DCIFan44

Creativity at the Top

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Hey Everyone,



Long time reader, first time poster!



I’ve been around Drum Corps all my life, but recently, I’ve found myself wondering about the creativity of certain corps; frequently from those of a typically “higher” ranking. I’m curious to see what you all think about my take:



This year, for example, SCV is playing Scheherazade, realistically, it’s almost the exact same performance as 2004 (which was one of the greatest shows in history, IMO…BUT, it’s already been done). Meanwhile, the Cadets are playing Application Spring in a “Story of America” fashion; both of which we’ve heard umpteen times before.



These are the top corps of the activity. They have the most money, WANT the most money, and employ full time staffs comprised of the top talent in DCI. Forgive my bluntness, but this is the best you can come up with? Meanwhile, corps with much stricter operations (Pacific Crest, Spartans and Academy, for example), are putting brand new shows on the field filled with never-done, challenging, program – pushing themselves, and in the process, risking easy and safe points as a result.



Is this what we want out of the activity? We all know the trickle-down effect of higher-placing corps, and for this reason, shouldn’t those more creative and challenging shows be rewarded in some fashion? Otherwise, it’s DCI just a competition of “who can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the cleanest” – Ok, that’s to the extreme, but you catch my drift.



What do you folks think? Do you find yourself feeling more supportive of shows like Bluecoats, Boston and Oregon Crusaders (if only for their complexity and “making something out of nothing” aspects), or are you still enthralled, even when there’s a remake?


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Hey Everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster!

I’ve been around Drum Corps all my life, but recently, I’ve found myself wondering about the creativity of certain corps; frequently from those of a typically “higher” ranking. I’m curious to see what you all think about my take:

This year, for example, SCV is playing Scheherazade, realistically, it’s almost the exact same performance as 2004 (which was one of the greatest shows in history, IMO…BUT, it’s already been done). Meanwhile, the Cadets are playing Application Spring in a “Story of America” fashion; both of which we’ve heard umpteen times before.

These are the top corps of the activity. They have the most money, WANT the most money, and employ full time staffs comprised of the top talent in DCI. Forgive my bluntness, but this is the best you can come up with? Meanwhile, corps with much stricter operations (Pacific Crest, Spartans and Academy, for example), are putting brand new shows on the field filled with never-done, challenging, program – pushing themselves, and in the process, risking easy and safe points as a result.

Is this what we want out of the activity? We all know the trickle-down effect of higher-placing corps, and for this reason, shouldn’t those more creative and challenging shows be rewarded in some fashion? Otherwise, it’s DCI just a competition of “who can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the cleanest” – Ok, that’s to the extreme, but you catch my drift.

What do you folks think? Do you find yourself feeling more supportive of shows like Bluecoats, Boston and Oregon Crusaders (if only for their complexity and “making something out of nothing” aspects), or are you still enthralled, even when there’s a remake?

Hopkins stated that this year's show was a concept that they thought about 10 years ago! TEN YEARS AGO! What does they tell you? It means that it wasn't their top choice for production in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, or 2013. No doubt Cadets play the heck out of this show this year, but overall the show lacks the freshness and WOW factor of say, the Bluecoats - who always manage to do new things.

SCV - got to agree with you there too. The show seems like something they could have done years ago. Same true with Phantom. Not saying I'm not enjoying their shows, but can't say they're exactly pushing the creative envelop with them either.

Edited by drumcorpsfever

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I agree with you. Not that these are not great drum corps that we are talking about or that creativity just to be different is always a good thing... I just wonder if the top drum corps should be taking more risks since... well, they can...?

This is why I have never been anti-BD like a lot of other people are. Sure, they are not always my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the creativity that they are trying to bring to the table.

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Yes. I think Corps at the top are given much more lattitude. They can play anything from Christmas tunes of songs even 3 year olds know, all the way to head scratcher complex shows where even the adult judges need a preseason primer as to what in Hades will be going on., with music that sounds like someone ran their fingernails across a blackboard... Because these Corps have marcher talent up the wazoo, they can play " Jingle Bells " or, at the other end of the spectrum, orginal esoteric lower chord pieces and still place in the upper echelon of DCI. Its also in the execution too of course. Let BK try a show like " Avian ", ( or even BAC with " Animal Farm " this year ), and such demanding, creative, fresh approaches are by no means given the same lattitude as what the BD's of the world do. It is what it is. No sense whining about it. Its not going to change, so my suggestion is to sit back and enjoy what you like, and let the judges do what they've always done... give a little more deference and lattitude to the same ol, same ol, Corps at the top. There's no way on Gods green earth that any of the non G7 Corps could play " Jingle Bells" and other Christmas tunes and finish in the top 4. I don't think any reasonable person believes otherwise, either.... so basically my suggestion would be to not sweat this stuff.

Edited by BRASSO
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Hopkins stated that this year's show was a concept that they thought about 10 years ago!

Longer than that, probably. Cadets' show this year seems to be exactly what Hopkins was citing as a key justification for amplification in the various rules proposals he submitted through the years before it was allowed starting in 2004: the ability to include the speeches of great Americans in a drum corps show.

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To the OP-Great first post and topic. Welcome and thanks for chiming in. A good friend and mentor of mine once said- if you wanna make top 6 as a bottom tier top 12 corps, you have to actually be at top 3 level to get the same level of recognition. What does that mean? You can't just expect that you can take the risks or lack of risks that BD and others do. They'll get the benefit of the doubt no matter what. So the corps trying to stay finalists and those trying to get in will always have to push themselves and the activity to catch the eyes of judges/gain a competeitive advantage year in and out. Don't get me wrong- The judges get it right at the end and there's no conspiracy. The level of talent of the top groups along with level of great teaching is hard to overcome for younger staff and members.

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Neither Cadets nor SCV have been guilty of shying away from innovation over the long haul. It's silly to even suggest otherwise. I have no problem with either doing an old favorite occasionally. I kind of like it, in fact.

BTW, crazy as it may seem, I don't tire of Alvin Ailey doing "Revelations" over and over either.

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Hey Everyone,

Long time reader, first time poster!

I’ve been around Drum Corps all my life, but recently, I’ve found myself wondering about the creativity of certain corps; frequently from those of a typically “higher” ranking. I’m curious to see what you all think about my take:

This year, for example, SCV is playing Scheherazade, realistically, it’s almost the exact same performance as 2004 (which was one of the greatest shows in history, IMO…BUT, it’s already been done). Meanwhile, the Cadets are playing Application Spring in a “Story of America” fashion; both of which we’ve heard umpteen times before.

These are the top corps of the activity. They have the most money, WANT the most money, and employ full time staffs comprised of the top talent in DCI. Forgive my bluntness, but this is the best you can come up with? Meanwhile, corps with much stricter operations (Pacific Crest, Spartans and Academy, for example), are putting brand new shows on the field filled with never-done, challenging, program – pushing themselves, and in the process, risking easy and safe points as a result.

Is this what we want out of the activity? We all know the trickle-down effect of higher-placing corps, and for this reason, shouldn’t those more creative and challenging shows be rewarded in some fashion? Otherwise, it’s DCI just a competition of “who can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the cleanest” – Ok, that’s to the extreme, but you catch my drift.

What do you folks think? Do you find yourself feeling more supportive of shows like Bluecoats, Boston and Oregon Crusaders (if only for their complexity and “making something out of nothing” aspects), or are you still enthralled, even when there’s a remake?

You raise some great points.

Obviously, there is a recognized need to please the fans....and that can be a roll of the dice because while some fans want the tried and true, some hate anything ever done again.

We're also told all the time with electronics, so much new music is available.....then we get the tried and true.

for corps like SCV or Cadets, doing pieces that were made legendary, it's hard to top the past versions, and for especially Copland, done to death ( granted Lincoln Portrait hasn't been, but I was never jonesing to hear that on the field anyway)

Then you have corps like Bloo and OC, taking some gambles. Boston, while a new show, is the music of dead white guys ( and one prominent director cried about "having' to play that stuff without the new toys....then he does that stuff most years anyway)

IMO, most creativity per se is on the visual side, and IMO, most of that's just borrowed from indoor. in my humble opinion, drum corps has hit a huge wall in terms of actual creativity and going beyond whats been done before. Pretty much everything "new" has been done in other subsections of the marching arts genre.

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My challenge to any corps to put a show on the field about a non-prime number still stands...

(Calender years, i.e. 1930, don't count. But maybe Four Corners did... ;)

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No doubt Cadets play the heck out of this show this year, but overall the show lacks the freshness and WOW factor of say, the Bluecoats - who always manage to do new things.

They absolutely do. The talent of these top corps, regardless of show, is staggering; how Crown and Cadets (among many others) get a horn line that balanced and control is beyond me. This almost re-enforces what we're saying, actually, "You have so much talent banging down your door, use it!!"

To the OP-Great first post and topic. Welcome and thanks for chiming in. A good friend and mentor of mine once said- if you wanna make top 6 as a bottom tier top 12 corps, you have to actually be at top 3 level to get the same level of recognition. What does that mean? You can't just expect that you can take the risks or lack of risks that BD and others do. They'll get the benefit of the doubt no matter what. So the corps trying to stay finalists and those trying to get in will always have to push themselves and the activity to catch the eyes of judges/gain a competeitive advantage year in and out. Don't get me wrong- The judges get it right at the end and there's no conspiracy. The level of talent of the top groups along with level of great teaching is hard to overcome for younger staff and members.

Thanks for the welcome!! I agree with your friend 100%, and to his (and your) point, the judges do get it right. Are Cadets better than Boston this year? Of course, no contest. Are Boston pushing their own boundries more than Cadets? In my opinion, yes. Difference is, as you noted, Boston has no other choice! - Good point.

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