Not Excited - Boredom has Set in


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As we begin a new year of drum corps, for the first time in almost 20 years I am just not excited about this upcoming year. Last year, with the exception of SCV … I was bored. Sure, oooh, look at the pretty colors and the strangeness of it all, but to be 100% honest I didn’t get a lot of it. WAY OVER MY HEAD or I’m just not taking the right kind of medication.

I am tired of slick tricks by the guard and pre-recorded audio clips that are supposed to enhance performances - they don’t - it’s all become a distraction. Maybe if a staff member from a corps would sit down and explain it to me all I might get it, but that’s not going to happen. Used to in the “olden days” Drum Corps World Magazine would explain what’s going on, but now it seems like you have a musical arts degree to understand a show.

It has all become so bland for me that I have become bored with drum corps. I really don't care why type of instruments the corps are playing, it's all good in my book. However, the antics of the DCI judging system never ceases to amaze me.

Typically I travel to one large regional show a year. Airfare, hotel room, dinners out, tickets, souvies., etc usually cost me $1,000 or more for the weekend. Maybe I’ll just by the DVD and call it a day.

Does anyone else feel this way and if so why?

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RBarron10- I thank you for your contribution to what can be a valuable dialogue. It's a dialogue we've had several times before, but hopefully we learn something new each time. Most likely, 8 out o

This. Also, the replies you will get are (1) it was always marching band, (2) it is still drum corps, (3) "excellence" is the distinction, (4) why can't you just go away? An activity that has radical

Anytime I see a person complain about "modern art" being over their heads, the only thing I can think is "....well that explains who's buying all those paintings of clowns and kittens at local art fai

In before the close. :tongue:

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That's the reality of modern art. You mention the degrees. Remember the average age of a DCI performer is around 20. The overwhelming majority of these performers are music education, music performance, or some other type of visual/performing art major. The product being put out is worked and refined by staff members who come with long lists of credentials; BMEs are almost a necessity to staff a line. The nature of the staff and students in a World Class drum corps puts them on a similar level as a collegiate marching band. The exception being that a college marching band doesn't usually meet until August and often only rehearses 2-3 hours a day anywhere from 3-5 days a week.

This aspect of a more "educated" staff and student base leads itself to drum corps as an art form becoming more of a high brow art form. Something you would expect to find performed at a museum of modern art. I for one, hate modern art. I could throw paint at a board, glue garbage to it, and call it art by assigning random meanings to everything. That's what I get out of today's drum corps. The show no longer is about entertaining the casual audience member. Few corps even play recognizable music anymore. Today it is practically considered kitsch to play a recognizable piece of music from the history of drum corps, and unheard of to play anything performed/written within the past 5 or so years, unless it was written by an obscure artist. So many corps spend good money to commission original works loosely based on themes of classical music.

There is a far greater focus on emoting to the audience. Music is about telling a story, sure, but good musicians can tell the story beginning to end through their music. Today's corps tell part of a story, but rely on the audience to fill in the gaps and missing parts. When I see a Top 12 corps (with few exceptions), I'm reminded of my former instrument professor before I dropped out of music school. He always asked me "What is the piece trying to describe? Tell me the story." I'm not a story teller, which is why I didn't make the cut in music school, and why I find modern drum corps so very boring.

I am not the only person that feels this way! I think back to 2010 Madison Scouts. The audience at the show I saw them at were on their feet cheering within the first 30 seconds of the show. Few people actually stood and cheered any other corps that night, mostly because there was no connection with the audience. A typical drum corps audience is parents, friends, family, alumni, potential recruits, and fans of all ages. The people with no musical background, such as parents, friends, and family, have no clue about deeper meaning, and simply just cheer when something the like is done on the field. A blasting company front playing a recognizable tune is far more effective in gathering attention and interest than a 3-D pyramid drill done during an extended pit and battery feature. The 3-D pyramid gathers half hearted applause from the parents, while the only folks left foaming over such a drill are drill writers, modern drum corps fans/recent alumni, and avant garde aficionados.

Part of my dislike for modern drum corps is based in my personal music upbringing. I attended a small high school with a not very good band in the early 2000s. None of the other schools we played against had a competitive band. Most schools did band festivals (no trophies or awards at all, just play the show), or had to share stadiums with multiple high schools and therefore couldn't go to festivals since many football games were played on a Saturday afternoon or evening. None of the schools had pit equipment, or expansive color guards, and few even had drum majors. Most bands were conducted by their director, and featured a dance line or twirlers. Our drill was often symmetrical, and we always played shows with recognizable music: Classical hits, Latin, Broadway, Rock, Americana, etc. A lot of our influence was based on the drum corps of the 1980s. Our director wrote the drill and put the music together; we didn't have an arranging and drill staff like many competitive high schools. We didn't have the talent to have featured soloists very often, so everyone just played. It was fun, and the audience enjoyed the shows.

So for me, a good entertaining show features recognizable music, loud moments, screaming soloists, and everyone just engaging the audience. That is far from the case for me with modern corps.

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I know I can't be the only one getting annoyed by these "I'm leaving drum corps forever" threads. Is anyone expected to care? Just move on quietly and save us all the time and effort.

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RBarron10-

I thank you for your contribution to what can be a valuable dialogue. It's a dialogue we've had several times before, but hopefully we learn something new each time. Most likely, 8 out of 10 posts that follow will attack your opinion, and possibly even your person. I won't. I don't think you came back here to destroy the activity. I think you came here to help it flourish. I also want acknowledge Brad T for doing the same, and those who follow.

This activity is not big enough to suggest you, or anyone with similar views, get lost. It needs to find a way to keep you onboard.

To my eyes, there has been great change in this unusual product. But, more importantly, I accept that I HAVE CHANGED, TOO! I've adjusted my relationship with it, and so can you. Having seen 1000, or more, drum corps shows in person over the years, I give you the advice I now give others of my vintage.

Simply this, the corps will change on their schedule. Change the way YOU witness what they do. I think you'll find, today's shows are BETTER THAN EVER for where you (and I) are in our present requirements, and wherein we find value. Give the activity a different look.

For me, DCI corps have become so complex, so multi-layered, so detailed, etc., I no longer enjoy it as I once did from a single seat in the grandstand, at a single viewing. I'd miss too much in person. I can't take-in enough anymore in that setting. I have discovered Pay-Per-View now works far better. I realize now, without the aid of multi-camera views, close-ups, personal sound control, and an outstanding seating location for whatever the corps are doing, I'm bored, too. I make no apologies for that. Neither should anyone else. Far too much of today's supurb productions are missed, by ME, taking it in live. I can't imagine anyone sitting 'low on the twenty' seeing and hearing what I do now. Obviously, very many people still attend live, and at great expense. It's their turn. I had mine. Life goes on.

The corps and shows today are simply amazing. Once skeptical of where we've gone, now I can see that special attraction is still alive. There is incredible talent presented here in an imaginative way that exceeds what I once thought possible. What a joy to rediscover drum corps can still work for me.

A good example is the recent Blue Devils show. I spoke with several knowledgeable people who saw them live and hated their show. It made no sense to them, and evidently not many of the rest of the audience either. I'm here to tell you, that show would NOT translate adequately live, especially with a single viewing opportunity. But, it's a fantastic poduction when presented in a DIFFERENT package! I watch it over and over, and with pleasure. All the other corps have much to like, too. I should shout out to the Cavaliers who never cease to satisfy me.

To sum it up, RBaron10 . . . hang in there. Give it another look, a different look. Never forget, YOU have changed, too!

Can't wait for the coming season!

Edited by Fred Windish
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I know I can't be the only one getting annoyed by these "I'm leaving drum corps forever" threads. Is anyone expected to care? Just move on quietly and save us all the time and effort.

I thought last year was a great year. I loved Crown and they won, BD was not as offensive as usual, Cadets had one of their top music books of all time, Bluecoats had a great show and that's just the top 5. Bottom few WC corps were better than ever!

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Actually, it's interesting to hear from people and why they are giving up on the new marching bands. I know my sig pretty much covers what some people here do every day 24/7 with 10k posts demeaning every thread OP like this one. Feedback is important whether you agree with it or not or whether you think they are intelligent or not. Even as a snob, you can only dismiss lost revenue for so long

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OP, I agree with you. It's funny how others want to shutdown discussion they don't agree with. That must be all the rave at colleges today. The solution to speech you don't agree with is More free speech not less. "In before close"? I see no reason. Hone your argument.

I have no interest in spending money supporting this summer marching band circuit. I stopped when I found myself embarrassed to watch the fake emoting, layered with thunderous goo and synthesized sound that covers the low brass. It's become a shadow of itself and the cool factor is gone.

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