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Forget Woodwinds – Beware of WGI

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Yet another thread just opened regarding the fear of DCI adding woodwinds. But it seems to me that the more immediate concern should be over drum corps being significantly affected by a move away from show designs that focus on music and movement and toward shows designed around the color guard and WGI-type themes.

You need only look as far as Blue Devils 2009 for an example of this as a trend that show designers are taking and, more significantly, that judges are rewarding. And with judges rewarding this design style, it won’t be long before many other corps follow suit and, as a result, change the face of drum corps forever.

And if finals remain in Lucan Oil Stadium (with its crappy sight lines and disturbing echo), corps will have even more reason to play/march less and act, pose, do gynmastics, move chairs, etc. more.

So while everyone is so worried about woodwinds, drum corps is changing significantly right under our noses and few seem to be saying or doing anything about it.

I, for one, welcome our new WGI overlords.

But in all seriousness, If "WGI-type themes" (BTW, what exactly is a WGI-type theme?) are a growing threat to the purity of drum corps, then why did Phantom win last year?

If there's any sweeping trend, it'll probably be programers/vis. staff looking into visual ideas and motifs completely outside of DCI/WGI/BOA. Example: SCV 09 and the use Martha Graham's movements by both the color guard AND the field musical ensemble. I don't see too many people getting bunched up about that show.

Edited by ShutUpAndPlayYerGuitar

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Just a guess, but I think a lot of you who think you're on the same page on this (theme over music) are really thinking of multiple drum corps nirvanas. Star's circus show was as over-the-top in design as anything I've seen since then, and that was ... 93? It really depends on how old you are. I think if you're 45+, what you think of as great drum corps might not look like anything someone under 30 could really embrace because what first appealed to you in your comparative youths was likely very different.

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Ya! Let's go back to color guard doing nothing but drop spins. It's oh so entertaining.

If you don't like guard integration, might I suggest getting your music heavy fix from a symphony, jazz group, or rock show.

:throwupen: Exactly!

Last year and this year is a straight up battle between the guard integrated design and the guard used as a accent/backdrop design (that is, guard forming up, spinning, lining up, spinning, framing the brass, etc). BD is straight-up integration where Cadets were much more accent/backdrop, while Crown was a bit of a mix. But Crown was definately leaning in BD's direction. When the OP suggests (in a less than flattering manner) the new guard uses (poses, sit in chairs, ect) he clearly shows his old school leanings. To each his own, I for one am sick of the kielidoscopic drill and the guard framing the brass, you could have both units on different fields, like two separate shows. The Gold and Silver medal winners this year and last year used their guard in creative ways and were rewarded for it, so designers should pay attention!

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Last year and this year is a straight up battle between the guard integrated design and the guard used as a accent/backdrop design (that is, guard forming up, spinning, lining up, spinning, framing the brass, etc). BD is straight-up integration where Cadets were much more accent/backdrop, while Crown was a bit of a mix.

I disagree. Many corps have been integrating the guards very effectively without making the guard the center of the show's design. What BD has done the past two years, IMHO, it to take it past integration to a point where it is first and foremost about the guard show with the horns, drums and marching added almost as an afterthought.

I feel the same way that the Cavies have moved to drill (and an integrated guard) as the primary focus with music supporting the drill, BD has moved to guard as the primary focus with music and marching in supportive roles. Whereas Crown is the best example of true integration of ALL parts - music, marching, guard and theatrics, where none is more prominent than the other and all work together.

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Yet another thread just opened regarding the fear of DCI adding woodwinds. But it seems to me that the more immediate concern should be over drum corps being significantly affected by a move away from show designs that focus on music and movement and toward shows designed around the color guard and WGI-type themes.

You need only look as far as Blue Devils 2009 for an example of this as a trend that show designers are taking and, more significantly, that judges are rewarding. And with judges rewarding this design style, it won’t be long before many other corps follow suit and, as a result, change the face of drum corps forever.

My first impression was to agree with you. But then I gave the subject a bit more thought and, I have to say, things just don't add up.

When I think "show design," I think of the overall package, how everything "works together" (or doesn't). Thus, and maybe I'm misinterpreting your intent, I inferred your post to be a concern that visual elements (specifically color guard) are being given more weight by the judges (specifically in visual effect, implying that the focus of visual effect judging has gotten away from drill and now rests heavily with color guard and, shall we say, "stage design").

So, I decided to look through the recaps the past ten years, to see if there was a correlation between color guard scores and visual effect scores. Surprisingly (to me), there was not one. The corps that took high guard took high visual GE only 6 out of 10 times, and the DCI Champion has won High Guard also only 6 of the past 10 years: barely better than 50-50. True, the DCI Champion has placed first in visual ensemble 7 of the past 10 years... but the DCI Champion has taken the musical ensemble sub-caption 9 of the past 10 years; in fact, 2009 was the first time since 1998 that the DCI Champ did not win the musical ensemble sub-caption.

So that's the top, what about the middle? Well, the Blue Stars with all their prop tables had a higher guard score than the Bluecoats or Crusaders in 2009, but trailed both corps in visual effect. Back in 2007, the Cavaliers took high guard but finished 3rd in visual effect, and Carolina Crown was 2nd in guard but 6th in visual effect. So guard success doesn't guarantee visual effect success, but does a (comparatively) poor guard showing preclude visual effect success? Also no: the 2000 Blue Devils, 2004 Cavaliers, and 2006 Phantom Regiment all took high visual effect despite being 3rd in guard, and the 2007 Cadets took high visual effect yet were 4th in guard.

As for designing a show (or sections of a show) around a visual concept or props, this is by no means groundbreaking stuff:

2008 Cadets' sofa

2007 Crown's fences

2005 Cavaliers' ladders

2002 Crusaders' banners and portraits

1995 Vanguard's spinning eyesores

1994 Vanguard's red poppies

1993 Regiment's helmets-as-tombstones

1992 Star's big banners

1989 Vanguard's disappearing Phantom

etc.

Lastly, let's not forget that this past summer Santa Clara had their highest score in five years (and second highest of the decade) with a show that was pretty much entirely about the musical presentation.

So, in the end, I guess my verdict would have to be this is much ado about nothing. There is a popular perception that DCI is rewarding visual creativity at the expense of the musical product, but that perception just doesn't seem to mesh with the reality of the numbers.

[edited to correct spelling/tense mistakes]

Edited by hostrauser

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I hope that DCI avoids WGI's influence. I would not like to see WGI take a step....Back. Lets keep it apart so

DCI dosent pollute WGI.

Im sure no one will be upset about so many WGI drummers being on DCI corps. :throwupen:

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I hope that DCI avoids WGI's influence. I would not like to see WGI take a step....Back. Lets keep it apart so

DCI dosent pollute WGI.

:throwupen:

Get off my dot forum, punk. :peek:

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Wait a minute... you mean there is actually something other than a drum line and horn line on the field? I never noticed anything else.

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I think guards should be amped!

...and they should spin woodwind...players!

agreed....actually I heard rumor that a world class WGI guard is going to do this for their show this year.

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