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Jersey Surf and competitive success

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So by fundamentals... do you mean visually? Or do you mean like brass performance or percussion performance. Speaking only about this past season.

Yes. all of the above.

My $0.02. Surf is at a crossroads. They can be the funny corps, or they can go more serious. VK did comedy well, because they were serious about it. (you cannot do comedy well, if you don't take it dead seriously, otherwise it looks sloppy) Take this year's show. The first half in raincoats was more serious. Decent drill, accessible music, big impacts, cleaner playing, and something they could sell. Once the raincoats came off, the show because more of a park and bark. But a messy park and bark. Drill got sloppy and sparse, and they instead relied on characterization of becoming beach goers, instead of traditional performers and marchers. So they needed to embody Annette and Franky and beach blanket bingo their way into your heart. But they didn't. So it looked like they might have been having fun, but without going fully into character, they just looked sloppy and the shows 2nd half looked like an afterthought. So you've got some fun done seriously, and seriously sloppy fun. But they had lots of fundamentals missing. Foot technique, body posture and control, musical attacks, phrasing, and releases were all sloppy as well. So yes, instruction can help overcome fundamentals. It cannot turn ok players into amazing players. That is part talent and part work ethic. But listening for balance/blend, moving eyes for forms, and keeping feet in time are all stuff that even open class does well.

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It's simple...march, play, spin, etc. at a really high level.

Design a show that the members can be successful with, and have a plan of items to add to the show through the season that will enhance the production.

Problem solved, entertaining and competitive.

It's not like the VK shark was in the whole season...

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Yes. all of the above.

My $0.02. Surf is at a crossroads. They can be the funny corps, or they can go more serious. VK did comedy well, because they were serious about it. (you cannot do comedy well, if you don't take it dead seriously, otherwise it looks sloppy) Take this year's show. The first half in raincoats was more serious.

Agree on that point. I am a classic comedy buff to an extent. Read about how the Marx Bros tested out the material they intended to use in their films by going on the road doing live shows and carefully analyzing what worked, did not work, needed tweaking...right down to how much time fo give for the audience to react to a 'bit'...it was very carefully laid out. In the silent era, Buster Keaton's greatest films were laboriously and carefully pieced together to generate the impacts he wanted. Nothing was left to chance. Ditto Chaplin's feature length films (though many of his early shorts were more off-the-cuff).

As for Surf, to me they provide a great performing experience for their membership. Bob Jacobs is a VERY bright guy; I think he knows what he is doing.

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Agree on that point. I am a classic comedy buff to an extent. Read about how the Marx Bros tested out the material they intended to use in their films by going on the road doing live shows and carefully analyzing what worked, did not work, needed tweaking...right down to how much time fo give for the audience to react to a 'bit'...it was very carefully laid out. In the silent era, Buster Keaton's greatest films were laboriously and carefully pieced together to generate the impacts he wanted. Nothing was left to chance. Ditto Chaplin's feature length films (though many of his early shorts were more off-the-cuff).

As for Surf, to me they provide a great performing experience for their membership. Bob Jacobs is a VERY bright guy; I think he knows what he is doing.

I concur that the members are getting a great experience, one way more better than other groups on the east. But do they want to move up the ranks? I think there's a lot more design planning that needs to be involved further in advance.

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It seems like there are three different personalities to Jersey Surf and they are caught in an identity crisis:

1. They want to be a serious corps

2. They want to be funny = Velvet Knights/Bridgemen

For clarification, the Bridgemen were a VERY serious Corps, that simply decided to shake up the DCI staid, Cadets styled, suburban based DCI establishment at the time with a radical ( at the time ) fun based, avard garde, completely different, urban based, theme styled shows. The fact that the Bridgemen finished 6 times in the top 6 ( more than Star of Indiana in this regard, for example ) and were less than a mere 6 tenths away from winning a DCI Title for themselves one year speaks to their seriousness of competing for a DCI Title, despite their unique approach to DCI styled shows at the time. The Velvet Knights orginally were a very conventional Corps, but one stuck in the back of the placement pack for over a decade. ( 20's, 30's ) Once they developed however a fun theme styled reputation for themselves ( fun for both fans and members alike ) their scores and placements began to dramatically improve ( into Finals 8 times, as high as even 7th one year ). Along these same lines, I thought that Jersey Surf might carve out a similar niche for themselves and fill the void left by the Bridgemen, VK. They seemed to have caught lightening in a bottle with their very well received " Bridgemania " themed show a few years back. But for some inexplicable reason they abandoned that approach. Regrettably ( but not unsurpisingly ) as a result, they have languished near the bottom of the WC Division since.

Edited by BRASSO
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It's also been stated on this thread that there is also a lack of basic fundamentals being taught and I totally agree with that. The Bridgemen and Velvet Knights were the kings of comedy; but, they also could march very well and understood dress, cover, forms, etc. Both Jersey Surf and Pioneer, for that matter, just look like they weren't taught the basics very well during the winter camps. Those things need to begin at camp #1 and reviewed over and over and over; especially for corps at their level. When a bunch of open class corps look far superior than a world class corps, there are some issues at hand.

I couldnt agree more with this statement, the show was entertaining with summer and all but for a competitive standpoint the OC Corps blew theirs away. I dont know if they need revisit their staffing capabilities all through the Corps and maybe add someone with fresh creative ideas. Hope it works out for them.

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Here's what I don't get: If the corps administration, staff and marching members are happy with the status quo (ie entertaining light-hearted shows that are less competative than those who "take themselves more seriously") then why should they change anything? Where does it say that in order to be a world class corps going on a full summer tour that you need to compete to move up the ladder or you shouldn't bother to show up?

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For clarification, the Bridgemen were a VERY serious Corps, that simply decided to shake up the DCI staid, Cadets styled, suburban based DCI establishment at the time with a radical ( at the time ) fun based, avard garde, completely different, urban based, theme styled shows. The fact that the Bridgemen finished 6 times in the top 6 ( more than Star of Indiana in this regard, for example ) and were less than a mere 6 tenths away from winning a DCI Title for themselves one year speaks to their seriousness of competing for a DCI Title, despite their unique approach to DCI styled shows at the time. The Velvet Knights orginally were a very conventional Corps, but one stuck in the back of the placement pack for over a decade. ( 20's, 30's ) Once they developed however a fun theme styled reputation for themselves ( fun for both fans and members alike ) their scores and placements began to dramatically improve ( into Finals 8 times, as high as 7th on year ). Along these same lines, I thought that Jersey Surf might carve out a similar niche for themselves and fill the void left by the Bridgemen, VK. They seemed to have caught lighting in a bottle with their very well received " Bridgemania " themed show a few years back. But for some inexplicable reason they abandoned that approach. Regrettably ( but not unsurpsisingly ) as a result, they have languished near the bottom of the WC Division since.

And as far as using the reasoning as 'they started late" these groups form in the early fall with their idea of what they want the show to be based upon, I find it hard to believe that they (staff) are new to this, most being in Corps themselves to come up with with a kick@$$ show both musically and performancewise. I know that i would grow tired of being in the bottom tier continously. Gotta get something going here.

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Here's what I don't get: If the corps administration, staff and marching members are happy with the status quo (ie entertaining light-hearted shows that are less competative than those who "take themselves more seriously") then why should they change anything? Where does it say that in order to be a world class corps going on a full summer tour that you need to compete to move up the ladder or you shouldn't bother to show up?

Beacause you need to IMPACT the crowd and the judges. this isnt an end of year performance of a HS band, its WC Corps. I gotta believe that there are more edgy and better ideas out there to take advantage of.

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Beacause you need to IMPACT the crowd and the judges. this isnt an end of year performance of a HS band, its WC Corps. I gotta believe that there are more edgy and better ideas out there to take advantage of.

Says who? If they are content the way things are who are "we" to say they need to change it? I'm not saying that they ARE happy with the status quo - I have no knowlede whether they are or not. The question was is there anything in the rules that mandates that they should push harder to compete?

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