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I must say that after listening and watching youtube videos of the Selden Cadets, Cambridge Caballeros, Skyliners and Hawthorn Caballeros from the 60's there is no comparison to the old time drum corps.  Today's drum corps basically sucks.  Today's drum corps don't have the soul that the old time drum corps have, and the M&M is more dance than marching.  And get rid of the xylophones.  They really such.  And learn to march.

Just a rant from an old timer.

 

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I marched in a DCA champion corps.  We were great... for our era.

But the corps of today would mop the floor with us. They are doing stuff I can't even imagine doing.

I disagree that "today's drum corps basically sucks."

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It all evolved from those shows. The activity couldn't remain static. DCA was formed because the founding members wanted more. Competitors wanted to find an edge over the competitors. It had to evolve and develop.

 

For Pete's Sake, mallet percussion has been around for over 40 years. Are we referring to grounded mallet percussion? All I know is this. Having it grounded brought a lot more people into the activity and saved a lot of expenses with spinal specialists. :wink:

 

Look. Fran and I go back to the Piston-rotor era and played those monstrosities. I own one! Do I think people should play on them now? Heck, no! Why? The kids who do this now would think, "I play a better piece of crap in my High School than this even bigger piece of crap, why!?" :satisfied: I enjoy sharing the P-R horn with peeps who compete now. They really like that experience. It opens some eyes.


All the corps mentioned were really fine organizations from that time. They set high standards for their era, and by golly, they broke a lot of new ground and were thought of as musical innovators in their time. :worthy: What they did in terms of arranging for brass, provided MUCH... maybe MOST of the basis of and laid the groundwork for modern arranging for the field. (Frank! Can you help me with that!? Am I nuts!?!?!?) :satisfied:

 

Everything is more the same than different in so many ways, especially the important ones. Get out and talk to some of those young people, and I promise you this- You'll find more common ground than different ground. They'll remind you of some of the closest friends you had when you marched. You'll realize their hearts are like yours, and that things aren't down the tubes. :satisfied:

 

Maybe some of the stuff is a bit out there. From what I've seen... if it gets too bad, the Judges more or less deal with it. :wink:

 

This season... looking at hanging out at 4 DCA shows, God willing, 3 with Erie to keep my heart and spirit young and just hanging out at Williamsport. Look Fran and I up at one of them. We're pretty good conversation...strange, but good.

 

 

 

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Fran, Big W,

I realize the talent level of today's corps far exceed that of the old time drum corps.  And yes we did have mallet percussion, glockenspiels, but we got rid of them.  You say the sound of the piston rotor is inferior to today's trumpet.  But, I played both and the sound from the bugle had a great brass sound.  And, there was nothing like coming off the line in military like formation.   The sound of today's corps do not thrill me like the sound of the old time corps.  The hornline of the Cambridge Caballeros, Blessed Sacrament, Skyliners and the rest was sharp and crisp.  I guess it a matter of taste and "age".   It seems like now members of the corps are all music majors and dance majors off for the summer.  Back in the day we were just a bunch of kids staying out of trouble and having a great time.

Thanks for letting an old timer rant.

Grenadier

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Grenadier said:

Fran, Big W,

I realize the talent level of today's corps far exceed that of the old time drum corps.  And yes we did have mallet percussion, glockenspiels, but we got rid of them.  You say the sound of the piston rotor is inferior to today's trumpet.  But, I played both and the sound from the bugle had a great brass sound.  And, there was nothing like coming off the line in military like formation.   The sound of today's corps do not thrill me like the sound of the old time corps.  The hornline of the Cambridge Caballeros, Blessed Sacrament, Skyliners and the rest was sharp and crisp.  I guess it a matter of taste and "age".   It seems like now members of the corps are all music majors and dance majors off for the summer.  Back in the day we were just a bunch of kids staying out of trouble and having a great time.

Thanks for letting an old timer rant.

Grenadier

 

 

Rant away!!!!  LOL

That's why these forums are here... for all of us to express our opinions.

I've watched various modern-day corps rehearse... and I gotta say, they certainly work as hard, or harder, than we ever did, and with the same passion and love for what they do. 

And they work smarter now.  No all-day rehearsals with a five-minute water break and McDonald's for lunch and dinner. LOL

Like you, I enjoyed those corps of earlier eras. And I'm not totally on board with everything going on today. But overall, we'll agree to disagree on today's product.

 

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There's a reason that the style of the brass playing was different. Ticks. You played differently back then to be tick-proof. The style corps played was also bent to that. Being a bit more musical, bending things, phrasing more subtly, etc. meant a lot more of a risk of a tick.

The old horns also have a nasty bite to them. I played in a closed room with a Kanstul and my Ultratone and people could tell the difference between the two. Granted, everyone played on them, it was a more even playing field. I played on one of the Beta test System Blue horns last summer, and other than the utter fragility of the build of them- there's no real choice in terms of how they play so nicely in tune with a great, mature sound and respond at the drop of a hat as compared to the G horns.

 

Believe me I know it's an arcane art and a challenge to play on a G horn and I enjoy that challenge. The problem is this-- you have a limited amount of time to train your horns, you have a fair amount of corps turnover ever year, and your competitor is playing on a horn that's easier to teach on and get a better sound out of that's more in tune... the last thing you want to do is compete with both hands tied behind your back.

 

As for the glocks- funny you mentioned them, Scout House Alumni used them exclusively and when they used them in the 1960-1965 period pieces they did, they were fine. The big problem for them was beating the tar out of them with copper mallets to get them loud enough to reach the stands. :satisfied:

 

My guess is that mallets were an innovation as well to give percussion more of a dimension and effect BITD. Again, someone looking for an edge and a way to beat everyone else. Maybe also in some instances, get another kid down the street who needed some shape and discipline in their lives on board.

 

I think with some of the recent changes, the DCA show design people have been aware of their corps' brand and tradition and have tread very carefully. A lot of this reminds me of a conversation I had at DCI East prelims circa 1982-4... 33-35 years ago where someone complained about the Bridgemen, and I responded,

 

"Strip away the Pimp hats and Raincoats, all the extra stuff on the field, and put that show out raw musically and visually. Is the drill well written? Say it... YES. Are the Horns and drums well played and are the arrangements really, really good? Uhhhhhuhhhh... the basic elements are THERE." So far, so good for DCA on those metrics, I think for the most part.

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" the groundwork for modern arranging for the field. (Frank! Can you help me with that!? Am I nuts!?!?!?) :satisfied: "

Neither you nor Grenadier are nuts. Someday, I suppose, someone will figure out how to reconcile fact with opinion. For the moment, one is entitled to one;s own opinions, not one's own facts, though lately there seems to be a drift in that direction.

I would never presume to speak for anyone else, but will make the distinction between what moves me on a visceral level, and that which I appreciate analytically, or dare I say, intellectually.

On the one hand, I am so very impressed by both the design and virtuosity of corps like Crown, Blue Devils and Bluecoats. They are the state of the art, without question. But when I drop the needle on the "Horns Aplenty" Fleetwood disc, The Cambridge Caballeros, Audubon, Patterson and Selden transport me to a world of being that is simply not describable in current terms. Words fail. It's all feeling, and no modern drum corps can go there in the same way.

The Brits have a saying for the impossibility of comparing some things: "it's like soap and next Tuesday".

 

Edited by ironlips
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Regardless of period- the right Corps playing their best stuff does move me in a great way- doesn't matter what year. With yah on that Frank.

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On 4/21/2017 at 2:52 PM, BigW said:

There's a reason that the style of the brass playing was different. Ticks. You played differently back then to be tick-proof. The style corps played was also bent to that. Being a bit more musical, bending things, phrasing more subtly, etc. meant a lot more of a risk of a tick.

 

Listening to the recordings from the days of the tick system... especially the 1960s-early 70s pre-DCI period of the junior corps in particular... I've found it interesting that a number of the corps' horn lines have a more "wide open" sound on the early-season recordings, and a more clipped, cut-and-dry (for lack of better terms) sound on the later recordings of the championship shows... and some of the charts have been noticeably watered down on the later recordings.

Like you said, W... perhaps a byproduct of that tick system.

I listen to a corps like 1971 Blue Rock... whose horn line was playing absolutely hellaciously tough brass charts that summer (and, quite frankly, not always handling those charts as "cleanly" as several of their competitors)  and whose coordination level with the percussion writing was amazing for that era... and I wonder if a corps like that would have fared better under the modern-day judging system, where coordination of elements is a key factor, instead of the tick system.

Edited by Fran Haring

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