fifer

Forget Woodwinds – Beware of WGI

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Some visual judges ignore it...the good ones do not.

there must be few of them then

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In the early 70's (back in the days before WGI-or at least I think it was) there were a lot of independent winter circuits. One day our perc instructor came in and told us that he needed a few drummers for a newly formed winter guard that year (5 were the max at the time). There was no shortage of voluteers because we knew that was where the chicks were. A lot of the guards at that time began using recordings (that's cassettes and not CD's for all you youngsters out there) while doing away with percussion altogether. Every once in awhile the tape would break during the middle of their show, but because they still had a military-style program they were able to work their way through it. If that had happened to one of today's guards with all the dancin' and prancin' they do they would probably just be standing out there looking like a bunch of babes who were lost in the woods. When I go to a Drum Corps show I mostly focus on perc and brass anyway, and if someone (and I'll bet there are not many) want to remain fixated on the guard - hey, whatever blows your hair back.

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If that had happened to one of today's guards with all the dancin' and prancin' they do they would probably just be standing out there looking like a bunch of babes who were lost in the woods.

Well now, this was some interesting reading ... I will admit I'm a bit "Guard bias" but so be it. Let's remember folks, it is called "Drum and Bugle Corps" .. this will never change. HNC have been doing this for 75 years (congrats to them BTW). I don't see it changing to "Drum, Bugle and Color Guard Corps" anytime soon.

Is there WGI influence here, on the visual aspects of guard I would say absolutly yes. That's just the way it is. Back when Piper was "crusing for guard babes" the ability and complexity of what color guards could do cannot be compared to what is being done now. Just as corps are changing musically, so are guards. Example, BD tossed rifle ensemble EIGHT, back in the 70's as stated that would not have been a thought! Color Guards are pushing the envelope every year. If you haven't been to a WGI Color Guard show, your comment about "prancin and dancin" shows your inability to judge what you don't know.

With 100+ musicians and say 40 guard members in an average drum corps, I think that the spotlight on music is pretty safe.

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Well now, this was some interesting reading ... I will admit I'm a bit "Guard bias" but so be it. Let's remember folks, it is called "Drum and Bugle Corps" .. this will never change. HNC have been doing this for 75 years (congrats to them BTW). I don't see it changing to "Drum, Bugle and Color Guard Corps" anytime soon.

Is there WGI influence here, on the visual aspects of guard I would say absolutly yes. That's just the way it is. Back when Piper was "crusing for guard babes" the ability and complexity of what color guards could do cannot be compared to what is being done now. Just as corps are changing musically, so are guards. Example, BD tossed rifle ensemble EIGHT, back in the 70's as stated that would not have been a thought! Color Guards are pushing the envelope every year. If you haven't been to a WGI Color Guard show, your comment about "prancin and dancin" shows your inability to judge what you don't know.

With 100+ musicians and say 40 guard members in an average drum corps, I think that the spotlight on music is pretty safe.

Your post is wrong and inacurate on many levels.

G

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Back when Piper was "crusing for guard babes" the ability and complexity of what color guards could do cannot be compared to what is being done now.

yikes... get ready to take a beating.

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Agree and like it

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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.

I've been advocating this for years, but just wait. Soon to follow are all the folks who, as they replied to me, insist it can't be done because a skater is one person, a guard (WGI) or corps (DCI) too many individuals for judges to be able to deduct a set number of points for individual technical errors. IMO, whether it can be done or not, having a system that is completely build-up, with no breakdown capability, undermines the effectiveness of the system.

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I just don't want to see hornlines not march.

There really is too much hiding behind props, standing still, sitting down (yeah that's a callout), posing, and free form this year. Just really way too much this year. It started in the early 2000s and it's really getting out of hand in my opinion.

Most of the top 6 are extremely guilty of this. For me difficulty both technical and on physical endurance of a marcher is an effect for me and I'm certainly not alone on this thought. Corps have 100 days to max it out. Write something effective yet clearly hard and rehearse it until it's clean. There's got to be less "wow that's cool" and more of "wow look at what they're doing".

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Back when Piper was "crusing for guard babes" the ability and complexity of what color guards could do cannot be compared to what is being done now.

Well, I've taken this comment on before, and I'll take it on again. Yes, it can be compared. That's because the type of demand has changed over the years . . . but once guards started spinning and throwing their equipment, it was always complex, at least commensurate with what the judging sheets demanded at the time.

There is a huge level of demand in, for example, throwing a heavy (especially compared with today's standards) rifle in a quad, nailing the rotations, body positions, position of equipment in the air, keeping the feet where they're supposed to be without stepping out of position (which I see waaay too much of nowadays) and not dropping. All of which guards were doing constantly back in the '70s because they had to. Anything less got them deductions (tics) from the judges. And they were doing this all day long, day in and day out, with rifle lines that were generally rifle lines for an entire show, not a segment or segments.

So guards then were trained in technique, trained to nail all the little stuff, trained to do all of this while marching, sometimes even during high knee lift (which they also had to execute uniformly and correctly, lest they be ticked), and each individual was expected to execute all of these details without ticking. That contains its own inherent demand, and that level of demand is something that I remain unconvinced that guards of today could do as well simply because they're not trained in that way, the sheets don't demand that they perform a tickless show, so neither the performers nor the judges expect that. As with guards then, they are trained, but in a different way, and many perform what they are trained to do exceptionally well. But to claim that ability and complexity cannot be compared ignores the essence of what guards of yesteryear did.

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