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Stu

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I guess you could slice and dice it however you want,............in BD's case, I would guess the WC corps is the main emphasis for all of the other groups to exist,........and,....as I said,......their budget for 2007 was 3 million, and that is undeniable.

But you're using as a proxy one of the few corps that have such extensive non-marching programs, and that's the flaw in your logic.

I'm sure that if you peruse the 990s of the other corps you'll find that Dan is more correct than you are in what it takes to field a "winning" corps.

Further, your original post suggested that to win ANY world class show takes a couple-million, but if you meant that to win finals it takes a couple of million you'd still be wrong. The Cadeviliers have consistently been a million or less to become champion. And Phantom spends significantly less, proving that a corps doesn't NEED a million dollars to win finals if they have a compelling show that is well-sold to the fans and judges.

I contend that the attitude of what is needed to field a "winning" corps is a significant contributor to the reason DC is so expensive today.

That being said, if I were to start a corps today, I most certainly would make the bogey a million dollars in order to take the field.

Go big or go home, as they say.

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But you're using as a proxy one of the few corps that have such extensive non-marching programs, and that's the flaw in your logic.

I'm sure that if you peruse the 990s of the other corps you'll find that Dan is more correct than you are in what it takes to field a "winning" corps.

Further, your original post suggested that to win ANY world class show takes a couple-million, but if you meant that to win finals it takes a couple of million you'd still be wrong. The Cadeviliers have consistently been a million or less to become champion. And Phantom spends significantly less, proving that a corps doesn't NEED a million dollars to win finals if they have a compelling show that is well-sold to the fans and judges.

I contend that the attitude of what is needed to field a "winning" corps is a significant contributor to the reason DC is so expensive today.

That being said, if I were to start a corps today, I most certainly would make the bogey a million dollars in order to take the field.

Go big or go home, as they say.

Okay, so I give on the 2 million dollar remark as a catch all,...........but I guess the real point I was trying to make is: for an organization (weather it is now or in the past) to want to start up, continue, grow from OC to WC,...........to aspire to operate more than a million dollar annual budget, as you even suggest, is a daunting task, and takes a pretty big machine.

Edited by Gary Matczak

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Okay, so I give on the 2 million dollar remark as a catch all,...........but I guess the real point I was trying to make is: for an organization (weather it is now or in the past) to want to start up, continue, grow from OC to WC,...........to aspire to operate more than a million dollar annual budget, as you even suggest, is a daunting task, and takes a pretty big machine.

Absolutely, and a machine that's not dependent on Bingo and Begging. The first, formative years of a drum corps vision must absolutely focus on building the business backbone to field the corps. Many starry-eyed newbies think they have to get the corps on the field, when that's actually the very last thing to worry about. If the orgainzation can't bank one year's expenses as a cushion, then run the organization profitably year by year, the focus is on the wrong goal.

The "Build it and they will come" mentality absolutely does not work in DCI, and never has. If there's one thing to learn from the list of failures, it is this.

Edited by garfield

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As someone who has had to work with development directors in other areas (church work/education) having one year’s worth of operating expenses to spend and another year’s as a cushion is very solid, but it may also be difficult (though not impossible) to do. Development which includes fundraising and planning as opposed to fundraising alone is essential for any major youth activity today, but people and organizations that can help fund a major expense like a new drum corps would be hard to find. Donors usually look at two significant areas before giving funds, the first being a proven track record which a new drum corps would not have, and the second being worthiness, which often is translated into financial need of the participants. I know that many young people in drum corps go to college full time, work two or three part time jobs during the winter to have enough money to march in the summer and return to school in the fall, but the perception is that drum corps is for the wealthy, and this is not all that new. Hyde Park is not the wealthiest section of Boston, Revere is not Boston’s toniest suburb, and there is a difference between Beverly proper and two of its nicer sections Beverly Farms and Pride’s Crossing. Boston Crusaders, 27th Lancers, and North Star took great pride in having to work for everything they had as opposed to their wealthy competitors. I am sure that most corps did not view themselves as rich, but that was the perception, especially when the busses and vehicles of corps such as Blue Devils and Santa Clara pulled up for a show.

With this in mind, I would wonder if the best first step after funds have been raised is plan big and set high goals but know you may have to begin small. Instructors need not be well known names who expect to be paid well. Young people just getting a start may be hungry for experience. A new corps does not have to have new instruments and uniforms every year. The pit does not have to be state of the art. The 18 wheeler may have to be put on hold. Get a good solid corps started, establish a cherished place in the community, be available for civic activities, and if possible, focus on recruiting locally (realistically a 50-100 mile radius). Prove there is staying power and begin planning for improvement and growth. Also get local donors and businesspeople involved. The local officer at a bank might be a great chair for a finance committee. A local restaurateur may know just what is needed for a catering truck and may be able to secure the equipment.

Star of Indiana first hit the field in 1985. About three years later Carolina Crown was formed. Star of Indiana had all kinds of funding from the start. Carolina Crown had a slower, steadier growth. Star of Indiana is a corps of happy memory, Carolina Crown is getting stronger. Crown’s growth seems closer to what I am proposing. Can’t argue with their success.

Absolutely, and a machine that's not dependent on Bingo and Begging. The first, formative years of a drum corps vision must absolutely focus on building the business backbone to field the corps. Many starry-eyed newbies think they have to get the corps on the field, when that's actually the very last thing to worry about. If the orgainzation can't bank one year's expenses as a cushion, then run the organization profitably year by year, the focus is on the wrong goal.

The "Build it and they will come" mentality absolutely does not work in DCI, and never has. If there's one thing to learn from the list of failures, it is this.

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+1 from me... My main gripe with DCI is the pushing of the top touring corps as "this is Drum Corps" that has gone on in the past. The unspoken line is "if your corps isn't like this, you're not Drum Corps" or you're not worth anyones' time. Think it's gotten better, at least I hope so. But let's face it, it's just so #### much harder to put out a corps today and keep it going with higher costs, competing for potential members other interests, more legalities, etc, etc, etc.

Few years back I asked why cuts from top corps didn't go to OC or lesser WC corps. Most eye opening reponse from a few was "The costs are about the same. It's worht it to me to spend that money for a top corps, but not worth it to spend that amount for a lesser corps". As a frugal (OK cheap ###ed) PA Dutchman I can dig that....

kids are much more demanding of everything now than we were back in the day....and more choices

Edited by GUARDLING

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kids are much more demanding of everything now than we were back in the day....and more choices

However, the problem with today's DCI choices is that each choice today costs about the same no matter the tier level. Question for anyone: If the cost of going to the most prestigious university was $50k per year and you were not accepted this year (but told go home, get a little better, and try again next year), would you: a) Chose to go to a qualitative mid to lower tier university which also cost 'somewhere' around $50k per year, or b) Would you do self study with private tutors and attempt to get into the most prestigious university the next year?

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Okay, so I give on the 2 million dollar remark as a catch all,...........but I guess the real point I was trying to make is: for an organization (weather it is now or in the past) to want to start up, continue, grow from OC to WC,...........to aspire to operate more than a million dollar annual budget, as you even suggest, is a daunting task, and takes a pretty big machine.

There is no corps that is spending a million dollars on the actual program. 2 or 3 million is absurd.

Do you know what a 3 million dollar a year drum corps would look like? I'd love to see it.. it would be amazing.

Once again, looking at the 990's are usually misleading, because the costs of running the corps and the costs of running activities to generate revenue are lumped together.

Also, one thing to consider... the better a corps places, the more stuff they get for free that corps lower down have to pay for or pay more for.

Staff costs increase for higher placing corps, touring expenses increase a bit, but capital expenditures decrease.

While it doesn't take a million a year to run a corps, it probably does take about that in the first year to realistically start a new group that would be competitive in WC due to initial capital expenditures. Because of this, this is why most startup corps take a slower approach and build things up over a longer period of years, allowing an easier entry into the game.

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However, the problem with today's DCI choices is that each choice today costs about the same no matter the tier level. Question for anyone: If the cost of going to the most prestigious university was $50k per year and you were not accepted this year (but told go home, get a little better, and try again next year), would you: a) Chose to go to a qualitative mid to lower tier university which also cost 'somewhere' around $50k per year, or b) Would you do self study with private tutors and attempt to get into the most prestigious university the next year?

Yep... didn't have dues my first few years (different times) and as the corps was rebuilding we pretty much got clobbered the first two years at every show. Now, how many people do you think would have been willing to take the lumps AND pay the same amount of money as you would at a top corps.

I look at it like buying any other item: I'd be willing to pay x amount of $$$ for it. BUT.... for that price it better have ..., .... and ... and not be a stripped model. IOW ..., ... and ... would mean in Finals, full tour and name recognition.

Edited by JimF-LowBari

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Question for anyone: If the cost of going to the most prestigious university was $50k per year and you were not accepted this year (but told go home, get a little better, and try again next year), would you: a) Chose to go to a qualitative mid to lower tier university which also cost 'somewhere' around $50k per year, or b) Would you do self study with private tutors and attempt to get into the most prestigious university the next year?

Students do this all the time. California, for example, loads of kids go to community college for 2 years in order to go on on to finish in the UC system.

I went my first two years at Fresno State, then went on to Juilliard. I couldn't go straight out of the gate because I couldn't get in at the time and couldn't have afforded it if I did. Transferring is a completely different set of criteria, because you have proven what you can do and can show progress, rather than being unproven. Drum corps is no different.

The reality is that the majority of kids that audition and get cut from top corps don't end up ever marching anywhere at all. Loads of kids audition for their ideal corps.... and it is either there or nothing. This is the mentality of kids.

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However, the problem with today's DCI choices is that each choice today costs about the same no matter the tier level. Question for anyone: If the cost of going to the most prestigious university was $50k per year and you were not accepted this year (but told go home, get a little better, and try again next year), would you: a) Chose to go to a qualitative mid to lower tier university which also cost 'somewhere' around $50k per year, or b) Would you do self study with private tutors and attempt to get into the most prestigious university the next year?

corps set their fees not DCI......and OC corps may or may not travel less, if they dont cost to travel isnt any different from a WC corps, If you have a decent staff..maybe or maybe not they would charge less... Sometimes staff will charge more. I know that doesnt make sense but even people who will do A VERY COMPETITIVE HS will get more to do that HS than a WC corps.

Were also talking drum corps here not a university.

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