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Yup, however all marching bands are NOT drumcorps.

True.

Just like all college football teams are not Alabama. :tongue:

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Because it's always been marching band, or at the very least a form of marching band?

In the eyes of the general public... we're all bandos, and have always been so. :smile:

There's truth in what you say, but distinctions are important.

I live in Boston, where we have the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. Though it has changed in recent years, traditionally the Pops consisted of many of the same musicians, minus first chairs. To many there is no difference, but tell a symphony subscriber that Keith Lockhart will lead Mahler Night at the Pops or tell the symphony die hards that Patti Lupone will perform an Andrew Lloyd Weber tribute with the BSO, you'll get an outcry. Interestingly the BSO has stable audiences and the Pops does too. Some major orchestras that do quite a bit of blending are having a harder time finding an audience.

I like drum corps as drum corps because of tradition, and symmetry from a visual point of view, and have no problems with rules that make drum corps distinct, but if the "marching band" word is used to be derogatory, you are very correct that to the wider world there is no difference. As a matter of fact I was just asked by a non drum corps friend if I'm spending my vacation "watching the bands" to which I answered yes.

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I like drum corps as drum corps because of tradition, and symmetry from a visual point of view, and have no problems with rules that make drum corps distinct, but if the "marching band" word is used to be derogatory, you are very correct that to the wider world there is no difference. As a matter of fact I was just asked by a non drum corps friend if I'm spending my vacation "watching the bands" to which I answered yes.

That, right there, is my basic point. I agree, there are differences and distinctions... and drum corps, in general, is a unique part of the marching world, no question. But it is all marching band... marching music.

I do the same thing when asked "what is drum corps?" by folks who don't know about it. I tell them, it's basically a summer version of marching band, with independent groups rather than school-based groups.

Edited by Fran Haring
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Well... not really. Not in many quarters BITD anyway. In Massachusetts, the CYO circuit for decades had 2 divisions. One for" Drum Corps," ie Drum & Bugle Corps, and one for Marching Bands. So didn't other circuits, including the VFW, AL. There were distinct divisions, and were both identifiable, and made separate, by primarily the instrumentation usage ( ok, so both wore " silly costumes".. whatever.. no argument on that personal assessment observation of yours on this from me ). But this comment we often hear today that" Drum Corps", ie, Drum & Bugle Corps were always Marching Bands is not factually, not historically accurate at all. Not as far as competition qualification entry was concerned anyway. The real test of what determined a unit back then. The fact that both marched, and both were sometimes perceived by outsiders as the same .ie, a."Marching Band " is really beside the point. The main point is that to those who knew better, including the qualifications for competition entry, the judges who judged the 2 at the time, and the staffers who taught the 2 at the time, the 2 were absolutely not the same. A Drum & Bugle Corps was a Drum & Bugle Corps, and a Marching Band was a Marching Band. Period. Yes, it might've been simpler times back then, but those people involved back then were not confused, nor conflicted in the least on this and they absolutely knew that a Marching Band was not a Drum & Bugle Corps, nor vice versa. Thats why they all had separate competition divisions for each of the 2 back then. To think otherwise is not only a feeble attempt at revisionist history, it is simply a wrong headed, silly, and inaccurate historical observation, imo

Agreed from a perspective standpoint. To many casual observers, both a Corvette and a Cruze are "cars". But equating them to those who are passionate about cars is a non-starter.

However, the question is, what defines the distinction between Drum Corps and Marching Band? Is it instrumentation? Probably not unless you want to call Ohio state a Drum Corps. I would propose that the distinction is in complexity of design/demand and quality of performance level. But that would potentially mean that woodwinds would be ok in a "Drum Corps". This becomes a difficult question to answer.

Maybe the simple answer (at least in the DCI World Class Discussions forum) is that a Drum Corps is a group that competes in DCI.

Outside this forum, that leaves the question of parade corps, alumni corps, DCA corps, etc.

Good luck coming to consensus on a definition...

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I do the same thing when asked "what is drum corps?" by folks who don't know about it. I tell them, it's basically a summer version of marching band, with independent groups rather than school-based groups.

And thats precisely what they are now, imo too.

One area where increasingly both the older generation ( the many thousands who no longer follow DCI ) and the thousands of newer fans and youthful participants to DCI are coming together in common ground is the acceptance that competitive junior Drum & Bugle Corps competition no longer exists, and that these DCI units are now full fledged Marching Bands. Its ok for the reluctant others to come in board with this reality too., imo. It really is ok..., there is no animosity, finger pointing, or trepidation anymore with the overwhelming vast majority of former marchers, fans, staffers, judges, and the current participants, followers. There is some acknowledgement, or resignation ( or joy, regret, or sadness ) still present among some, but the overarching sentiment it seems to me now with most is...... acceptance, ie that the current DCI units are summer Marching Bands.

Edited by BRASSO

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As someone who plays trombone professionally and who marched with the instrument in my youth, allow me to share a few things. Some of these may have already been mentioned.

1. The trombone is a cylindrical-bore instrument. It's one of, if not the most powerful of all orchestral and band instruments.

2. It's cylindrical shape allows it to produce beautiful, rich soft tones in any register, yet it can apply an edge to the sound when at high volumes (hopefully controlled).

3. Use of the trombone indoors is more ideal certainly than outdoors, but it's fully capable of sounding great outside.

4. When used outdoors, drill writers must be careful about placement of the instrument on the field. Vertical alignment in 2-step intervals would mean that the slides will have to go over someone's head or be moved to the left or right. Not exactly ideal in the drum corps activity.

5. Adjusting the slide height (parallel to the ground or 10% above parallel) can be an issue. It is REALLY easy to see if the slides of the section are not placed correctly. Nothing looks worse within the instrumentation ranks than seeing 8 to 16 trombones on the field with bell heights and slides all over the place. You might as well send out an S.O.S. to the judges saying "can you dock some more points, please?" If you're going to march your trombone section (which we have NOT YET seen in drum corps), you had better be good. REAL GOOD! Because that #### can look bad.

Now, none of the above means don't try. The sound of the instrument can go really well with certain rep. Some symphonic music really calls for it. Jazz often calls for it. The baritone and euphonium are conical-bore instruments and therefore get a rounder, wider tone, but they cannot push the volume like the trombone, nor should they apply high-end edge the same way. There is a marching trombonium, which is the smaller version of the bell-front baritone, and some corps utilize this horn to great effect. For my own personal taste, that is likely the better way to go, at least in drum corps. Some bands use these are well, but for most scholastic bands it's more cost effective to let the kids play their own instruments, which would include trombones.

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the question is, what defines the distinction between Drum Corps and Marching Band? Is it instrumentation?

Yes, that would be my personal distinction between the 2. Thats the long time standard distinction, and one in which units were qualified for competition dependent upon their instrumentation usage. Marching Band was in one division, Drum Corps in another. They competed within their own division only ( although oftentimes had the same judges, and most shared staffs among the 2 ). So I would say instrumentation useage would be the standard distinction. However, there no longer are competitive junior Drum & Bugle Corps. They cease to exist anymore. I can't tell you the precise time and date they disappeared, as it was more of an evolutionary, slow process in my view. What remains are summer Marching Bands. and yes, I do recognize that there are variations among these summer Marching Bands in DCI, just as there are variations among the non summer Marching Bands that we see and hear in the Scholastic world in the Fall, Spring, Winter too.

Edited by BRASSO
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Does anyone know who ISN'T using trombones this year?

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Interesting discussion.

Those of you who think trombones are not suitable enough in one way of another should explore the marching bands in Texas. There is nothing more powerful than a wall of raging trombones. If you play wimpy you get wimpy.

If you are a strong player, you make strong and projecting brass sounds.

DCI has innovated for years, I think it's wonderful to see them bring concert instruments on the field. Variety is a good thing. That being said, I wouldn't suggest they stop using Baritones, just continue opening up the diversity of instruments used in the shows and continue being creative.

One dislike though.

Too much dialogue being used in Drum Corps shows these days...Stop the dialogue.

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