CaballarosJr.

Saving Drum Corps Part II(a): The solution

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I find the posts regarding corps individuality interesting. As Drumno5 points out, we do all have our “golden ages” and we often measure previous years and later years on this ideal. At least I know I do. I agree with those who believe that in years past, corps were more distinct. 27th, Blue Devils, Phantom, Madison, Kilties etc. had a certain style, certain sound, certain look, often had signature pieces and you knew what to expect. Even a corps such as Bridgeman or later Velvet Knights who loved to give us the unexpected, presented an unexpected that expected by these corps. It was also rare that corps broke out of what was expected. 27th did replace “Danny Boy” with “Spit Fire” in 1981 for part of the season, while it wasn’t “Danny Boy” (which did return late in the season), it fit. They probably would not have gotten away with “O Sole Mio.” Think about when Spirit performed “Petroushka” rather than their standard southern style show. It was panned before it premiered. I’m also not sure that the distinct style can be recreated in drum corps today. When the corps had the distinctness that some believe has been lost, members marched for longer periods of time with the corps and perhaps grew up in the corps. Many of the corps had feeder corps and corps often had the same instructors, many of whom may have marched with the corps as a young person. That won’t happen today.

I will admit that at times, or at least at first glance, it can seem as if corps today are more similar than different, though I wouldn’t call it cookie cutter. Corps today may be more similar, but corps today are also more likely to try something new and redefine themselves, so while we may not see the same distinctness we once did, we do often see more original shows, at least in my opinion. I suppose it’s a tradeoff.

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Likewise, no personal disrespect intended - but I too speak what I feel to be the truth. And I believe the "cookie cutter" argument generally reflects little more than a dissatisfaction with current stylistic trends, a bitterness (there's that word!) that the activity as it is currently constituted no longer conforms to a lost-and-longed-for stylistic or philosophical model. It's a "good old days" point of view: "There was a time, when..."

Drumno,

I was not in anyway putting down todays corps, merely pointing out that If I see it, and I am a huge fan of todays corps and shows, then it seems reasonable that many others see it that way. As I said, "Style". Muchachos, were spanish, Kilts and 27 were, scottish/irish/english, Devils were big jazz. Anyway, thats all I was getting at. I NEVER called or refered to todays corps as "Cookie Cutter"

Also, This is the Historical Forum, so I guess if your reading anything here, you're bound to get the "Good Old Days" point of view. If you want to only view nice things said about todays corps, then I would think the Historical Forum wouldn't be the place to view. WE'RE OLD, and old people say things like "Back in the Day" LOL

Edited by BariBrian

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Drumno,

I was not in anyway putting down todays corps, merely pointing out that If I see it, and I am a huge fan of todays corps and shows, then it seems reasonable that many others see it that way. As I said, "Style". Muchachos, were spanish, Kilts and 27 were, scottish/irish/english, Devils were big jazz. Anyway, thats all I was getting at. I NEVER called or refered to todays corps as "Cookie Cutter"

Also, This is the Historical Forum, so I guess if your reading anything here, you're bound to get the "Good Old Days" point of view. If you want to only view nice things said about todays corps, then I would think the Historical Forum wouldn't be the place to view. WE'RE OLD, and old people say things like "Back in the Day" LOL

Hi Again,

Nor am I trying to denigrate the great corps of the past (or the folks who love them). And I was using the term "cookie cutter" as a label, a kind of catch-all for the identity argument in general, as it has been used (possibly overused) in discussions of this nature in the past. I wasn't ascribing it to any particular individual - certainly not to you personally. Yes, I am well aware of the nature of the Historical Forum, having been around long enough to have witnessed the shifting of the paradigm at numerous points along the timeline.

Having made those disclaimers (and hoping you will accept them in the spirit which they are intended), I still do not believe the old school vs. contemporary "identity" argument can be justified with any real authority or consistency. Sure, it's easy to put it out there in simplistic terms: "The Muchachos were Spanish, 27th/Kilties were British/Scotch, etc...." The o.p. states quite unequivocally "Golden Era corps... had their own identities" in a manner that assumes absolute indisputability and seems to impliy that no current corps either possesses, nor has the ability to create, the kind of clearly defined personality that the old-time corps displayed. You yourself concurred, saying "like it or not, there was a time, when you didn't have to look at the uniform to know who was playing."

But what about the Muchachos doing "Cowboys and Indians," or "Fanfare for the Common Man," or 27th playing "Niner-Two" or "Gaite Parisienne," or the Kilts doing "MacArthur Park?" Great tunes, wonderful performances; a couple might legitimately be considered classics. And any knowledgeable fan would easily pair them up in a match-the-corps-with-the-tune scenario. But none of them are consistent with the personas of those corps, at least not as you have defined them. In fact, your characterization of their identities is in most cases related as much to their appearance as to their repertoire.

Undoubtedly, many memorable corps of the past were able to project a strong, well-defined image, creating a kind of "brand recognition," if you will - a signature tune or drill move, maybe even an overall style or "attitude" - that endeared them to their fans and has come to be a part of their legacy as the years have passed. But that ability is not the sole province of an earlier era. Any number of current corps have also succeeded in establishing a distinctive style and presence. They are attracting fans of their own, who regard them with equal affection and will continue to do so as those groups earn their place in the pantheon of the activity. And of course, the converse is also true. For every corps, past or present, that has been able to present itself so as to stand out from the crowd, there many others that, for one reason or another, have not been able to find their niche.

Looking back, we recall the highlights, the bold outlines; the less remarkable features of the landscape fade, leaving behind a pretty, albeit incomplete, picture of days gone by. Present tense, up close, the imperfections are easier to see. Styles, fad and fashion, and certainly the ground rules have changed over the years. But corps with substance and personality have flourished in every era, and continue to exist today. The notion that the mythic past was better, more righteous, more glorious with regard to "identity" - sorry, for me it just doesn't hold water.

thanks again for the discussion,

Fred O.

Edited by drumno5

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Drumno,

Your point is well thought out and intelligent and I do agree with what you are saying.

The “Golden Era” of drum corps in my opinion refers more to the overwhelming number of corps back then (again this is just my opinion) and not so much a slap at today’s outstanding corps. Again you are correct when you say that “ The o.p. states quite unequivocally "Golden Era corps... had their own identities" but again I would point out that I believe they were not just talking about the music. The Muchacho’s never had to play a note for you to determine that most of their music would be of Spanish flavor, and likewise for 27 or the Kilts or the Troopers, and even the Vanguard and Phantom offered a style that not only was their own, but no other corps would try and copy. If it weren’t the uniform that you recognized it was the music itself.

I think corps today, are more open to change and are more likely to test a different style without the fear of being labeled as departing from a style that “Got them there” in order to move up. That’s where us old farts get confused with who we’re listing to =)

I’ll put it this way. I love the Beatles and am use to their sound and style, but if they had suddenly changed their style to Rap or New Wave, simply because everyone else was successful with those approaches, I may find myself confused, and turned off.

I have two friends that were professional baseball players about 30years ago and even they say things like “We did it better” and “Back in our day” and I’d wager that every form of activity that is more then five years old will have some folks that will talk like that. Comparisons will always be made by the ones that “came before” and no amount of argument against their stance will change that type of thinking (no matter how intelligent the argument).

I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons the “Historical Forum” was created. So old farts like me, had a place to say “Back In the Day” =) I don’t believe its ever anything personal really, I just think we “Old Lions” have to roar once in awhile, to remind ourselves and others that we still can.

These topics are so redundant through out DCP. The same discussions, the same arguments, always brought up but worded differently, The most successful thread here is a thread that is hard to argue because its mostly old photos and great memories. Its should always be about good memories on this forum and less fighting, but as my dad use to say “You can’t move forward without a push from behind” Some sort of lesson there I’m sure.

Anyway, I have had fun conversing with you. Remember these threads and what’s said on them, aren’t something to get stressed about and they can be entertaining just reading them, To the kids that feel disrespected, I say DON’T its nothing personal, and to the old farts, I say EASE UP. These corps today are unbelievable and talent filled. They aren’t like we remember, but then,, what is?

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Drumno,

Your point is well thought out and intelligent and I do agree with what you are saying.

The “Golden Era” of drum corps in my opinion... [and so on. No need to repost Brian's entire reply; you can read it above.]

We'll, I'm not sure I agree with you point by point across the board - but we clearly share at least a bit of common ground. Most of all, thanks for presenting your thoughts in an level-headed manner. I am perhaps opinionated, but I always try to be civil. Thanks for returning the favor!

regards,

Fred O.

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Many Thanks to you as well, for your honesty, respect and intelligence. No need to totally agree here, but I respect what you say, and thats all that matters to me. Winning is for the kids on the field right :thumbup:

Edited by BariBrian

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Is it just me or is anyone else seeing the disdain that the OP has for music majors? This person starts a post and is rarely heard from. Troll?

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Is it just me or is anyone else seeing the disdain that the OP has for music majors? This person starts a post and is rarely heard from. Troll?

It's just you and me. And without belaboring the points all bashed into our skulls over this and the prevous "Part I" series, I must say that it seems to me that someone must be preparing a dissertation or class thesis or some #### thing because I'm reading a great deal and all of these words are not nearly as important to me as what I see in photos and one liners that give me real memories of what "Historical Junior Corps Discussions" are (and should be!) about.

Phrases like:

Remember that night every corps had to march in the rain with no lights ... & Whoever thought spats looked good ... or Can anyone tell me why some corps wore white bucks and some didn't ...

These are the things that bring up real discussions amongst us old farts.

Keith is good at that.

there are dozens of us who are able to respond with witty and fun repartee to most of that kind of stuff.

Stuff that makes us dig out the pictures and dig into our memory banks.

We are NOT saving Drum Corps (Part I / Part II / Part III or X!) on these pages.

You know it, I know it and we all know it ... sooo the OP's disdain for all (or any!) of us who have degrees in Music or English is pretty much moot.

I say, let's all just go over to the "OMG could we have been so young?" and post some pictures ...

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Well said! Thank you.

It's just you and me. And without belaboring the points all bashed into our skulls over this and the prevous "Part I" series, I must say that it seems to me that someone must be preparing a dissertation or class thesis or some #### thing because I'm reading a great deal and all of these words are not nearly as important to me as what I see in photos and one liners that give me real memories of what "Historical Junior Corps Discussions" are (and should be!) about.

Phrases like:

Remember that night every corps had to march in the rain with no lights ... & Whoever thought spats looked good ... or Can anyone tell me why some corps wore white bucks and some didn't ...

These are the things that bring up real discussions amongst us old farts.

Keith is good at that.

there are dozens of us who are able to respond with witty and fun repartee to most of that kind of stuff.

Stuff that makes us dig out the pictures and dig into our memory banks.

We are NOT saving Drum Corps (Part I / Part II / Part III or X!) on these pages.

You know it, I know it and we all know it ... sooo the OP's disdain for all (or any!) of us who have degrees in Music or English is pretty much moot.

I say, let's all just go over to the "OMG could we have been so young?" and post some pictures ...

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I totally agree. The only drum corp that we want to save are the corps in those pictures! The Corps of today,,well,, they don't want us to "Save them".

Lets go to Puppets Place

:thumbup:

Edited by BariBrian

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