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KeithHall

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20 minutes ago, KeithHall said:

Of course other established corps could start feeder corps

and that of course takes money, and we have seen one feeder corps fold in the last 3 months and 2 others scale operations way back. 

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21 minutes ago, KeithHall said:

Of course other established corps could start feeder corps

Major point you have avoided is that the birth rate in the US continues to plummet, abortions are now at 60 million, and even "senior" corps in DCA are having problems getting members since going "All"-Age. This sounds like a thread for Fantasy DCP.

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I have read that there were about 440 competitive corps at every level at the end of the VFW/AL period, around 1971. I believe that is what the History of Drum and Bugle Corps book stated.  How true is that? Who knows. There were some competitive bands, but they were not as prevalent. Today there are thousands of competitive HS bands spread around the country. so for pure numbers of kids marching and competing, today by far serves a larger group. A few years back just for fun I looked at numbers in the various Northeast circuits, such as USBands, TOB, NESBA, NYSFBC and Cavacade. I got up to 1500 bands, though of course there was some amount of overlap. 

Drum corps has become the "extra" activity for the marching/music students who love that activity, much like others who go to camps like Intrelochen and other enrichment programs in the summer on all sorts of topics, not just music.

There were posts about junk busses, PB&J for meals and the like...that is totally true. When I toured with the Garfield Cadets, on our way to Florida one year we had to exit our busses and walk up a long hill in front of them, as the staff was afraid they might not make it up the hill fully loaded....and we had pretty decent buses! Blue Rock, one of the best corps in the country in 1971, had maybe the worst busses I have ever seen. My recollection is that one of them had no reverse gear and actually had to be pushed by corps members to get it started. 

I recall the director of the GSC corps I taught in 76/77 getting underneath the school bus we owned to make whatever repairs he could, just to get it operational. 

As for meals, on our short tours we would stop at fast food places, usually an area where there might have been a few lumped together, and we were on our own to eat. 

Looking back, the are of member safety and care was far from what there is today. I remember that bus drivers drove as many hours as needed. We would have a corps member sit on a water cooler in the front of the bus at night, just to make sure the driver stayed awake!

Of course, we loved what we did!!!!!

 

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7 hours ago, KeithHall said:

Before I start my day today I had to jump on DCP just to toss out some thoughts.....

 

    Can we say that the 1960's and maybe more so, the 1970'S, were the biggest for this activity? Well back then there were more corps and shows across North America every weekend. One didn't have to travel a day or more to see a competition. In my home town (North Tonawanda, NY) we ran 2 shows every summer ( Sights and Sounds of [insert year] and the NT Open). Both shows were packed on concert side. We could go to shows in Toronto area, Kitchener area, Rochester, Syracuse, Angola, Sheffield, PA, Hammondsport, NY, Corning, Binghampton, Oswego. The last two years of our corps we started in May going to Canton one weekend and then to Michigan for two shows Memorial Day weekend. There were always enough corps to give fans their money's worth. DCI traveled to different cities every 2 years and could make it affordable for corps near that city. 

Today we probably have 40 total corps (my guess) and who knows who they are anymore because each year they have new uniforms with different colors. The music is stuff no normal person knows, whatever happened to the theme from "The Midnight Cowboy?" Soon we'll have a scaffolding with LED lights, huge amps and every horn and drum mic'd. The field will be covered by HUGE tarps with Broadway style props and scenery. 

Just my thought....why not bring drum corps back using the local/regional corps. DCI could boost their likeability. Provide workshops for want to be directors, business managers, etc. Why do new corps have to shoot for the top? Keep the kids local.

No. And oh yeah, no.

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5 hours ago, Tim K said:

I do think we will not see the days of local circuits and smaller local corps return, but I think it may be incorrect to say that high school programs fill the gap, and I say this with no disrespect to the many wonderful high school programs. 

There are approximately 35,000 public and private secondary schools in the US. How many have competitive marching programs? Percentage wise it is easily under 10%, perhaps under 5%. I’d be willing to bet that many schools may not even have a marching program. I know in Boston, there are many fine music programs in the public high schools, Catholic schools, and charter schools. I cannot speak for the private schools that are not Catholic schools. In many cases they have wonderful jazz bands, choirs, string ensembles, and drama programs. There may be a band and at sporting events there are pep bands, but I do not know of any competitive marching programs. It may be due to funding, but where in many cases there are music departments, it may be interest.

It varies by region, I think. Ohio has approximately 800 high schools. Of those, about 225 have marching bands who attend competitions. I believe Indiana has fewer high schools overall but even more bands that compete. Most of the bands aren't very good, to be sure. But by most accounts, neither were the vast majority of corps of the 1960s and 1970s.

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1 hour ago, MikeD said:

I have read that there were about 440 competitive corps at every level at the end of the VFW/AL period, around 1971. I believe that is what the History of Drum and Bugle Corps book stated.  How true is that?

 

Hi Mike!  I used to do an annual active North American junior corps census for Drum Corps World....probably did them for 20 years.  The index of corps that appears in the Drum Corps World book A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, was done by me.  It turns out that with more digital sources available today there were MANY more active junior corps than were ever published.  I have recently found corps that literally nobody ever heard of, that did parades, exhibitions, etc.  I meticulously researched the corps that were performing.  In that final pre-DCI season of 1971, the numbers would have been close to 1,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

 

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16 minutes ago, Northern Thunder said:

Hi Mike!  I used to do an annual active North American junior corps census for Drum Corps World....probably did them for 20 years.  The index of corps that appears in the Drum Corps World book A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, was done by me.  It turns out that with more digital sources available today there were MANY more active junior corps than were ever published.  I have recently found corps that literally nobody ever heard of, that did parades, exhibitions, etc.  I meticulously researched the corps that were performing.  In that final pre-DCI season of 1971, the numbers would have been close to 1,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

 

Excellent! 

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3 hours ago, MikeD said:

There were posts about junk busses, PB&J for meals and the like...that is totally true. When I toured with the Garfield Cadets, on our way to Florida one year we had to exit our busses and walk up a long hill in front of them, as the staff was afraid they might not make it up the hill fully loaded....and we had pretty decent buses! Blue Rock, one of the best corps in the country in 1971, had maybe the worst busses I have ever seen. My recollection is that one of them had no reverse gear and actually had to be pushed by corps members to get it started. 

I recall the director of the GSC corps I taught in 76/77 getting underneath the school bus we owned to make whatever repairs he could, just to get it operational. 

 

The local junior corps I was with... we were lucky when it came to buses.  We had our own starting in 1972, I think it was... maybe '73.  And our parents who drove them... they kept the vehicles in good shape.

Three school buses... one of them retrofitted to be part bus, part equipment truck... a few rows of seats, with the equipment behind that.

You're right about the meals. For us, it was either bring your own... or have money for a fast-food joint.  LOL.

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8 hours ago, Tim K said:

In the 1970’s when we began to see corps disband, there was an each corps for itself attitude, some corps were like vultures spotting road kill to recruit the members of disbanded corps, and these groups eventually died. A lesson that should be learned is corps can be competitive and individual, but there has to be come collaboration to make a local circuit survive.

THIS. Quebec blew itself up big time over this very issue.

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2 hours ago, Northern Thunder said:

Hi Mike!  I used to do an annual active North American junior corps census for Drum Corps World....probably did them for 20 years.  The index of corps that appears in the Drum Corps World book A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, was done by me.  It turns out that with more digital sources available today there were MANY more active junior corps than were ever published.  I have recently found corps that literally nobody ever heard of, that did parades, exhibitions, etc.  I meticulously researched the corps that were performing.  In that final pre-DCI season of 1971, the numbers would have been close to 1,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

 

You been in touch with Bill Ives and see what corps one of you have missed the other found? I'm afraid what would happen , my guess is both of you know of 50 each the other didn't know about.

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