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What if DCI created a new category for "band" instruments

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Let me apologize for the length of this post. About me: This is my first post but I am by no means to DCP as I've been following for several years in the shadows, so I know how heated things can get. I never had the opportunity to march(I got into this around my age out year) but I am an avid fan and supporter, and I very much respect the rich history of the Drum Corps movement. For what it matters, I am also a band director. It is my hope that because of these elements that I can be give a different point of view.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the point.....

Interestingly enough this idea came to me from studying the evolution of the Nation Football League. Surprisingly, if one were to compare early Drum Corps to the early NFL, you would see a lot of similarities: local, community-based amateur teams competing in local competitions. In both scenarios, a handful of successful teams decided it was in there best interest to get together and form their own organization with specific rules and guidlines.

Because of this, both groups changed through the years and are not necessarily very similar to what they were when they first started, i.e transitioning from a rugby-based approach, changing point values for touchdowns and field goals for the NFL and moving away from bugles and military-style precision drill in Drum Corps, to name a few.

The point is, things typically change if there is a perception that it will make the activity better. Now let me clarify a few things about my own personal opinions:

1) I am a fan of the all brass set-up. It's a wonderful, powerful sound.

2) I am not someone who preaches that things need to "evolve" just for the sake of change. Change doesn't always make for better.

From studying history and seeing how progression comes forward, I do think that eventually woodwind instruments and other typical instruments associated with school bands will make their way into Drum Corps. It's a double edged sword: you lose one of the main things that makes the activity different from a typical marching band but at the same time you open up this great experience up for whole new crop of kids.

What if we could have our cake and eat it too? What if DCI modified their Open Class to be a true, anything goes category (and I'm not talking SoundSport here)? The groups that feel like they want to go that direction can now do that without being penalized.

Leave a World Class Brass category (forgive my lack of creativity on these) for the traditionalists. In terms of competitions,the divisions should be treated like they would at any other competition and be given their own separate scores. The key really is to not allow these two divisions to compete against each other, as you don't want to get into the issue of either orchestration setup working better and comparing the two.

Looking at it from a neutral perspective, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives in terms of letting woodwinds and other instruments into DCI and that's why I see it happening in the future.The move would open up the playing field for many talented musicians who for whatever reason can't/won't learn another instrument and will open up the market value of the DCI brand. It may give credibility and incentive for directors who for some reason don't appreciate what DCI is about to plan trips with their students to shows and purchase DVDs/Blu-rays. A World level Marching Band group would be a great way to get the season started. But most importantly, it provides an educational opportunity and disciplined outlet for more kids. Isn't that what Drum Corps was about when it started?

What do you think? Would this setup fly? Do you think this would be in the best interest of DCI?

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Let me apologize for the length of this post. About me: This is my first post but I am by no means to DCP as I've been following for several years in the shadows, so I know how heated things can get. I never had the opportunity to march(I got into this around my age out year) but I am an avid fan and supporter, and I very much respect the rich history of the Drum Corps movement. For what it matters, I am also a band director. It is my hope that because of these elements that I can be give a different point of view.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the point.....

Interestingly enough this idea came to me from studying the evolution of the Nation Football League. Surprisingly, if one were to compare early Drum Corps to the early NFL, you would see a lot of similarities: local, community-based amateur teams competing in local competitions. In both scenarios, a handful of successful teams decided it was in there best interest to get together and form their own organization with specific rules and guidlines.

Because of this, both groups changed through the years and are not necessarily very similar to what they were when they first started, i.e transitioning from a rugby-based approach, changing point values for touchdowns and field goals for the NFL and moving away from bugles and military-style precision drill in Drum Corps, to name a few.

The point is, things typically change if there is a perception that it will make the activity better. Now let me clarify a few things about my own personal opinions:

1) I am a fan of the all brass set-up. It's a wonderful, powerful sound.

2) I am not someone who preaches that things need to "evolve" just for the sake of change. Change doesn't always make for better.

From studying history and seeing how progression comes forward, I do think that eventually woodwind instruments and other typical instruments associated with school bands will make their way into Drum Corps. It's a double edged sword: you lose one of the main things that makes the activity different from a typical marching band but at the same time you open up this great experience up for whole new crop of kids.

What if we could have our cake and eat it too? What if DCI modified their Open Class to be a true, anything goes category (and I'm not talking SoundSport here)? The groups that feel like they want to go that direction can now do that without being penalized.

Leave a World Class Brass category (forgive my lack of creativity on these) for the traditionalists. In terms of competitions,the divisions should be treated like they would at any other competition and be given their own separate scores. The key really is to not allow these two divisions to compete against each other, as you don't want to get into the issue of either orchestration setup working better and comparing the two.

Looking at it from a neutral perspective, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives in terms of letting woodwinds and other instruments into DCI and that's why I see it happening in the future.The move would open up the playing field for many talented musicians who for whatever reason can't/won't learn another instrument and will open up the market value of the DCI brand. It may give credibility and incentive for directors who for some reason don't appreciate what DCI is about to plan trips with their students to shows and purchase DVDs/Blu-rays. A World level Marching Band group would be a great way to get the season started. But most importantly, it provides an educational opportunity and disciplined outlet for more kids. Isn't that what Drum Corps was about when it started?

What do you think? Would this setup fly? Do you think this would be in the best interest of DCI?

I have said for a number of years that there should be an "Anything Goes" Division within DCI, for corps that want to use any instrumentation. It tends to go over like a lead balloon in these parts. :tounge2:

lead-balloon.jpg

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And what of the "feeder" program that the OC now provides to WC? Little Sally makes it through auditions to claim her goal of marching clarinet with ABC Open Class corps, then finds no WC corps for her to advance into?

Your proposal is ice on the slippery slope of any-instrumentation in all of drum corps.

See another thread here of a young baritone player wondering about the transition from OC (to get experience) on her way to making her ultimate WC corps.

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Please excuse my arbitrary use of Open and World class designations. There would have to be a rebranding of what is currently open class (maybe bring back Div. I, II, etc.)

Both the any instrument and traditional divisions would need their own subdivisions to take into account size, finances, etc.

Ideally there would be a regional model as well, but that's a whole nother topic altogether.

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I think that, in the wider world, instrumentation really isn't a big deal. As someone who has completely never watched motocross before and knows absolutely nothing about it, you can have 50 cc engine classes and 5,000,000 cc engine classes, and all I care about it watching motorcycles jump in the air, you know?

Mike

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There was in the late 90's a subset of the old DCI Pacific region set up exclusively for "band"...meaning any instrumentation.It, to be blunt, failed miserably.

DCI of course would have to be totally restructured....I see no way you'd get the needed votes to make it happen. The BOD can't agree on lunch, let alone figuring out how the money gets allocated. Depending on the instruments added, costs go up....for the equipment, hauling it, the extra bodies, busses, fod, fuel, insurance.

And...you'd need a corps or two willing to go there...and despite the bluster and threats to leave by a few, none have the balls to cut the cord and go for it.

Sure, everyone will try and compare it to Blast. Blast was a one off...it's successor, which featured winds...shockwave I think?.....didn't do all that hot. And now Blast is off broadway, playing far smaller venues than it was in it's glory days.

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Good points. Of course, the groups that are going to go that route will have already considered those logistics. Some this idea stemmed from the Hopkins rumors last month about including woodwind instruments.

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Let me apologize for the length of this post. About me: This is my first post but I am by no means to DCP as I've been following for several years in the shadows, so I know how heated things can get. I never had the opportunity to march(I got into this around my age out year) but I am an avid fan and supporter, and I very much respect the rich history of the Drum Corps movement. For what it matters, I am also a band director. It is my hope that because of these elements that I can be give a different point of view.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the point.....

Interestingly enough this idea came to me from studying the evolution of the Nation Football League. Surprisingly, if one were to compare early Drum Corps to the early NFL, you would see a lot of similarities: local, community-based amateur teams competing in local competitions. In both scenarios, a handful of successful teams decided it was in there best interest to get together and form their own organization with specific rules and guidlines.

Because of this, both groups changed through the years and are not necessarily very similar to what they were when they first started, i.e transitioning from a rugby-based approach, changing point values for touchdowns and field goals for the NFL and moving away from bugles and military-style precision drill in Drum Corps, to name a few.

The point is, things typically change if there is a perception that it will make the activity better. Now let me clarify a few things about my own personal opinions:

1) I am a fan of the all brass set-up. It's a wonderful, powerful sound.

2) I am not someone who preaches that things need to "evolve" just for the sake of change. Change doesn't always make for better.

From studying history and seeing how progression comes forward, I do think that eventually woodwind instruments and other typical instruments associated with school bands will make their way into Drum Corps. It's a double edged sword: you lose one of the main things that makes the activity different from a typical marching band but at the same time you open up this great experience up for whole new crop of kids.

What if we could have our cake and eat it too? What if DCI modified their Open Class to be a true, anything goes category (and I'm not talking SoundSport here)? The groups that feel like they want to go that direction can now do that without being penalized.

Leave a World Class Brass category (forgive my lack of creativity on these) for the traditionalists. In terms of competitions,the divisions should be treated like they would at any other competition and be given their own separate scores. The key really is to not allow these two divisions to compete against each other, as you don't want to get into the issue of either orchestration setup working better and comparing the two.

Looking at it from a neutral perspective, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives in terms of letting woodwinds and other instruments into DCI and that's why I see it happening in the future.The move would open up the playing field for many talented musicians who for whatever reason can't/won't learn another instrument and will open up the market value of the DCI brand. It may give credibility and incentive for directors who for some reason don't appreciate what DCI is about to plan trips with their students to shows and purchase DVDs/Blu-rays. A World level Marching Band group would be a great way to get the season started. But most importantly, it provides an educational opportunity and disciplined outlet for more kids. Isn't that what Drum Corps was about when it started?

What do you think? Would this setup fly? Do you think this would be in the best interest of DCI?

Thank you for deciding to participate fully in DCP, by providing all of us your thoughts and observations. Massachusetts once had a 2 division format that worked quite well in the 1960's for all concerned. They had a traditional Drum & Bugle Corps Division ( comprised of approx. 40 Drum Corps ) and a Drum Corps style Marching Band Division ( comprised of approx. 25 Marching Bands ). Both Divisions shared many of the same instructional staff, and both shared the same judges, and much of the judging system was almost entirely similar as well. They even competed in the same show on the same day ( but in separate divisions ). It worked well for everyone concerned, including fans. I likewise believe that such a division could work today as you do. DCI could have Drum Corps Division and a Marching Band Division. The instrumentation utilization for each division would of course be self explanatory and understood by all. I actually believe that DCA and DCI will someday merge, and that they'll be a Drum Corps Division and a Marching Band Division ( as well as other ensemble group divisions present )and that the Championships will someday even take place on the Continent of Asia for one of their years. It won't happen tomorrow, nor someday soon. But this is where this is all headed in the future as the world shrinks, merges and like minded consolidations continue with a divisional format, and worldwide travel inevitably becomes easier.

Edited by BRASSO

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I have said for a number of years that there should be an "Anything Goes" Division within DCI, for corps that want to use any instrumentation. It tends to go over like a lead balloon in these parts. :tounge2:

lead-balloon.jpg

We rarely agree on much on here, MikeD, but on this we do agree. DCI should have done this long ago, just as you said. They should have had a Drum Corps Division and a Marching Band Division. Had this occured, the use of flutes, saxophones, electric guitars, violins, or what have you would have been approved in a heartbeat, imo.. and all this confusion, angst, etc on instrumentation and what consitutes a Drum Corps and what constitutes a Marching Band could have largely been avoided for all intents and purposes. I'm also of the opinion that such a 2 division format would have resulted in tens of thousands of former coast to coast Drum Corps fans not up and leaving too.... while simultaneously attracting the newer fans that enjoy the flutes, saxophones, violins, electric guitars, singers, etc and whatnot in their Marching Bands and want to see and hear this in DCI during their summers.

Edited by BRASSO

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lead-balloon.jpg

Good golly!!! Thank you for pointing out this is a photo of a lead balloon because that is 'not' what I saw!!!! :omg::w00t::doh:

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