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And I can't understand for the life of me how or why we lost bit by bit, piece by piece the core of what made Drum Corps to me. Great sounding horn lines aside, nothing will ever replace the "snap, snap, snap" of 12 6 to 8 pound rifles being spun in unison during those brief moments of a drum solo or just before an entire cadre of a massive 35 horn front hits that final chorus of a song you know and didn't have to pay the rights to play.

The humanity lost when shows were the product of a single person's imagination and realized on the field with his corps over hours and days and months of rehearsals with teenagers whose lack of musical acumen was made up for by their enthusiasm and (dare I say it?!) esprit d corps.

Is it me? It's not me.

'Is it about the Kids?' as one writer put it? Gee, they're not kids. The people we see on the field are adults. The shows the 'spectacular' shows they reproduce on the field are first perfected via computer programs as are the charts they play.

You cannot open up the hood and get in there like George Z did with amazing success and tighten up the belt a little.

And there ya go.

Puppet

Its funny, but I have almost the exact opposite view! While I loved the snap of the rifles back in the day, with the metal strips taped to the straps to make that "snap, snap, snap" sound, what the guard members do today is just so amazing at EVERY level I am in awe. The use of the equipment is more an extension of their bodies today, and I for one love what they do.

As for songs we know...I still hear lots of that...but I want to have my experiences broadened by new music too, and I am glad that corps are paying for the rights and not just stealing someones creative property.

Shows I marched, and shows I helped create back in my days of marching and teaching, were not all that different in design than today...they were collaborations of the staffs then as now. As for the humanity...its still there, as much as it ever was. The members overall are just sooooo talented today, but don't let that wonderful performance talent cover up the human side of things...these members live and breath their corps just as we did. The esprit d corps is present as ever was.

Are they kids? Well, they have to leave at 22, so I'd say yes. Sure the average ages are a couple years older than my corps when I marched with Garfield, but we were younger than many 'A' corps ourselves.

As for using computers to create the music and visual designs...those are tools, just as graph paper and staf paper were back in the day. It still takes skill and talent from the designers to create the shows...computers just allow them to tweak and enhance what they do far better than back in the day.

You can indeed open up the hood and tweak things...look at every corps show in June and then in August. In fact, in some ways it is easier to tweak the shows today BECAUSE they can use the software to make a change, and if it doesn't work, just wipe it out. With the MB I write for, I am tweaking the music score right up to our champs to try and make the music better and better as the season progresses.

You are right about one thing...this thread has been a very respectful thread overall!

Take care, my DCP friend.

Mike

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Its funny, but I have almost the exact opposite view! While I loved the snap of the rifles back in the day, with the metal strips taped to the straps to make that "snap, snap, snap" sound, what the guard members do today is just so amazing at EVERY level I am in awe. The use of the equipment is more an extension of their bodies today, and I for one love what they do.

As for songs we know...I still hear lots of that...but I want to have my experiences broadened by new music too, and I am glad that corps are paying for the rights and not just stealing someones creative property.

Shows I marched, and shows I helped create back in my days of marching and teaching, were not all that different in design than today...they were collaborations of the staffs then as now. As for the humanity...its still there, as much as it ever was. The members overall are just sooooo talented today, but don't let that wonderful performance talent cover up the human side of things...these members live and breath their corps just as we did. The esprit d corps is present as ever was.

Are they kids? Well, they have to leave at 22, so I'd say yes. Sure the average ages are a couple years older than my corps when I marched with Garfield, but we were younger than many 'A' corps ourselves.

As for using computers to create the music and visual designs...those are tools, just as graph paper and staf paper were back in the day. It still takes skill and talent from the designers to create the shows...computers just allow them to tweak and enhance what they do far better than back in the day.

You can indeed open up the hood and tweak things...look at every corps show in June and then in August. In fact, in some ways it is easier to tweak the shows today BECAUSE they can use the software to make a change, and if it doesn't work, just wipe it out. With the MB I write for, I am tweaking the music score right up to our champs to try and make the music better and better as the season progresses.

You are right about one thing...this thread has been a very respectful thread overall!

Take care, my DCP friend.

Mike

...ah, here we are again! Through the ages (and there are definitely a few within *my* memory) this controversy comes up again and again. Never really gets resolved...pretty much is the folks who did on one side and the folks who do on the other. And I understand both sides because I seem to be in the extreme minority who did and do! This past weekend I attended two shows in NorCal, ostensibly as a sideline photographer representing DCP, more realistically as a complete geek and fan of what these drumcorps do on the field. First nite, at Stanford, I stayed on the sidelines and tried to concentrate on the mechanics of photography (a constant battle of missing settings and *finally* figuring it out...sheesh), and the second nite at Stockton doing the same thing, maybe a little better, but sneaking into the stands to see a couple of the groups I just *had* to observe. Also during the weekend, I was privileged to work a couple of visual blocks with Blue Knights (all of you olde school peeps will get a kick out of this group...if you just sit down and let it happen...) and volley phone calls to keep track of a touring group I'm putting alot of time and energy into; Pioneer. All this contact with the present generation of drum corps kids reaffirms my opinion that they are absolutely *just* *like* *us* regarding their units, each other, and, more importantly perhaps, *how* they perform. If there is one unifying factor that transcends all eras of corps, it is the ethic of excellence. They know what a tick is...some of the guys I marched with had trouble with that concept, LOL. I am a total advocate of the small corps, and the fact that most of the high school kids I teach in the winter months can't do corps because of the money obligation...my heart goes out to them and a dream of mine may be coming to fruition with the arena corps project. But that is another topic and should stay there. The totality of the activity, the most visible head of which is DCI, is providing a wonderful platform for the talented and driven kids of today...however, there *is* ample opportunity in the Open class and DCA for many more, so it ain't dead by a longshot. Programs are unique in that they can range from stuff you've never heard (or *want* to hear!) to many that are incorporating familiar tunes...and if you don't do computer, you're building fine furniture with a chainsaw. That's competition folks...what you see now is a direct result of competition. It's the system we've all grew up under, some have fought bloody battles for, and no other system is on the horizon. Strong survive, maybe get stronger, but that doesn't mean mom and pops can't operate and grow their business. As for me, I'm gonna go 'til I drop, because I think these new members of our community need to have what we have, and I aim to give it to 'em.

End of rant. Thanks for the platform MIKE! I'm still old, still play, still teach...and still need to get up in the AM and work! ;9)

cg

Edited by chasgroh

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Hey - I wrote that "they are kids"....because I once was one :smile: . I used the term because I am now a dinosaur - 55 to be exact.

Of course when I was 18 - I knew it all and would fight you to prove it. When I was 19 - I was tougher, 20 - even more so - and by the time I hit 21 - my age out year, everything came into focus. Every single day was one day less, and the desire to win never more evident. I was far more mature at 21 than at 18 - and I didn't need to fight any more - my actions spoke louder than my words.

And then I started teaching - I soon realized that even the 21 year old members - they still have a bit of immaturity - perhaps because they (like me) are sheltered in a drum corps world - and then thrown to the wolves into the real world.

As hard as drum corps was - thousands of miles of touring on busses without AC, sleeping on gym floors, barely enough to eat, NEVER having water jugs, cold showers were the norm on tour, practice practice practice - life was grand and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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I stopped going to DCI shows a few years back. The main thing that attracted me to drum corps was the distinctive sound. That's gone... I really don't care to hear synths & brass. I also liked the regional championships that added drama to the season. I miss the small and mid-size corps. My last junior corps show was DCI Allentown a few years back. I was sitting there realizing that it no longer floated my boat. My friend with me was completely bored. I still get to as many DCA shows as possible because the sound is more like what I prefer-some DCA corps even use gbrass!

Edited by pearlsnaredrummer77

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Its funny, but I have almost the exact opposite view! While I loved the snap of the rifles back in the day, with the metal strips taped to the straps to make that "snap, snap, snap" sound, what the guard members do today is just so amazing at EVERY level I am in awe. The use of the equipment is more an extension of their bodies today, and I for one love what they do.

As for songs we know...I still hear lots of that...but I want to have my experiences broadened by new music too, and I am glad that corps are paying for the rights and not just stealing someones creative property.

Shows I marched, and shows I helped create back in my days of marching and teaching, were not all that different in design than today...they were collaborations of the staffs then as now. As for the humanity...its still there, as much as it ever was. The members overall are just sooooo talented today, but don't let that wonderful performance talent cover up the human side of things...these members live and breath their corps just as we did. The esprit d corps is present as ever was.

Are they kids? Well, they have to leave at 22, so I'd say yes. Sure the average ages are a couple years older than my corps when I marched with Garfield, but we were younger than many 'A' corps ourselves.

As for using computers to create the music and visual designs...those are tools, just as graph paper and staf paper were back in the day. It still takes skill and talent from the designers to create the shows...computers just allow them to tweak and enhance what they do far better than back in the day.

You can indeed open up the hood and tweak things...look at every corps show in June and then in August. In fact, in some ways it is easier to tweak the shows today BECAUSE they can use the software to make a change, and if it doesn't work, just wipe it out. With the MB I write for, I am tweaking the music score right up to our champs to try and make the music better and better as the season progresses.

You are right about one thing...this thread has been a very respectful thread overall!

Take care, my DCP friend.

Mike

Well, this is what I mean when I say there has been a true exchange going on here. If I had asked Microsoft word (for instance) to look at the missive I wrote last night it would have told me that too many of the sentences written were in the "passive voice" and would have suggested that I change them.

I wouldn't have.

I aged out as you know by now, Mike, in '72. My commitment to the Air Force and my need to fly barely allowed me to march that year. When I got back I heard about the big changes and about DCI and saw a few shows up in MA. Good shows. When I mention humanity and esprit and all that I am talking about the stuff that happens when the same kids march together from the age of 12 or 13 until they age out. That's like 6 years of learning together, traveling together, feeling who is the weak guy in your section and being over his house in between rehearsals. It's practicing together so that 6 or 7 people of different heights (who are all wearing white bucks and uniforms trousers with stripes - and you know what I mean when I say that all of those who did) to work on leg lift adjustments during different parts of the show so that we all looked uniform. It's all those little tiny things that come with time and time together and time spent pouring your heart into that one passage (when you're a mid range player) that literally makes your horn line sound twice as big for just that breath of time.

I don't dare discount what today's kids who are all old enough to vote and drink and have (dare I say it?!) sex go through to get themselves on the field. They are by comparison, professional musicians and dancers and actors and gymnasts. The fact that they are massive organizations of up to 135 performers is amazing to me. But, if you want to put on a show like Aida or any opera, you better be a pro to pull it off.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the only kids in the horn lines who didn't smoke hadn't started yet.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the adults with the corps were usually parents and you can read that as "This is "CYO" there will be no hanky-panky!"

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the equipment we carried and played and spun and threw into the air and even the props we used were mostly penalized by judges, hand made by one of the Dads and (this is important) never touched the ground.

Those days saw the beginning of 'themed shows' that everyone seems to forget about. and those days were the harbinger of what is now.

Those days were stanchions of the bridge between then and now and I think that if we had then the technology we have now we would have less explaining to do.

"Oh!" The Kids will say! "That's when they stopped marching and ran on the field to another formation! How did they do that without paint spots on field?"

"Oh!" The Kids will say! "They're actually playing in two different time signatures in on opposite sides of the field at the same time and none of it's semetrical! (yeah, I know I spelled it wrong!) What year was that again, wow! My Dad was a kid!"

I think, all most of us are looking for is some of the new to actually recognize where it all came from. It was literally drilled into us.

As a writer or an professional creative person we are taught the rules and only then can we proceed to break them in the name of creativity.

I certainly applauded with abandon the efforts of Star when they smashed all the notions of normalcy. But they followed the crowd and lost doing it. And they learned how to lose until they learned all the rules of winning and then bent them until they broke.

Seems to me no one has tried that since.

It's still not me.

It's the activity who doesn't believe in it's own history.

It's the activity who in in lock-step thinking it's listening to a different drummer when some one corps should just say: "Wait a minute...didn't we march this last year?"

And nobody can remember because most of those who marched last year can't afford to march this year.

"Darn, who was that guy, he was kinda cool. Wonder why he's not at camp this year."

Puppet

(who just signed a new contract and has had a few ...)

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Its funny, but I have almost the exact opposite view! While I loved the snap of the rifles back in the day, with the metal strips taped to the straps to make that "snap, snap, snap" sound, what the guard members do today is just so amazing at EVERY level I am in awe. The use of the equipment is more an extension of their bodies today, and I for one love what they do.

As for songs we know...I still hear lots of that...but I want to have my experiences broadened by new music too, and I am glad that corps are paying for the rights and not just stealing someones creative property.

Shows I marched, and shows I helped create back in my days of marching and teaching, were not all that different in design than today...they were collaborations of the staffs then as now. As for the humanity...its still there, as much as it ever was. The members overall are just sooooo talented today, but don't let that wonderful performance talent cover up the human side of things...these members live and breath their corps just as we did. The esprit d corps is present as ever was.

Are they kids? Well, they have to leave at 22, so I'd say yes. Sure the average ages are a couple years older than my corps when I marched with Garfield, but we were younger than many 'A' corps ourselves.

As for using computers to create the music and visual designs...those are tools, just as graph paper and staf paper were back in the day. It still takes skill and talent from the designers to create the shows...computers just allow them to tweak and enhance what they do far better than back in the day.

You can indeed open up the hood and tweak things...look at every corps show in June and then in August. In fact, in some ways it is easier to tweak the shows today BECAUSE they can use the software to make a change, and if it doesn't work, just wipe it out. With the MB I write for, I am tweaking the music score right up to our champs to try and make the music better and better as the season progresses.

You are right about one thing...this thread has been a very respectful thread overall!

Take care, my DCP friend.

Mike

Well, this is what I mean when I say there has been a true exchange going on here. If I had asked Microsoft word (for instance) to look at the missive I wrote last night it would have told me that too many of the sentences written were in the "passive voice" and would have suggested that I change them.

I wouldn't have.

I aged out as you know by now, Mike, in '72. My commitment to the Air Force and my need to fly barely allowed me to march that year. When I got back I heard about the big changes and about DCI and saw a few shows up in MA. Good shows. When I mention humanity and esprit and all that I am talking about the stuff that happens when the same kids march together from the age of 12 or 13 until they age out. That's like 6 years of learning together, traveling together, feeling who is the weak guy in your section and being over his house in between rehearsals. It's practicing together so that 6 or 7 people of different heights (who are all wearing white bucks and uniforms trousers with stripes - and you know what I mean when I say that all of those who did) to work on leg lift adjustments during different parts of the show so that we all looked uniform. It's all those little tiny things that come with time and time together and time spent pouring your heart into that one passage (when you're a mid range player) that literally makes your horn line sound twice as big for just that breath of time.

I don't dare discount what today's kids who are all old enough to vote and drink and have (dare I say it?!) sex go through to get themselves on the field. They are by comparison, professional musicians and dancers and actors and gymnasts. The fact that they are massive organizations of up to 135 performers is amazing to me. But, if you want to put on a show like Aida or any opera, you better be a pro to pull it off.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the only kids in the horn lines who didn't smoke hadn't started yet.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the adults with the corps were usually parents and you can read that as "This is "CYO" there will be no hanky-panky!"

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the equipment we carried and played and spun and threw into the air and even the props we used were mostly penalized by judges, hand made by one of the Dads and (this is important) never touched the ground.

Those days saw the beginning of 'themed shows' that everyone seems to forget about. and those days were the harbinger of what is now.

Those days were stanchions of the bridge between then and now and I think that if we had then the technology we have now we would have less explaining to do.

"Oh!" The Kids will say! "That's when they stopped marching and ran on the field to another formation! How did they do that without paint spots on field?"

"Oh!" The Kids will say! "They're actually playing in two different time signatures in on opposite sides of the field at the same time and none of it's semetrical! (yeah, I know I spelled it wrong!) What year was that again, wow! My Dad was a kid!"

I think, all most of us are looking for is some of the new to actually recognize where it all came from. It was literally drilled into us.

As a writer or an professional creative person we are taught the rules and only then can we proceed to break them in the name of creativity.

I certainly applauded with abandon the efforts of Star when they smashed all the notions of normalcy. But they followed the crowd and lost doing it. And they learned how to lose until they learned all the rules of winning and then bent them until they broke.

Seems to me no one has tried that since.

It's still not me.

It's the activity who doesn't believe in it's own history.

It's the activity who in in lock-step thinking it's listening to a different drummer when some one corps should just say: "Wait a minute...didn't we march this last year?"

And nobody can remember because most of those who marched last year can't afford to march this year.

"Darn, who was that guy, he was kinda cool. Wonder why he's not at camp this year."

Puppet

(who just signed a new contract and has had a few ...)

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Well, this is what I mean when I say there has been a true exchange going on here. If I had asked Microsoft word (for instance) to look at the missive I wrote last night it would have told me that too many of the sentences written were in the "passive voice" and would have suggested that I change them.

I wouldn't have.

I aged out as you know by now, Mike, in '72. My commitment to the Air Force and my need to fly barely allowed me to march that year.

Well, I didn't age out in 72 but it was my last year marching, as that is all I could afford, as I had to work summers for school. And thanks a lot for your service! My son just completed nearly eight years in the Navy.

When I got back I heard about the big changes and about DCI and saw a few shows up in MA. Good shows. When I mention humanity and esprit and all that I am talking about the stuff that happens when the same kids march together from the age of 12 or 13 until they age out. That's like 6 years of learning together, traveling together, feeling who is the weak guy in your section and being over his house in between rehearsals. It's practicing together so that 6 or 7 people of different heights (who are all wearing white bucks and uniforms trousers with stripes - and you know what I mean when I say that all of those who did) to work on leg lift adjustments during different parts of the show so that we all looked uniform. It's all those little tiny things that come with time and time together and time spent pouring your heart into that one passage (when you're a mid range player) that literally makes your horn line sound twice as big for just that breath of time.

That is a beautiful thing, no doubt. My own 9 years marching were split 4,2,3 between the three corps I belonged to, so my experience was a bit different that yours in that regard. Maybe because of my own experience, I don't find that longevity is as important as what you experience while you are a member.

I don't dare discount what today's kids who are all old enough to vote and drink and have (dare I say it?!) sex go through to get themselves on the field. They are by comparison, professional musicians and dancers and actors and gymnasts. The fact that they are massive organizations of up to 135 performers is amazing to me. But, if you want to put on a show like Aida or any opera, you better be a pro to pull it off.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the only kids in the horn lines who didn't smoke hadn't started yet.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the adults with the corps were usually parents and you can read that as "This is "CYO" there will be no hanky-panky!"

There are all sorts of adult volunteers today..parents, alums and just interested people who have the time and interest to help our. We had a mix in Garfield even in my day.

Yes, today's average performers are amazingly professional as compared to our day, but that doesn't mean they think and feel differently than we did...they just do it at such a high level. Under the covers its still exactly the same as in our day. Read Charlie's post above yours...he still teaches corps.

Remember, in the sixties and early seventies the equipment we carried and played and spun and threw into the air and even the props we used were mostly penalized by judges, hand made by one of the Dads and (this is important) never touched the ground.

Those days saw the beginning of 'themed shows' that everyone seems to forget about. and those days were the harbinger of what is now.

Those days were stanchions of the bridge between then and now and I think that if we had then the technology we have now we would have less explaining to do.

Marching in Garfield you don't have to tell me that twice!!! We took a lot for our 71 themed show...and 70 Tony 'hic' Schlechta said we did not belong at the VFW Nats in Miami because we formed a Peace Sign.

"Oh!" The Kids will say! "That's when they stopped marching and ran on the field to another formation! How did they do that without paint spots on field?"

"Oh!" The Kids will say! "They're actually playing in two different time signatures in on opposite sides of the field at the same time and none of it's semetrical! (yeah, I know I spelled it wrong!) What year was that again, wow! My Dad was a kid!"

I think, all most of us are looking for is some of the new to actually recognize where it all came from. It was literally drilled into us.

As a writer or an professional creative person we are taught the rules and only then can we proceed to break them in the name of creativity.

I certainly applauded with abandon the efforts of Star when they smashed all the notions of normalcy. But they followed the crowd and lost doing it. And they learned how to lose until they learned all the rules of winning and then bent them until they broke.

Seems to me no one has tried that since.

It's still not me.

It's the activity who doesn't believe in it's own history.

It's the activity who in in lock-step thinking it's listening to a different drummer when some one corps should just say: "Wait a minute...didn't we march this last year?"

And nobody can remember because most of those who marched last year can't afford to march this year.

"Darn, who was that guy, he was kinda cool. Wonder why he's not at camp this year."

Puppet

(who just signed a new contract and has had a few ...)

IMO the history is one long continuous change and striving to be exciting and new and entertaining...compare 1931/1971 and 1971/2011...IMO the second are not as far apart as the first.

Congrats on a new contract!!!

Mike

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