KeithHall

Positive Brainstorming/DCA

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On 9/13/2019 at 11:36 PM, Jeff Ream said:

why? it's where the future members are

Speaking of which, I attended a marching band competition late this afternoon and then the second half of a marching band festival in the evening.

The former event was in a stadium with home side capacity of 2,500 that was less than half full. There were nine competing bands plus the host band as well as an exhibition performance by a small university band. Most of the performances were rough or incomplete, this being the first competition week in OMEA. One of the bands is a regular BOA Grand Nationals attendee who has qualified for BOA Semifinals several times in its small-school class. The programs at both events conveniently listed the size of each band (some of which I counted as they performed, so I can confirm the numbers are accurate), so I know that there were 1,038 performers on the field (smallest band was 35; largest band was 168). Nobody was sitting next to me, so I couldn't ask people about drum corps, but at both shows, I was wearing the Hawthorne Caballeros anime-style t-shirt I bought two weeks ago.

The latter event was in a stadium with home side capacity of about 4,000 and pretty packed, but I believe some of the attending bands were sitting in the outer sections (as well as filling up the visitor stands). There were ten bands performing. All but the host band (who competes) perform only at halftimes and festivals. There were 1,779 performers on the field (smallest band was 59; largest band was 290), and they were literally all on the field at the end, when they performed "America the Beautiful" together. At this event, after the woman sitting next to me indicated that she had enjoyed the all-Queen show one of the bands presented, which concluded with "Bohemian Rhapsody", I mentioned how the winning ensemble at the Drum Corps Associates championships two weeks ago had played that very song.

She has two kids in one of the larger festival bands (whose musicality has a fairly high reputation); one is a freshman and the other a junior. She'd never heard of drum and bugle corps, not even of the Bluecoats, whose home is just 45 minutes away from her. Marching band for her means primarily Ohio State. She doesn't care much for dancing on the field, particularly by the instrumentalists (nearly every band had a put-your-instruments-down-and-boogie section) and doesn't really understand why bands (even festival bands) have "flag girls" or dance teams. The host band debuted their competition show; I don't think she's ever seen anything like it before, and she seemed confused -- and they're one of the least artsy competition bands there is (heavy on drill, light on body movement, no props, and no amplification -- except that this year, for the first time ever, they did have a synthesizer). To be fair, it wasn't their best performance.

Still, I would't call her altogether a lost cause as a potential fan. As I mentioned, she likes Ohio State: she specifically praised their "military" style. She also likes it when bands do "salute the armed forces" shows. So if she were to see Fusion Core's 2019 show, she might come away very impressed. But obviously there is lower hanging fruit. If she has not the least inkling about drum corps, that probably means her kids have never mentioned it, and that implies that they either don't know about it themselves or don't care about it. How do we reach them? Or at least the equivalent of them in the general vicinity of each DCA competition?

For instance, would it be worthwhile for corps (or DCA/DCI) to identify the band competitions and festivals in their vicinity, determine the cost of buying an ad in the programs at those events, and then ask their supporters who would pay for those ads? Or what about straight volunteer work? Maybe the corps (or DCA/DCI) would like to pay for postage to send flyers to the hundred closest band directors, but they need somone to take the time and compile a list of names and addresses of those directors -- or maybe the services of a good graphic artist to create an appealing brochure.

Edited by N.E. Brigand
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15 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

The former event was in a stadium with home side capacity of 2,500 that was less than half full. There were nine competing bands plus the host band as well as an exhibition performance by a small university band. Most of the performances were rough or incomplete, this being the first competition week in OMEA.

If you're in Ohio, the Rogues Hollow Regiment will be performing at the Norton band competition as the exhibition group. We usually go to the back sidelines after we do our show and play parade tunes for the kids as they are leaving the stands. In past years we even had a few kids in those bands join us as they were marching members the past season.

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I'm too lazy to go back in the thread to find the convo about recruiting at band shows, but Caballeros will be at at least four, starting this Saturday at our brass caption head's school, and including the Allentown college band show and prob the MetLife BOA (?) event. We'll have current and recent members, with video and info, as well as an (alleged, at least - It's me this weekend 🤣 ) adult, in case parents have questions.

Just pointing out that most corps do this, at least at a couple shows.

Edited by grenadasmoothie
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I do know that throughout the 1980's, 90's and 2000's, Empire Statesmen and Crusaders went to band shows to recruit.

That is good corps need to do this BUT maybe we should all back up and look at the big picture!

    Our country is/has been changing and the drum and bugle corps activity is changing! When you compare DCI 1976 to DCI 2019, the biggest change is the amount of corps. The quality is better today than 1976 but it's also different from top to bottom. DCA 1976 saw 17 corps in only one class and today only 5 (maybe 6) are still active. 1976 DCI saw 81 corps in 3 classes with only 10 corps still around today. Many reasons why corps folded up their tents and that is another post.

What can DCA do better to market what they have TODAY? Is following the DCI model the answer? Is there another model to copy or can the corps put together something that is unique and only DCA? 

We all agree recruitment is important and that should be on the individual corps correct? DCA management has nothing to do with that.

Let's keep this going!

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13 minutes ago, KeithHall said:

What can DCA do better to market what they have TODAY? Is following the DCI model the answer? Is there another model to copy or can the corps put together something that is unique and only DCA? 

IMO, it is too late to change course now.  DCA could have (SHOULD have) taken a unique direction decades ago, but instead they have followed DCI all the way down the rule-change rabbit hole, including the focus on recruiting marching band kids.  

As for marketing (and many other services), the best option for DCA would be to farm it all out to an organization with the manpower to perform those tasks.  Just hire DCI to do that.

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7 minutes ago, cixelsyd said:

IMO, it is too late to change course now.  DCA could have (SHOULD have) taken a unique direction decades ago, but instead they have followed DCI all the way down the rule-change rabbit hole, including the focus on recruiting marching band kids.  

As for marketing (and many other services), the best option for DCA would be to farm it all out to an organization with the manpower to perform those tasks.  Just hire DCI to do that.

It did, to at least some degree... show design, overall "vibe" and so forth... for a number of years. No more.

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The Sunrisers had a recruiting table at the Brentwood NYS Field Band show this past Sunday.  I believe they will be at several more shows on Long Island this band season.

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1 hour ago, cixelsyd said:

IMO, it is too late to change course now.  DCA could have (SHOULD have) taken a unique direction decades ago, but instead they have followed DCI all the way down the rule-change rabbit hole, including the focus on recruiting marching band kids.  

Not go to argue the rule changes as DCA has been following DCI for years and not sure why they thought it would help.

As for recruiting MB folks, where should DCA and the corps concentrate their attention? From what I could tell the young people were and are helping fill corps. Of course I have a bias as marched Sr corps age 16-22... and my last year was 40 years ago...

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10 minutes ago, JimF-LowBari said:

As for recruiting MB folks, where should DCA and the corps concentrate their attention? From what I could tell the young people were and are helping fill corps. 

Yes, I agree.

My comment was merely a reference to the transformation of senior corps to all-age corps, and then not so much "all" age when following DCI visual trends made it physically impractical for many older marchers to continue.  As DCA chose that style of performance, they had to recruit a younger demographic.  (But to do so, DCA must recruit in the same pool where DCI has already been recruiting.)

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