mobrien

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mobrien last won the day on August 8 2012

mobrien had the most liked content!

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About mobrien

  • Rank
    DCP Fanatic
  • Birthday 06/01/1960

Profile Information

  • Your Drum Corps Experience
    7 years performing, 4 years teaching at all levels in the activity
  • Your Favorite All Time Corps Performance (Any)
    74 Muchachos, 80 SCV, 89 Cavaliers, 06 Cavaliers
  • Your Favorite Drum Corps Season
    1976
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Chicago area

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  1. At a time when there were still 200+ drum corps in operation. They were "a few", and most of the rest of the activity was pretty ###### off, because it was clear that they were in it to have access to the money that their performances and recordings generated, as well as to have control over the judging system. I was around in the first few years of DCI, marching a non-DCI corps; trust me, DCI didn't do squat for anyone outside of their member corps except give them a shot to be seen at prelims at the various events. The focus on promoting the best corps was a double edged sword. it made drum corps much more visible, and much more respectable, but it also made it harder for small, local drum corps to hold on to their best members, since kids would rather be seen in a big corps that gets television time than a local corps that has a hard time breaking 60 on the competition field. In the long view, it was probably great timing for them to strike off on their own, since the future of small town drum corps was already cast, with the end of the baby boom and the mid-70s recession that gutted the northeast and midwest factory towns that were some of drum corps' biggest supporters. But make no mistake; DCI's purpose wasn't to create a utopia where anyone who wanted to form a drum corps would be given whatever help they needed, and even a 30 member corps from the sticks was treated as equals with the Troopers; it was the original Tour of Champions.
  2. Not at all. Those kids who don't make the cut are often opting to sit out of marching altogether rather than marching at a corps that doesn't really do that much to excite them. The costs of membership in most of the World Class corps are relatively similar, unlike universities, where the price difference between Harvard and a much-less impressive school might be 50% or more. In a sane world, marching at a corps that's less competitive would be a lot cheaper than marching at a Top 6 corps, but it's not really the case. That being true, it's a disincentive for those who want to march to shift their sights down a little in the rankings if they fail to make the cut at BD or PR.
  3. No one should have been surprised by that situation.
  4. Anyone who thinks DCI is doing "exceptionally well" at a time when they are only drawing 16,000 to Finals and returning to the drum corps a fraction of the corps' overall expenses in producing the product DCI sells is delusional. DCI is keeping their head above water, barely. They have more mouths at their teats than they have resources to provide, and there's very little organizational focus on growing the audience past the existing moms and dads in the stands. There are no major corporate sponsors for the tour. The judging system is designed to allow a relatively small coterie of judges and designers to form mutual admiration societies that make moving up the competitive ranks almost completely impossible (that's not to say that the top corps aren't also the most accomplished in terms of design and instruction, but that in the visual and guard captions, especially, if you're not in "the club", your work is less likely to be rewarded fairly). And there's no one within the organization who seems to recognize that these issues are major problems, and is willing to stick a dagger in the heart of mediocrity and devise a plan for a radical reorganization of the competitive standards, the touring model, and the compensation system for the drum corps. DCI's a bake sale in a Hollywood world. They're keeping the doors open, but they're not exactly the next big thing.
  5. Some of them are whiners, but it seems to cut across competitive boundaries.
  6. Which is one of the problems with DCI, as a concept. There's no financial incentive for some of the lower-ranking corps to improve their product and make themselves more sellable, and a limit to how much the more marketable corps can leverage their success in creating popular products. There are plenty of corps that are not necessarily tops, competitively, who would still benefit from this idea, and I'd think that TEP's themselves would also find it beneficial to have the chance to put together the bill that best serves their particular audience interests. But the current model of "central planning" from the DCI office is failing to give the corps themselves an ability to benefit from their excellence and the TEP's from maximizing their own ability to create first class events. Any fear that Blue Devils would demand $10,000 to show up would be put right by the reality that most event promoters couldn't afford to pay that much for a single corps (unless the event were happening at a big enough venue that the promoter felt that having BD there would be enough of a draw, in which case good on 'em). By the same token, if the Board of corps X discovers that their corps can almost never get more than the minimum fee, because event promoters don't feel they'll bring that much of an audience to the house, the Board would have an incentive to ask themselves what they have to do in order to boost their corps' marketability (not their competitiveness; their marketabilty). Give the corps an ability to leverage their own excellence, and you've taken away any need for Board room antics at the DCI level. They'll be more focused on doing what they can to maximize their paydays on the road, and less focused on trying to squeeze juice from a piece of fruit that isn't that big to begin with.
  7. And it sounds like the overwhelming opinion is that no, regular fans wouldn't care. They want to see the corps they want to see, and if they can see that group together in one setting, they'll go, regardless of whether the corps themselves are producing the show or whether DCI is collecting the gate. One of these days it would be an interesting experiment for DCI to try operating a season in which rather than the package pricing they have now, they instead instituted a minimum performance fee (of let's say, $1,400) per corps, but then allowed the individual show sponsors to negotiate with the specific corps they wanted. Were that to happen, it would start letting the market work in a way that the current system doesn't, and give the individual corps directors an incentive to make their corps as desirable as possible for the TEP presenters. Being a past title winner wouldn't necessarily be as important a draw as being entertaining, so a corps that might not be a Top 5 or 6, but had a unique draw, would still have an opportunity to capitalize on their skill at creating programs and an identity that people liked. Were that to happen, all the G7 discussion would go by the wayside, since each corps would be given a chance to realize their real market value (and as a side benefit, you wouldn't have to have sheets to try and encourage corps to be "more entertaining" - the paycheck at the end of the night would be the real motivator, whatever the judges have to say). Waiting to hear the first response from someone who will say that such an idea would only further empower the top corps - which would only underscore THEIR point in terms of their market value relative to the field. :tongue:/>/>
  8. The players in question faked their eligibility to a level that literally rose to federal offense. There has never been any suggestion that anyone in Vanguard's staff was aware of their fraud. In the case of Muchachos, management was complicit in the illegality. Apples and oranges.
  9. There's a partial video recording of the '75 prelims show from Philly out there. Picks up in "Pines of Rome" and goes most of the way through the rest of the show, if not completely to the end (it's been awhile since I've watched it). It's single cam, shot from what appears to be the press box. Sound quality is bad - at one point, you get some Elvis in the background - but like the Zapruder film, quality isn't as important as the historical interest. Ken Kobold's stereo audio recording from prelims is also out there, and can be found without too much trouble. I could believe DeLucia's claim that they beat SCV in drums that day, since the show was very clean, and they beat Vanguard the week before by a decent spread, but then you have to factor in that Muchachos were also marching with at least one overage member in the line, so couldn't legitimately "win" anything.
  10. Drum Corps Planet. Now with even more tinfoil hat.
  11. Looking at the scores from that season, it would have appeared that Cavaliers should have felt pretty comfortable going into prelims that they would make the Saturday night show. Their scores in early August put them right in a block that included Kilts and Regiment (and at the World Open prelims, they were only 3 points behind Muchachos, even though M's were considered one of the only two corps who had a shot of knocking off Madison that year). So there goes that part of the argument. Paul Milano's article mentions that the Cavaliers had information, but no proof, that Blue Stars were marching overage too, and that if they'd had something concrete, they would have used it. They couldn't get something incontrovertible, so they let it go. Muchachos, on the other hand.... 1975 was a year in which DCI was becoming a much more legitimate organization. It was the first year for Finals being on live television, it was a year in which the DCI brand really started to be accepted as the last word in what junior drum corps could be. In a situation in which the profile of DCI was growing, it was important to finally show the activity that they were serious about enforcing eligibility rules. As to Muchachos being singled out, probably not. Again, referencing the Milano article, Blue Stars were also suspected and would have been nailed, and they, unlike Muchachos, had been one of the founding organizations, with their director an enthusiastic leader of DCI in its earliest days. So the "DCI hated the Muchachos" thing doesn't necessarily wash. It's unfortunate that DeLucia cites SCV's experience in being conned by a couple scammers as being somehow analogous to Muchachos dq. Royer and his corps were the victims in that case, not the perpetrators, as was the case with Hawthorne's leadership.
  12. I don't really think Gibbs/Hopkins/Coates would be that threatened by otherwise 19th/20th/21st place corps being seen on Finals night, especially if they saw that it helped increase the overall gate at Finals. The financial structure of a premier league being compensated at a greater level than national/second league would still stand, simply because the costs of putting together a top flight corps/team are naturally greater. Again, the English soccer leagues are the model. A truly major league would attract most of the marketing attention and would the most attractive to potential corporate sponsors, but if they're aggressive enough about marketing the product, there'll be more money that can be used to help seed and support more regional clubs/teams/corps that operate with a different set of goals, competitively.
  13. If they're not interspersed, then people would just skip their performances, the same way they skip most of the opening hour of Finals night now. DCI needs to take efforts to show the corps at that level that they consider them as important, and this would be a little thing that cost nothing but increased the value of the experience to the kids in those corps. Who knows, some of the Finals night audience might discover a second league corps or two they really liked, and buy a t-shirt on the way out.
  14. Probably not, but at a certain point, someone is going to have to call things as they are, if for no other reason then to maintain the credibility of DCI as an organization that arranges competitive events. If you're "World Class" but being beaten by other corps who are supposedly not as good as you, then you're probably in the wrong class to begin with. The more I think of it, the more sense a three-tier system makes. One more suggestion - make Premier finals cut-off for the top 10, and have the top 3 National (or whatever you call the second league) corps also competing on Finals night, so you're actually crowning two champions at the same event. Intersperse the national league corps in the schedule that night so they're getting the same type of audience exposure. Increase the overall audience for Finals night and give the kids marching in those corps, kids who'd normally be heading home or sitting in the stands on Saturday night, a chance to be seen by the biggest audience of the year.
  15. Because you need to keep the scale of the performances relatively close. The difference between 110 and 150 is sizable, but the difference between 76 and 150 is a gulf too far. If you're promising sponsors and potential audiences 18 (or 16, or 9, whatever size makes most sense) of the Premier corps, they should have their expectations met by a product that fits certain criteria, and "enough members to make a statement" should be one of those criteria. Another element I'd recommend is that DCI get rid of the all-skate regionals in favor of the old model, where you had regionals that might have 7 or 8 previous years Finalists, but not everyone. There's no drama left in the season, because by the time they hit DCI East, most people who know anything about drum corps could pretty easily predict where everyone will wind up at Finals. Make the judges in Finals week work for their paycheck by taking away any opportunities to do the full-roster ranking and rating before Prelims day. perc2100, I think your three-tier idea is also workable, though a slightly bigger Premier League would allow for a greater regional spread of corps. In terms of "why", for me, it's about two issues: 1. Honesty and clarity in the eyes of potential audience members. Right now "World Class" has no meaning whatsoever, since some WC corps actually get beaten regularly by other corps in what's supposed to be the inferior class, despite DCI's promotion of the World Class as being "the best of the best" (their words). 2. Because adding a median league that would give members competing in what are now 16th or 20th place corps a chance to win their own championships is a good thing for growing potential interest in the activity. More champions at more levels makes everyone feel that they're involved in a race, not just those at the top.