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N.E. Brigand

Could a corps win best percussion without a battery?

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I've been to a few marching band competitions over the past three Saturdays. Among the 30-odd ensembles competing at those events were two groups that had no drum major and two groups that had no battery. (One group had neither drum major nor battery.) What surprised me was that at the most recent show, one of the latter type, a marching band without any marching percussion, won best percussion.

Would that be possible in drum corps?

Are there similar surprising outcomes that a corps might pull off if they were exceptional? Could a group win best music with no percussion? Or with no brass? (Or with no synthesizer?) Best general effect without marching? Best percussion without a pit? Best visual without guard? Etc.

(The band in question also featured a lot of pretentious narration--really bad stuff, lots of synthesizer, some nifty lighting effects in the pit, and a bassoon soloist perched on a ladder. That soloist, though sadly miked, was pretty good. And I thought they marched some unusual and difficult drill excellently: that was the one category where I picked them to win; naturally they did not.)

Edited by N.E. Brigand

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I suspect that some day some group will put 4 keyboard synthesizers in the pit (playing in the key of G, just because they can), and field no brass. All the percussion in the pit too. And put about 120 guard on the field.

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Do I hear skepticism?

Just wait until the Blue Devils quadruple the number of pieces of front ensemble equipment and wheel them around the field as their new props for next year's show. (And you'll be amazed at what they do with the space where the front ensemble used to be.)

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I think Tarpon Springs has gone without field percussion in the last few years, and always seem to do pretty well. No where does it say that you need a drumline, you could just go with a pit set-up with the necessary instruments. No need to try and get 8 snares in tune and in time, just one pit person with a mic. Not that I'm on board with the idea, just saying it hypothetically could happen.

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Don't know if they took high drums (can't get to the recaps on fromthepressbox for some reason), but the Kitchener, ONT Ventures won the 1985 ClassA/AllGirl championship with a grounded pit percussion section, no on-field battery.

Fred O.

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If you can win percussion without marching then you can also win brass without marching. Future Idea for BD: Take a small brass ensemble consisting of one player for each category of brass instruments, do the same for percussion, ground them on the back sideline with microphones, very loud amps, and a sound engineer running the sound board; they can focus just on Music Performance and Music GE. Then place all others out on the field, using the best artistic dancers you can find from all over the world, and have them do extraordinary choreography and body movements both with and without props; they can just focus on the Visual Performance and Visual GE. Can we say ‘Winner’!?!?!

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Too funny!!!

But seriously, it all depends on the sheet they are being judged by. I have judged some contests this year, and at one there was no place on the sheet for movement/marching at all. So, I can only judge what they are doing based on the sheet, and in one of the classes I actually had a group that did not march win best percussion for that class. They had battery instruments in the pit, just did not march them. At other contests where there is a caption for marching/movement on the percussion sheet, groups like that don't have a chance if you go by the sheet. Obviously with all of this, there is realistic judgement of what is being done well, and things that are not that has to be taken into consideration as well.

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Interesting as a few years back I asked the opposite question (kinda).... I asked if a corps doing a "Wayback" show carrying all equipment and no pit could be competitive.

Had some well thought out responses and some that heated the house very nice thank you (IOW - got flamed).

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I suspect that some day some group will put 4 keyboard synthesizers in the pit (playing in the key of G, just because they can), and field no brass. All the percussion in the pit too. And put about 120 guard on the field.

And a cockatoo playing a tambourine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epCqnLn6G7k#t=39

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