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Grenadier

We were no performing art majors!

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We were not performing art majors.  We may have learned to play an instrument in elementary and junior high school.  But, we caught the drum corps bug.  We wanted to march with a corps in a parade or M&M drill.  We love the music and the corps spirit.  For all except the major corps, we didn't have to try out for.  All we had to do was try hard.  As a member of a corps you grew with the corps.  You practiced and rehearsed.  I like the line from the movie "Drumline".  One band on sound".  When one sounds bad you all sound bad.  There was nothing like it.  And for most of the kids today it has disappeared.  Corps used to sound like the Roman legion entering a city.  Now they sound like a Broadway musical.  We use to march.  Now they dance.  So now a days you need to be a music major or dance major to get a spot in a big name corp.  Look around at what we lost.  Thousands of corps small and big have disappeared.  Only to be replace by performing art groups.

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And your point is?  Things change and it will always be that way.  I am from that era (marched junior and senior from '63-'74) and march (dance) alumni now.  I enjoyed it then and I enjoy it now.  

I like Broadway musicals and lament that they (musicals) aren't as good as the Cole Porter, Rogers Kern etc.  years, but I thoroughly enjoy the Corps of today.  

Corps small and big have not disappeared because they were replaced by performing arts groups, but for other reasons - mostly demographics.  

I am looking forward to see how these march (dance) performing arts groups evolve further.  

Respectfully, Bob P.

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My point is that we are leaving out a large portion of the youth of today.  Corps is like a team.  A relay team that learns to count on each other.  A band of brothers and sisters.  Drum Corps was more about the spirit of working together an community than the music.  My point by those standards todays Corps miss the boat.  It is about a bunch of local boys  aND girls getting together and making the best music they can.  Not a bunch of music majors playing and prancing on a field.

 

Grenadier

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22 hours ago, Grenadier said:

 Corps used to sound like the Roman legion entering a city.  Now they sound like a Broadway musical.

You marched in the early 60s according to your profile.  In 1961, the VFW winning Cavaliers played music from: the Sondheim Broadway Musical:  Gypsy; from the Romberg/Hammerstein operetta The Desert Song; the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess;  the movie soundtrack Love is a Many Splendored Thing; the vaudeville song I Am Always Chasing Rainbows; and movie music Over the Rainbow.

The #2 corps included numbers from Broadway musicals Wake up and Dream and Yokel Boy

The #3 corps included numbers from Broadway musical West Side Story

Not exactly the Praetorian Guard marching on Rome there, back in the good ole days

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I think we can all agree that drum corps, for the most part, serves a different population today from the one that supplied most of the participants in, say, 1961 when I first found the field. The demographic has changed, certainly, at least among the high achievers.

But today's "local" youth are actually afforded a better marching music opportunity, and just as much of it, as we were. There are far more and far better school marching bands, drum lines and guards than ever existed in the '60s.

We can debate the reasons for the decline in the number of drum corps over the years, but the reality is that the average High School band now provides every bit as much positive social glue as the old American Legion drum corps did for us. Ironically, these groups learned how to do this from observing drum corps, and they have become the "feeder corps" for the touring groups.

And don't forget, there are still folks who are willing to devote their time and energy towards fostering drum corps at a local level. The Columbus Saints are a case in point. If they can persevere, they will continue to improve, and will have a very positive impact within the community as well.

I will confess nostalgia for what once was, but, even though my scholastic major was history, when I put on the uniform, I certainly felt  every bit the "performance major".

Things really haven't changed that much, in my view.

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8 hours ago, ironlips said:

I think we can all agree that drum corps, for the most part, serves a different population today from the one that supplied most of the participants in, say, 1961 when I first found the field. The demographic has changed, certainly, at least among the high achievers.

But today's "local" youth are actually afforded a better marching music opportunity, and just as much of it, as we were. There are far more and far better school marching bands, drum lines and guards than ever existed in the '60s.

We can debate the reasons for the decline in the number of drum corps over the years, but the reality is that the average High School band now provides every bit as much positive social glue as the old American Legion drum corps did for us. Ironically, these groups learned how to do this from observing drum corps, and they have become the "feeder corps" for the touring groups.

And don't forget, there are still folks who are willing to devote their time and energy towards fostering drum corps at a local level. The Columbus Saints are a case in point. If they can persevere, they will continue to improve, and will have a very positive impact within the community as well.

I will confess nostalgia for what once was, but, even though my scholastic major was history, when I put on the uniform, I certainly felt  every bit the "performance major".

Things really haven't changed that much, in my view.

AMEN Frank! I've been saying this for years, maybe they will believe you!

Jay

Bush

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11 hours ago, Grenadier said:

My point is that we are leaving out a large portion of the youth of today.  Corps is like a team.  A relay team that learns to count on each other.  A band of brothers and sisters.  Drum Corps was more about the spirit of working together an community than the music.  My point by those standards todays Corps miss the boat.  It is about a bunch of local boys  aND girls getting together and making the best music they can.  Not a bunch of music majors playing and prancing on a field.

 

Grenadier

MARCHING BANDS are the community corps of years gone by. I live in Norwalk Ct, in the 60s and 70s Norwalk was home to a small ( very small) corps called the Hot Shots, they were not a "big shot corps " in any sense of the word and they folded in the mid 70s when the Police and Fire department pulled the funding (funding is a big reason the small corps went away)Fast forward to today, Norwalk Ct is home to 2 VERY good high school bands, Norwalk HS and Brien McMahon HS, Norwalk HS is VERY GOOD and their indoor percussion is Nationally Ranked as one of the top drumlines in the ENTIRE COUNTRY almost every year. The two Norwalk bands of today are FAR superior to anything the Hot Shot corps could have ever imagined fielding years ago, heck put the 2 schools together and you would have about 400 members total, then add in the elementary students and the middle school student and your talking a huge amount of kids learning music, teamwork and having the time of their lives, I would be surprised if the Hot Shots ever marched over 40 members in their heyday?

The feeder music/color guard programs for both these HS programs start in elementary school up until the musicians and guard members reach high school. These kids learn to READ and appreciate music at an early age and  not Xs or Os written on sheet music or taught by rote in a smokey legion hall on a Wednesday night.

Did that one little Norwalk corps back in the 60s serve a purpose? It sure did and today THOUSANDS of HS marching bands across the country serve the same purpose now. It's not doom and gloom, the activity is alive and doing well, it's just a bit different then what you might remember.

Jay

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What Frank and Jay have said.  On the money.

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The key word here seems to be "funding".  I agree.  BUT..we must be careful of what we wish for sometimes.

School band programs are funded by taxes.(With lots of fund raisers by parents, etc.)  With so many people screaming for "single payer", "free" health care in this country we may get it someday. Look to our neighbors to the north who had a ton of drum corps years ago to see what happens when you get "free" health care.  You don't get much else. They don't have very many music programs up there.  

 

 

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21 hours ago, Grenadier said:

Not a bunch of music majors playing and prancing on a field.

 

Grenadier

Whoops, there we go.  Can't take this discussion seriously once the p-word has been used.

Mike

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