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PopcornEater1963

Old Man DCI was cool...

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For centuries men and women always look back to yesterday to say "things were better back then!" Truth be told, probably not! At that particular time it was good but over the course of time we are able to make improvements. In drum corps, improvements were and are being made. WHY? The activity could not stay status quo! Professional sports change, education changes, government changes, corporations change. Life evolves! Drum corps evolves! I know people my age and older don't want to hear that but it is true! This "topic" has been beaten and beaten to the point of exhaustion. The opinions don't matter as you can tell by Drum Corps continuing their evolution. So why not either accept/embrace or just move on. I marched in the 1970's and saw that Vanguard video with Stan Kenton. But it's 2019, 45 years from that video and times have changed....fashions change, hair styles change, music changes....so let drum corps do that too!

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10 hours ago, BigW said:

My guess is the amount of Music Degrees and those studying for them would be a barometer. Perhaps as well, the backgrounds are deeper before many of them get there to DCI WC level or once they get there. How many of the Guard members and Percussion people are busting it year-round in WGI units now? All these things make a difference, and I reiterate- would that 13-14 year old lad in the McCormick's Video that was cast as the average rookie at SCV circa 1975 make it into the Vanguard now?

 

Yes, there was a lot of talent BITD, but seriously, the talent level of the typical what used to be called the "Line guys" has risen noticeably.

This is true in athletics as well. Today’s middle school football players—especially in large metro areas—are bigger and at times better than the high schoolers were just 20 years ago. Look at the NFL today. It’s insane how much bigger, stronger and faster those guys are now.

i loved DCI 20 years ago but realistically the depth of athleticism and playing ability in the lower half of DCI today would roll over most all of the corps from that era.

I’ve at times been critical of some of the corps for the shows they chose to put on the field. But I was critical of shows 20 years ago. 

If you are honest, though, if 2018 SCV were dropped onto the finals field 20 years ago, the entire stadium would stand with their mouths agape. It would truly shock every single person in attendance. The playing, marching, complexity of the book, production and staging would blow away the field.

 

Edited by MikeRapp
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49 minutes ago, MikeRapp said:

i loved DCI 20 years ago but realistically the depth of athleticism and playing ability in the lower half of DCI today would roll over most all of the corps from that era.

 

For me, that's been one of the biggest differences in this era compared to years gone by... the quality level of the so-called "lower echelon" corps.

We go to the prelims show at the movie theater pretty much every year... and those 15th-place corps we see now would have been slam-dunk finalists back in the day.

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I made this comment in a different thread many years ago. However, I think it is appropriate here.

I am going to come at this from a different perspective because I can.

I may represent the longest period of time between competitive seasons for a marching drum corps brass player. I last marched a competitive drum corps show in 2010 with the Buccaneers. Before that, my last competitive show was with the Cavaliers in 1980. That's right, 30 years between competitive drum corps participation. I think I can speak to both sides of this issue.

BITD, marching styles were different, equipment was different and judging was different. We marched high step and still had to keep our feet out of the horns. We played horns that were more challenging to keep in tune. Heck, the horns had a limited number of notes that could even be played. Unless you had good/great range, you couldn't even play more than 2 octave chromatic scale. Sure, we were wind bags, but we blew the snot out of those old horns and a wall of sound was a...

:peek: "WALL OF SOUND" :peek:

More recently, we mark time with only our heels coming off the ground. However, we run while we play. We have much better horns that stay in tune and have a different tone quality. We have brass techs that run around with a tuner on their iPhone. Arrangers can write much more challenging parts and don't have to worry about not being able to play a specific note. And for sound, let's face it, 60 horns "in tune" will always sound stronger than a current group with 300 horns filled with some students (not all) that are only marching to party with "The Band" or get into the football game for free (See college marching bands).

Unless you can say that you were there BITD, and today, you really can't compare the two.

I truly loved marching with the Cavaliers back in 1980 when I got the opportunity to hear the awesome sound from Spirit, the beautiful Jazz of the Blue Devils and the fun of the Bridgemen. I also truly enjoyed marching in 2010 with the Bucs. I now get the opportunity to hear the impressive skills of the students in Crown, BD, Cadets, Bluecoats and so many other fine corps.

Don't be foolish in slamming one generation over another. If it wasn't for the crews back in the 40s & 50s that really started Drum Corps, or the 70s & 80s that started, and built DCI, we wouldn't have the opportunity to hear the top drum corps that you hear today. Respect your elders while enjoying the exuberance of the todays' youth.

Edited by Old Corps Guy
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2 hours ago, KeithHall said:

For centuries men and women always look back to yesterday to say "things were better back then!" Truth be told, probably not! At that particular time it was good but over the course of time we are able to make improvements. In drum corps, improvements were and are being made. WHY? The activity could not stay status quo! Professional sports change, education changes, government changes, corporations change. Life evolves! Drum corps evolves! I know people my age and older don't want to hear that but it is true! This "topic" has been beaten and beaten to the point of exhaustion. The opinions don't matter as you can tell by Drum Corps continuing their evolution. So why not either accept/embrace or just move on. I marched in the 1970's and saw that Vanguard video with Stan Kenton. But it's 2019, 45 years from that video and times have changed....fashions change, hair styles change, music changes....so let drum corps do that too!

I heart you

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1 hour ago, Old Corps Guy said:

I made this comment in a different thread many years ago. However, I think it is appropriate here.

I am going to come at this from a different perspective because I can.

I may represent the longest period of time between competitive seasons for a marching drum corps brass player. I last marched a competitive drum corps show in 2010 with the Buccaneers. Before that, my last competitive show was with the Cavaliers in 1980. That's right, 30 years between competitive drum corps participation. I think I can speak to both sides of this issue.

BITD, marching styles were different, equipment was different and judging was different. We marched high step and still had to keep our feet out of the horns. We played horns that were more challenging to keep in tune. Heck, the horns had a limited number of notes that could even be played. Unless you had good/great range, you couldn't even play more than 2 octave chromatic scale. Sure, we were wind bags, but we blew the snot out of those old horns and a wall of sound was a...

:peek: "WALL OF SOUND" :peek:

More recently, we mark time with only our heels coming off the ground. However, we run while we play. We have much better horns that stay in tune and have a different tone quality. We have brass techs that run around with a tuner on their iPhone. Arrangers can write much more challenging parts and don't have to worry about not being able to play a specific note. And for sound, let's face it, 60 horns "in tune" will always sound stronger than a current group with 300 horns filled with some students (not all) that are only marching to party with "The Band" or get into the football game for free (See college marching bands).

Unless you can say that you were there BITD, and today, you really can't compare the two.

I truly loved marching with the Cavaliers back in 1980 when I got the opportunity to hear the awesome sound from Spirit, the beautiful Jazz of the Blue Devils and the fun of the Bridgemen. I also truly enjoyed marching in 2010 with the Bucs. I now get the opportunity to hear the impressive skills of the students in Crown, BD, Cadets, Bluecoats and so many other fine corps.

Don't be foolish in slamming one generation over another. If it wasn't for the crews back in the 40s & 50s that really started Drum Corps, or the 70s & 80s that started, and built DCI, we wouldn't have the opportunity to hear the top drum corps that you hear today. Respect your elders while enjoying the exuberance of the todays' youth.

I heart you too

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12 hours ago, BigW said:

My guess is the amount of Music Degrees and those studying for them would be a barometer. Perhaps as well, the backgrounds are deeper before many of them get there to DCI WC level or once they get there. How many of the Guard members and Percussion people are busting it year-round in WGI units now? All these things make a difference, and I reiterate- would that 13-14 year old lad in the McCormick's Video that was cast as the average rookie at SCV circa 1975 make it into the Vanguard now?

 

Yes, there was a lot of talent BITD, but seriously, the talent level of the typical what used to be called the "Line guys" has risen noticeably.

No doubt. All the things you are saying are true.  There are many more college music majors in DCI today. Then again, not all music majors are great players. I knew many music ed majors who were average at best as players.  Many of the non-major types are terrific musicians. But overall I have long felt that there is more depth in DCI today. 

Another factor to consider is kids taking music lessons. Here in Northeast Ohio it is well known that more kids took private lessons in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Far fewer kids are taking private lessons today while in middle school and high school in our region. This has lowered the general quality of many music majors entering college as freshmen. 

I am totally on board with you when it comes to the WGI effect and have stated this much in other threads.  The guard, in particular, is something that has taken huge leaps over the last 30 years. It's more integrated, scored vastly different, and more young people are training year-around for this type of art form. 

As for percussion, I'd say depth is great and there are more solid-to-good lines from 1st to 25th. But none of this should take away from the great SCV lines in the 70s, the Bridgemen in the early 80s, BD in the 80s, Cadets in the 90s and early 2000s, etc. There was plenty of talent in those lines too. 

The same can be said for brass. I hear better overall depth today, especially when I listen to corps ranked 13th to 25th and lower.  At the same time, how many brass lines in the last 5 to 6 years have played a brass book as technically challenging (not that technique is everything) as what Cadets did in 1997, or Star in 1993? Maybe Carolina Crown 13 and 14. Maybe BD 2017.  Even the Cadets 2015 music book, which is revered today for its' demand, does not compare to their 1997 Celebration book, IMO. At least not from a technical standpoint. My point here is that it took a lot of talent to play those books. So we have to be careful with the word "talent."  The Blue Devils brass line in 1993 was wicked good. They've had brass lines in the 2000s that were not nearly as good, and maybe not as deep. 

If the question is depth, then no doubt I hear better depth today. If the question is: Are the best corps today playing better than some of the best corps from yesteryear? If so then I'd say it's a toss-up. Listen to Blue Devils and Garfield in 1984. Those are tough brass books played incredibly well...on 2-valve G Bugles. Most of us are also familiar with how bad some of those instruments were in terms of make, quality, and age. Bridgemen, 27th Lancers, Garfield, and others all were playing on some really bad instruments in the 70s and 80s. 

Today's brass and percussion instruments are superior.  Especially the marching brass. The pit is larger and more varied with orchestral colors. The corps are larger (150 members now).  All of this, along with more instructors coming from the music teacher ranks, dance, theater, etc., have brought more depth to the activity.

This is a great thing and I am a huge fan of today's youth and their thrilling performances in DCI. Are there things about the show construction today that bother me? In some cases, yes. Do I want a return of the 80s? Heck no. No way. I loved it then, but then was then. Now is now. I love what we are seeing today. There were great music books back in the day, and we hear that today as well. There were also duds back in the day, and we hear that now as well.  We can compare yesteryear to now, and it's fun to look at the differences; but doing so to put-down and belittle one or the other is never going to end well. There was plenty of talent and great shows BITD and that has paved the way for modern DCI. We should all be thankful. 

 

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19 hours ago, stevedci said:

. Engaging those folks affiliated with members and sustaining that engagement for as long as possible may well be a top marketing priority. 

 

 Absolutely. The key for all these Corps is to keep current marchers of their Corps engaged as financiers of the Corps well into the future as part of their long term donorship, marketing planning. Will that occur ? Only time will tell. Corps used to have Alums as one of their central financial donor bases, when most Alums were not Music Majors too. Many post Drum Corps went into more lucrative paying career fields than Education careers, and were thus able to " pay back " that enrichment experience with donorship dollars to their former Corps. Many of those Corps are no longer, and many of these Donors have left the activity or are now deceased.

 It will be up to today's DCI marchers to remember their Corps ( not so much their College, H.S. Band, etc as their priority in future donorship dollars ) when it comes to future support. Even those who adopt the current trend of marching in more than one DCI and/ or DCA Corps ( and WGI units) will need to financially continue to support their Corps... even when in 10-20 years, they may not prefer  the " modern Corps ", and when they are involved in careers, mortgages, paying off college loans, etc, . They will need to demonstrate that they " support modern DCI Drum Corps " then, not with talk, but with REAL support... money. Corps do not exist without financial supporters. Any long term marketing plan for DCI Corps MUST include current marchers who are paying between $2,000- 6,000 per season to march now, to continue to support their Marching Corps ( or plural ) long after they tell everyone now how much they" love today's DCI Drum Corps"..

Edited by BRASSO

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here's another way to look at the $$$$$.... working with a refined guess of your quess, members of DCI World class corps probably spend somewhere north of $14M in a season to be in DCI drum corps. Open Class members probably spend in the $8M range... so members are spending around $22M per year to be in DCI drum corps. There were about 5,800 members in DCI corps in 2018. sticking your finger in the air you could speculate that each world class member's family/friends will account for 9 or so tickets per year and maybe an open class member's friends family might account for 6-7 tickets per year..... and DCI needs to generate 65%-80% of the audience at any event out of thin air each year. so the question than becomes, ignoring the empirical pseudo paleontology in Jurassic park, can a raptor take a trex?

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34 minutes ago, stevedci said:

here's another way to look at the $$$$$.... working with a refined guess of your quess, members of DCI World class corps probably spend somewhere north of $14M in a season to be in DCI drum corps. Open Class members probably spend in the $8M range... so members are spending around $22M per year to be in DCI drum corps. There were about 5,800 members in DCI corps in 2018. sticking your finger in the air you could speculate that each world class member's family/friends will account for 9 or so tickets per year and maybe an open class member's friends family might account for 6-7 tickets per year..... and DCI needs to generate 65%-80% of the audience at any event out of thin air each year. so the question than becomes, ignoring the empirical pseudo paleontology in Jurassic park, can a raptor take a trex?

 A significant percentage of paid attendees at Regionals and Championships are family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, of marchers. Not sure precisely that percentage numbers range, but its not an insignificant percentage. Most of this demographic is a one and done demographic, to be replaced by the next group of the " family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends " percentage sector of Drum Corps attendees in subsequent years. The local shows have a significant percentage in attendance of the local H.S./ College Marching Band supporters...  there to help financially support the sponsoring group. Interspersed with this are the perennial " Jurassic Raptors ", who have been going to shows and supporting the Corps in some cases before todays newbies in current attendance at shows were born.

Edited by BRASSO

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