Sign in to follow this  
CaballarosJr.

Saving Drum Corps part I: Defining the problem

Recommended Posts

You have some good points here, and I can offer some insights. I am a Catholic priest . I was not a priest back in the good old days, at that time I was a member of a CYO band and was an avid drum corps fan.

I’m not sure whether the “power” of the Catholic Church in urban areas in the past is the issue. Without downplaying the influence of the Church in many cities, it was not a matter of power, it was a matter of people. It’s not a coincidence that urban corps in Catholic parishes folded when people fled the cities for the suburbs, at least in Boston.

Today it’s more a matter of priorities. I would love to start drum corps in my own parish, and have given the matter seems serious thought. Here are my issues. How do I justify the expense of a drum corps when the teachers in my school are not getting the salaries of a public school teacher even though they work just as hard? How do I raise the funds to keep a corps going when I am asking people to make significant contributions for pointing work on buildings? Where can I find storage places for the equipment without evicting the food pantry and thrift shop? As worthwhile activity as I believe drum corps to be, it just couldn’t happen today in a Catholic parish, and I’m in a parish that is relatively strong and financially healthy, but I wouldn’t be if I had the expense of a drum corps. Some might argue it would fill the church every week, but that doesn’t happen either. Parishes still run scouting programs, youth groups, and sports teams, but this does not generate better attendance and it’s more as a service to the community. As far as why a parish can’t do the same for drum corps, it costs far less to open the gym, turn on the lights, and run a basketball program that probably serves more kids than it would to have an program that requires professionals.

People don’t look to parishes to provide all social activities as they once did, any more than people join the AL or VFW for those reasons. So if smaller and newer corps were to be founded and local circuits were to form again, it would have to be by groups formed specifically for that purpose. However, if such organizations formed, I would argue that all of us who benefited from the activity should do what we can to support it, especially if it’s why we claim we are where we are today because were in a drum corps, a drill team, or a CYO band.

I'd love to see both. IMO it is not going to happen. One reason is that with such a large competitive band scene, there is no impetus to start local-style weekend drum corps circuits all over the country. It is a different time than the 50's and 60's.

Don't forget who started those little corps back then...VFW, AL, CYO...those groups are not in any position to fund and manage such efforts these days.

The Catholic church is not the power it was, especially in the urban areas. Just look at the list of corps on corpsreps...St "This" and St "That" all over the place. Most of them never made it to the DCI era at all, or just barely.

WWII and Korean Vets were the bulk of the VFW and AL membership in the 50's and 60's. Their kids were the marching members...that is how I started in 1964 at age 10 1/2, when my dad signed me up at the little corps his VFW post sponsored.

There is no ready pool of members at this point. Viet Nam vets didn't flock to those groups, and it doesn't seem that vets of more recent military service are either.

I certainly have no preference to NOT see such circuits; I just don't see them happening, at least in the US.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if smaller and newer corps were to be founded and local circuits were to form again, it would have to be by groups formed specifically for that purpose. However, if such organizations formed, I would argue that all of us who benefited from the activity should do what we can to support it, especially if it's why we claim we are where we are today because were in a drum corps, a drill team, or a CYO band.

Great post!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have some good points here, and I can offer some insights. I am a Catholic priest . I was not a priest back in the good old days, at that time I was a member of a CYO band and was an avid drum corps fan.

I’m not sure whether the “power” of the Catholic Church in urban areas in the past is the issue. Without downplaying the influence of the Church in many cities, it was not a matter of power, it was a matter of people. It’s not a coincidence that urban corps in Catholic parishes folded when people fled the cities for the suburbs, at least in Boston.

Maybe 'influence' is a better word than 'power'. You are right...it is the people. Catholic corps in cities such as Newark NJ folded for all sorts of reasons...the rise of the burbs is one of them, for sure. Even suburban Catholic churches were pulling away from drum corps though...going back to the 50's (Holy Name Cadets in Garfield, for example). Later the Sacred Heart Crusaders bacame the Manville Crusaders in NJ...the Livingston Imperial Guardsmen were sponsored by St Raphael's church for a number of years...but lost that eventually. Up in Mass the St Mary's Cardinals became the Beverly Cardinals, I think.

Today it’s more a matter of priorities. I would love to start drum corps in my own parish, and have given the matter seems serious thought. Here are my issues. How do I justify the expense of a drum corps when the teachers in my school are not getting the salaries of a public school teacher even though they work just as hard? How do I raise the funds to keep a corps going when I am asking people to make significant contributions for pointing work on buildings? Where can I find storage places for the equipment without evicting the food pantry and thrift shop? As worthwhile activity as I believe drum corps to be, it just couldn’t happen today in a Catholic parish, and I’m in a parish that is relatively strong and financially healthy, but I wouldn’t be if I had the expense of a drum corps. Some might argue it would fill the church every week, but that doesn’t happen either. Parishes still run scouting programs, youth groups, and sports teams, but this does not generate better attendance and it’s more as a service to the community. As far as why a parish can’t do the same for drum corps, it costs far less to open the gym, turn on the lights, and run a basketball program that probably serves more kids than it would to have an program that requires professionals.

Agree 100%.

People don’t look to parishes to provide all social activities as they once did, any more than people join the AL or VFW for those reasons. So if smaller and newer corps were to be founded and local circuits were to form again, it would have to be by groups formed specifically for that purpose. However, if such organizations formed, I would argue that all of us who benefited from the activity should do what we can to support it, especially if it’s why we claim we are where we are today because were in a drum corps, a drill team, or a CYO band.

Which is why, IMO, it is not going to be able to happen on any scale...the band programs already exist at that level, and they receive public funding. Some receive more than others, of course, but the infrastructure is there for most part. You even have Catholic bands competing, such as Immaculata in Somerville, NJ and Msgr Farrell in Staten Island, NY. I have judged others over the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand, but when weekend drum corps circuits were in the ascendancy, I'm sure someone made similar statements about a weekend band circuit.

IMO the rise of the competitive band world, at least in my geographic area, happened as it did as a response to the decline in the numbers of drum corps that existed, starting in the 70's. Marching members became music teachers and brought their corps experience to the band world, and judges and corps staff people looking for work flocked to the corps-style bands, as we called them, to keep working. The first major band circuit in the NJ/PA area was TOB...it was primarly drum corps people in the National Judges Assn that spread to the band world. The Metro Judges Assn followed at the end of the 70's with the EMBA circuit. These band circuits, and other, were keeping corps-experienced judges working while the corps world was shrinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So .... if kids aren't doing drum corps these days, what are they doing? What's new today that wasn't around thirty-five years ago? [as I type this on my PC...]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So .... if kids aren't doing drum corps these days, what are they doing? What's new today that wasn't around thirty-five years ago? [as I type this on my PC...]

Thank you for this post ... it is what I have been waiting for all these pages ... and why we should never take topics like this seriously. There is no fix because there is no problem. We were (as if no one gets it!) different from the youngsters of today ... as different as we were from our parents. The world is different. The #### weather is different for goodness sake. Junior drum corps are being marched by adults ... people who can vote, contract STDs and not by pre adolescents who were mostly the pre-cursor of nerds and geeks. We did not have to worry about homosexuality because the males marching were not thinking about being dancers on Broadway or any such thing ... this topic, if I continue to think about its absurdity and lack of focus will cause me to just point to it and laugh - just like the jocks of my youth laughed at me in my St. Joseph Patron Cadet uniform. And like the original poster, who doesn't care, I didn't either - but then again I was only 15 years old and stubborn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The time to "save" drum corps was in the mid-70's. It is what it is today so lets be thankful that a small percentage is still there for us to watch and listen. The days of going to Marion, Lynn and Butler for 3 days each have been gone for years now. The time to "save" our activity has come and gone. The OP decided in 2011/12 to save it. Let's be realistic, embrace and support what we have. We have AMAZING DCI and DCA programs that we didn't see in the 70's. You can go to a DCA show and not be let down. The same holds true at DCI shows. Open class is just as entertaining as World Class but on a smaller scale. DCA corps only compete on weekends but are just as good.

This idea that drum corps needs saving is absurd! We may have less corps than the 60's or 70's but man is it more entertaining! The level of musicianship is far superior to that of the 70's (even if they didn't have electronic instruments/sound systems). The drills are fun to watch and much more entertaining.

This is a Historical forum and this is where we can reminisce and chat about the bygone days.

Thanks to DCP for giving all of us the opportunity to remember.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not read every page of this thread, but of what I have read, IMO, MikeD makes the most sense.

Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has Drum Corps been saved yet? Just wondering!

The month is still young.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.