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Geno55441

Membership Recruiting Issues

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Regarding membership recruiting… One of the problems I see with the current DCA model is that we’ve built a program that requires our members to be more like gymnasts and less of a musician. I tell the younger kids that back in the early 80’s, drum corps was a musical organization that marched. Today, we are more like a theatrical production that plays a few notes during a 40-yard dash. What that change has done is effectively weeded out many of the middle age players who are 40 and older who are no longer physically able to handle the physical requirements of the show.  I have so many friends who would love to go back and march but with the new gold tempo standard of 160 beats per minute instead of 140 twenty years, they tell me their body simply cannot handle the physical punishment the new drum corps standard now dishes out. What’s the solution to keeping membership strong and active and more age representative of the general populace?  Not sure, but I’ll let others debate that topic for now.

Like every other corps in DCA, Chops is also having our challenges with membership but we’ve been lucky enough through our aggressive recruiting efforts in the school system and word-of-mouth from members that has helped to nearly filling out our horn line – and no, we have zero new members that came over from MBI, it’s all grassroots. We also pride ourselves foremost as a musical education group. We accept members who have zero experience in drum corps and limited musical experience. My section is not unique – but half my trumpet section is made up of high school woodwind players.  They are wonderful kids to work with, enthusiastic, and have a true desire to learn to play the horn as well as get on the field and enjoy the rewards of drum corps -- and they are improving very fast.  Would they get a DCI contract? Not even close.  But we allow them the opportunity to train and develop under our professional staff and our seasoned veterans who really enjoy teaching the marching arts. We all have a true desire to provide the best show we can with the members we have at all skill levels.  

I’m not an official spokesman for my corps but I do take pride that in that I measure success in how well my kids progress, how much they contribute to the team, how much they advance musically, how much drum corps make them grow personally, and how much enjoyment they get back out of the program. Will we make Class “A” finals, we hope so – but if my kids work hard, improve with each practice, respect their corps brethren, grow musically, mature as a person, and hold their head high as they march off the field knowing that they’ve put on the best show for the paying audience they can, finals isn’t that important to me as we’ve already won something worth more valuable than any participation medal around our neck.

How does this all tie back to recruiting? It all depends what you are recruiting for and what your goals are for success.

 

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23 minutes ago, Geno55441 said:

Regarding membership recruiting… One of the problems I see with the current DCA model is that we’ve built a program that requires our members to be more like gymnasts and less of a musician. I tell the younger kids that back in the early 80’s, drum corps was a musical organization that marched. Today, we are more like a theatrical production that plays a few notes during a 40-yard dash.

How does this all tie back to recruiting? It all depends what you are recruiting for and what your goals are for success.

 

But my impression is that the younger members that we NEED seem to be demanding just that sort of programming. I mean, if we show them a video of when I was performing 26 years ago (And there were some points we were really flying even back then!) they have no interest in doing that. If we show them something more recent with our body moves, and sections chained together, and costume changes, THAT'S what they want to do.

 

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My impression of Chops is very similar to what I've witnessed with the Thunderbirds- You found a cadre of hard working, dedicated, caring young people that for a large part had limited experience in their HS programs and taught them up from beans.:worthy:

 

My thoughts on some of this-- I think some groups are trying way too hard at times to recruit mainly from blue chip HS units. I could be wrong. Unfortunately, there's a sense of arrogance, that I feel is very unfounded, that's come out of some of those kids for decades, even in my time. Why would I go perform with a smaller group, it doesn't win all the time, I can go on with what I've heard.

 

Sometimes, I think you need to go to some of the less competitive units/non-competitive and talk. You want to be in an organization that everyone cares, Mommy and Daddy aren't making them march? You want to do something a lot more challenging than your HS group? A place where the school district isn't stifling things to death (can think of 3-4 prime examples in PA, have to be a LOT more)? You want to learn from some talented capable people and get a lot better? Sometimes, that's where you'll find your kids. And, you may have to work a lot harder teaching them up. Some of them may take a couple of seasons to really be great and find themselves.

 

Just some food for thought here.

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Maybe the running and athleticism appeals to the younger recruits, but Geno55441 makes the excellent point that corps are losing out on older, more experienced members who simply can't meet the physical demands of the current show designs.  For what it's worth, 20-25 years ago I already realized there was no way that I could drum and crab-step at 140 to 150 beats per minute.  I felt I could play anything they were playing, but the marching/visual demands excluded me even then. 

My alternative was to join the Cabs Alumni Corps when we started up, and I'm still drumming.   Marching at my age now and due to health issues is questionable, but I'm hoping to get on the field this season once again.

 

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17 hours ago, Geno55441 said:

How does this all tie back to recruiting? It all depends what you are recruiting for and what your goals are for success.

 

Agree - Very important to know what your organization is and what it provides. 

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On 4/27/2018 at 10:50 AM, Jim Schehr said:

Agree - Very important to know what your organization is and what it provides. 

And what the pool of possible recruits is looking for and what would work for the organization. Know of a alumni type corps who asked members what they thought would help recruiting. Turned out doing music other than all parade type stuff was big answer. Helped recruitment and older members got a break from same old....

Edited by JimF-LowBari

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On 4/26/2018 at 4:54 PM, Geno55441 said:

 

I’m not an official spokesman for my corps but I do take pride that in that I measure success in how well my kids progress, how much they contribute to the team, how much they advance musically, how much drum corps make them grow personally, and how much enjoyment they get back out of the program. Will we make Class “A” finals, we hope so – 

 

Well we know the Answer to that is No, But maybe open finals.  Best luck to your section this year in Open Class

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On 4/26/2018 at 11:28 PM, cabalumnidrummer said:

Maybe the running and athleticism appeals to the younger recruits, but Geno55441 makes the excellent point that corps are losing out on older, more experienced members who simply can't meet the physical demands of the current show designs.  For what it's worth, 20-25 years ago I already realized there was no way that I could drum and crab-step at 140 to 150 beats per minute.  I felt I could play anything they were playing, but the marching/visual demands excluded me even then. 

My alternative was to join the Cabs Alumni Corps when we started up, and I'm still drumming.   Marching at my age now and due to health issues is questionable, but I'm hoping to get on the field this season once again.

 

Right you are John. This is why I think you're going to see a lot more mini-corps style groups in the next 5-10 years as people realize that you can entertain without having the physique of a 20 year old. Heck, it's one of the reasons I'm doing Alumni corps. All the fun without the fear of being run over by kids the same age as my students!

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Meanwhile, in the "good news" department... I saw on FB that the Columbus Saints have passed their DCA evaluation to compete in Class A. :thumbup:

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During DCA's 50th anniversary interviews at Finals a few years ago, someone from Buccaneers mentioned that they had members aged 50 or more. Were those people only in the pit?

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