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11 hours ago, gregory11 said:

The east coast is dead.  That's the bottom line.  Because of DCI Soundsport you see smaller corps all over the map like UT,ID, NM and other area's except the east coast. Even with Soundsport the east coast has hardly any.  No junior corps growth.  I believe the last new eastern corps was the 7th Regiments in 2003.  Soundsports is the answer just take baby step.

"East Coast Dead":

RIP     :unhappy:

Elphaba         :flower:

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I wonder if it is lack of participation or sponsorship?  Years ago organization like the Catholic Church, VFW, and local fire departments would sponsor corps. 

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1 hour ago, Grenadier said:

I wonder if it is lack of participation or sponsorship?  Years ago organization like the Catholic Church, VFW, and local fire departments would sponsor corps. 

A combination of both, I suppose.

As far as Catholic churches are concerned, many of them are struggling just to keep their doors open.... in particular those who also run a school. Not sure they have the resources to sponsor a corps anymore.

 

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Was on here to see of anything was said about a corps friend that's had a massive heart attack and saw this. Been gathering my information on another thread I'm more or less not amused by- but also related.

The answer as has been said, is money. Would I like to run an organization out of the Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club? Yes. I have a contact there who said the lady in charge would likely love it, too.

 

But, it costs money. The lack of the Shekels killed off most of the corps that existed by around 1970, with a second big die-off in the mid-80's and a final die-off of the last of the small drum corps circuits around 1997-8. Societal issues also took their toll.

 

There have been so many well-meaning attempts from various individuals or groups that have no infrastructure or real business plan that simply go under before they ever get anywhere since around 1990 that I know of that I've lost count. Well-meaning is nice but unless you can sustain a program and can financially support it, all that happens is that a lot of people end up disappointed and honked off at the well meaning but not really prepared people that didn't quite think things out well or assumed too much that are running the organization.

 

I'm one of "those guys" unfortunately that could teach and get things set up in that way.... but don't ask me how to get money and how to fund things. That's where guys like Gary Matzack come in and make sure the corps is self-sustaining and not operating day to day.

 

And yeah I'll get back to the whole being one of "those guys who wrecked the activity" when I have time, especially since on the other side... I'm one of "those guys who are musically illiterate dopes and don't know anything about the proper education of those sweet little children and just know how to honk on a bugle real loud". A lot of us corps people with Mus.Ed. Degrees (or not) get enough guff from the "education side" for being some caveman, even though I'm likely more educated or as educated than most of those clowns (Also have a Master's in Education). Not heartening to hear the same thing from this side. What's it gonna be, man? I "Won da Dream" (1982), I played on a Piston Rotor horn for 4 of the six years I marched, I own one I just had worked on along with a 3 valve Kanstul I used for 9ish years with Alumni... I got some street cred on the Corps side. Sheesh!!! :satisfied:

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To the original poster and his demographic - it is not just one single cause.  A combination of factors has thinned the herd of drum corps.  Yes, money is one big factor, and we largely did that to ourselves by making corps bigger, adding more and pricier equipment, and traveling more.  But at the same time, this and other factors made it harder for the neighborhood corps to stay competitive.  Society became more mobile.  Population density shifted as suburbs developed and the baby boom ebbed.  Recruiting expanded across regions (or nationwide/worldwide), and corps training kids from scratch eventually found it impossible to keep pace with corps full of kids with years of music education and/or marching band background.  There are other factors I am leaving out for the sake of simplicity.

To the inevitable wave of people trying to equate high school marching band to the grass roots drum corps activity of yesteryear - no, it is not the same.  There are similarities, of course.  Not just the marching music, either.  The scholastic marching band has a captive audience from which to recruit, much like the neighborhood drum corps of days past.  Many kids will choose band partly because the alternatives (classroom or study hall) are less appealing, just as street kids chose corps over hanging out on the street.  But none of that matters if the high school in your town does not have a competing marching band.  Kids cannot just join the band at another school in some neighboring town.

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One of the main recruiting tools for a lot of DCA corps is exactly that . They get a few really good kids that way.

 

"Would you like to be in an organization where you're with people who want to be there and their Mom and Dad don't make them as well as compete?"

On 5/11/2017 at 7:51 AM, cixelsyd said:

But none of that matters if the high school in your town does not have a competing marching band.  Kids cannot just join the band at another school in some neighboring town.

 

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On 5/11/2017 at 7:51 AM, cixelsyd said:

Kids cannot just join the band at another school in some neighboring town.

Just realized this, though- they can join an independent color guard or percussion ensemble. No wonder they're doing so well.

 

Maybe someday, if things come together I'll get an independent all-age SoundSport/WGI Winds group together. Many serious people have told me I should, likely to see what will happen on the floor. :innocent:

 

I just need at least a dozen people who want to play exciting charts and have fun playing for people, and of course, the money.

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Grenadier- Here's a thought.  A lot of us old dinosaurs understand your love and passion for the way corps used to be.  Now, I'm not being snide, but if you really have that passion, get on the internet, check around for some old bugles and drums (12-15 horns; 7-8 drums; a few flags; couple of rifles) and start a small neighborhood corps.  Learn 2 or 3 songs; do a few parades in your immediate area, maybe a standstill in exhibition.  Black jeans and red windbreakers for unis.  An unpaid staff of three or four.  You get the picture.  It would be a corps you could mold the way you see fit....i.e. old style. 

I know how easy it is to rant.  I'm good at it.  I also know that if you want a drum corps...you have to start one.  I know, because I did so in Hawaii many years ago.

You want something bad enough, you'll figure out a way.

I hope you take up my challenge and have great success.

Mark

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Biggest problem is money, when considering starting a group anywhere. With out the community parades paying big bucks no program can exist on dues/tuition alone.Sound Sport and SDCA both have lower starting costs due to minimun size rules. Even starting a Minicorps has the issue of Labor Day and HS Football being Friday night.No one is going to plunk down $1,000 to be in a newbie group. Less likely is someone going to mortgage their house to buy equipment. More times than enough someone will post a new group starting, with new horns and drums, huge staffs and boards. They fail and kids get turned off. Its like growing a plant from a seed. Needs alot of care and tending to reach being a plant. Even then the odds are against  it, that it will grow and eventually flower. 

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11 hours ago, jeff danchik said:

Biggest problem is money, when considering starting a group anywhere. With out the community parades paying big bucks no program can exist on dues/tuition alone.Sound Sport and SDCA both have lower starting costs due to minimun size rules. Even starting a Minicorps has the issue of Labor Day and HS Football being Friday night.No one is going to plunk down $1,000 to be in a newbie group. Less likely is someone going to mortgage their house to buy equipment. More times than enough someone will post a new group starting, with new horns and drums, huge staffs and boards. They fail and kids get turned off. Its like growing a plant from a seed. Needs alot of care and tending to reach being a plant. Even then the odds are against  it, that it will grow and eventually flower. 

Jeff, I agree that money is a problem, a big problem.  The organizations that used to sponsor corps like the Catholic Church, VFW and American Legion don't have it any more.  But, here on Long Island, NY the volunteer fire departments, which sponsored many corps in the 50's and 60's still do.  They are tax payer funded and have million dollar trucks. Each department has an aerial ladder which could be shared by several departments.  Each chief and assistant chief has personal vehicles.  They get retirement benefits.  Back in the  50's and 60's it was all volunteer.  They have enough cash to sponsor a band or a drum and bugle corps.  But, the model you are talking about is not the model corps of the 60's.  No one had to pay to be a member.  They were given a uniform and an instrument.  Corps were small.  They could be as little as 20 or as large as 80 or 90 members.  They started out small and grew.  The staff was all volunteer, except maybe a drum instructor and bugle instructor.  The drum corps started out marching in parades, providing marching music for the fire departments.

But that said, I have come to the opinion that even if I could find a sponsor and organize a drum corps, I don't think today's kids would want to march.  They are too busy playing with their video games, playing soccer or other activity to want to march with a drum corps.  Sadly, I think know the days of the local corps are gone.  Times have changed.  The local community spirit has gone. The hundreds, maybe thousands of local corps are gone.  I know believe those days are gone.

 

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