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


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There are more opportunities for kids to learn how to play and perform on marching percussion instruments, for example, than any time in history.

Marching drum manufacturers are moving more units than ever. This is simply a fact.

Also, when we're talking about filling stadiums.... Atlanta has 16,000 in the stands just for a regional. San Antonio was close... loads of other big shows. The game is different these days, compared to filling up high school stadiums. Again, there is also online streaming, theatre and YouTube.... drum corps is being seen by more people than ever.

video by BD has been seen by almost 11,000,000 viewers. That is A LOT of people watching drum corps... more watching that one video than in 30 years of live and broadcast combined.

Drum corps ain't dying, not even close... just diversifying (is now also marching band, winter guard/percussion, BLAST, etc.).

I agree completely! I have tried to tell people this but Noooooooo the sky is falling the sky is falling. I went to a band review last fall and it was just like a drum corps regional in the early 70's except there were twice as many bands!

What do you expect? this is DCP thumbdown.gif

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A SAD Drum Corps fact: In 1982, 30 years ago, when I marched with the Bridgemen, there were: 48 Drum Corps competing in Open Class Prelims, 43 Drum Corps in Class A Prelims, 7 All-Girls

Very intelligent. But then again, you're young with so little perspective on the activity. I forgive you. I will respond to any other relevant, thoughtful commentary.

I have been on MANY staffs, and consult with one currently. I have donated...not just FINANCIALLY but giving of my TIME. I feel reflection upon the state of affairs is relevant, and if these facts

I agree completely! I have tried to tell people this but Noooooooo the sky is falling the sky is falling. I went to a band review last fall and it was just like a drum corps regional in the early 70's except there were twice as many bands!

What do you expect? this is DCP thumbdown.gif

So why have DCI at all? Why go to all the expense when the bands have it all covered?

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daniel you make several excellent points in these two latest postings and I agree with most everything that you say. And while I agree that there are MORE people watching drum corps performances in total now than at any time in the past when video, DVD and youtube are considered; FEWER people are watching LIVE performances than 30 years ago and regrettably the fewest number of people are PAYING to watch LIVE performances than at any time in history. This is the point that others --including myself, have made and are worried about. Most of what you say is true, but if we want a healthy drum corp environment to survive in the United States, we need to find a way to help. Or else we will --as you predict-- be watching Asian corps on youtube as our only alternative.

The trend in reduction of attendance at live performances is the trend across live music as a whole - less live rock performances, less orchestra, less opera and so on. Recorded music and video where you can listen or watch whatever you want whenever you want, for very little or even free is supplementing the demand for live performance. This is not anything at all unique to drum corps.

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Do you have any idea how many drum corps there were back in the day?

Nowhere near the number of competitive marching bands, winter guards, winter percussion ensembles, drum corps in europe or asia that have popped up since.

Sweden now has a quickly growing winter percussion circuit... ####### Sweden!

Broaden your perspective. While independent competitive drum corps in North America has had a decline in the raw number of units... there are more kids (and adults) participating in marching music globally than at any time in history.

Then why is it that the director of those same Cadets comes along every year or two to claim that it hasn't been figured out after all, and that if we don't give top corps like his more money, the sky will fall?

That does seem to work, doesn't it? Seems like that might be part of the strategy they've figured out, no?

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The trend in reduction of attendance at live performances is the trend across live music as a whole - less live rock performances, less orchestra, less opera and so on. Recorded music and video where you can listen or watch whatever you want whenever you want, for very little or even free is supplementing the demand for live performance. This is not anything at all unique to drum corps.

So are you saying that it is inevitable that live performance of drum corps will continue to decline in the USA while it will keep growing in other parts of the world? Is this because it has run its course here and is nearing the end of its lifespan? I thought we were the richest country in the world? You certainly won't see someone starting a drum corps in Greece or Ireland or Spain.

And I understand your point that we want to watch at our convenience so viewing recorded music is supplanting live performance but drum corps' competitive model (bogus as it is) sort of overrides watching the "greatest hits" format that most recorded music takes.

I think there are still a few kinks and quirks to be worked out in your reasoning . . . not that I'm a doomsday kind of person. Just call me a "glass half-full guy." In addition, I think of the kids who are members of corps operating almost into their 50th seasons (i.e., Blue Stars and Troopers) NOT making it into finals and I worry that everyone in dci and drum corps in general is not doing enough to keep them alive and healthy.

"Yamaha®, Ludwig® and Pearl® might be selling a bunch of drums to bands in Sweden, but that alone is not an indicator that all is rosy with drum corps here in the United States of America!"

Martin I. Zing :winky:

--Patriot

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So are you saying that it is inevitable that live performance of drum corps will continue to decline in the USA while it will keep growing in other parts of the world?

Yes. The rest of the world is simply catching up to the US. One of the effects of this is a dilution of talent and resources.

How many top corps instructors and designers are now spending time in Asia each year? How soon is it before a new wave of incredibly talented instructors and designers come forward from other parts of the world?

I sincerely believe that many of the future creative leaders in the activity will come from outside of America. This is a good thing.

Is this because it has run its course here and is nearing the end of its lifespan? I thought we were the richest country in the world? You certainly won't see someone starting a drum corps in Greece or Ireland or Spain.

You mean like Athlone Ravens, from Ireland... competing for the first time at DCE finals last year? Or the loads of groups in Ireland that compete under DCE rules?

Drum corps is growing like mad in Italy... Germany... France... Sweden...

It is a bit different than you imagine.

And I understand your point that we want to watch at our convenience so viewing recorded music is supplanting live performance but drum corps' competitive model (bogus as it is) sort of overrides watching the "greatest hits" format that most recorded music takes.

I think there are still a few kinks and quirks to be worked out in your reasoning . . . not that I'm a doomsday kind of person. Just call me a "glass half-full guy." In addition, I think of the kids who are members of corps operating almost into their 50th seasons (i.e., Blue Stars and Troopers) NOT making it into finals and I worry that everyone in dci and drum corps in general is not doing enough to keep them alive and healthy.

"Yamaha®, Ludwig® and Pearl® might be selling a bunch of drums to bands in Sweden, but that alone is not an indicator that all is rosy with drum corps here in the United States of America!"

Martin I. Zing :winky:

--Patriot

I live in Lithuania. Not exactly the richest country in the world. I can walk a couple blocks down the street and pick up a pair of Vic Firth Hardimons... guys like Jeff Moore are coming here regularly and doing marching percussion clinics... percussion groups are sprouting up across the former Soviet ####### Union, kids that watch drum corps and winter percussion on YouTube.

What I am getting at, is that drum corps has evolved.... morphed, fragmented... from something rather rigid and pure.... to influencing all kinds of things, competitive and non-competitive, indoor and outdoor, all over the world. This is pretty cool.

The future of drum corps is more distributed, more virtual, high quality, and more diverse and less US centric. I would hope that US corps can at least maintain the current levels of support and interest, combined with international growth.

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While independent competitive drum corps in North America has had a decline in the raw number of units... there are more kids (and adults) participating in marching music globally than at any time in history.

I'm seeing this arguement crop up everywhere on this board.

First of all, I question the accuracy. In my neck of the woods the corps are all but gone and nothing has replaced them.

Second and far more important - it's laziness.....

It's become too hard to create and maintain a DCI corps so we'll just pack it in and let the high school bands do it. So what if all the things that make drum corps unique get lost in the process?

Stop pointing at kids for wanting their video games and being too lazy to march. Look in the mirror, people. Using the high school bands as a reason to give up is the worst kind of cop out.

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There are more opportunities for kids to learn how to play and perform on marching percussion instruments, for example, than any time in history.

Marching drum manufacturers are moving more units than ever. This is simply a fact.

Also, when we're talking about filling stadiums.... Atlanta has 16,000 in the stands just for a regional. San Antonio was close... loads of other big shows. The game is different these days, compared to filling up high school stadiums. Again, there is also online streaming, theatre and YouTube.... drum corps is being seen by more people than ever.

video by BD has been seen by almost 11,000,000 viewers. That is A LOT of people watching drum corps... more watching that one video than in 30 years of live and broadcast combined.

Drum corps ain't dying, not even close... just diversifying (is now also marching band, winter guard/percussion, BLAST, etc.).

And the lead newstory in Indy this week was a 20 second feature of a Sr. Level corps skipping and leaping over cars in a parking lot. :rock: In INDY!!

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I'm seeing this arguement crop up everywhere on this board.

First of all, I question the accuracy. In my neck of the woods the corps are all but gone and nothing has replaced them.

Second and far more important - it's laziness.....

It's become too hard to create and maintain a DCI corps so we'll just pack it in and let the high school bands do it. So what if all the things that make drum corps unique get lost in the process?

Stop pointing at kids for wanting their video games and being too lazy to march. Look in the mirror, people. Using the high school bands as a reason to give up is the worst kind of cop out.

Have you seen the high school bands out there? There are some pretty amazing ones out there.

High school marching band has replaced local drum corps and done a much better job of it.

If you support drum corps, support high school band and winter programs... these are the essential to drum corps these days as they are the feeder programs.

A solid % of kids follow instructors from their high school, university and winter programs to drum corps. This isn't new. This is how it was 20 years ago when I marched... was sort of newish then.

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