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Jeff Ream

DCA Rules Congress

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Trombones are fine but they all need to be similar in sound and intonation. That's why the dci corps use the same brand. Your not going to "help" a start up corps with 12 different trombones on the competition field. Also, I was advised by someone mush wiser in this subject that the bones need to be reinforced by baris and euphs.

Speaking of start ups, schools have sousaphones, not students. How does that help a start up corps?

Overall, this might work ( I hope). Just not a fan. I do love a good marching band. But, I do love a good drum corps.... ya know.....

If a corps is just starting out I think the least of their worries is how uniformed their instruments are. You are most certainly going to help a start up corps by putting twelve different brands on the field, marching bands do it all the time. The main focus of a start up corps is to be fully functional, obtain and retain membership then build upon fundamentals and functional show design. If a corps has four trombone majors showing up to their winter camp it is way more beneficial to the corps' main goal to let them play their natural instrument then to force feed them valves and a different bore size. At that point your argument becomes invalid, if they are bone majors owning the same baritone isn't going increase their chances of success. It's rarely the horn that makes the player, it's the skills they possess.

In starting a drum corps (and I hate to break it to you but even in the top level corps) you are constantly making deals with bands to borrow equipment before you can invest in it. So if a school is willing to loan you a sousaphone and that's the best you can do for the season then so be it. It's a great thing for the overall health of the activity. If I wanted to, with a little fundraising, I could start a brass line today, that hopefully within a five year window become a finalist and within 10 years possibly win. I mean look at C2 even with a talented staff, great endorsements, great designs, great recruitment, it still took them a few years to get their placement. So how do afford any corps the same the same opportunity to go from rags to riches? Open the door of possibility to them.

Edited by Big Adam
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Generally, Sousaphones aren't as good an option as the marching Tuba by far--they don't play as well, especially the fibreglass models.

When I was in high school, when we saw a band that had the fiberglass, we used to joke that they were plastic: "If it's made by Mattel, it must sound swell!" We played on a mix of King and Conn brass sousas

But my college marching band used fiberglass sousaphones, so I did that for three years. Then our band director had me join her to make a pitch to a university auxiliary committee. I played the same snippet of music first on one of our fiberglass horns and then on a brass horn borrowed from a high school. Did my darndest to make the first sound much worse and the latter much better to the untrained ear.

We got the funds and had brass sousas for my senior year.

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I'm fairly certain had Mike used his Conn 88 which I think he had at the time, I used my King military issue Bone (We think it's more or less a 3-B with a satin silver finish and a buffed inner bell), and Bruce and the Big Ogre used their Pro model bones (thinking they were using Kings), we'd have made Winnetka and Love for Sale sound a lot better than on the Ultratones we had in 82 and the Die-Nastys we played on in 83. Teamwork. All of us having played together for 4 and 5 seasons respectively knowing exactly how everyone zigged and zagged and matching it without really thinking about it. Unless one of our Bones sprung a leak, we'd have made that work, matched bones or not.

I don't think Lou Zanine and I played on matched Euphoniums in the WCU Wind Ensemble, yet we were a pretty strong matched duo that really gassed Doc Laudermilch. (I think Lou might have had a borrowed Besson!?) Why? Lou was and I were really well taught from the Crossmen and Westshore respectively to listen to what the other cat was doing, how they were approaching things, and match it perfectly.

Lou smiles every time when I tell him I still want to sit, stand, whatever...get him a Euphonium and play with him again, anything he wanted to play. The experience was always fantastic and one I'll always remember with a lot of respect.

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On 12/9/2016 at 8:10 AM, CorpsBuff said:

As a trombone player early on in my musical career, I'm glad that when I joined the Buccaneers I had to learn to play a valved instrument. Without that mandate I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the musical diversity I have now with the amount of instruments I feel comfortable playing. Now this does open up opportunities for players like me who never played a valved instrument before, but I personally am glad I was forced to learn something new.

I guess I missed the bone-only players in DCI?  Every bone player I've ever seen in DCI switches between bari and bone during the show.  So you're expanding the skill set to include both valved and slide instruments  during the performance.  More is being asked of the performers, not less.  

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BX5CM you are absolutely right...  using a bone for an effect or a specific solo doesn't bother me...  trying to march a complex drill while playing a slide trombone is absurd... I doubt anyone would try that junior or senior...  furthermore most HS bands - at least those who are serious about marching - don't try it... valved bones work fine in 98% of all musical situations...  and a good player can handle the other 2%...  Mighty St. Joe's playing Lassus Trombone almost 50 years ago comes to mind... 

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5 hours ago, Kamarag said:

They didn't march the entire show with the trombones, but you're right... BD's use of the 'bones was, by far, the best example I've seen of trombones in a drill.  A complex DCI drill, no less.

OK... cue the "but the Blue Devils don't move a lot" crowd here.  LOL.

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35 minutes ago, Fran Haring said:

They didn't march the entire show with the trombones, but you're right... BD's use of the 'bones was, by far, the best example I've seen of trombones in a drill.  A complex DCI drill, no less.

OK... cue the "but the Blue Devils don't move a lot" crowd here.  LOL.

They move and do what they have to do with the bones to check off the Box 5 criteria, I'm rather certain, Fran. The real 'trick' I admire from that video was how well thought out the drill design/ pathing was to keep the performers safe and take into account the physical length of the instrument so they weren't worrying about spearing anyone or having to contort the slide.

 

The one thing that did surprise me was that this cat was using his finger here and there on 3rd position, which is one of the first things you teach someone not to do. Let's put it this way, if a clown like me can keep his fingers properly holding the slide and off the bell, this isn't that tough to do. :whistle:

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3 hours ago, BigW said:

The one thing that did surprise me was that this cat was using his finger here and there on 3rd position, which is one of the first things you teach someone not to do. Let's put it this way, if a clown like me can keep his fingers properly holding the slide and off the bell, this isn't that tough to do. :whistle:

 

When you have twenty guys all playing the same instruments on the same mouthpieces and using the System Blue tuning marks, using the finger/bell reference for third position isn't at all unreasonable. It's actually pretty smart.

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I'm not particularly down with that. Why? I've seen it slow people down when they end up wrenching their index finger on quick passages or get the finger(s) fumbled into the mix. You can find 3rd easily enough and as much as they practice, muscle memory should have the wrist, thumb, and the two fingers where it should be.

 

As for the tuning slide and marks, all right- but the one thing you can't easily do on the bone is to adjust that tuning slide on the fly. Can't even make a quick grab on the tuning slide or 4th valve slide as I can on my Euphonium in concert or even my bari in Alumni corps. At least there I have the Kanstul left thumb adjust in a pinch.

I know you know... :smile: Regardless of anything else, if you're on the ball, you're listening to every note coming out the bell, critically evaluating on the fly, and adjusting where necessary. Lip, ear, brains, critical thinking. I personally find that good consistent slide technique means I can keep my brains locked on the listening part and if need be, I can fudge the slide a sixteenth of an inch where I need to in a pinch. If I get sloppy and untidy with that kind of thing-- I'm not the most coordinated person. I'd be apologizing to the arc and staff all the time for the sheer badness. You'd be bringing me a roll of White Cloud to wipe off the bell with. :laugh:

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