JimF-LowBari

Future Health of Alumni Type Corps?

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Notice: Have not been a member of a corps for a while so out of the loop......

Watched the Alumni Spectacular this part Sunday and some nice sized corps were out there. Saw a few younger faces but lot of 60+ if my less than huge flat screen was really showing HD correctly. So with the average age of some of the groups what can guess about where that part of the activity will be in 10 years?

And more importantly, any ideas on how to improve that picture......

It's the week after DCA, time to brainstorm....

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Simple. Strike up appeal to those that can't afford to do the competition corps. There's a lot of people, like myself, that are younger, but in a position in life where I can't exactly be running to Reading every weekend and be running around the NE. That's where I look to the alumni corps. The corps that gets together, has fun, plays, does some shows and an exhibition or two and that's it. Even if there were a Class A corps that was competitive but only did a couple local shows a year to be eligible for Championships, it'd be easier and more beneficial.

Do I want to do more? Yes.

Those who know me, know that I'm looking to help the art of drum corps grow in whatever way I can. I've got the drive and desire to work to bring a corps back, whether it be Alumni, Class A or Open Class. I was one of the young group 10 years ago in Erie that said they need to put the corps back on the field. I unfortunately had to move for work, but I helped to light that fire, and 10 years later, I got to march in their 1st season back (filling a hole at the Reading show in Exeter). I have that same drive and energy that I'm willing to do with other corps as well.

The biggest way to expand the alumni scene is exposure. Parades, standstills, indoor shows, whatever. A small alumni corps could probably find their way into a WGI event over the winter. Great place to show off and make it known that there's still marching available for brass in the winter.

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I think if you put together a schedule like Star United. Where you've got some Soundsport shows, and some DCA shows, and Championships, I think you'd have yourself a good little season. You don't need much space to rehearse and you have to cap your group at 25. So really its sort of a win/win.

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Open Class, Class A, Mini Corps, I & E, Alumni...... These are constantly changing or sliding in characteristics. There is something for everyone, and as folks pass through the all-age experiences, one area may enjoy a boost of focus for a while. The natural aging process certainly puts a limit on how long one can perform (Brigs had a 1955 horn player still performing at mini corps)

I salute DCA for having such an open field for individuals and ensembles to continue enjoying this great experience.

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I have played in an Alumni corps for over 15 years, the friendship is great, we do concerts, parades, field shows, standstills etc. I think the people in charge have to find venues for them to participate in and show up. We have fun, we entertain, and most of us are senior citizens but we put it out there. There are several Corps available to play with, all positions, all kinds of levels of performing, find one and go for it. You will enjoy it.

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That's the part that worries me Bariman... "mostly senior citizens" the lack of young blood to replace members as they cant do it anymore.....

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That's the part that worries me Bariman... "mostly senior citizens" the lack of young blood to replace members as they cant do it anymore.....

Understood,......and have felt it first hand,............Thunderbirds were virtually inactive for a couple years until a major local event caused us to try a "one and done" for the whole year in 2013,...........it was tremendously successful, but we also kept our commitment to old and new participants of one and done,..............late that year a group of younger participants asked about starting on mission to a compeditive corps again,.............many members were supportive of the idea, many not.

In hindsight, we have realized that the corps was bigger than the current board, staff and even many members, it was not about us, it was about the Thunderbirds, and even those that came before us that are now gone..............day to day control and egos needed to be put aside, and let this new idea for an old, established organization happen.

Guess what?,..............it is happening, and it is all good!

The Erie Thunderbirds are alive, well and growing!

Jim, if you recall a conversation we had outside the hotel in Rochester several championships back, Thunderbirds wisely stopped refering to ourselves as an alumni corps long ago so that we could appeal to a younger age group,..... it has worked, well beyond what we even imagined..................

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Jim, if you recall a conversation we had outside the hotel in Rochester several championships back, Thunderbirds wisely stopped refering to ourselves as an alumni corps long ago so that we could appeal to a younger age group,..... it has worked, well beyond what we even imagined..................

I remember dropping the "Alumni" tag and thought it was a great idea. Come to think of it Hanover and Erie both stopped competing about the same time so figure the youngest age (in 2015) of people who competed back then. Wish Hanover would scrub out all "Alumni" references to themselves but see the website still uses it in places and unless the corps got a new parade banner....... *sigh*

What helped Hanover get younger members IMO was the change made about 10 years back. Members were asked for ideas to help keep the corps going and biggest suggestion was to go off the parade only type music and expand the rep. Members were actually getting bored with same type of stuff and wanted a bit of a challenge. LOL know some BITD people would not consider some of the charts "real drum corps" but it worked so tough ####. Have only been around two Alumni type corps but get the vibes that Hanover considers itself a local music group and not reliving the past. And just got the vibes that the younger members wanted something different and having a wider range of music helps keep them in.

Edited by JimF-LowBari

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We have some new and old younger members, and are seeking more. I think you get people to join by showing them how much fun it is. Hell, one of our music instructors is 26 or so. We are an all age corps, the name Alumni just means, we are the former members of some corps or another, most of us anyways. I agree young members are the key, to go along with the older ones. :cool:

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This year the corps competed with people in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s,............................gladly most were in the younger age brackets!

Over the years our biggest challenge to recruiting was that on surface, many thought you had to be an alum to participate, and we got tired of having to constantly explain it away,..............we estimated that for each person that approached us,..............3 to 4 stayed away for that reason alone. So we eliminated the problem.

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