Sign in to follow this  
EntertainmentTrumpsAll

DCI 2018 Post Season Review

Recommended Posts

Hello!


With the season now over, I wanted to have a discussion on where Drum Corps is and where the activity is going. I want to maintain a positive attitude but I also want to point out some things that have truly rubbed me the wrong way the past few years and see if I am alone in this, or if others here feel the same way.

I live in Arizona and don’t have access to many shows in my immediate vicinity, mainly just the Drums Across the Desert. I also regularly attend the DCI Big Loud and Live events each year, so my view of DCI and Drum Corps in general is limited to only a few events a year, but I have been vigorously following the activity since the early 2000’s.

I mean no disrespect to any of the amazing marching members or volunteers or all of the incredible people it takes to make a DCI season happen, but this 2018 season had to be my least favorite season of DCI that I have ever seen.

There was such a colossal use of props and staging that I sat there in my seat and consistently was taken out of the performances because there seemed to be so little actual marching going on. My father has been a huge DCI fan for years and years and he was chuckling to himself at how little corps were actually playing while marching.

I don’t want to have this turn into a hate post, because I do love this activity so much, but I walked away from Drums Across the Desert quite disappointed and that feeling didn’t leave me after walking out of the theater either.

I feel that the activity as a whole needs to take some big steps toward cutting down on a few things –

1.       Electronic use – Not every solo needs to be mic’ed and pre-recorded audio needs to be kept to a minimum. I don’t have as much problem with microphone usage on live audio, but pre-recorded stuff being played out of speakers is getting out of hand.

2.       Amount of prop use – The sheer amount of props on the field per corps was insane this year. I don’t blame the corps for not moving (see: Marching) as much due to the ridiculous amount of props, but do we really need to have so much? Half of the time it looked more like a stage than a football field.

3.       Dance – There have been some great uses of dance and movement in the past (Cavaliers 2002 – Fight Club comes to mind) but it has gotten to the point where the marching members are dancing around more than they are marching. I have nothing against dance as a visual art form, but its use should be fairly restricted in drum corps.

 

Am I alone here? I was very disheartened leaving the theater Thursday night. My father even said he didn’t know if he wanted to come back next year because we didn’t enjoy ourselves. I feel all of the above issues I have mentioned seem to only be getting worse each year.

 

Thanks!

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hadn't noticed this. These things you speak of.

  • Haha 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, EntertainmentTrumpsAll said:

Hello!


With the season now over, I wanted to have a discussion on where Drum Corps is and where the activity is going. I want to maintain a positive attitude but I also want to point out some things that have truly rubbed me the wrong way the past few years and see if I am alone in this, or if others here feel the same way.

I live in Arizona and don’t have access to many shows in my immediate vicinity, mainly just the Drums Across the Desert. I also regularly attend the DCI Big Loud and Live events each year, so my view of DCI and Drum Corps in general is limited to only a few events a year, but I have been vigorously following the activity since the early 2000’s.

I mean no disrespect to any of the amazing marching members or volunteers or all of the incredible people it takes to make a DCI season happen, but this 2018 season had to be my least favorite season of DCI that I have ever seen.

There was such a colossal use of props and staging that I sat there in my seat and consistently was taken out of the performances because there seemed to be so little actual marching going on. My father has been a huge DCI fan for years and years and he was chuckling to himself at how little corps were actually playing while marching.

I don’t want to have this turn into a hate post, because I do love this activity so much, but I walked away from Drums Across the Desert quite disappointed and that feeling didn’t leave me after walking out of the theater either.

I feel that the activity as a whole needs to take some big steps toward cutting down on a few things –

1.       Electronic use – Not every solo needs to be mic’ed and pre-recorded audio needs to be kept to a minimum. I don’t have as much problem with microphone usage on live audio, but pre-recorded stuff being played out of speakers is getting out of hand.

2.       Amount of prop use – The sheer amount of props on the field per corps was insane this year. I don’t blame the corps for not moving (see: Marching) as much due to the ridiculous amount of props, but do we really need to have so much? Half of the time it looked more like a stage than a football field.

3.       Dance – There have been some great uses of dance and movement in the past (Cavaliers 2002 – Fight Club comes to mind) but it has gotten to the point where the marching members are dancing around more than they are marching. I have nothing against dance as a visual art form, but its use should be fairly restricted in drum corps.

 

Am I alone here? I was very disheartened leaving the theater Thursday night. My father even said he didn’t know if he wanted to come back next year because we didn’t enjoy ourselves. I feel all of the above issues I have mentioned seem to only be getting worse each year.

 

Thanks!

1. Electronics - As with any creative tool some people use it well and others do not. Most used it well, don't penalize them for the misses of a few teams.

2. Props - When you say that things look more like a stage than a football field that is the designs intent. To transport the viewer outside the arena and many corps did just that and did it very, very well. There was plenty of high velocity and challenging drill this year so I think the design teams get that mix right more often than wrong. 

3. Dance - When you say that the members are dancing more than marching you look foolish because that just isn't the case and I think you know that. The variety of movement skills these members are required to master over the course of the summer is very broad and makes the shows much more dynamic, interesting and entertaining. This is the style that the current MMs want to perform. Forcing yesterdays style of corps on today's MMs is a recipe to kill the activity.

Enjoy the activity for what is has become and will continue to evolve into. It is never going back to what it was even 10 years ago...things evolve or they die. 

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Spatzzz said:

1. Electronics - As with any creative tool some people use it well and others do not. Most used it well, don't penalize them for the misses of a few teams.

2. Props - When you say that things look more like a stage than a football field that is the designs intent. To transport the viewer outside the arena and many corps did just that and did it very, very well. There was plenty of high velocity and challenging drill this year so I think the design teams get that mix right more often than wrong. 

3. Dance - When you say that the members are dancing more than marching you look foolish because that just isn't the case and I think you know that. The variety of movement skills these members are required to master over the course of the summer is very broad and makes the shows much more dynamic, interesting and entertaining. This is the style that the current MMs want to perform. Forcing yesterdays style of corps on today's MMs is a recipe to kill the activity.

Enjoy the activity for what is has become and will continue to evolve into. It is never going back to what it was even 10 years ago...things evolve or they die. 

I guess we will have to agree to disagree then. I don't want to make broad generalizations but I saw one, maybe two truly great uses of props in the entirety of the top 12 this year. I know enjoyment of Drum Corps is subjective but I heavily disagree with you on "things evolve or they die". DCI was never dying and has been going on for many many years. The prop era only really started picking up steam since 2012. Every year more props get added and less marching takes place. 

And as I said in my opening post, I don't get to see these shows nearly as much as I would like to, but in what ways were there "plenty of high velocity and challenging drill"?? I saw almost none. :(

Edited by EntertainmentTrumpsAll
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Spatzzz said:

Enjoy the activity for what is has become and will continue to evolve into. It is never going back to what it was even 10 years ago...things evolve or they die. 

Sometimes, both.

(Surprised we are resorting to "change or die" by only the second response to the OP.  You should allow time for the proponents of all these changes to provide their glowing praise first.)

Edited by cixelsyd
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, EntertainmentTrumpsAll said:

Hello!


With the season now over, I wanted to have a discussion on where Drum Corps is and where the activity is going. I want to maintain a positive attitude but I also want to point out some things that have truly rubbed me the wrong way the past few years and see if I am alone in this, or if others here feel the same way.

I live in Arizona and don’t have access to many shows in my immediate vicinity, mainly just the Drums Across the Desert. I also regularly attend the DCI Big Loud and Live events each year, so my view of DCI and Drum Corps in general is limited to only a few events a year, but I have been vigorously following the activity since the early 2000’s.

I mean no disrespect to any of the amazing marching members or volunteers or all of the incredible people it takes to make a DCI season happen, but this 2018 season had to be my least favorite season of DCI that I have ever seen.

There was such a colossal use of props and staging that I sat there in my seat and consistently was taken out of the performances because there seemed to be so little actual marching going on. My father has been a huge DCI fan for years and years and he was chuckling to himself at how little corps were actually playing while marching.

I don’t want to have this turn into a hate post, because I do love this activity so much, but I walked away from Drums Across the Desert quite disappointed and that feeling didn’t leave me after walking out of the theater either.

I feel that the activity as a whole needs to take some big steps toward cutting down on a few things –

1.       Electronic use – Not every solo needs to be mic’ed and pre-recorded audio needs to be kept to a minimum. I don’t have as much problem with microphone usage on live audio, but pre-recorded stuff being played out of speakers is getting out of hand.

2.       Amount of prop use – The sheer amount of props on the field per corps was insane this year. I don’t blame the corps for not moving (see: Marching) as much due to the ridiculous amount of props, but do we really need to have so much? Half of the time it looked more like a stage than a football field.

3.       Dance – There have been some great uses of dance and movement in the past (Cavaliers 2002 – Fight Club comes to mind) but it has gotten to the point where the marching members are dancing around more than they are marching. I have nothing against dance as a visual art form, but its use should be fairly restricted in drum corps.

 

Am I alone here? I was very disheartened leaving the theater Thursday night. My father even said he didn’t know if he wanted to come back next year because we didn’t enjoy ourselves. I feel all of the above issues I have mentioned seem to only be getting worse each year.

 

Thanks!

ETA - I feel ya - I think your points are fair -- 

I also sympathize with your dad's feelings -- 

I think what I would say is, roll with the changes because sometimes they are just trends -- we might be going through a phase where designers love big props or love to drop in samples through their sound system -- the infatuation may wane however -- 

for example, screamers - there was a time when arrangers thought a trumpet playing high was gauche -- well, the worm has turned and we have trumpeters playing high again --

marching - BAC did some very nice marching this year despite removing 1/3 of the field with the mangroves -- that was ok -- they still sliced and diced --

props: I think the props thing is going to peter out with people getting tired with lugging them around, people getting hurt ect -- 

soloists -- I agree with you - there are times when a competent musician should be able to project and play loud enough all by themselves -- not sure how it was in the stadium, but it seems like the Bluecoats are the only group who is able to do electronics without having problems - 2 things could happen -- all of the top 12 could learn from and standardize on the Bluecoats' best practices or the top 12 will decide that mic'ing the soloists is not worth it and focus on other uses of audio tech.

Overall, I think it's best to not get too hung up on it too much -- but to just enjoy the art form -- 

the art form is always changing - we can't ask the designers to be static -- otherwise it would be nascar, right? :bigsmile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My overall impression of this season:  It's been one of the more exciting and competitive seasons in my short DCI experience. 

Is this due to the issues you list or in spite of?  I'm pretty sure we'll get a lot of opinions on this, but no real answers.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did notice that the two top independent winter guard shows had zero props.  Maybe that bodes well for the corps seasons ahead.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Photographer Jim said:

No, you are not alone, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in a majority either. I’ve followed Drum Corp since the early 1950s, so I suppose I have as much right to call myself a dinosaur as anyone. I’ve seen uncountable changes during my 60 years of fandom, and while many were a bit startling when first introduced (the introduction of “the pit” replacing marching glockenspiels and the introduction of voice,, for example), the sheer talent of the marching members, the joy of the music, and the color and pageantry of shows has always won me over in the end. 

As a visual artist, I’ve learned that creativity stagnates when one does not experiment, take risks, and take different artistic approaches. I think this is true for Drum Corps as well. Not everyone will find new creative attempts to their liking.  But not making changes will ultimately lead to predictability and sameness, and viewer disinterest. 

I also feel strongly that in any creative endeavor, that creative pathway belongs to the artists first and foremost  as audience members, we can choose to accept or reject the artists choices, but we don’t really have a right to demand that corps revert to the past to satisfy us. It’s their call, not ours. Ultimately, changes that have limited appeal will be dropped by the wayside, while those that work will stay and be refined to their most elegant form. So far, the changes you object to have not led to obvious objection (by either the corps members or audiences) to warrant their abandonment. As fans, we can only sit back, enjoy what we are the most comfortable with, and wait for the next creative tweaks and surprises. Or, we can turn away from the artists, which would probably be our loss. 

Bravo. Very well stated.

Let's also remember that today's MM's much prefer today's style. That is the reason the corps can all stay stocked with the high level talent they have. Going back in time to the 70's 0r 80's would be like forcing kids today to use a rotary dial phone in the iPhone age. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.