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KeithHall

Is There A Difference?

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When Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Festival the crowd went "What the.....?"

Or, for that matter, when Herbie Hancock went all fusion in '71?

What happened when Bobby Hoffman turned St. Andrew's Bridgemen into THE Bridgemen? What was you thinking, if you are old enough?

From a marching standpoint we watched many Drum Corps from the late sixties to the seventies change their names from "Saint something" to something else - How many times did that corps from Garfield have seeming identity issues? The change in the Bridgemen however, was a makeover of epic proportion - they opened a lot of eyes.

What was your thoughts when in in 1974 you are playing a valve/rotor horn and in 1975 you are playing a 2 valve horn?

I didn't have that issue at all - and wasn't following Drum Corps at all during the change-over - I think Star was still playing two-valves when I first started to get back into the activity.

Single tenors to double tenors? Double tenors to triples?

I loved how the drum lines kept trying to become more and more musical. Rudimentary Bass drums, Double Bass, various sized cymbals and all that gave the lines more depth.

G to Bb?

All the brass manufacturers made more money.

No grounding of timps and keyboards to a Pit?

Everybody who plays in the Drum Corps, marches in the Drum Corps - one of the most beautiful Drum Corps experiences is to watch four individuals working as one playing four different sized instruments - and really making music!

Symetrical drills to asymetrical drills?

As the activity became less and less martial, the style of performance was bound to change ... it was only natural ... and it's much more difficult to have 100 Plus people on opposite ends of the 50 yard line mirroring each other ... Add to that how much the guard has changed being no longer an afterthought to the drill.

Did they all really make a difference? If so....positive or negative?

Discuss please!

Everything makes a difference. Time, thought processes, music, too. We can either grow and change or sit back and let the world go by. Back when I marched this forum wasn't available. Neither was this laptop or our ability to communicate the way we do. Would I want to go back to the time when I needed to find a pay phone just to call home? Heck NO! But when we travelled across country from New York to Wisconsin we had no idea what the corps we were competing against even looked like ... aside from maybe shots in Drum Corps News or Fleetwood album covers and back then it was difficult to tell corps like the Nisei Ambassadors or the Royal Aires apart (until you heard them play of course) because their uniforms were so similar - I'll probably get flack from that but their uniforms were similar and anyway you know what I'm driving at. Every show was kind of a surprise when you went on tour and it's not like that anymore. No it's more like if the Yankees had to play against the Red Sox every weekend for the entire season. Every corps gets to see every other corps like all the time. Is that positive? I don't know. It just raises the issue for me that there is far less diversity now. And I miss that.

Edited by Puppet

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I remember going to shows and have no clue who they are until someone says, "OH that's _______!" We did a show in Illinois and had to do a parade, Cavaliers were next to us and thought we were Blue Rock! LOL

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I remember going to shows and have no clue who they are until someone says, "OH that's _______!" We did a show in Illinois and had to do a parade, Cavaliers were next to us and thought we were Blue Rock! LOL

My corps, the Braintree Warriors, (Never heard of them? You're not alone.), went on what passed for a long ride in 1960. Braintree Ma. to Rome N.Y. (around 200 miles). We had no idea what other corps would be in the show.

It was Labor Day Weekend. As we dragged ourselves out of the buses after an interminable ride we were completely drained. We got out on the practice field just as another pair of buses rolled up on the running track alongside the field. It was the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights, on their way home from winning the VFW Nationals in Detroit the previous weekend.

Well, now we knew that we weren't going to win.

With BSGK lounging around of the grass by their buses we proceded to have a couple of the worst run throughs we'd ever had. The Knights seemed amused by our distress, and none of us could blame them.

It was awful.

About midway through the program a second set of buses pulled into the stadium and stopped just behind BS. It was the Garfield Cadets, just about 6 weeks before they won the American Legion Nationals in Miami.

Now we knew we weren't coming in second, either

As we continued to stink up the place we all wondered how many other corps were going to be there that night. We were totally bummed, and also very POed at ourselves for being intimidated.

It turned that we were up against only one other corps, St Joes of Batavia. Oy Vey!

That night we went on behind the Golden Knights. Watching them from the Ready Line was impressive. We went on feeling like George Gobel on the Johnny Carson Show. It turned out to be our best performance, ever. We couldn't believe it; wanted to run back to the starting line and do it all again. I'd like to think that every corps BITD had one of those jobs in them somewhere. One performance that made all the sweat, and toil, and time worthwhile.

That kind of experience can't happen today. It was a very special day for us all. Today's corps are very slick, and very professional.

Oh. By the way. We came in third, and that was very OK with us.

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I went to a FB group called 1970's drum corps. It was fun reminiscing and seeing old pics like we do here. The difference is....there are old crotchety people that just want to put down what DCI and DCA do today. Other than electronics in DCI and the keys of the brass instruments...what is really so different today? I spend my time defending the activity but it's like the old guys sitting out in front of the barber shop and talking about what was better about the olden days. The kids were just as hard today and maybe even harder. Yes, there are less drum corps but the shows are still awesome to watch.

Anyone else see the good?

I never marched corps. But I was a rabid spectator starting in the early 1970s.

There is no question that the corps today are excellent, work harder than ever,

are more professional in their efforts, and are amazing technically. Sadly,

I am just not moved by the music these days. The visuals are awesome, no doubt.

But I always went for the music, and I'm not saying that it's "bad" today... it just

doesn't attract me. It's arranged differently - around the visual design rather than

to stand on its own. That's the way it is, which is fine, but unfortunately it doesn't

do it for me. The music today in corps is very, VERY interesting. But it doesn't make

me cry like the music did in the 70s and 80s. I miss that.

So I don't really go to shows anymore. Well, I do go to DCA finals... the quality

isn't as high as junior corps, but it's more musically inviting to me. Please

understand that I'm not passing judgement. You asked, and I'm answering honestly.

If junior corps thinks that it is going in the right artistic direction, they have

every right to their choice - after all, they're the ones putting in all the effort

and the money. And should the pendulum ever swing back to music-based show design,

I'll be back.

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I went to college later in life and remember 1997/98 band directors telling us to NOT play pop music. Play quality compositions.....Holsinger, Tichelli, etc. I love band literature but I don't think every drum corps has to play it. When I marched we played Superstar, Sing, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Food, etc. Songs you heard on the radio ("What's that!!!). Today many corps play band literature, not a bad thing, but to much of it from corps to corps. Maybe DCI can say, "Hey, let's get back to what got us here!" Of course the staff members will say, "Huh?" My guess is many of them marched in the 80's (maybe) and the 90's and 00's...right? With the few that have been around for a long time.

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I went to college later in life and remember 1997/98 band directors telling us to NOT play pop music. Play quality compositions.....Holsinger, Tichelli, etc. I love band literature but I don't think every drum corps has to play it. When I marched we played Superstar, Sing, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Food, etc. Songs you heard on the radio ("What's that!!!). Today many corps play band literature, not a bad thing, but to much of it from corps to corps. Maybe DCI can say, "Hey, let's get back to what got us here!" Of course the staff members will say, "Huh?" My guess is many of them marched in the 80's (maybe) and the 90's and 00's...right? With the few that have been around for a long time.

If you read Whitdawn's thread in the WC forum, there are lots of ideas for playing popular music...popular music of today. I think that the older the fan, the less likely they would be to recognize almost any of the music being mentioned...I know that I don't know any of it. Luckily most post links so you can hear the music they are suggesting. Since it is not all that familiar to the legacy fans, I'm not sure you would get the "bang for the familiarity buck" by playing something like that, though in and of itself, a lot of the music would be great anyway.

:smile:

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Oh. By the way. We came in third, and that was very OK with us.

Probably one of the highest placements ever for us. After the 63 season, it was off to the Crusaders. Ed Denon taught both corps. The Warriors don't get much love from corpsreps.com either. http://www.corpsreps.com/search.cfm Even the Braintree Braves (feeder corps) have two listings, but they hadn't competed for decades prior to 96/97. As I recall, the Braves fit in one old bread truck driven by the only man who did everything for the Braves after the whole organization had closed up shop years earlier, Jim Buglio. Always in a white T-shirt.

Edited by Ghost

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If you read Whitdawn's thread in the WC forum, there are lots of ideas for playing popular music...popular music of today. I think that the older the fan, the less likely they would be to recognize almost any of the music being mentioned...

I don't need to recognize the music, nor do I expect to. Most of my favorite shows contained music that I learned from seeing the corps. What I object to are the arrangements, in which the pieces are chopped up so much to fit the visuals that the musical forms are incomplete and don't get a chance to start, develop, and finish naturally. There also isn't as much groove - as though repetition (essential for a good groove) is believed to reduce demand. As a musician, I know that building a good groove is one of the hardest things to achieve. I hardly ever hear it in drumcorps anymore, although it was a hallmark of corps in the 70s and 80s - a corps could whip a crowd into a frenzy just like a good southern church choir with a groove that would build and build. Sure it wasn't as clean as today, but in that way it was a more intense experience. Just my opinion.

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The criticism sometimes offered by us "crotchety old people" is NOT, repeat, NOT directed at the marching members. We KNOW they are great kids, just as dedicated and hard-working as those of any era, and that they love this activity just as passionately as anyone can. And we know they give their all and deliver very exciting and entertaining performances.

It's all well and good to say that it's about the activity and not the kids....but once the "the activity today isn't drum corps" comment is made....how does anyone, with a straight face, say....no disrespect to the kids? They've decided that the activity which current members (that they think of as drum corps) have given their heart, time, sweat, money, blood and who knows what else to isn't "really" drum corps. Geesh, how disrespectful!! What qualifies me or any other former marcher to define the activity for members today?

It's not that we're nay-saying for its own sake or that we're negative people w/ a critical outlook. It's that we're terribly sad because we miss what drum corps once was and we wish it could be that way again. Not only for ourselves, but for this generation and generations to come.

That's all well and good, but what if the current members don't want what we had? Drum Corps hasn't changed in a bubble, our entire society has changed.

The differences between drum corps now and BITD aren't small and superficial. Another poster very eloquently pointed out the profound impact large numbers of community-based corps had on the lives of thousands of young people. This is the most important thing that's missing now. While present day corps serve the relatively small number of participants very well and can still be a saving force in young lives, it's not the tremendous force for good it once was. It would be so great if DCI would seriously undertake to bring back grass roots drum corps along the lines of the Garden State Circuit and provide leadership training and a competitive framework for these low-budget corps.

Again, it's a different world now.I marched in a number of small corps during the early 80's. In speaking with the folks I marched with, many have said they'd never let their kids be a part of an organization if it was run they way many were back in the day. Buses that were falling apart (can you imagine asking kids to push start buses these days?) no liability insurance, no true medical staff, no background checks on ...well anybody, volunteer drivers who may not have had the exact endorsement to drive the buses/truck, volunteer drivers who drove for far longer than was legal, minimal medical consent forms (if any), inconsistent nutrition, etc

Of course these weren't issues at the time, and no one ever thought twice about most of them (I'm very thankful for all the Mom's and Dad's who gave so much of themselves BITD), but never mind best practices, half that wouldn't be legal today. But that's how a lot of these "community-based" corps operated (no not all of course, but many). Of course a small group could address all of these things today, but that takes cash (cash on top of everything they needed cash for back then).

The other big difference between now and then of course would be the "community" part. VFW/American Legion's and Roman Catholic Churches were major supporters back then (not the only ones of course, but many corps were backed by these kinds of organizations). At least in the NE, each town had a drum corps (or many), they way they have little league teams now. While it's of course not impossible to get community sponsors these days....again, it's just not the same as the period of time you're speaking of.

The other thing that's different in a big way IMO is the raw musical power and impact of corps of the 70s/80s era. Again, I'm talking about show design here, NOT performance level. Part of it is the volume difference w/ G vs. Bb horns, and I know the real financial reasons for this, but G horns are not illegal and they are still sold, and someone could field such a line if they wished to. Most of it is visual vs. music in judging and show design. Of course, the former determines the latter. BITD, music comprised 2/3 of the total score; today it's 1/2. Hence the chop and bop style of arranging to compliment visual design as opposed to a fully developed, sophisticated, completely musical arrangement which is faithful to the original piece. Not to say this is never done anymore, but seems to be more exception than rule.

Show design has changed as long as there has been competitive drum corps. Everyone thinks their decade/era is the best way to do things. Each successive era has decided they know a better way. Other than trying to solve this at 20 paces with pistols at dawn...I don't really seeing there being a definitive "this era" had it right and all others should emulate them.

My .02,

CuriousMe

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I remember in 1974, a guy was hired to drive on of our buses. I was driving in the equipment truck behind his bus. We were competing in Johnsonburg, PA and right outside the stadium was a bar. Guess where that guy was? We stopped in Bradford to eat and the kids on the bus refused to get on if he drove. The guy took his little bag and walked. The corps director had to drive the bus.

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