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1 hour ago, Grenadier said:

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.

 

there are kids out there you have to keep trying. We use to  have 3-4 recruiting events. This year 10-12 recruiting events. Each year we attract 8-10 new people. Secret is to retain more of your current members than you recruit new ones. We're going a different approach this year with a dedicated social media person and recruiting at band festivals of non competetive bands. We have a track record and good revenue streams.Getting knocked down a peg at Sound Sport this year has kicked some of the complacentcy in the rear too!

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On ‎8‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 9:12 PM, jeff danchik said:

there are kids out there you have to keep trying. We use to  have 3-4 recruiting events. This year 10-12 recruiting events. Each year we attract 8-10 new people. Secret is to retain more of your current members than you recruit new ones. We're going a different approach this year with a dedicated social media person and recruiting at band festivals of non competetive bands. We have a track record and good revenue streams.Getting knocked down a peg at Sound Sport this year has kicked some of the complacentcy in the rear too!

I had the opportunity to talk with several people who were involved with drum and bugle corps on Long Island in the 50’s through the 80’s.  I had asked them why the local corps died out.  But, first you have to understand that many of the local corps on Long Island were sponsored by volunteer fire departments.  In the 50’s and 60’s most of the volunteers were WWII and Korean war veterans with a sense of service and community.  In the summer, each department held a parade and carnival or picnic and the neighboring fire departs showed up in force and uniform and marched in the parades.  They marched like a military unit lead by a band, corps or even just a drum line.  The firemen 40 or more in number, were followed by the ladies’ auxiliary and a couple of fire trucks.  Today’s volunteers are different.  They don’t have a sense of community, they don’t march.  No need for a drum corps. Even before that, the fire departments started divesting themselves of the legal liability of have a bunch of kids on a bus. 

Another problem was that the kids did not want to commit being at every performance.  They had other things to do.  Also, volunteers did not want to make a commitment to the corps.  So, the corps over time disappeared. 

I’m sure the CYO, VFW and American Legion Corps had similar financial and legal issues.

With no one willing to sponsor and no one willing to commit, the days of the local corps are over, and the sound is lost forever.

We are left with the Big Business corps of today, where members have to audition and pay to join. They may even get college credit.  Staff is paid.  Sure, they sound profession and the choreography is great.  But, it is not drum corps.  Drum corps is a bunch of local kids getting together and making the best sound they can. 

I checked out the DCX - Drum Corps Xperience site and there used to be over 1000 US and Canadian Drum Corps.  Many of them local groups.  Now most are gone.  The future generations will miss out on a great experience.

RIP – Local Drum Corps.

Grenadier

 

Edited by Grenadier
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kids have so many more options of places to invest their time and money beyond drum corps in this age, than ten years ago, twenty years ago, and more.  Schools organize studies abroad for summers terms now, sports have camps all summer from football to fencing, swimming, equestrian, volleyball, lacrosse, dance schools, and some band programs have summer rehearsals now.  its not as easy as get the band kids, its trying to find the band kids who want to dedicate enough of their time to music that they don't want to do anything else in the summer.  

Many auditionees cut themselves from a corps because they have other summer activities they are unwilling to give up.  

This is all on top of the point that no space is free anymore.  Schools charge for using their spaces to rehearse, sleep, and shower.  Often a la carte.   They are also increasingly suspicious of outside groups using their facilities unattended.  They don't want issues to arise that could become a security concern, or a liability concern.  

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On 9/3/2017 at 3:33 PM, C.Holland said:

kids have so many more options of places to invest their time and money beyond drum corps in this age, than ten years ago, twenty years ago, and more.  Schools organize studies abroad for summers terms now, sports have camps all summer from football to fencing, swimming, equestrian, volleyball, lacrosse, dance schools, and some band programs have summer rehearsals now.  its not as easy as get the band kids, its trying to find the band kids who want to dedicate enough of their time to music that they don't want to do anything else in the summer.  

Many auditionees cut themselves from a corps because they have other summer activities they are unwilling to give up.  

This is all on top of the point that no space is free anymore.  Schools charge for using their spaces to rehearse, sleep, and shower.  Often a la carte.   They are also increasingly suspicious of outside groups using their facilities unattended.  They don't want issues to arise that could become a security concern, or a liability concern.  

It's like sales if you make $100 on a sale and want to make$100k you got to do it a thousand times. I've learned alot in 20 years and there are ways to do it, but when someone says I'm starting a corps and doesn't heed good advise their program is doomed. We had two groups in this area try to start never succeeded, they thought they knew everything. Hype and promises don't build or sustain programs. I've made plenty of mistakes but none of them proved fatal and I learned alot.You can learn alot more from mistakes than success. First I had to learn to be Mr No! The internet has alot more resources today that 20 years ago. I've tried to bullet proof my program but still can't control human nature so its a tug of war. Each year is an oppurtunity to make another step forward, not leaps. Long Island is less of a blackhole than Pittsburgh!

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On 9/4/2017 at 4:33 PM, jeff danchik said:

It's like sales if you make $100 on a sale and want to make$100k you got to do it a thousand times. I've learned alot in 20 years and there are ways to do it, but when someone says I'm starting a corps and doesn't heed good advise their program is doomed. We had two groups in this area try to start never succeeded, they thought they knew everything. Hype and promises don't build or sustain programs. I've made plenty of mistakes but none of them proved fatal and I learned alot.You can learn alot more from mistakes than success. First I had to learn to be Mr No! The internet has alot more resources today that 20 years ago. I've tried to bullet proof my program but still can't control human nature so its a tug of war. Each year is an oppurtunity to make another step forward, not leaps. Long Island is less of a blackhole than Pittsburgh!

PIttsburgh's last success was the Golden Lancers.  Somehow was able to make use of the VA hospital gym and field.  But again, money in, versus money out.  Band directors who don't want their members doing drum corps, and brass players who weren't interested...  

 

But even in Pittsburgh, school's have more options for kids to do now than when I marched.  Even the cruddy ones. 

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On 9/3/2017 at 8:39 AM, Grenadier said:

I had the opportunity to talk with several people who were involved with drum and bugle corps on Long Island in the 50’s through the 80’s.  I had asked them why the local corps died out.  But, first you have to understand that many of the local corps on Long Island were sponsored by volunteer fire departments.  In the 50’s and 60’s most of the volunteers were WWII and Korean war veterans with a sense of service and community.  In the summer, each department held a parade and carnival or picnic and the neighboring fire departs showed up in force and uniform and marched in the parades.  They marched like a military unit lead by a band, corps or even just a drum line.  The firemen 40 or more in number, were followed by the ladies’ auxiliary and a couple of fire trucks.  Today’s volunteers are different.  They don’t have a sense of community, they don’t march.  No need for a drum corps. Even before that, the fire departments started divesting themselves of the legal liability of have a bunch of kids on a bus. 

Another problem was that the kids did not want to commit being at every performance.  They had other things to do.  Also, volunteers did not want to make a commitment to the corps.  So, the corps over time disappeared. 

I’m sure the CYO, VFW and American Legion Corps had similar financial and legal issues.

With no one willing to sponsor and no one willing to commit, the days of the local corps are over, and the sound is lost forever.

We are left with the Big Business corps of today, where members have to audition and pay to join. They may even get college credit.  Staff is paid.  Sure, they sound profession and the choreography is great.  But, it is not drum corps.  Drum corps is a bunch of local kids getting together and making the best sound they can. 

I checked out the DCX - Drum Corps Xperience site and there used to be over 1000 US and Canadian Drum Corps.  Many of them local groups.  Now most are gone.  The future generations will miss out on a great experience.

RIP – Local Drum Corps.

Grenadier

 

life in general has changed. the vets organizations are having a hard time getting vets to join. many churches have shuttered due to low attendance. people fled to the suburbs. gas isn't $.50 a gallon. Remember unless you went to a show, you had to wait for DCN or DCW to show up with the scores. Then you had 1-900-CAN-Drum. then eventually dialup internet. what in life has stayed the same?

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7 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

life in general has changed. the vets organizations are having a hard time getting vets to join. many churches have shuttered due to low attendance. people fled to the suburbs. gas isn't $.50 a gallon. Remember unless you went to a show, you had to wait for DCN or DCW to show up with the scores. Then you had 1-900-CAN-Drum. then eventually dialup internet. what in life has stayed the same?

Remembering those 14.4 and 28.8 modems... :tongue:

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Honestly, one of the biggest barriers to any local junior corps renaissance is that the realities of education and employment are radically different for kids now.  College prep (coursework, resume-building, applying for scholarships, working to save money) consumes most of the free time of high school students, the price of tuition and the tenuousness of the entry-level job market heavily discourages college students from taking time off to indulge in hobbies that aren't directly marketable to prospective employers (which is why the plurality of DCI members now are music majors), and any amateur musicians in school are much more likely to be involved in their own schools' bands because of ease of access and the fact that they fill gen ed course requirements.  Anyone left who is still interested in and able to do drum corps is going to be more interested in the big touring competitive corps rather than a small local/regional one with no name recognition. Local drum corps is just a very hard sell in this environment.

Edited by jimpjorps

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20 hours ago, C.Holland said:

PIttsburgh's last success was the Golden Lancers.  Somehow was able to make use of the VA hospital gym and field.  But again, money in, versus money out.  Band directors who don't want their members doing drum corps, and brass players who weren't interested...  

 

But even in Pittsburgh, school's have more options for kids to do now than when I marched.  Even the cruddy ones. 

Lancers had the advantage of drawing on the membership of the local PAL parade corps. At the end all I saw were out of state liscense plates at the Baldwin indoor show. Around here its contacts that get things done. After that its up to the groups to strengthen those bonds or lose them.Money is the biggest factor, we have people who think our $400 a year is expensive. Vagabonds were active at that time too and they were free. Have re-invented Mon Valley 3 times and still going. Pretty much the last group left in Pittsburgh. Watch more than enough groups come and go during that time, Drum Corps, Drumlines, Indoor guards, stick teams and baton corps, all gone. Instead of bemoaning dropping a placement at Sound Sport we are more energized to come back stronger. Staff changes made, equipment upgrades ongoing and more emphasis on the Winds program and adding a indoor guard.   

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