Having just arrived home from World Championships in Indianapolis I wanted to add to this post. I have been involved in the Drum Corps activity for over 33 years, and I have never witnessed anything like I saw this weekend with "Revolution"
I travelled to Indianapolis with a friend whose daughter marched with Revolution, after watching the parade none of the members seemed quite sure as to what and where they were supposed to go, which we found off. After leaving the parade area and checking into our hotel, we made our way over to where the corps had gathered by their busses, and when we reached the parking lot they were the only corps still parked there, with all of their members standing and sitting in the deserted lot. Corps members rushed over to my car, and even though they didn't know me, they pleaded with us to help them out. Their bus drivers were resting at a downtown hotel, getting ready for their midnight departure, and they were locked out of their busses. There was no one in charge, no Corps Director, instructors, chaperones, no one! The members asked if we would please go to the hotel and pick up their bus driver and bring him back so that they could get into their busses and get at their clothes and personal belongings. We didn't realize at this point that many of the members needed their belongings because they were trying to arrange alternate transportation for themselves. Obviously we wanted to help, and headed uptown to pick up their drivers and bring them back to the busses. Returning back we were approached by a member who was supposed to catch a flight that he was now going to miss because of the delay in being able to get his belongings, to see if we would give him a ride to the airport. Once again we headed out, this time to the airport to help this young man out. At this point, other than being disgusted by the lack of anyone in charge, we had no idea of how bad things actually were.
After the World Class Championships we returned to the busses to pick up my friend's daughter, and the story unravelled further. The Corps Director, Mr. Rodrigues had left the corps after firing all instructors, in fact everyone in charge had left the corps! Who does this, when they are in charge of a group of young people starting at the age of 14? Prior to skipping town the Corps Director did ask a young man to take responsibility and handed him $50 bucks to feed the two busses of young people during the two day trip back to San Antonio. What he hadn't mentioned was that the coaches which, as was mentioned had not been paid for, were only going as far as their head office in Dallas, leaving two busloads of members, as young as 14 to fend for themselves and get their own transportation to their homes in and around San Antonio, which is about 5 hours from Dallas.
The members were devastated! Thank God for Corps Director Chris Magonigal from another Open Class Corps from Texas, Genesis. Chris talked to the bus drivers for Revolution and made a deal for the busses from the two corps to follow each other back to Texas, where Genesis would take as many members as possible on their coaches on to San Antonio. In doing so Chris also took on a great deal of responsibility, as did the young gentleman who Mr. Rodrigues handed the $50 dollars to. I don't know his last name, but this fine young man by the name of Brian, did his very best by the members of this beleaguered corps. He spent all of Saturday trying to arrange rides for as many members as he could, soliciting other corps for food for Revolution members who were left with only the $50, trying to calm parents who were starting to receive calls from frantic corps members, and doing his best to keep the spirits of the corps up and help end the season on as positive a note as possible.
As I mentioned I have been involved in the Drum Corps activity for almost my whole life, and I have never heard of a Corps Director abandoning his corps! Mr. Rodrigues was responsible for these members, parents from many areas in Texas, as well as other U.S. states and even Canada sent their children to Revolution in care of this man. Abandoning his corps as he did, is not just morally apprehensible, it should be illegal. I could continue to rant and rave, about members not receiving equipment and props that they paid for, being asked for money out of their pockets, left to figure out how best to represent themselves in the final parade of the year when everyone in charge had deserted them, not to mention find their own rides home, but I think for now I've said enough and the message should be clear.
Mr. Rodrigues should not only be banned from DCI, but if I were a parent I would want some answers from the person in whose care I placed my child. I intend to write a letter to DCI and would encourage all of those affected by this travesty to do the same, as this goes against everything that the Drum Corps activity stands for.