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DCI 30 years ago, and the decline of Drum Corps.

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Ultimately, a grass roots effort is needed to replenish the stock of drum corps, regardless of level. It takes guts, and money. Mr. Bob Jacobs did this with the Jersey Surf, and has grown it steadily over the past few years. It is the only World Class corps in New Jersey. It takes a committment to long term, steady growth. There are no more Bill Cooks out there with a love for music and kids that are willing to throw money into a start up.

The lack of LOCAL sponsors (American Legion, VFW, etc) helped bring us to this point. So, who will be the next group of organizations that can help start some local drum corps once again that will eventually grow up and become World Class competitors? In my opinion, the only 'civic organization" that can help sponsor fledgling drum corps get off the ground is another one of the "big 3" corps sponsors of corps we have all forgotten. Perhaps, The PAL. (Police Athletic Leagues) .

Pehaps this much heralded organizations who have sponsored many corps over the years, which has MANY local branches, can be talked into some sponsorships for the activity.

I am trying to research this, as I just want to see drum corps back in my state, where it once flourished years ago. Where it taught me many of my life lessons of respect, loyalty, dedication, commitment, and yes, musicianship. These are the things I lament about our current state of affairs. I would like to see drum corps more than a transient activity that only a relatively small percentage of kids now get to experience.

I know you all are passionate about drum corps. I brought this thread up to encourage the debate, precisely at this time instead of the dead of winter, to shine a light on our activity, to see not only the GOOD things about drum corps now, but how it has declined in sheer numbers, and that how we may try to help preserve it.

To those of you who chose to ridicule me as a "dino", you, too, will be in my position. It is inevitable. I only hope there is drum corps around for YOU to discuss for a long time.

I hold no grudges, and glad it sparked debate, and I will return to add some input as my time allows...Thanks for the input, and God Bless.

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Ultimately, a grass roots effort is needed to replenish the stock of drum corps, regardless of level. It takes guts, and money. Mr. Bob Jacobs did this with the Jersey Surf, and has grown it steadily over the past few years. It is the only World Class corps in New Jersey. It takes a committment to long term, steady growth. There are no more Bill Cooks out there with a love for music and kids that are willing to throw money into a start up.

The lack of LOCAL sponsors (American Legion, VFW, etc) helped bring us to this point. So, who will be the next group of organizations that can help start some local drum corps once again that will eventually grow up and become World Class competitors? In my opinion, the only 'civic organization" that can help sponsor fledgling drum corps get off the ground is another one of the "big 3" corps sponsors of corps we have all forgotten. Perhaps, The PAL. (Police Athletic Leagues) .

Pehaps this much heralded organizations who have sponsored many corps over the years, which has MANY local branches, can be talked into some sponsorships for the activity.

I am trying to research this, as I just want to see drum corps back in my state, where it once flourished years ago. Where it taught me many of my life lessons of respect, loyalty, dedication, commitment, and yes, musicianship. These are the things I lament about our current state of affairs. I would like to see drum corps more than a transient activity that only a relatively small percentage of kids now get to experience.

I know you all are passionate about drum corps. I brought this thread up to encourage the debate, precisely at this time instead of the dead of winter, to shine a light on our activity, to see not only the GOOD things about drum corps now, but how it has declined in sheer numbers, and that how we may try to help preserve it.

To those of you who chose to ridicule me as a "dino", you, too, will be in my position. It is inevitable. I only hope there is drum corps around for YOU to discuss for a long time.

I hold no grudges, and glad it sparked debate, and I will return to add some input as my time allows...Thanks for the input, and God Bless.

The Academy is a relatively new drum corps (is it the youngest corps in DCI?) that has made a lot of progress since being founded in 2001. Who was behind starting it? I certainly think there are plenty of places that could support a corps if the right people are there to support it. Salt Lake City, for example, is a place where people place a lot of emphasis on the arts. There are several quality marching band programs there that could place people in a local corps.

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Regarding the issue of school bands replacing the traditional role of the local drum and bugle corps.....musical and marching training in performance.

Here is an elementary school in Japan.

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The only reason "Drum Corps is Dying" is alot of people refuse to move forward! People live in the past. It wasn't better than today. It was great at that moment but lets face it...todays drum corps are better! Why does it bother people that they added electronics? Technology has become very important in our society, we advanced and so did this activity. We lost most corps because of bad management. Yes the extensive touring didn't help BUT corps directors had the choice to say Yea or Nay to the schedule.

Move forward, I did and I feel good about it. I hear kids today playing some great music and IN TUNE!

Edited by KeithHall
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I wouldn't go this far. G instruments were also IN TUNE as well... They were just a bit harder to play for various reasons. That was a great music lesson for me. Euph/Trombone players have to switch instruments quite a bit... Getting used to learning how to play a wonky instrument was a valuable skill to have...

I believe that any type of instrument would have been out of tune and honked out back then, because many people in the musical groups then were just learning how to play their instruments.

...and remember there were G bugles in use up into the 2ks... The quality of instruments had gotten a lot better. We've really lost some of the unique overtone series that the G bugles, played by a top corps, provided.

I wouldn't ever want to go back to the VFW days, but I'm sure there were great qualities about the activity then...

Having played key o' G with piston/rotor, 2v and 3v since the mid 70s I agree. Will also add that the P/R horns of my earliest days were very easy to "splat" the tone if you weren't careful. Didn't have anyone just learning to play as the youngest people we had were HS band members (some in highly competative bands) but they could overplay the horn too. Being carefull in your playing the whole show was just part of the challenge of doing corps back then.

Note: Splatting and overplaying were two of the things screamed at us if we let the tone go to Hell. Had HS band directors and others on staff and tone with balance was at the top of their list. At the time we might have been a bit ahead of the curve on Sr side changes in music.

Edited by JimF-LowBari
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The only reason "Drum Corps is Dying" is alot of people refuse to move forward! People live in the past. It wasn't better than today. It was great at that moment but lets face it...todays drum corps are better! Why does it bother people that they added electronics? Technology has become very important in our society, we advanced and so did this activity. We lost most corps because of bad management. Yes the extensive touring didn't help BUT corps directors had the choice to say Yea or Nay to the schedule.

Move forward, I did and I feel good about it. I hear kids today playing some great music and IN TUNE!

We can not move forward without looking at the past tp help it move forward for years to come. I for one dont mind electronics. This thread was never about QUALITY of drum corps, but QUANTITY and ACCESS to drum corps. There are some excellent corps now, for sure.

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I agree and scores mean nothing to me. I would just as soon get rid of the COMPETITIVE part of the activity but I know others are convinced that it is needed to keep the young adults motivated. That is why I would suggest that a formula and method be developed to allow audience LIVE participation in voting for winners. It might also be tied to some additional way to increase revenue. At the very least, it would make the audience feel more involved in the process and force the show designers to give the audience more consideration in their decision-making. I think it would still be competitive amongst the various corps and members and the level of difficulty would be the same, but the overall product would be very ENTERTAINING. The result would be larger audiences. More fans. More financial security. And maybe, new corps.

A few years back (before TOC, in 2009 I think) their was an exhibition performance in Vegas with Bluecoats, BD and several other corps. It was a privately sanctioned event and not subject to DCI rules.....many innovations were attempted including encores, corps interactions, lot stuff, a head to head drum battle (ala Drumline) between BD and Bluecoats, and (as you suggest) a voting process from your smart phone by ticket holders with passwords from the ticket (if I recall correctly). Honestly, it was an interesting concept, but being voted "most popular" in drum corps is a little like having your mom make you a medal and present it to you....after you have lost some competition. It's a sweet gesture...but that's about it. NOTE: The Disney Award, on the other hand, was very cool (IMO) and reflected both audience appeal and artistry in a way that had weight. I wish Disney would bring it back.

That leads to the real meat of the issue in drum corps these days IMO....disunity in the business model approach. Cirque changed the circus because they changed the business model and focused the artistic impact. Getting all these DCI directors and leadership headed in the same direction (whatever that might be) is impossible, apparently because there's too much history. So we are left to minor course correction and nipping around the edges....basically survival....some years, better than others.

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This thread was never about QUALITY of drum corps, but QUANTITY and ACCESS to drum corps. There are some excellent corps now, for sure.

If that be so, then you've got to be careful about saying stuff like:

"Corps [of the past] had INDIVIDUALITY, an IDENTITY, and played very entertaining shows that were also difficult and competitive..."

and immediately following it with:

"...and today? Well, not even close."

I understand that your purpose was to address the numbers/accessibility issue, which is certainly a worthwhile topic of discussion. But I think the phrasing of your opening statement, though perhaps not intentionally, came off with a flavoring of we-were-better-in-the-old-days. As we have seen many times, that's the sort of thing that will quickly raise a ruckus out here on the forum!

Peace,

Fred O.

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If that be so, then you've got to be careful about saying stuff like:

and immediately following it with:

I understand that your purpose was to address the numbers/accessibility issue, which is certainly a worthwhile topic of discussion. But I think the phrasing of your opening statement, though perhaps not intentionally, came off with a flavoring of we-were-better-in-the-old-days. As we have seen many times, that's the sort of thing that will quickly raise a ruckus out here on the forum!

Fair enough. I will say the identity, especially as far as drumlines go, was clearer then than now, having played and taught both. Most would agree you would know what drumline was warming up from around the corner based on their style/exercises. Bridgemen, 27, Vanguard, Phantom, Spirit, Oakland, all unique. But, it is still about numbers of corps for me. Thanks.

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Fair enough. I will say the identity, especially as far as drumlines go, was clearer then than now, having played and taught both. Most would agree you would know what drumline was warming up from around the corner based on their style/exercises. Bridgemen, 27, Vanguard, Phantom, Spirit, Oakland, all unique. But, it is still about numbers of corps for me. Thanks.

Likewise, thanks for the dialogue.

regards,

Fred O.

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