Ray Kimber

Time to Say Goodbye, after 15 years

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1 minute ago, MikeD said:

Not to mention there was no consistency between the VFW and AL rules, and then add in different sheets for shows like the World Open and it got to be very confusing. The World Open in 71, for example, had 30 points for GE, while VFW had 10. Plus the VFW had the 10-point Inspection and 10-point Cadence captions. On the plus side, we were tied for 1st in both Inspection and Cadence!   😀

AMEN!..ahhh those good ole days...lol Lets also not forget accountability with judging or opinions of the actual corps. Yeah hard to see why DCI was formed..lol🙈🙉🙊

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On 10/26/2019 at 9:04 AM, Mello Dude said:

This is why I don't support AL teams.  Makes a pitcher than can hit more valuable and rounded player.  It's kinda like having a second set of runners for everyone that can't run.

except they generally suck. even bunting skills suck anymore

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10 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

... even bunting skills suck anymore

American Flag Bunting

Does improvement with bunting here mean it is the guard tech's work or the costume designers???

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I have done my best to keep out of the woodwind discussion here.  However, I can't hold back any longer.

I just don't see woodwinds being added as a "Marching" instrument.  There is something unique about a hornline of brass instruments with  "forward facing" bells.  The fact that a visual/audible hit to the press box makes drum corps unique compared to marching bands.  You will never get that impact from an instrument that produces sound to the ground (Clarinet) or from an instrument that produces a sound that is almost non-directional (flute).  They lack the visual/audible impact of a "fff" and that can never be changed.

Before you go to French Horns, how many "concert" French horns have you actually seen marching (successfully)?

As for audible, you need a large number of clarinets or flutes for them to be heard over brass.  I can't tell you how many times on the marching band circuit I have heard judges complain about not hearing the woodwinds.  Even during woodwind features when no brass are playing. Don't go to the "Mic 'em up" comments as we all know how many have been complaining about the amplification as it is (A main point of our OP).

While I appreciate all the added instrumentation in the pit (violins, the aforementioned french horns, trombones, etc.) they just aren't as effective in marching as the current marching brass of drum corps and that is what makes drum corps unique.  As I have told my students over the years, I will put 60 brass from A DCI finalist corps up against any 300+ college marching band and the drum corps hornline will blow them away every time.

Just my two cents.

Edited by Old Corps Guy
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2 minutes ago, Old Corps Guy said:

I have done my best to keep out of the woodwind discussion here.  However, I can't hold back any longer.

I just don't see woodwinds being added as a "Marching" instrument.  There is something unique about a hornline of brass instruments with  "forward facing" bells.  The fact that a visual/audible hit to the press box makes drum corps unique compared to marching bands.  You will never get that impact from an instrument that produces sound to the ground (Clarinet) or from an instrument that sound is almost non-directional (flute).  They lack the visual/audible impact of a "fff" and that can never be changed.

Before you go to French Horns, how many "concert" French horns have you actually seen marching (successfully)?

As for audible, you need a large number of clarinets or flutes for them to be heard over brass.  I can't tell you how many times on the marching band circuit I have heard judges complain about not hearing the woodwinds.  Even during woodwind features when no brass are playing. Don't go to the "Mic 'em up" comments as we all know how many have been complaining about the amplification as it is.

While I appreciate all the added instrumentation in the pit (violins, the aforementioned french horns, trombones, etc.) they aren't as effective in marching as the current marching brass of drum corps and that is what makes drum corps unique.  As I have told my students over the years, I will put 60 brass from A DCI finalist corps up against any 300+ college marching band and the drum corps hornline will blow them away every time.

Just my two cents.

My 2 cents: The top DCI brass lines are among the best on the planet. I do not want to hear the quality of their sound, the blend, balance, stellar intonation and controlled power...abused by unneeded amplification, and that includes the insufferable bass goo that sometimes obliterates the base of the pyramid of sound. Just like I don't want to hear the Chicago Symphony or Berlin Phil brass sound corrupted via amplification. I don't think a DCI fan needs to be an audiophile to discern the negative impact of amplification done poorly. I've been a DCI fan since the mid-70s, and I don't plan to give it up; but a lot less artificial sound and a lot less MM rolling around on the field would do wonders for my enjoyment of the activity.....just sayin'

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On the subject of electronics/amplification.... I gotta give a shout-out to the West Chester U. Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band for their use of that stuff this year.

Saw them Saturday at the WCU Homecoming game... first of all, their show and performance, once again, is a knockout. They continue to be one of the best college bands in the business, no question.

Second... the audio effects they used were done tastefully, in support of the repertoire instead of being the main focus. They miked the woodwinds for their feature in "Young Person's Guide"... and the miking was spot on, no tinny, "artificial" sounds like I have too often heard from miked woodwinds.  And their featured rapper in the finale... he was terrific!!! That young man knows how to use a microphone.  Well done, WCU!!!

Edited by Fran Haring

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One other thing about WCU, then back to our regularly-scheduled topic...LOL...

Congratulations to them on receiving the Sudler Trophy for 2019!!!  The Sudler is basically the college marching band equivalent of the Heisman Trophy... and WCU is the first Division 2  band to win the award. Well-deserved!!!

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I have not read this entire thread so apologies for being late to the party, but as a part time, or returning, fan I agree with the OP.  I went to a show at Franklin field in the early 90s and that was my only live DCI experience until the last few years.  Attended night 1 of Allentown this year and was really turned off by the heavy use of amplification and synthesized bass.  For many corps I could barely even hear the low brass over the Michael Bay blockbuster movie style synthesizers.  And this fall was my first time attending high school band competitions since my days as a marcher in the late 80s and 1990 and this trend has moved over to high school bands as well.  I'm happy that my freshman kid's director has for the most part shunned amplification and electronics.  Tangent for high schools, but I'd love to see competition divisions broken up into corps style and "acoustic" bands.  I think it shows more skill for a band to lower their volume to allow a soloist to shine than it does for the director to turn on the soloists mic while the rest of the band carries on without regard to the solo.

This coming from someone who's favorite drum corps show is Santa Clara Vanguard's Phantom of the Opera show in 1989.  It's probably why I liked the Madison Scouts the most at Allentown, they were more traditional despite not technically the best.

I'll return to Allentown next summer if my son wants to go, but otherwise will be skipping it.  It's clear that drum corps (and high school marching band for that matter) has moved on, while I prefer the older aesthetic.

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1 hour ago, Old Corps Guy said:

I have done my best to keep out of the woodwind discussion here.  However, I can't hold back any longer.

I just don't see woodwinds being added as a "Marching" instrument.  There is something unique about a hornline of brass instruments with  "forward facing" bells.  The fact that a visual/audible hit to the press box makes drum corps unique compared to marching bands.  You will never get that impact from an instrument that produces sound to the ground (Clarinet) or from an instrument that produces a sound that is almost non-directional (flute).  They lack the visual/audible impact of a "fff" and that can never be changed.

Before you go to French Horns, how many "concert" French horns have you actually seen marching (successfully)?

As for audible, you need a large number of clarinets or flutes for them to be heard over brass.  I can't tell you how many times on the marching band circuit I have heard judges complain about not hearing the woodwinds.  Even during woodwind features when no brass are playing. Don't go to the "Mic 'em up" comments as we all know how many have been complaining about the amplification as it is (A main point of our OP).

While I appreciate all the added instrumentation in the pit (violins, the aforementioned french horns, trombones, etc.) they just aren't as effective in marching as the current marching brass of drum corps and that is what makes drum corps unique.  As I have told my students over the years, I will put 60 brass from A DCI finalist corps up against any 300+ college marching band and the drum corps hornline will blow them away every time.

Just my two cents.

All this is understandable and seems to mimic a lot of feelings here.

But, here's a significant issue to consider:  60% of music kids in HS and college play something other than brass and drums.

Attracting those players as a new revenue source is almost written in the cards.

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1 hour ago, Old Corps Guy said:

I have done my best to keep out of the woodwind discussion here.  However, I can't hold back any longer.

I just don't see woodwinds being added as a "Marching" instrument.  There is something unique about a hornline of brass instruments with  "forward facing" bells.  The fact that a visual/audible hit to the press box makes drum corps unique compared to marching bands.  You will never get that impact from an instrument that produces sound to the ground (Clarinet) or from an instrument that produces a sound that is almost non-directional (flute).  They lack the visual/audible impact of a "fff" and that can never be changed.

Before you go to French Horns, how many "concert" French horns have you actually seen marching (successfully)?

As for audible, you need a large number of clarinets or flutes for them to be heard over brass.  I can't tell you how many times on the marching band circuit I have heard judges complain about not hearing the woodwinds.  Even during woodwind features when no brass are playing. Don't go to the "Mic 'em up" comments as we all know how many have been complaining about the amplification as it is (A main point of our OP).

While I appreciate all the added instrumentation in the pit (violins, the aforementioned french horns, trombones, etc.) they just aren't as effective in marching as the current marching brass of drum corps and that is what makes drum corps unique.  As I have told my students over the years, I will put 60 brass from A DCI finalist corps up against any 300+ college marching band and the drum corps hornline will blow them away every time.

Just my two cents.

Your two cents will be out-voted by the dollars of the instrument suppliers.

Many have speculated in the past that woodwinds would be added via foot-in-the-door tactics like solo-only, pit-only, or other restrictions (saxophone-only was actually proposed once).  But ultimately, the suppliers will once again drive the direction this otherwise rudderless activity takes.  They partner with DCI in order to use it as their marching arts showroom, featuring their products.  The real market is the wider marching band activity.

They will not settle for solo features in the pit.  They want full sections of the instruments on the field, to further the sales of full sections of such instruments to marching bands.

I remember the savants telling me we would never see a full section of trombones in a drum corps.  Next thing you know, there is SCV sending their entire baritone section to the sideline to exchange their primary instruments for 24 trombones.  I remember the experts declaring that nobody in drum corps would ever march trombones around in any portion of legitimate drill.  Far from a nobody, the Blue Devils went and did it.  I remember the know-it-alls swearing that the trombone would never, ever be a full-time instrument in a DCI WC show design.  Then again, nearly as many know-it-alls thought Mandarins would never make DCI finals either.

As for your other remarks:

The effect of bell-front brass?  Do not be surprised when you start hearing the creatives sneer at that concept.  These people turned "company front" into a derogatory reference.

Cadets did the full section of concert French horns on the field.  Did it matter how it turned out visually?

They will do whatever it takes to make woodwinds part of DCI shows.  They will amplify them with open-air mics (like those "amp the whole corps" mics everyone seems to have just added the past couple of years).  They will amplify them with clip-on mics.  They will neuter the brass and percussion to balance, if need be.  They will make brass/percussion sections smaller, or woodwind sections bigger, or ultimately change the overall corps size limit, if that is what they think will make woodwinds work in "drum corps".

Then, when it is all done, they will tell people like you (and me) that we are unenlightened if we do not love it.

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