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At one point I was a decision maker about renting a gym and school space. I never would have been approached by a drum corps since the facility did not have adequate showers. We did rent to a color guard with no problems, at least as far as I could see. We would often rent to AAU basketball programs, and there were always hassles. We rented to summer school day programs, usually for science minded children, and things would be missing. I do not believe they were intentionally stolen, most likely our belongings  got mixed up with their belongings. Theater camps often had specific requirements. All of these programs were often run by top notch people. In the end, the buildings were rarely as clean as when they arrived though I would always hear they left it in better condition that they found it when they arrived. Something always seemed to be broken afterwards too. We soon discovered that running a golf tournament was a much easier way to make money and we no longer needed the rental income.
 

I think jwlillis35’s points about trying to connect with band directors and focusing on how hosting a drum corps benefits both is a good way forward. Something else I would add is if you are looking at using a public school, find out who gets the funds from rental income. In many areas, funds collected from renting property does not go into school coffers, it goes to the city/town. This also includes school districts. If the school gets to keep the funds, it is also helpful to know if it goes into the budget or a discretionary account. Schools are more likely to rent if they can keep the money, otherwise it’s too much work for no reward.

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I have seen a photo (which I can't seem to find online) of ~1949 Cavaliers boy scout troop in tents w/ the bugles lined up outside. Everything old is new again....

The days of drum corps and schools being perfect partners are over. Event planning for a tour was challenging before Corn teen. It will be next to impossible the next several years to plan for a tour

It’s become evident that the marching arts activity will have to adapt plans if they want to continue to exist. Despite best efforts, DCI can’t find a path forward so it's up to the individual organiz

2 hours ago, IllianaLancerContra said:

Agree WE see the benefit, but we are Drum Corps aficionados.  These days when talking to school officials it now needs to start w/ explanation of what a Drum Corps is.  In the Olden Days that was not necessary.   

So, I started making the pitch 15 or more years ago and, even then, admins needed a full-blown presentation to understand what we were asking for (you want HOW MANY schools??).  Our pitchbook was tabbed!  And the team of us three running it had as much experience as one could hope for; the problem was the rotation of administrators in and out of the district that made things difficult.  We were blessed with the retired band director (beloved) AND the retired A/D (admired) as two of us Muskateers (I was definitely the grunt) for the entire 12 years the show ran, and we were 'sellin' and 'splaining' for facilities and ads and in-kinds and even to explain to the FOOD TRUCKS we tried to attract! - what drum corps was.

This very fact that it got harder and harder to explain to the annually again-unfamiliar masses is evidence of the decline in relevance the activity had/has, and illustrates the housing challenge. We're just renters now, nothing special.  We don't provide any greater kid experience than any other activity wishing to use their stuff.  And drum corps can't any longer rely on close relationships among band directors and admins to account for hefty discounts and ignored add-ins just because it's another "band thing" they don't understand.

I suspect this will be another, if not the, significant reason that shortens the season just to be able to afford the room costs, even if enough rooms are available in proximity to the field.

"Oh, and is it OK if we start practice in your parking lot at, say, 10am?  You don't think anyone will mind if we take the pool at 4:30 do you?"

 

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44 minutes ago, Tim K said:

At one point I was a decision maker about renting a gym and school space. I never would have been approached by a drum corps since the facility did not have adequate showers. We did rent to a color guard with no problems, at least as far as I could see. We would often rent to AAU basketball programs, and there were always hassles. We rented to summer school day programs, usually for science minded children, and things would be missing. I do not believe they were intentionally stolen, most likely our belongings  got mixed up with their belongings. Theater camps often had specific requirements. All of these programs were often run by top notch people. In the end, the buildings were rarely as clean as when they arrived though I would always hear they left it in better condition that they found it when they arrived. Something always seemed to be broken afterwards too. We soon discovered that running a golf tournament was a much easier way to make money and we no longer needed the rental income.
 

I think jwlillis35’s points about trying to connect with band directors and focusing on how hosting a drum corps benefits both is a good way forward. Something else I would add is if you are looking at using a public school, find out who gets the funds from rental income. In many areas, funds collected from renting property does not go into school coffers, it goes to the city/town. This also includes school districts. If the school gets to keep the funds, it is also helpful to know if it goes into the budget or a discretionary account. Schools are more likely to rent if they can keep the money, otherwise it’s too much work for no reward.

Thanks for a constructive post offering hope and real suggestions instead of the doom and gloom some are pushing about the future of this great activity!

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52 minutes ago, Poppycock said:

It’s become evident that the marching arts activity will have to adapt plans if they want to continue to exist. Despite best efforts, DCI can’t find a path forward so it's up to the individual organizations. None of us know if or when a vaccine will be developed and available or when capacity restrictions will be lifted or in what cities and states they will be lifted in, but we do know that, for the foreseeable future, it would be difficult to do shows and keep everyone safe. It would be disastrous to learn of any organization permanently shutting down. Drum corps is a sanctuary that bonds strangers through shared experiences, awakens the heart through powerful performances and stirs the soul through transformative stories. So how will this activity recover? 

On point. For the foreseeable future it will be difficult to see anything that resembles a normal DCI tour. Can DCI survive a second straight summer of being shutdown? Difficult to say. Some would say no. I say yes it can, but that comes down to how the individual corps handle things. 

Most world class and open class corps have at most 1 to 2 full-time staff positions. I am going to leave the Blue Devils out of the conversation for a moment because they run what I think is the largest Drum & Bugle Corps operation in the world today. At one time I think they had something like 19 full-time employees. Not sure. But most drum corps operate with 1 to 2 full-time staff. The rest are contracted. They can keep operations closed and the most important costs would be for storage, rentals, and upkeep. They may be forced to downgrade any full-time staff to part-time or may even have to let them go. They would certainly need donations from alumni and fans to help pay for storage and other rentals until such time that they can begin fundraising efforts. The biggest expenses are staff, charter services for travel, food, and housing. All things that come from touring and competing. 

So yes, the corps can lay low and keep expenses down during this pandemic. The question is what will it cost to begin again? Can fundraising operations resume and still be viable and healthy to the balance sheet? Will donors still give? Will kids still want to march (most likely) and will parents want their kids to march? Will camp and audition costs be enough to help power-up operations along with fundraising and donations? 

It's obvious DCI and the member corps will have to pursue this from a positive "We Bring Value" perspective. They will have to sell and market their service. But there are advantages. For one, I still think parents are going to want their kids to experience the arts and travel (when we get through this crisis). Professional Charter services make their money by providing for activities like DCI. They will want the business. The kids will want to compete and perform and travel. There are tons of outdoor and indoor venues all over the country that just sit there when their sports team is not playing. Business is still business. The people that run these facilities want to rent them out when not in use. It's money and it brings people to their town even if it's not the Super Bowl or some major convention. So there are advantages. The BIG downfall, as many have cited, is housing. 

In the Canton, OH area we experience something different when it comes to housing. The August show that Bluecoats and the Pro Football Hall of Fame run is a huge success. Next to the Grand Timken Parade (which draws close to 200,000 people), and the actual HOF Award Ceremony and football game, the DCI show draws the 3rd largest audience (I think). It's a big number with some years coming in at 7,000 to 8,000 people. The 2-week series of events is big and the drum corps show is very popular with most music teachers, not just those in band. So administrators have absolutely wanted their schools to host the corps. They know they are doing their part to help the overall HOF festival. Every school wants to help and host, even for the 1st show in June.  They understand that the more people we bring to town the better the festival and the better the financial outcome for local business.

The advantage in this case is, yes the Bluecoats are local and well known and loved, and the Pro Football HOF festival is very popular; but even at a smaller level a connection like this can be powerful when the local music community gets on board and works to combine a local festival with excellent entertainment (such as a drum corps show) that brings people to their event while also providing an enriching experience in the arts for the local community and the marchers.  DCI and its member corps may need to seek more collaborative opportunities like this. Some already exist. 

 

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50 minutes ago, Tim K said:

At one point I was a decision maker about renting a gym and school space. I never would have been approached by a drum corps since the facility did not have adequate showers. We did rent to a color guard with no problems, at least as far as I could see. We would often rent to AAU basketball programs, and there were always hassles. We rented to summer school day programs, usually for science minded children, and things would be missing. I do not believe they were intentionally stolen, most likely our belongings  got mixed up with their belongings. Theater camps often had specific requirements. All of these programs were often run by top notch people. In the end, the buildings were rarely as clean as when they arrived though I would always hear they left it in better condition that they found it when they arrived. Something always seemed to be broken afterwards too. We soon discovered that running a golf tournament was a much easier way to make money and we no longer needed the rental income.
 

I think jwlillis35’s points about trying to connect with band directors and focusing on how hosting a drum corps benefits both is a good way forward. Something else I would add is if you are looking at using a public school, find out who gets the funds from rental income. In many areas, funds collected from renting property does not go into school coffers, it goes to the city/town. This also includes school districts. If the school gets to keep the funds, it is also helpful to know if it goes into the budget or a discretionary account. Schools are more likely to rent if they can keep the money, otherwise it’s too much work for no reward.

We netted 5 figures for the school each year, and ours went directly into the fund that maintained the field turf - got more support than it being just a band-thing.

I think it's likely that drum corps will continue to be able to rent facilities.  Hillsdale college previewed a fogging machine that fogs and sanitizes their entire indoor athletic facility in 20 min and to 95% effectiveness in killing Covid on surfaces.  Maybe each drum corps carries a "sanitation team" that follows the corps to clean up, and even clean the corps instruments and equipment daily.

For a LOT of years, the sales pitch to the schools has been "We'll leave your school cleaner than we found it".  Now, maybe that's a bigger part of what gets us in.

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1 minute ago, garfield said:

We netted 5 figures for the school each year, and ours went directly into the fund that maintained the field turf - got more support than it being just a band-thing.

I think it's likely that drum corps will continue to be able to rent facilities.  Hillsdale college previewed a fogging machine that fogs and sanitizes their entire indoor athletic facility in 20 min and to 95% effectiveness in killing Covid on surfaces.  Maybe each drum corps carries a "sanitation team" that follows the corps to clean up, and even clean the corps instruments and equipment daily.

For a LOT of years, the sales pitch to the schools has been "We'll leave your school cleaner than we found it".  Now, maybe that's a bigger part of what gets us in.

By the way, your show in Columbus was always one of my favorites. So well run and it was a great experience. I know you helped with that for many years, so Bravo. Frankly, DCI is going to need a lot of people like you to help bridge what gaps may exist with schools, colleges, and other community orgs.

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15 hours ago, jwillis35 said:

By the way, your show in Columbus was always one of my favorites. So well run and it was a great experience. I know you helped with that for many years, so Bravo. Frankly, DCI is going to need a lot of people like you to help bridge what gaps may exist with schools, colleges, and other community orgs.

We had a blast.  As The_kid got older, we'd wake around 2am and drive to the gas station for coffee and hot chocolate, waiting the call from the advance teams coming from Atlanta and the Carolinas.  We'd have the whole ballet planned ahead and the advance teams, drivers, and tour managers were out center of attention for about 20 hours.  Some stayed longer.  Later, driving restrictions mandated a stop in between and they'd arrive around daybreak and stay for only 15 or 18 hours and be gone.  When the _kid got old enough to drive, we'd coordinate with walkie-talkies and he started recruiting "helpers" from his band to ride along.  We'd watch rehearsals all day, and be on call for problem-solving (the stories!), snooze and shower, and be at the stadium to open the gates and set up the will-call tables.  

My only rule was that I was done with the "work" the moment the show stepped off so I could be in the stands to watch.  (My band director partner said "I don't think I've ever seen an actual performance from the stands.  I'm on the track.)

For the _kid, attending finals for 18 of his 20 years, traveling to auditions, and our local "show day" will likely be the memories that last for his life.  I'm good with that.

Edited by garfield
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3 hours ago, IllianaLancerContra said:

Agree WE see the benefit, but we are Drum Corps aficionados.  These days when talking to school officials it now needs to start w/ explanation of what a Drum Corps is.  In the Olden Days that was not necessary.   

actually the discussion starting point is cost to the school and liability.

 

one thing today i have heard is the demands of what the corps "have to have". Even an event like Allentown has corps housing 2 some hour away, which knowing SEPA and Lehigh Valley traffic is actually 3 hours. Not everywhere has Texas sized campuses and the number of availabe fields

Edited by Jeff Ream
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3 hours ago, Poppycock said:

It’s become evident that the marching arts activity will have to adapt plans if they want to continue to exist. Despite best efforts, DCI can’t find a path forward so it's up to the individual organizations. None of us know if or when a vaccine will be developed and available or when capacity restrictions will be lifted or in what cities and states they will be lifted in, but we do know that, for the foreseeable future, it would be difficult to do shows and keep everyone safe. It would be disastrous to learn of any organization permanently shutting down. Drum corps is a sanctuary that bonds strangers through shared experiences, awakens the heart through powerful performances and stirs the soul through transformative stories. So how will this activity recover? 

Citation needed.

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4 hours ago, Poppycock said:

It’s become evident that the marching arts activity will have to adapt plans if they want to continue to exist. Despite best efforts, DCI can’t find a path forward so it's up to the individual organizations. None of us know if or when a vaccine will be developed and available or when capacity restrictions will be lifted or in what cities and states they will be lifted in, but we do know that, for the foreseeable future, it would be difficult to do shows and keep everyone safe. It would be disastrous to learn of any organization permanently shutting down. Drum corps is a sanctuary that bonds strangers through shared experiences, awakens the heart through powerful performances and stirs the soul through transformative stories. So how will this activity recover? 

I do know that a vaccine is now developed and available, and six vaccines are in final phase three trials with anticipation of scale vaccine distribution before school starts in September.  And over 100 vaccines are now in trials.

Hillsdale college just demonstrated a fogging machine that can disinfect a gym in less than 20 minutes.

In my experience, people are prone to underestimate the speed and efficacy with which Americans can solve a problem.

 

Edited by garfield
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