented few. Grenadier
  3. Thanks for considering reading this wall of text. tl;dr No there are no conspiracies. There is virtually no herd mentality on the national level. Money nor reputation matters. Become a judge if you aren't already. Also--thank you if you're a fan of any of the pageantry activities. Not meant to be a dissertation, but a reflection of my many years of experience as a judge on the field and indoor. No I am not a DCI judge but I have been judging with DCI, WGI, and BOA national judges and have had many discussions with said men and women who are actively making these tough decisions. There appear to be several of us on here willing to share information so any input is very much appreciated. I am not speaking for every judge or even any group of judges but SPECIFICALLY to my experience. I'll be available for follow-up questions and concerns for a few days until this account and thread dies--if that's the case. ------------- 1) Herd Mentality Does not exist barring very few situations*. We judge the sheets. Particular to our caption, a unit can hit the sheets according to our eyeballs and our ears or it cannot. Sometimes there are difficult decisions that we have to make on the spot. We all see different things even within the same caption. Some judges are good enough to judge multiple captions. Ranks and ratings change for the same judge because they're judging a new caption. Also, when panels change, numbers will change as you have probably experienced in the past. It's absolutely unavoidable. Please also remember that there are separate numbers in what we see the designers intended to do and what the performers executed on that particular day/evening; i.e. vocabulary vs. excellence. It's the LEFT side and the RIGHT side respectively. It's not rocket science. We all have to trial judge for this and prove we can focus on our own caption and defend our numbers at critique and thereafter. *Note: Interestingly enough, every few shows a newer judge or trial judge will ask where I put a unit at any given point. I give them the neighborhood, e.g. high box 3, mid box 4, etc. but I'm very averse to providing an actual number as is anyone I have spoken with. Remember that we have fans only a few feet away from us in virtually every direction that can hear our conversations and are probably recording us on their smartphones. Why would we be idiots and mimic each other's scores? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. These days we can typically change our numbers for all units at the end of a round due to the mechanics of Competition Suite. It's a magical thing and it makes numbers management so much easier and more equitable. 2) Money We get a few hundred bucks or maybe a little more. It's not much. Expenses are paid if we are lucky. Rumors have it that nationals is just about the same or a little bit more but not much. This is a NON PROFIT activity. Enough said. We mostly do this because we think we can do it better than others and provide better input. We're not in this for the money--heck, we may be better off bartending for an evening. We do get the best view in the venue. That's why I do it--along with providing input to groups who actually give a **** as to improving their units. Most of us want the activity to grow and performers to get better; however, some judges are jerks who just want to criticize and call out things that are wrong because the units are not doing what they did 5, 10, or 50 years ago. It oftentimes gets tiresome in the judge's room and occasionally pisses me off. That's the main frustration I've had. We tend to argue when I encounter a judge who made a number I sorely disagreed with in a caption I've judged; there's a 50/50 chance I'll win and they'll rethink their numbers next time around if they're given the opportunity. We're otherwise complaining as to why we got a baked potato for a "meal." 3) Reputation This gets a little complicated. Many judges have obligations outside of judging. For example, several have contracts with percussion, winter guards, winds, marching bands, drill design, you name it. However, from my experience, it really doesn't matter. Our reputation is founded on the basis that we put down a number, record our commentary, and defend every ounce of it. We sometimes get stuck with a number we put down during an earlier part of the season and have to really back up any changes later in the season. As long as we reflect our APPROPRIATE number based on the sheet of our particular caption during that specific performance, it doesn't matter if we give 3rd place to a 12th place unit or vice versa. I've done it many times, "called" many shows, and still get asked to judge again. Judge's commentary is becoming more and more public, so I make sure to talk about the stuff I want my dear mother to hear as well as the unit staff and most importantly the performing members. When I hear from either the Chief Judge or a director that they played my commentary to their students, it means the world to me. Knowing they sacrificed several minutes of their valuable rehearsal time to listen to my exhausted hoarse voice makes my day. 4) Critique Sometimes a show will have a requirement for the judges to participate in critique sessions with the units. We may also get emails, phone calls, or texts about why a unit was ranked and rated as they were. This can get stressful. This is why we take notes. I keep my notes for at least 3 years. Every show is different. Some times I'll place a unit higher than another, and I take notes as to why (even though it's inappropriate to talk about other units during critique). Focus on your own show on your own caption and unit I always say. However, it's good for me to back up to the Chief Judge why I flip-flopped or made an uncanny or unpopular choice. I do it all the time. Most times people get it--they watch their competitors and see why they have fallen (or risen) in my particular caption. Critique allows us to gather input from the units and provide feedback beyond our recorded commentary. Heck I've unintentionally made a former colleague cry during critique. I've also had a situation when we had to get the Chief Judge to kick out an overdramatic irate director during critique. What really pisses us off is when someone only rants about their score without having listened to the commentary. All I can reference is my notes at that point. The commentary is not a part of my records but a part of yours. Do your homework. Listen to the commentary. 5) State of the Activity Plan on being angered! Many current judges should consider retiring. The activity has changed considerably in the past decade--let alone the past several decades--and corps art is not being recognized properly. The newer judges, about a third of any panel; if we're lucky, have still been removed from the activity for a decade or more. Yes, this is a traditional activity and that I quite understand. Furthermore, most design and tech staff who have been a part of the top competing units are of a separate generation with separate visions working alongside older generations with progressive acuities. There's a lot of subjectivity with the sheets and what is put on the field or floor. A few older judges see this. Most, however, don't. This is, in my honest opinion, the main disconnect between the overall numbers and what the fans want to see rewarded. So where is the activity heading? Which leads me to this: 6) Next Steps Trial judge. Regardless of your age. We need more judges. Many of you are analytical critical jerks and we really could use your help. Whether it's percussion, guard, winds, visual, brass, whatever. We need new blood in every activity. Please consider contacting a local circuit and start trialing. Before you know it, you may be judging state and regional championships and knocking on DCI, BOA, or WGI's doors. Just show up. That's half the battle. You're not running for office--you're helping develop youth and art. We just need new people with deductive mindsets willing to put in their experience and research to current events on the field and the floor. We're no better than you. The activity is changing too fast for most of us. Regardless, please stay a supporting member or fan of the marching & pageantry arts no matter what. The common sports have enough fans. Show up to all sorts of our musical and "artsy" competitions just because, well, reasons. Thank you. Edit: Changed title of thread. Edit: Here's a copy of the 2012 DCI sheets thanks to @Jeff Ream
  4. It is pathetic. The volunteer fire department that sponsored my drum corps for over 30 years just had it 95th anniversary parade and there were no bands or corps that Marcheday. So tell me that corps is alive and well. You got to wake up to the fact that traditional corps is dead. Only the Broadway version exists, amplified and elitist. You got audition and pay to belong. It is not drum corps.
  5. How many of you will be going to a 4th of July Parade? I know I won't. Who wants to sit and listen to a row of million dollar fire trucks sounding their sirens. There may be a bag pipe band, or perhaps one old timers drum corps. But, nothing else. In the 60's there were dozens of corps and bands marching in the Patchogue Parade. There was us the Medford FD Golden Grenadiers, the Selden Cadets, West Sayville Golden Eagles and others at times including the Bohemia Checkmates, Skylarks, and of course the state champion North Patchogue Fire Department Band. Almost all Volunteer Fire Departments had a band or corp. But, alas the music has died here on Long Island. Remembering the good ole days, Grenadier
  6. I haven't seen a thread for parents, so I'm throwing my hat in the ring! With the cost of tuition, flights to auditions and camps, and saying goodbye to your kid for 3 months....we make a few sacrifices too!! As a proud mom from CA, I was only able to see one show, in Atlanta this year.......but it was the best day of my summer!!! I wanted to steal my son and drive away!!! Any other parents out there care to share???
  7. Over the 15 years of my DCI fandom, there has been a strong move toward explicit theme and direct storytelling. In 2014, Crown did a show about outer space. It's pretty much the consensus view that it wasn't the greatest design, but hear me out. In the beginning of the season, there was the Major Tom introduction, an overly-long but timbrally-intriguing percussion feature, the echo effects etc. One of the (many) great things about Space Oddity by Bowie (RIP) is that it trails off at the end. The listener is left to wonder what happened to the astronaut. Did some small valve on his spaceship fail and cause him to asphyxiate? Did he go into a wormhole? Did mysterious radiation transform him into an interdemensional squid-creature? But in Crown's final narrative with added narration, Major Tom goes into space, some things happen, then he comes home. There's not a lot of space for the audience to contribute to the narrative with their own creativity. One of the reasons that I (and many others) prefer the movie 2001 (an inspiration for the Bowie song) to Arthur C. Clarke's novelization is that it shows, rather than tells. Everything is spelled out in the book, whereas the viewer has to interpret the images, etc. in the film. Drum corps, I argue, is the same way. Would Cadets 2005 been better with giant waterfall props in Liquid? Subtly and discretion can be good things, but I feel like judging is pushing everything to be SO literal and forcing everyone to tell a LITERAL story with a beginning, middle, and end. Drum corps is a ~13 minute audio-visual medium. Hard to tell a simple story in a coherent and compelling way in that time, let alone something deeper, even with narration etc. Even Crown 2013, which some see as the greatest show designer ever, basically comes down to "love is nice." TL;DR: Stop trying so hard to be "deep" and tell some profound story in your show, use music and visuals to create a mood and err on the side of subtly
  8. Since we've had electronics and amplification around for several years, let's discuss it's use in 2014 shows and how effective it was. I figure we can catagorize it in the following uses: Amplifying / Altering traditional DCI accoustic sounds (brass, battery, pic) Amplifying / Altering live voice Use of prerecorded voice Use of prerecorded sound effects Use of synthesized traditional non-DCI instruments (piano, guitar, organ) Use of other traditional synth sounds (bass, synth strings) Any other uses?
  9. Here is my Rant - Drum Corps Rocks! I loved it when I marched, taught and wrote and still do to this day. I pulled myself out of the teaching and writing thing because it was family time. I am still a HS director, I still write my own and stuff and a bunch for others and was a college band director as well. I announce at the college band exhibition in Allentown each year and just really think this activity is the best - my son marched three years in the Reading Buccaneers and now is marching in Bluecoats and it really is a great activity and teaching tool on every level - I just wanted to put that out there because sometimes we lose the point - that's all. Go Corps!! Blooo! Go Eddie (my son) the tallest kid in the Trumpets! AND that was my Rant!! and one other thing - aren't triangles awesome!!! TILT!!
  10. Akron Cinecast Review Let’s start off with some disclaimers. I’m a guard person, and I’m much more active in the winter than in the summer. I have no musical training, so I can’t comment much on brass or percussion. I mostly watched the color guard and overall visual effect. With that out of the way, here we go. Cavaliers: I just could not get into this show because of the cheesiness factor. My guess is this show looks and feels much different under the lights, because during the day it felt comical and forced from the guard. The guard characterization was not right for me – I know that’s what they were given, but as an overall concept I think it was wrong. Also, didn’t Crossmen do this a few years back? Positively, the marimba feature is awesome. I enjoyed the drill; lots of visual impact and some clean moments from a guard perspective. The guard relies heavily on the 8 weapon boys – kind of obvious that there are some flag members that are struggling. Cavies have a high upside with their visual, but there needs to be a more mature vibe from the color guard. Scouts: The commentators nailed it at the end of the performance: what was the significance of the actor who walks from one corner to the other corner, does a tumbling routine, and then show’s over? I know this characterization will be added in, but they’ve created so many moments around him that to not explain him or his role was criminal. They even had a show designer talking about the show who made no mention of it. I like the progression from black and white to psychedelic. The guard has a lot to clean and clarify, but I was underwhelmed by vocabulary and impact. Another reviewer said there weren’t a lot of impact moments, and I agree. What’s memorable about this show? Corps proper uniforms weren’t impressive, but the guard looked good. Overall, I would have put them last tonight. Boston: Okay, I liked this show, and I’m trying to separate bias. Michael Lentz show design is all over this production, and it’s obviously something new to DCI, let alone Boston. The corps struggled through their first performance. The visual demand is sky-high, and achievement is way behind. BAC has so much work ahead of them to clean up visually. That said, I love the moments. I am familiar with Lentz’s style in the winter, and it’s clear they went visual first (as opposed to Bluecoats/Scouts music first). The guard personifies the show, and I thought they struggled to meet a high-demand show. Weapons probably had the most drops of all corps. The last minute or two of work still needs to be filled in. But again, I like this show. I didn’t need a storyline, and clearly they know where their moments are. I thought they should have been closer to Cavies, but obviously a lot of dirt to be cleaned and filled in. I am looking forward to seeing where this show is at the end of July. Phantom: Totally opposite from Boston in terms of readability and cleanliness. This is probably my favorite PR production in sometime. Clear storyline that’s not totally hokey. PR’s guard puts a lot of emphasis on clean, readable work; although to me it looked like harder work than last year. They need to work on some of the transition stuff, especially uniform changes because it was just way too forced instead of an impactful change. The music was very enjoyable, and complimented the visual. PR has a history of adding onto their visual over the summer, so I look forward to the additions. As it stands now, they just look safe. Solidly middle of the finalist pack, and only ahead because of clarity. Very similar to last year, and I could see them getting passed by a corps or three. The white guard costumes were correct, but not totally flattering to the girls. Characterization was spot on – they expressed themselves wonderfully and believably. My favorite moment might have been the wing-flapping free arms under a toss. I’m not sure what more beef can be added to this show, so it will really be up to other corps to see if they can catch up to PR’s polished show. Cadets: I saw their run-through they posted as a live feed, so I spent a lot of time watching my friend who was featured in a lot of parts. Great overall show, and felt more traditional than the corps around them. Music was great as I love Copland. Guard was performing at a high level. I am wondering about the costume changes and hoping that adds more to the visual program. I don’t really like the blue costumes – they don’t seem to be the right shade to evoke Americana and lore. My other big criticism was the long phrases of ensemble work. I wanted to see something a little more interesting instead of the whole guard spinning the same work. That style is great for an effect, but after a while loses its luster. I see why the corps is winning; there is not a down section of the show. But I do struggle to come up with a memorable or signature moment besides the ending, which is mostly memorable for being a big musical hit. I could see this show leveling off and falling out of a medal. Crown: This was a hard show for me to consider. At times, the show was championship caliber – pushing boundaries, creating amazing visual impact, and interesting and entertaining music. But, there were also moments of nothing – no impact, no emotion, and using props/equipment just to be using props/equipment. And so I am not sure if I like this show or not. I don’t think the trampolines add much – there wasn’t anything super cool being done with them. I liked the Frisbees, but did not like the hoops the guard danced with. I hated the guard costumes – looked very high school and not like mature performers (exception: the face mask was interesting). If Crown can resolve the dead portions of their show and eliminate some of the cheesiness I would be much more on board. A lot of high achievement from the guard, but the costumes made them look young. I had similar feelings about the corps proper uniforms – I think it makes the corps look short (or maybe it was a bad camera angle). There’s a lot to play around with in this show, so I am looking forward to seeing where the show evolves. Bluecoats: Another show where I spent a lot of time looking for my friend in the guard. As an aside, I have no idea how the DCI judges stay focused for the whole show. There’s a lot of tenacity there. Back to Bloo, this show was great, but still a step behind Crown/Cadets. The problem with moving up in the rankings is you have to knock someone out, and I’m not sure if they can dislodge Crown/Cadets/BD for a medalist spot. The programming was great – I really enjoy the concept of tilt with the props and the altered field. One example – when the guard spins around the perimeter, it’s a great effect as opposed to when Madison did it which looked thin and too spread out. I appreciate a lot of the nuance, but I think they need to dial it up to take a crack at the corps above them. I love where the show is going so I hope they can pull it off.
  11. The official Crunchy Frog video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZeFz4unGVY
  12. After all these years, there is finally ... FINALLY, an explanation for how the Scranton cops treated the DCA corps and fans. READ THIS Lee Rudnicki, not miserable but highly amused Scranton-Wilkes Barre native p.s. DCP needs a "genius" tag, starting with this article. I can not stop laughing.
  13. If you've never seen JDFunCorps on YouTube, you're missing a treat, and some lessons into the sometimes hilarious mind of a current marcher. He has been very creative in his little two-minute videos about drum corp, and in using he creativity to raise tour fees so he can march. Subscribe to his channel. It's well worth it (and maybe send him a buck or two for his tuition to Spirit this summer). In this video he takes a direct shot at the "Old Guys" on DCP who do nothing but complain about today's drum corps. Very funny, very relevant. In honor and support of his love of marching, of his creativity, and of his need for marching funds, I will, beginning today, match dollar-for-dollar every contribution from every public DCP member who donates to Spirit of Atlanta towards his 2014 tour fees, up to $250.* *This offer is valid from February 8th, 2014 through May 30, 2014 and represents my total matching contribution. Proof of contribution required for matching funds. PM me for my email address to send paid online receipt showing contribution to Spirit of Atlanta towards David's tour fees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5m2lTw6KHA&list=UUYfEZOQxlNzUCS07ymgbmaQ&feature=c4-overview