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CaballarosJr.

Saving Drum Corps part I: Defining the problem

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Oh yeah, about the food: We had oodles of money through our weekly bingo so we ate and slept really well on tour. Wes Hobby didn't call us The Cinderella Corps from Brooklyn, New York for nothing.

Ditto. We ate extremely well.... Thanks to all of the patrons of the Bingo!

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Now for the crowd that see Drum Corps only as "art for art's sake," I suppose that's really important. But truthfully, I think some of the lure of drum corps was that in many ways it was a bunch of kids (and I mean kids-14,15,16 year olds) playing waaay over their heads and doing so simply by their determination and drive. I think that element added a lot of drama that drew community folk into the activity (also the festivals, parades).

etc).

I also think people miss out on the context of the 70s &80s when HS bands were overwhelmingly show bands and few were "corps style." So for the corps of that era to get to the level they performed at, really was almost something of a miracle. Nowadays with the HS programs full of drum corps staff, and style, it's not so surprising that a bunch of 21 year old music majors play like... music majors.

Yea. What he said.

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A note about HS bands today. I was in a competitive band and my high school band back in the day (I graduated 1981). The band that competed was judged using the same sheets as the drum corps (Boston CYO Circuit). The hs band did shows at halftime. The difference was night and day. Fast forward to today. I was talking to a man who introduced me to his son who proudly told me he played baritone in his high school band. Knowing I love drum corps, he talked about his school’s program. They also compete, are judged in a way similar to drum corps, and all the terms he used were drum corps terms. Those similarities were merely surface, however. Where I really saw that some high school bands were similar to what drum corps was back in the day was his pride and dedication. It sounded like stories told by kids in drum corps, drill teams and competitive bands back in the day. Also, he mentioned that his band’s director marched with a drum corps that wore red and black uniforms. Since his school is located near Boston, my guess is Boston Crusaders or North Star. A drum corps person was instilling the lessons he learned marching to the kids he taught today. While this is good news in many ways, there are about 350 school districts in Massachusetts, but fewer schools have bands that even do halftime shows, speak less of competing.

However, there is some “hope” for the music majors. Many of the young people who march claim to be “music education” majors. There performance days may end at the age of 21 when they age out. They’ll be making a living teaching instruments and getting children from K-12 enthused about music. They’ll also be the ones who can instill a sense of pride and excellence into young band members. It may not look like drum corps of the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, or 50’s, but it will, still have essential elements.

Now for the crowd that see Drum Corps only as "art for art's sake," I suppose that's really important. But truthfully, I think some of the lure of drum corps was that in many ways it was a bunch of kids (and I mean kids-14,15,16 year olds) playing waaay over their heads and doing so simply by their determination and drive. I think that element added a lot of drama that drew community folk into the activity (also the festivals, parades).

etc).

I also think people miss out on the context of the 70s &80s when HS bands were overwhelmingly show bands and few were "corps style." So for the corps of that era to get to the level they performed at, really was almost something of a miracle. Nowadays with the HS programs full of drum corps staff, and style, it's not so surprising that a bunch of 21 year old music majors play like... music majors.

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A note about HS bands today. I was in a competitive band and my high school band back in the day (I graduated 1981). The band that competed was judged using the same sheets as the drum corps (Boston CYO Circuit). The hs band did shows at halftime. The difference was night and day. Fast forward to today. I was talking to a man who introduced me to his son who proudly told me he played baritone in his high school band. Knowing I love drum corps, he talked about his school’s program. They also compete, are judged in a way similar to drum corps, and all the terms he used were drum corps terms. Those similarities were merely surface, however. Where I really saw that some high school bands were similar to what drum corps was back in the day was his pride and dedication. It sounded like stories told by kids in drum corps, drill teams and competitive bands back in the day. Also, he mentioned that his band’s director marched with a drum corps that wore red and black uniforms. Since his school is located near Boston, my guess is Boston Crusaders or North Star. A drum corps person was instilling the lessons he learned marching to the kids he taught today. While this is good news in many ways, there are about 350 school districts in Massachusetts, but fewer schools have bands that even do halftime shows, speak less of competing.

However, there is some “hope” for the music majors. Many of the young people who march claim to be “music education” majors. There performance days may end at the age of 21 when they age out. They’ll be making a living teaching instruments and getting children from K-12 enthused about music. They’ll also be the ones who can instill a sense of pride and excellence into young band members. It may not look like drum corps of the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, or 50’s, but it will, still have essential elements.

Huh?

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Now for the crowd that see Drum Corps only as "art for art's sake," I suppose that's really important. But truthfully, I think some of the lure of drum corps was that in many ways it was a bunch of kids (and I mean kids-14,15,16 year olds) playing waaay over their heads and doing so simply by their determination and drive. I think that element added a lot of drama that drew community folk into the activity (also the festivals, parades).

etc).

The response you quoted was to this comment by Puppet...

Please don't envy them, continue to feel sorry for what they are missing and know in your heart that if our instructors had thought of some of the stuff they're doing now, we could have done it then

I was making no value judgements on "then" vs "now", just that IMO the members of today, on average, are just so far ahead of the average member of my era it is not even comparable. Better training prior to joining, the audition process, the 100% dedicated time from move-in through champs, the presence of tech instructors for each section...all sorts of reasons.

Your comment about 14-16 year old kids of 'then' applies quite nicely to many of those in the competitive Scholastic MB world today, IMO.

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The response you quoted was to this comment by Puppet...

I was making no value judgements on "then" vs "now", just that IMO the members of today, on average, are just so far ahead of the average member of my era it is not even comparable. Better training prior to joining, the audition process, the 100% dedicated time from move-in through champs, the presence of tech instructors for each section...all sorts of reasons.

Your comment about 14-16 year old kids of 'then' applies quite nicely to many of those in the competitive Scholastic MB world today, IMO.

No. no. no and no. There is no comparison to then and now. A 12 year old then (new member of any drum corps) cannot be compared to the adult members (18 and older) now. It's not fair to compare. To me and in my way infinitely humble opinion the amount of dedication was off the scale compared to now. Most kids of our era were not looking for a ring. We didn't have them to have for goodness sake and maybe that's why = it was for "goodness sake!" There was 'community.' not airline tickets. There was loyalty. Dedication was defined as a year-long effort to succeed, a year long effort from a pre teen inductee to become an integral part of and corps and wear one uniform for their entire marching career. All I do not like about DCI aside, it is the ring whores who I think are the worst of the worst of the current Drum Corps world. yeah, that.

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No. no. no and no. There is no comparison to then and now. A 12 year old then (new member of any drum corps) cannot be compared to the adult members (18 and older) now. It's not fair to compare. To me and in my way infinitely humble opinion the amount of dedication was off the scale compared to now. Most kids of our era were not looking for a ring. We didn't have them to have for goodness sake and maybe that's why = it was for "goodness sake!" There was 'community.' not airline tickets. There was loyalty. Dedication was defined as a year-long effort to succeed, a year long effort from a pre teen inductee to become an integral part of and corps and wear one uniform for their entire marching career. All I do not like about DCI aside, it is the ring whores who I think are the worst of the worst of the current Drum Corps world. yeah, that.

Well, you said this...

if our instructors had thought of some of the stuff they're doing now, we could have done it then

...which is what I was commenting on. As you say, you can't really compare 12-year-olds of then to 18+ of today.

OTOH, the top corps of 'then' were not full of 12-year-olds, either. And...on the whole, the 18+ year-olds of then were just not as skilled...on average...as the members today, given the reality of scholastic backgrounds, auditions, and the many more staff who focus on the minute details to an incredible degree today.

As for 'ring chasers'...unless you are trying out for the Cadets, Blue Devils and maybe Cavies, how can you be called a 'ring chaser'? And even those corps members don't deserve that, IMO.

From 64-70, 7 years of VFW Nats...the Cavies were in the top 4 all 7, Troopers, 6 years, BAC and the Kilties 4, and Des Plains and the Royal Airs 3 times (BS rounded out the total, with 1). Did members of those corps deserve to be called 'ring chasers' because they were so very good?

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Well, you said this...

...which is what I was commenting on. As you say, you can't really compare 12-year-olds of then to 18+ of today.

OTOH, the top corps of 'then' were not full of 12-year-olds, either. And...on the whole, the 18+ year-olds of then were just not as skilled...on average...as the members today, given the reality of scholastic backgrounds, auditions, and the many more staff who focus on the minute details to an incredible degree today.

As for 'ring chasers'...unless you are trying out for the Cadets, Blue Devils and maybe Cavies, how can you be called a 'ring chaser'? And even those corps members don't deserve that, IMO.

From 64-70, 7 years of VFW Nats...the Cavies were in the top 4 all 7, Troopers, 6 years, BAC and the Kilties 4, and Des Plains and the Royal Airs 3 times (BS rounded out the total, with 1). Did members of those corps deserve to be called 'ring chasers' because they were so very good?

I stand corrected. I wasn't aware there were rings to be had during those years long ago. Mea Culpa.

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I have a vacation day from work tomorrow so I have time to opine. My early era was 69-76 when we had the pleasure of seeing Cavies, Troopers, BAC, Kilties, Des Plains, BS, unfortunately didnt have the opportunity to see the Royal-Airs. Troopers guard and drill were awesome and Kilties horn line knocked my socks off! I also had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Shriners International contests from 1968 1972. This was also a time when our 2 all male corps from our fair city were competitive, that of De La Salle Oaklands and Toronto Optimists and in the mix was LaSalle Cadets whom I liked; Im rambling, digressing…

I was one of few that continued to march drum corps beyond 18 years. Most would finish DC after high school. It was the norm. When I moved west September 1976, the same was true with AAG. Fast forward to 2010 when we went to Indy for semis and finals. To be honest I wasnt sure I should go based on some threads I had read on DCP. Im glad I went. On finals night we met a lady and invited her to our hotel room to take a photo of the 9 of us. She stayed and called her husband to join us. I remember our former corps director asking questions like where do the kids come from? how old are they when they start? The answers were from all over the US and the world they start at 17-18. Then the husband and wife phoned their son, a 2010 marching member, to join us. He did. He was a snare drummer. We asked him questions and he answered them. Theres something unique about an activity that makes an evening with folks that span decades in drum corps special.

edit: On 10 January 2012 the OP posted this thread and said 'Defining the problem Part II next week: The solution Rate Topic' gotta luv cut/paste lol ;) ...um... 10 + 22 = more than a week. No worries, DCP has helped me develop a thick skin :smile:

Edited by lindap

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No. no. no and no. There is no comparison to then and now. A 12 year old then (new member of any drum corps) cannot be compared to the adult members (18 and older) now. It's not fair to compare. To me and in my way infinitely humble opinion the amount of dedication was off the scale compared to now. Most kids of our era were not looking for a ring. We didn't have them to have for goodness sake and maybe that's why = it was for "goodness sake!" There was 'community.' not airline tickets. There was loyalty. Dedication was defined as a year-long effort to succeed, a year long effort from a pre teen inductee to become an integral part of and corps and wear one uniform for their entire marching career. All I do not like about DCI aside, it is the ring whores who I think are the worst of the worst of the current Drum Corps world. yeah, that.

I would argue that a 12 year old is not able to properly evaluate what organization with whome they should spend the REST OF THEIR MARCHING CAREER!

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