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Eleran

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In Ontario there are music programs in high schools and some elementary schools - they just aren't oriented to marching programs (except for two schools I know of, one in Guelph and one in Collingwood) and like in the U.S. some music programs are OK, some are not, and some are excellent. There are dozens of indoor drumline programs now when ten years ago there were none and I suspect in the years to come some will evolve into bands. We never had a strong tradition of school marching bands and all drum corps except for two (Del and Michael Power Knights) were independent.

I think because there wasn't a school connection, as costs to operate increased it was hard to find funding money, people just didn't feel strongly about sponsoring corps or shows. There are some new corps (noted above) and maybe one of them will become competitive eventually. There is interest, it's just not widespread.

Interestingly four key people (Canadians Doug Thrower, Dave McKinnon, Jon Vanderkolff and Mike Fanning) are at the top of the game right now and all were involved in drum corps in Kitchener when there were competitive corps there - yet Ontario has only corps that are starter kits.

I find the kids are interested when they learn about drum corps, hence the growth of indoor lines, which are not expensive to organize and run, but the powers that be don't get the value of music education as an important skill to develop so funding is basic and supplemented by community fundraising in some areas.

Interest in arts funding in Ontario has grabbed the spotlight in recent years and many communities have incredible networks of artists, it just focused on other disciplines and not school or community music programs. It's changing, but the snails are winning right now.

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I think the US's state of unrest regarding travel across local boarders may be a hinderance at this current time. Which may also be hindering corps coming up for shows.

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When we used to travel to Canada for shows the members did not need passports etc. When you crossed the border they would walk on the bus and ask for ID from anyone that they thought may not be US citizens. We would always cross at night and they would tell us to all pretend to be asleep to make the crossing easier. Times have changed and today they would require a passport from every member in the caravan.

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Last year, the Pacificaires from Bristish Columbia over the border from Seattle, Wash performed in Soundsport. or Drumline. Same house performs in WGI champs and regionals often.

Calgary is host to a number of showbands beyond just the Stampede unit. Denver BK drum major a few years back...now their asst. dir....came from one of them, Red Lions I think.

Bristol, RI 4th of July parade saw no less than 3 such Canadian units this year, Norwood parade saw 2 others.

Cadets alum Jay Michalak and Bluecoats design staff (almost all Canadians) have iinterests, teaching gigs, and audition opportunities there for Canadian kids. Doug Thower actively so recruits for Bloo. Cadets have a few in their guard each year..

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When we used to travel to Canada for shows the members did not need passports etc. When you crossed the border they would walk on the bus and ask for ID from anyone that they thought may not be US citizens. We would always cross at night and they would tell us to all pretend to be asleep to make the crossing easier. Times have changed and today they would require a passport from every member in the caravan.

and I don't think its getting into Canada that's the concern. I think its getting back into the US that's the problem.

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Alright, so we've identified one hurdle for having DCI shows in Canada - getting DCI corps across the border and back, since not all marchers necessarily have passports. Just out of curiosity - does anyone know if the Canadian groups are having any issues crossing into US and back home when they attend SoundSport? Are requirements the same for them, and do they all have passports?

On the other hand, if DCI decided to plan a tour route through Canada (as they did through Florida), with specific corps committing to it, and it was planned far enough in advance, would it be that difficult logistically to require their members and staff to obtain passports?

As Sarnia Sam said above: "I find the kids are interested when they learn about drum corps" - and a tour is one way to introduce them (if it's promoted properly). Look at the growth of corps in Washington: Cascades, Columbians, Eruption and Thunder ... one would think there would be room for growth in neighboring British Columbia.

Or is this simply a case that the lack of emphasis within the schools will forever impede the growth, such that it's not worth the effort?

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Alright, so we've identified one hurdle for having DCI shows in Canada - getting DCI corps across the border and back, since not all marchers necessarily have passports. Just out of curiosity - does anyone know if the Canadian groups are having any issues crossing into US and back home when they attend SoundSport? Are requirements the same for them, and do they all have passports?

On the other hand, if DCI decided to plan a tour route through Canada (as they did through Florida), with specific corps committing to it, and it was planned far enough in advance, would it be that difficult logistically to require their members and staff to obtain passports?

As Sarnia Sam said above: "I find the kids are interested when they learn about drum corps" - and a tour is one way to introduce them (if it's promoted properly). Look at the growth of corps in Washington: Cascades, Columbians, Eruption and Thunder ... one would think there would be room for growth in neighboring British Columbia.

Or is this simply a case that the lack of emphasis within the schools will forever impede the growth, such that it's not worth the effort?

Passports are just a cost and 6 weeks of waiting. So as long as you know as a member months in advance, you can plan ahead. Of course, you have some international members who already have theirs and need those to come over from Europe and Asia.

My opinion though is that its a little of column A and a little of column B. I think the cost to a corps to get there and back is likely part of it. If the closest shows to Montreal are Nashua and Boston, that's a cost to consider for what may be very little return. And its likely worse for an OC corps where shows are fewer. So a Canadian corps would have to prepare for a longer tour.

Of course if there's little to no examples of it in front of a student, how can they be attracted to it? If they've never seen it, they won't know what they're missing.

But further, if they see a show, and say "that's awesome, I want to do that" but there's no musical training except for those few specialized arts schools, then the amount of effort to become a part of the activity is a mountain of things to tackle. Its not like going to ask the band director to teach you how to play a trumpet. They have to seek out a place to learn (such as Academie Musicale de Montreal) pay for lessons, and then come to the states to march.

I'm not saying any of it is impossible. We've had CAN corps compete, and do well. We've also had some not do well. I remember touring to Div 2/3's Canadian Open. Which had the standard Div 2 and 3 classes for all of the corps, and then another set of classes for specialized Canadian corps to get awards in (standstill, and some other classes). So it felt like forever when they were announcing awards. Because they'd announce all these little awards, and people would clap and it would take forever to get to the normal DCI awards.

I think your best bet to create a renaissance of Canadian Drum Corps would be to have an organized circuit of those soundspots, and piggyback that with a DCI show somehow. SoundSport Canada... eh?! And take it to lots of places to garner an interest. You don't need a football field to do it. And you'd need to get those music schools on board. Because once you've shown the example, and now you've presented a place to learn how to do it, you would likely get at least some people on board to learn and help build that activity.

i just think the costs for the current estimated return are whats keeping it all from happening.

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Alright, so we've identified one hurdle for having DCI shows in Canada - getting DCI corps across the border and back, since not all marchers necessarily have passports. Just out of curiosity - does anyone know if the Canadian groups are having any issues crossing into US and back home when they attend SoundSport? Are requirements the same for them, and do they all have passports?

On the other hand, if DCI decided to plan a tour route through Canada (as they did through Florida), with specific corps committing to it, and it was planned far enough in advance, would it be that difficult logistically to require their members and staff to obtain passports?

As Sarnia Sam said above: "I find the kids are interested when they learn about drum corps" - and a tour is one way to introduce them (if it's promoted properly). Look at the growth of corps in Washington: Cascades, Columbians, Eruption and Thunder ... one would think there would be room for growth in neighboring British Columbia.

Or is this simply a case that the lack of emphasis within the schools will forever impede the growth, such that it's not worth the effort?

as mentioned above, the problem is passports. Most Canadians have one, it's a necessity with 80 percent of our population living within 100 miles of the border; there's too much cross border business and shopping. Most of us grew up going back and forth many times a week. That doesn't seem to be the case for Americans, many of whom I know don't have passports or are not interested in getting one; so that hurdle would have to be passed before a corps could travel to Canada. Getting a passport requires some legwork and time - at least the first time around. I think by the time someone finds out they have a spot for the summer they would have to be right on to getting a passport in time for tour. All that being said, I don't know what the aversion is to just getting a passport as soon as one is able to, thereby saving panic when one is needed, or having to pass up opportunities because you can't get home without one.

As to your last point, not having marching band programs in schools was never really an impediment. There were three drum corps in my home town - at the same time - and the school bands were meh. Toronto had dozens of drum corps. Kitchener always seemed to have two on the go. Dozens of smaller towns had drum corps - until the 80s when costs forced many out of the picture. However, I do think in today's atmosphere, a show wouldn't hurt for recruiting. Mostly though I think it's alumni who need to get something happening. Heck, just turning someone onto youtube videos is often all that's necessary to get a kid interested.

People like Bob Thwaites, who started the Diplomats in Windsor and the Preston Scout House organization have laid some ground work for others to follow. They started with used equipment and a limited growth plan rather than jumping into a touring model right away.

I also think our society as it has evolved in Ontario is too focused on business = good, all else = maybe; that and some incredibly dumb moves by our government has made discretionary spending a thing most don't have time for. I mentioned above there has been a recognition of culture and arts as being important here, and it is very important, but propping it up is mainly seen as a way to boost a flagging economy to replace our lost, rich, industrial base.

I think that's why drumlines have flourished. They are cheap to organize and run (until you start to think about going to WGI) and involve 25 to 40 kids in each one. Many schools don't have a problem getting kids involved, or their parents for that matter. Turn that discussion into funding a full drum corps that has to travel though isn't easy.

I was about to hit send and another thought came to mind. If Yamaha approached the Canadian band market they way they created one in the U.S. back in the 80s through latching onto great drum crops using their products things would surely improve. The explosion of drumlines in Ontario is largely due to them and Michael Beauclerc (a Yamaha clinician) deciding to create a market for their drums. I know Majestic has their sights on us now too. If only they expanded their vision to the rest of the band instrumentation beyond percussion.

In the end, it boils down to someone deciding to create a drum corps out of nothing the way our parents and grand parents did back in the 50s and 60s and ignoring all the other economic and cultural factors that seem to be standing in the way - kind of what Bob did in Windsor.

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The largest attendance ever at DCI Finals was in Montreal in the 80's at Olympic Stadium (was there) The fluctuation in the dollar over the years was a factor working on the costs of Canadian corps traveling to the U.S. Quebec was a big drum corps Province.

In recent years Acadmie Musical, Linsolite, and Les Etoiles were on the scene in DCI. 911 was a big stopper. It became difficult to transit the border with groups , let alone a drum corps. I agree, an effort should be made to bring Canada back to DCI. It was just much better when they were involved

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