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Posts posted by lcarlton

  1. The 2016 Columbus Saints held their Audition Camps for their 2016 DCI SoundSport season recently. Building on the excitement and energy of the previous season the corps is happy to welcome new staff members from numerous DCI World Class corps, new members, and a tighter relationship with community organizations. Along with a Drum & Bugle Corps, the Columbus Saints also run an OIPA Independent Regional WinterGuard, and Community Programs in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America and the City of Columbus. Learn more about what the Columbus Saints offer during this short recap of our Audition Camps.

    To learn more about the organization visit http://columbussaints.org/ or their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/columbussaints or follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, or Youtube - @Columbussaints
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  2. There are two components that I see in this:

    Saturation and Quality.

    Encourage people to post short clips and videos online to saturate social media.

    Use existing tools like iPhones/iPads and iMovie to create simple projects based on themes (for those who don't have skill or training). Even if you don't want to do that... just strap a GoPro to someone's head and record a run through or drum warm-up.

    We need to see more videos, more often, and they need to be shared online. Also, from a promotional standpoint, it doesn't hurt to create videos for social media (if you have the staff) and spend a little bit promoting it on Facebook or Instagram. It can help get the word out on an initiative and at least put the corps in people's minds.

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  3. Hate to get off topic on SoundSport....

    SoundSport has held numerous standalone shows in England, France, Colombia, Guatemala, China and Taiwan just none state side as the market is slightly different. In Columbus area we have 15 shows within a 2 or 3 hour driving distance which gives us some options in asking to perform at local shows. The closest DCA show is about 7-8 hours away which costs considerably more and forces a change in logistics and planning for travel.

    I've performed at the Douglasville and Racine shows and the crowds have been ok. It was an honor to perform on Horlick Field for sure. Still had more people in the stands than DCA Prelims :P

  4. You're mostly right, but not completely.

    Several corps have gained members and staff, showing growth as a result of the few corps that folded, particularly in the case of Statesmen and Windsor. Additionally, were the out-of-area corps really huge fan draws? I think you can absolutely make a case for Renegades, but not necessarily the others.

    I don't disagree with you from a fan standpoint but from an interest standpoint consider the amount of parents or alumni that may have been served that are not engaged anymore. Plenty of parents join DCP and post messages or experiences from time to time.

    White Sabers have grown. Skyliners returned. Alliance returned. Chops and Thunderbirds are back so it's growing but still hasn't hit that 23/24 corps number from the 2012/2013 season which includes personnel. In the wake of Tampa Bay Thunder, Sun Devils, and Shenadoah Sound multiple DCI SoundSport and Open Class Corps have formed and competed which is a loss to DCA in total participants and fans. With High Country Brass folding we lost a regional program (that thankfully is paying it forward with their dissolution), and Heartliner folding their corps for marching percussion that's another International participant that's taking time away. So while I agree on the draw for fans, I ponder the impact of the loss of these regional and international DCA partners and more members moving to DCI for SoundSport over DCA which I believe is just as an important of an option for performing for young and old.

  5. You also have to consider that 25% of the corps from the 2012 and 2013 season have folded, gone inactive, or stayed in their home countries that means less organizations are involved and less fans in some cases. We're talking about 500-600 performers not including staff and families or fans who are no longer involved.

    This is what was lost since the 12/13 season:

    Class A

    Shenandoah Sound

    High Country Brass


    Sun Devils

    Tampa Day Thunder


    Open Class

    Windsor Regiment

    Empire Statesmen


  6. Pioneer ( and perhaps a couple of other Corps) should be in the Open Class Division, not the World Class Division. I see nothing enriching in a competitive arena to be miscaste in competitive Division in which such placement dooms one each and every season to the bottom of the Division. Thats beyond silly. Its sad for the MM's, really. Put them in Open Class. Then they can properly gauge themselves throughout the season against similar level Corps. When Pioneer marchers are pretty much resigned to last place each and every season as competitors in the World Class Division, then adult egos perhaps have blunted the entrance into the cranium of what should be a common sense approach. Pioneer has improved themselves this season too. But its an improvement in the wrong Division and one that still relegates themselves to their customary last place position. DCI should have the authority to step in on behalf of the MM's and for proper competitive assignment and make the decision to move Pioneer to the proper division that they belong in. Over a decade of last place finishes requires such a common sense approach and for the betterment of everyone, imo.

    I agree with you Brasso but moving them into OC would effect their income and potentially lead to those corps folding due to a massive loss in "income". So it's a choice of moving a corps out of World Class due to poor performance and low scoring potentially leading to them losing more members and being forced to take a year off. In that... I just say "Pioneer is Pioneer" and they exist in their niche. Should they be in World Class? "Shrug" probably not especially that year they couldn't field a tenor line but that's not my business. As long as they keep pulling members, funds, and can field a corps that meets the World Class Standards (or any potential caveats made due to the DCM merger) it is what it is.

    In my opinion this is where the 3 class system worked a little better and could help some of these ensembles (especially if ran more like WGI) and allow ensembles to garner titles and bolster their programs ala 9 Time World Champions The Mandarins. Granted, I was always a big Division 2 & Division 3 fan any ways and see the value in those programs for their pure love and desire to just perform and be apart of a corps.

  7. Yeah, stupid rule making a corps start out (or return after an absence) in Open Class. Why? Magic had no business being relegated to OC. Had this rule been in effect 30 years ago, would people have appreciated newbie Star of Indiana burning up Open Class by 16 points? In the old Quarterfinal format, that's the spread between them and the OC Champs, the Ventures (greatly missed, btw). Musical bullying?

    What if BD decided to take a year off to travel the world? They return and win OC with a 114.725.

    And probably Best Color Guard.

    The rule was put in place to keep corps from taking a year off and then instantly jumping back into World Class aka sharing more of the profits from ticket sales without having a solvent program. World Class status is supposed to be a privilege for programs that are solvent and mature enough to push the activity and have enough design, music, and business support to drive ticket sales.

    With that being said, Magic of Orlando and even Capital Regiment had to go Open Class to prove their programs were solvent. As was discovered both programs were unable to maintain their World Class status in the years after their return and thus folded.

    IMO Genesis and probably 7th Regiment should be in World Class as their completing full tours, and have solid design and music performance.

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  8. Largest SoundSport competition ever this year! A growth of nearly 70% from 2014 (5 teams) to 2015 (19 teams). The performers range from Current and Former DCA Corps, WGI Winds Ensembles (Lakeshormen), International Ensembles, and more! If you're in Indianapolis Saturday, August 8th, come enjoy this free event and support the performing ensembles.

    Here is the schedule and I've included links to social media of the groups:

    The competition is scheduled to begin at 9:00am. The performance order is:

    9:00am – Brass2 – Greensboro, Pennsylvania
    9:10amRogues Hollow Regiment Doylestown, Ohio
    9:20amCincinnati TraditionCincinnati, Ohio
    9:30amThunder BrigadeGaithersburg, Maryland
    9:40amMon Valley Express Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    9:50amFlorida Xpress Orange Park, Florida
    10:00amDiplomats Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    10:10amLakeShoremen Brownstown, Michigan
    10:20amSoutheast Sound New Albany, Indiana
    10:30amMcMaster Marching Band Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

    10:40amIntermission: INpact Band Exhibition Performance

    10:50amSonus Brass Theater Woodbridge, Virginia
    11:00amJim Ott Brass Ensemble Stockton, California
    11:10amUniversity of North Georgia Atlanta, Georgia
    11:20am – Xili Primary School – Shenzhen, China
    11:30amColumbus Saints Columbus, Ohio
    11:40am – Motif Music Staff – Shanghai, China
    11:50amStar United Indianapolis, Indiana
    12:00pmChien Kuo HS Taipei City, Taiwan
    12:10pmCalgary Stampede Showband Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    12:20pm – Encore and Scores


    Feel free to post and promote your ensemble below so people can learn about your show!

  9. Did your show reach out to local schools with news about the event, or did they simply discover it on their own? I had mentioned seeing a lot of buses in your lot, and since you mention Dublin specifically, I know Dublin Jerome students were there as a group, because I saw a block of kids wearing shirts for "The Blues", Jerome's BD-influenced show (with 50+ folding chairs) from last year.

    Last night at Erie, there was an ad for the Buffalo ToC event in the program, and someone walking around during the show (between corps) who went to every row of seats, handing out flyers for that event to each attendee.

    For the Dublin show we leveraged social media heavily. Primary contact with schools came from email to directors. All other promotion was done through consistent social media. Also, worked with Bluecoats and received permission to film and then interview members for personalized Facebook promotions. Worked with local ensembles, alumni groups and drum corps Facebook groups for cross posting and then spent money on promoted advertisements on Facebook through very strict targeting.

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  10. Yes, the Brits are with Spirit, thankfully.

    "This explains some but still not how for a second year in a row the same urgent plea went out for nearly the same amount of money. In my mind, with the timing it shows a lack of forethought in logistics costs and touring associated costs at least. "- This was our first year having any experience with them.

    Yes, the Brits are with Spirit, thankfully.

    "This explains some but still not how for a second year in a row the same urgent plea went out for nearly the same amount of money. In my mind, with the timing it shows a lack of forethought in logistics costs and touring associated costs at least. "- This was our first year having any experience with them.

    Thanks moma. I was speaking in general terms and not towards continued experience. I can't tell you how truly angry I am about this situation and how it must be affecting the kids.

  11. As a Parent of one of the Surge members, we have MANY questions that are still unanswered. The 501c3 status was part of the problem. They were NOT transparent with members or parents on their financial situation. A major sponsor (to my understanding) pulled out due to the non profit status not being up to date. I do feel that DCI has some part of the responsibility here. However, the lack of a board of directors and not enough accountability enabled the unraveling of the corp. There are things that don't ADD up. Why, knowing they were folding, would they contract a Synth player a day before they folded? This is just one example. To answer the tuition fees. We were asked to pay $1000 in tuition, this had been discounted from $1700 as we did not come until later in the process. Bottom line, these kids and parents were "sold" on their DCI dream coming true. And even though SOMEONE had to be aware of the dire circumstances at the Preview/parent show, nothing was said.

    I will say that a good bit of the members have found homes with other corps who have reached out to welcome any member of surge. Raiders, Bushwackers, Racine. I DO appreciate that.

    My son however, did not choose to do that. This is just surface information. There is a LOT more that we have learned since Wed.

    Our take: make sure to review financials of any corp before committing. Won't happen to us again!

    This explains some but still not how for a second year in a row the same urgent plea went out for nearly the same amount of money. In my mind, with the timing it shows a lack of forethought in logistics costs and touring associated costs at least.

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  12. I also like to throw out that leveraging community events like parades and such are an easy way to make up fees. SDCA has been GREAT at helping small corps make money even going so far and putting us up overnight at some events at no cost to us. Not an option for a lot of people but Blue Saints, Pioneer, and a handful of other Open Class Corps have done it in the past.

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  13. Thanks for those actual numbers, lcarlton - it's so difficult to get good hard data.

    Looking at those numbers, though, about 1/4 of your $4,770 costs are registration fees to appear at two DCI shows - I just don't think that's the best way for DCI to encourage growth.

    Edited: to correct my math

    Eleran, it depends on how you leverage the experience and what you're getting out of it.

    If you consider the registration fees are usually just the price of discounted tickets then you get to see a show and perform at it. The real cost will be getting instruments, paying staff, and insurance which can be done for cheap if you have a group of people willing to buy in.

    If you're diligent with your social media, recruiting, and more it's a great way to get into the lower level DCI / Drum Corps Sphere, garner interest for growth and begin to develop your program. Guardians, Watchmen, and Southwind are 3 good examples of what is possible with sustained growth and focus. Nearly all of the SoundSport groups that we (Columbus Saints) Competed with last year have shown a large amount of group in a year.

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  14. And they could even have gone back to Atlanta on Aug. 1 and given an exhibition in a DCA show - go face to face with Carolina Gold.

    To me, this event is not really indicative of the health of drum corps (either good or poor) - more about drum corps' infant mortality rate - they only toured two seasons (one in exhibition and one in competition), before folding.

    What this IS indicative of, however, is the barriers to birthing more drum corps at all, many of which seem to be exacerbated, not alleviated, by DCI. Soundsport and drumline battles as an idea for growth? Nice, if you let any potential group perform in exhibition at your competition, but even so - there are only going to have a couple shows near a corps home base, most likely. However, as I understand correctly, not only do SoundSport groups not get any appearance fee, they actually have to pay for the opportunity to perform (~$20-25 per marcher) (which is "compensated" through free entry for the members to watch the rest of the show). So, for example, if you have a 25 member group, and want to attend 4 SoundSport exhibitions at local DCI shows, you are looking at $2,500 just to perform, on top of all the other costs - for a small group starting out, that might 1/5 of what they're collecting in members fees right there! Additionally, they have to provide proof of having secured licenses for all their music, which financially and logistically will be very difficult for a new corps (see how Louisiana Stars' music is all excerpts from Beethoven, which is public domain material and free).

    The barriers to entry and performance have to be reduced, and corps need to find a path that does not focus so heavily on the DCI competitive circuit as their sole raison d'etre.

    Just adding my SoundSport two cents based on 3 years in SoundSport and DrumLine Battle.

    SoundSport is a combination of registration fees, paid social media push, and beginning experience.

    Set your sights low and reasonable.... if you live in the SC or GA area you can do a DCI Competition for SoundSport and spend a low amount and have a good experience:

    Here is an example financial summary at $5500

    25 members @ $200 dues = $4000

    Performance Income from 3 Parades = $1500

    Liability Insurance = - $500

    Instrument Rental/Purchase (G Bugles) = -$2000

    Assuming you're playing public domain music, using borrowed/rented or already owned instruments, volunteer staff

    Finals DCI - at a 2-3 hour radius - 1500

    Registration Fee at $37x25 for DCI SoundSport Indy = -$925

    2 Rental Vans plus Fuel = -$400

    Assuming someone drives a pickup truck and you rental a trailer $120

    Exhibition DCI Show - at 2-3 hour radius - $770

    Registration Fee at $10x25 for Open Class DCI Show = -$250

    2 Rental Vans plus Fuel = -$400

    Assuming someone drives a pickup truck and you rental a trailer= - $120

    Total is $4770 - the rest that can be used for staff, and other such things.

    Meaning, SoundSport can be an affordable option if played right and is approached from an affordable manner. This is just the operational costs and not looking at some of the inventory costs like acquiring owned instruments etc.

    The other component is that you have to leverage DCI and SoundSport's Social Media to expand and talk about your program.

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  15. Just shared it in DCP Facebook. The members said they were trying to do a flash fundraiser of $30,000 in 24 hours to go to Finals. They did the same thing last year and ran a fundraiser to raise $30,000 only raising $6,000. I voiced my opinion on Facebook but I really feel bad for all of these kids who put their heart into the program only to have it fold 3 weeks before Finals. With so many regional corps on the West and Gulf Coats it makes more sense to stay local and nimble until you can afford to go to Finals instead of trying a tour the first few years out.

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  16. So far Sound Sport has spawned the following corps Guardians, Southwind, and Watchmen (I'm forgetting one). There are also corps who compete that are in DCA Class A or DCA Mini-Corps such as Cincinnati Tradition, Star United, and The Rocketeers. There are some groups like mine, The Columbus Saints that compete in Soundsport and SDCA or Mon Valley Express.

    In my opinion, Sound Sport is a great experience if you take advantage of what it offers. If you want to go from SoundSport to Open Class DCI will help you and get you on the path to build out your by-laws, grow your membership, develop your business plan and structure all while giving you a cheap way to get on the field and start recruiting.

    The other component of SoundSport lies in marketing. As a member you gain some access to DCI marketing power by the occasional social media retweet, repost, highlight in a magazine and more. If you treat social media as an integral part of your membership strategy then Sound Sport is great because they love to see and repost corps generated media. They like to hear about the positive elements, the experiences, and things that let participating organizations make their own story.

    With the Columbus Saints; we've been a community drumline performing in the HBCU style since 2003 until expanding in 2012 to add horns and competing at SoundSport Indy in 2014 with about 20 people. Since then we've grown 130% in less than a year; have acquired more instruments; started new community music programs through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club; and continue to focus on keeping our members engaged while focusing on a local grassroots experience.

    Thanks to Sound Sport we can tell our story to a wider audience, and then provide a good experience for our members. In the words of our founder "the kids that want to march World Class will march World Class. What about the other 75% who can't march; can't afford it; won't make it; or can't make the time and money commitment to a full tour? Who looks out for them? What about the ones with raw talent but need that extra help to get to that next level?"

    Our Founder on the role of G-Men and community in Drum Corps:

    The biggest complaint I hear about Sound Sport is the lack of rules and how it's not really drum corps. In my opinion this shows a lack of understanding or desire to understand what the concept is; and it's growth. In the last year they've had shows in China, Ireland, England and will have some in Columbia, and Japan this year. This is taking the DCI concept and inviting drum corps but also other marching arts ensembles to perform in a way that may fit their region. It also introduces a low impact; cost effective way to bring ensembles to the US to perform like Medlin Gran Banda. The other aspect of it is SoundSport isn't just an exhibition at a DCI Show. The goal is to take SoundSport and plant it anywhere that would fit with the performance style. That means, we could see a SoundSport competition during a national festival, or a huge sporting event. Something that having an Open Class Corps wouldn't work.

    The thing is not everyone in SoundSport wants to move to Open Class. Those that do, and asked for assistance have done well and grown. If you're interested I can share more about our experience and yes there are issues but it's all about expectation. If you expect it to be DCI Open Class but smaller then you'll be disappointed. If you expect it to be something under the DCI umbrella that's very open around communication, support, and performance then that's what it'll be.

    • Like 3
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