A few thoughts on DCI then, now, & future...


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I recently talked to a REAL old timer who marched in the early-60's. You can see him gradually get redder and redder as he talked about what drum corp has become. He refuses to ever go to a show again unless the activity reverts back to "its roots". I suggested he start looking at the activity as I do 1) accept the fact that the drum corps we know and love is long gone 2) just listen to the frickin talent on that field. He looked at me like I had a third eye.

After I've accepted these two things I've actually enjoyed going to shows including the fact that I see people I haven't seen in a long time is gravy. Although, it’s interesting, back in the day (seems all us oldtimers say this ..... now even the 30 year olds) I was able to sit through 20 shows a year, seeing the same shows over and over again. Now, after my wife and I watched Atlanta on FN, we are pretty much done for the year. We got “drum corps’d out” pretty quickly. Not sure if this is a commentary for today’s state of drum corps or we’re just old. :lookaround: ..... or both. We’re going to Indy pretty much just for the social aspect of it but if we had to fly someplace to see it, we probably wouldn’t go.

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Alright, folks...let me start by saying I have been somewhat out of the loop with DCI over the last decade for various reasons. The last year I marched and followed DCI closely was 2003, but from tim

Here is my feedback. Marched a top 6 corps in the 8o's. Was at Allentown. Flew in with my fiancé to show her what I did back in the day. She played clarinet in HS band. We were not entertained. I

Ugh, this "Back in my day..." Post again. Look, if you didn't follow drum corps for a period of time, why are you confused that you're lost? Also, since when has drum corps ever been about fans fir

This is a discussion that has been going on for decades. One of the things with innovation is that it usually takes a few years for people to fully appreciate things that are so new to them. It's one of the reasons an artists work goes up in value after they die.

I had the opportunity to march with BD in 1994. I remember talking to so many members of my corps over the course of the summer that they couldn't stand Star of Indiana (another show with poles) from 1993. In fact, I can't recall even one person who said they thought it was even a decent show. Here are some of the complaints people had about that show: too much body movement; the horn line hardly plays; the music is too "chunky" for my taste; they play too soft; I don't like the props. Fast forward 20 years and many people now see it as one of the most epic shows of all time.

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I actually think we're coming down the other side of the hill of overwrought experimentation and self-indulgent design. There's no show on the field this year more aggravating than, say, 2008 Cadets. If 2013 is the year that makes you throw in the towel as a drum corps fan (at a show with SCV 2013 no less), you're not likely to be missed, as there's no way you were going to shows and paying attention the last 5+ years.

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I continue to try to enjoy the changes in drum corps, but it just isn't appealing to me now. I watch the shows and, while I can tell the performers have technical ability, it is wrapped in an overall package that isn't very exciting. It isn't about "in my day", because I've enjoyed drum corps recordings from decades before I marched, and enjoyed recordings for at least a decade after I marched. By the mid-2000s, it began to go off the rails. By 2008, it began to be harder to find enough entertaining about any shows. I keep trying. I want to enjoy it, but it just isn't there.

I wish I had the resources to buy control of a corps, or start my own, and develop the program in a way that can appeal to prospective members while also putting some more appeal into the show. I don't think the whole problem with the lack of a full, deep sound is because of moving from G to B flat, because there was still some great sound coming out for a while. As a whole, the activity appears to have decided that we'd prefer to hear a lot of staccato notes instead of being blown back against the backs of our seats. Even the last few Star of Indiana shows, much maligned at the time, would still knock you back at times. They were an acquired taste for some at the time, but today's shows make them look all the better in comparison.

Unfortunately, this situation is complicated. We all approve of some changes, disapprove of others, etc. I dislike the involvement of electronics at all, and the amplification of anything other than pit instrumentation. I thought I would dislike that, but I can appreciate being able to hear the instruments without the members having to destroy them in an attempt to project to the box.

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Excellent replies from everyone!

Just a couple things to follow up on my original post...

1) I realize that the previous generation always craps on the younger and current generation, that's always going to exist. Someone metioned earlier that it is worth looking at who is actually to blame for perpetuating some of this nonsense. The show designers, music arrangers, judges, board members, aka: the "good idea fairies".....Dare I say, the previous generation??!! Can't prove it, but an interesting point nonetheless.

2) I also recall there being some serious discussion (in my day) of allowing woodwind instruments to be included in DCI and therefore blurring the lines between marching band and Drum Corps. Let's count our blessings that THAT horrific idea never came to fruition.

3) I personally will not stop buying tickets and attending DCI shows just because I do not like everything I see on the field. I continue to be amazed at the quality of musicianship and precision displayed by the marching members. I think that overtime things will correct themselves if it gets to the point where fans aren't buying tickets and corps members aren't returning to march. It is refreshing however, to hear from some like-minded people who want to stop this waterwheel of punishment in the form of new age/ultra-modern show desingns.

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2) I also recall there being some serious discussion (in my day) of allowing woodwind instruments to be included in DCI and therefore blurring the lines between marching band and Drum Corps. Let's count our blessings that THAT horrific idea never came to fruition.

Unfortunately, I've watched some recent shows (over the past few years) where the lack of woodwinds was the only indicator that I wasn't watching a marching band. I found myself wondering why they didn't just let them in and remove the last real difference between the two.

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I'll say what we're all thinking.

It's Blue Devils fault.

peek.gif

No, not really. When it comes to amps and synth, they are usually the least offensive, though sometimes the kit player is little too loud.

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I'm ok with some synth and the change of bugles...what I'm not crazy about is all the body work stuff going on, it's WGI on the field. Especially in the drum line. I would rather you stand there and force feed notes, intimidate me and make me go WOW. All the moving around, I can't really what all they're doing. Some body movement is fine, but just some.

that and every drum feature looks the same.....with all of the body stuff, the snares, then tenors, then bass, and plates if they have them in a box or triangle, lunging, etc.

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Not all top-tier chows/corps have had esoteric, uninteresting shows over the last several years, but by-and-large, the upper echelon is going in that direction. Not just BD, but they all lean in that direction for the most part, with few exceptions. Everyone is leaning that way regardless of where they sit competitively, because they want to compete at the highest level they can. I hear more and more complaints about boring show direction, over use of props and electronics, etc. But nothing will be done about it. Why?

Because none of us (me included!!) have the guts to ignore the activity for a year, or more, and use our dollars leaving the activity to make our point be heard loud and clear. If people keep going to shows, theater events, and paying for Fan Network, the folks that shape the shows we dislike will continue to go in THEIR direction.

I, like many of you I bet, continue to spend my entertainment money on the activity whenever possible, and just look past or ignore the parts I don't like. Because of this nothing will change.

Just my opinion. Thanks for letting me share it.

I know many that haven't walked away entirely, like myself, but have drastically reduced our spending on the product. This year, I will have spent 10% on DCI of what I spent in 2002.

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" just listen to the frickin talent on that field.".

I think that is a great suggestion. But on too many occasions the talent on the field is being swamped by a sea of silly narration, pointless props and prerecorded angelic segues that do nothing but distract and overshadow that very talent that we see on the field.

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