fifer

Forget Woodwinds – Beware of WGI

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Meh.

It's kind of understood that WGI and BOA are where the ideas are now, and DCI now follows along so it can achieve the same kind of scholastic relevance . . .that way it can ride the other activities coat tails. Lest we forget, DCI can't get that yummy public school system money that a lot of WGI and BOA units can, and has to do whatever it can to make a dollar or two to survive.

Ever since Dan Acheson and company decided to primarily market to the marching music enthusiast in the late 90's, each change (multi key, amps, electronics, more shows in domes away from the elements, woodwinds in the pit . . .or more . . .soon) is part and parcel of morphing DCI into a primarily indoor activity that will end up as the summer cross-pollination of WGI/BOA.

Not to be Chicken Little here, but don't be surprised when you see the proposal for amped woodwinds in the pit in another year or two.

you are correct

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Predictions: Some within 5 years, some within 10:

1) Attendance will continue to go down as it sounds like it did this year.

2) Instrumentation will continue to converge to band.

3) Open Class corps will be a thing of the past.

4) Retreat will resemble WGI more each year.

5) DCI will officially change its name to The Marching Music Major Leagues or MML.

6) Due to poor attendance MML will not be able to continue to justify having a separate show for the Independent Bands and will move Independent Band Competition into Grand Nationals with Scholastic competition similar to a WGI setup.

7) The convergence of DCI/BOA will be carefully constructed between DCI/BOA and MENC.

8) George Hopkins will look like a "Legacy Fan" and try and fight these changes but it will be too late.

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I was recently watching some old shows from the 70s and it was alarming to me how much more militaristic the color guard was back then. I'd forgotten how much DCI had transitioned to Broadway/ballet in the 80s.

Any other sport that relies on subjective judging has a set of required set of technical expectations with a base score for the simplest form of the technique. For example, in ice skating, a salchow has a base value of .4 and a quadruple salchow has a base value of 8.5. A technical judge identifies the technique while the panel of judges rate its execution. While every skater attempts to add crowd-pleasing nuance to their performances, they know exactly what they need to execute to place in medals.

Maybe before DCI gets ahead of itself it needs to lay out better ground rules for judging so we don't have (a) new skill sets with no known judging basis beyond general effect and (b) everyone enters the season with fair degree of expectation of what the judges are looking for. If every corp knew they needed to have A, B, C, D, & E tech specs in their show, then GE becomes less of a controversial issue, IMO.

Edited by Gaddabout

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In my eyes, it's been like the OP suggests since 2002 or so. Many, many corps have found themselves more fixated on things other than marching music (whether it be chairs, tables, narration, couches in the middle of the field, whole notes with visual accompaniment, alice in wonderland characters, etc) at least one year.

If anything, this year was the biggest jump back to marching music being more important than we've had, overall, in a very long time.

I'm hoping it's a slight fork in the road to the path it seemed to be going down.

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How is this stuff so different from something as far back as the 1990 Blue Devils "Tommy," with a show staged around what were essentially floor tarps and a guard in wild outfits that spun almost no traditional equipment ( just one flag, everything else was crazy contraptions made out of PVC). The guard was definitely designed to pull a lot of focus.

This year you had SCV, Cadets and even Boston in what could be considered very traditional shows. I think the "we're going to he** in WGI's handbasket" argument has been around for years and is nothing particularly startling. Sound adjustments for the indoor venue have much more potential to alter show design than does the perceived world domination of color guard.

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In my eyes, it's been like the OP suggests since 2002 or so. Many, many corps have found themselves more fixated on things other than marching music (whether it be chairs, tables, narration, couches in the middle of the field, whole notes with visual accompaniment, alice in wonderland characters, etc) at least one year.

If anything, this year was the biggest jump back to marching music being more important than we've had, overall, in a very long time.

I'm hoping it's a slight fork in the road to the path it seemed to be going down.

Yeah, I agree with you Lance. Their did seem to be a shift back in the direction of "marching music".....I just hope these shifts aren't too late...

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the activity seems to be morphing itself to a place where the guard is the focus of the entire show, and the other sections provide background music. i don't have a problem with a killer flag feature on the 50 yard line, because it is incredibly impressive.

Then it makes sense that the trend is to get mics on the field because the only thing that currently prevents a drum corps show from becoming a play is speech from the field performers. They're mimes right now. That could lead to singing.

Shoot me now.

Edited by tommyfromhowardst

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There needs to be a junior drum corps circuit that isn't going in this direction.

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Well not just the guard aspects but WGI went away from "marching" and drill a long time ago. It's all about staging. There is movement away from traditional "drill" in favor of staging your elements.

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Drum Corps HAS become very theatrical in recent years. Look at 2008 Phantom in which theatrics served them well, however their 2009 show that appeared to rely heavily on theatrics again, failed them. Look at some of the 2009 shows - Boston's show was heavily influenced by the provocative dancer/color guard, BD's reliance on the guard for their theme - there are many others to cite, but you get the idea.

The point is that drum corps has always had a theatrical element to it, some years it was more dominant, some years less. The key is the integration of ALL elements of the corps - brass, percussion, guard, as well as the integration of the theme into a visually pleasing and satisfying show. Just because this is "Drum and Bugle Corps" doesn't exclude guards. Do we need to rename the activity Drum and Bugle and Guard Corps? I think not.

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