chris7997

What makes The Blue Devils "great," rather than just "good"?

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8 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

you left one staff continuity. the major names have been there for years. There's no revolving door

This... in almost any endeavor having a core group of talented people together for an extended period of time will lead to a prolonged period of success. Cadets had this with Aungst, Sacktig, Bocook. The run BD has been on since SCOJO joined the team (94?) has been dynastic. 

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15 minutes ago, MusicManNJ said:

This... in almost any endeavor having a core group of talented people together for an extended period of time will lead to a prolonged period of success. Cadets had this with Aungst, Sacktig, Bocook. The run BD has been on since SCOJO joined the team (94?) has been dynastic. 

I think you can get longevity when you have money, a clear vision and goals, and a process you can repeat with success.

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Happy Friday everyone! 

What everyone else said...I couldn't possibly add anything to this thread - but I'll try.  It's like the New England Patriots, their owner Bob Kraft, their Head Coach Bill Belichick and their QB Tom Brady.   They've all been together for close to 20 years (consistency).  They have set standards for each and every person in that organization.  I much suspect BD does as well.   No matter who you are, you could quite possibly be the best trumpet player in the world, but if you don't meet the standards or at least follow them, you're gone.  Not saying that BD is that harsh, but you all get the idea.  It's all about chemistry as well.  If you don't have the chemistry, you're not going to get that far.  All the young men and women who try out for BD understand there's a certain level of excellence expected from each and every corps member, from the Director of the corps on down.   It's simply amazing when you really think about it.   Not saying that other corps don't have great leaders, but BD has a proven track record of consistently winning and placing in the top 1 or 2 for the last 25 years or so, and that's what draws the top talent to them in my humble opinion.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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10 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

you left one staff continuity. the major names have been there for years. There's no revolving door

Very true. Although there are a number of new designers/teachers with the A corps now that Wayne and a few others have retired from that. But with BD they have been able to groom new talent, like Dave Glyde, because they have so many full-time positions.

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It really is astonishing consistency.  Within this period of time (let’s say 94 until now), there have been two other sure-fire great corps in the Cavaliers and Cadets who each had their own time of dominance (top 2 or 3 with multiple wins). But both of them had to battle BD every year. And both of them have had periods well outside of medal contention. This current string of top-2 finishes (maybe 14 years?) is even more remarkable when you consider how tough the competition really is at this level. To finish top 2 year after year, you aren’t even allowed to have a “very good” year. It’s got to be great across all captions. As a fan of many shows that lost to BD, I have to tip my cap to this organization. Wow. 

As for the OP question about judging being influenced by the name BD?  I guess that’s a challenge with any subjective, judged activity. But I’ve been coming to drum corps shows for a long time, and I can honestly say I’ve never thought they don’t deserve to be in contention to win. I’m just glad they have produced more melodic/fun shows the last few years. I’m really becoming a fan after all this time. 

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On 8/15/2019 at 9:03 AM, mboogey73 said:

Previous posts have hit all the main factors.

Staff continuity on and off the field.  Destination corps leads to top talent.  BD gets members from every other corps, almost no one leaves BD to go somewhere else.  Cappy hit on a key point I can attest to personally, and it's the quality of the tour experience.  First rate all the way and they treat members like adults.  Some corps run their kids into the ground.    

Even back when I marched it was "You act like a professional, you get treated like one."

That can have just as large a positive effect on the members as being continually beaten down can be negative.

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9 hours ago, jwillis35 said:

Very true. Although there are a number of new designers/teachers with the A corps now that Wayne and a few others have retired from that. But with BD they have been able to groom new talent, like Dave Glyde, because they have so many full-time positions.

Right. They have a business called Blue Devils that is 365 days a year and it makes a profit while running a full staff plus three times as many top level volunteers. How many corps at any level can say that sentence?! Zero. None.

It really is men vs. boys when it comes to BD vs the field from a business standpoint. And it is often literally that on the field.

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The judges

Money

California

Stability in staffing

Unflinching, unapologetic commitment to winning.  They write shows with more focused priority on winning than most other top placing corps.  Just enough innovation to win.  Just enough art to win.  Just enough demand to win.  Just enough playing to win.  Just enough marching to win.  They rarely dabble in anything that's too risky.  I don't remember them ever being the most innovative corps any one season.  And the few times they have pushed it a bit (e.g. Tommy), they recoil from the placement results and soon veer back to the tried-and-true BD approach.  Some will counter to say that other top corps want to win, too.  I wholeheartedly agree...and in truth other corps don't win as much because they fail to place as much laser focus on prioritizing wins.  If I sound critical of BD, I am.  I find this approach rather soulless, but I will never deny their success.  

Edited by LoveKathyG
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On 8/16/2019 at 12:55 AM, flugelswerebugels said:

Beat the Blue Devils was the motto even way back when I marched. 

For a couple of years in the 1970s, my local-circuit junior corps' motto was "get within 40 points of the Blue Devils." :laughing:

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7 hours ago, LoveKathyG said:

The judges

Money

California

Stability in staffing

Unflinching, unapologetic commitment to winning.  They write shows with more focused priority on winning than most other top placing corps.  Just enough innovation to win.  Just enough art to win.  Just enough demand to win.  Just enough playing to win.  Just enough marching to win.  They rarely dabble in anything that's too risky.  I don't remember them ever being the most innovative corps any one season.  And the few times they have pushed it a bit (e.g. Tommy), they recoil from the placement results and soon veer back to the tried-and-true BD approach.  Some will counter to say that other top corps want to win, too.  I wholeheartedly agree...and in truth other corps don't win as much because they fail to place as much laser focus on prioritizing wins.  If I sound critical of BD, I am.  I find this approach rather soulless, but I will never deny their success.  

Not sure anyone could classify a show like 2014 as 'low risk.'

Nor the series of rifle tosses at the beginning of this year's show.

Perhaps what looks like 'low risk' is instead knowing what your corps can clean before finals, or, alternatively, doing everything so well, including tough stuff, that it 'looks easy.'

Another possibility: the BD image is always in control. This can lead to a sense that they are never taking a risk, 'on the edge,' even though a design might be very difficult to achieve. 

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