Drum Corps in the Post-Covid World - What Role Does DCI Have?


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Many say drum corps in the post-Covid world is changed forever.  Tours, survivors, legalities, etc like not experienced...well, ever.

Drum Corps International was organized to create and maintain "The Tour", the stage upon which the corps could perform, compete, and collect "gate".

Part of DCI's original charter was (and I suspect still is) to "promote the activity" but, to my eye, ear and understanding, the corps have taken the position in recent decades that they, themselves, are best prepared to "promote" themselves and the activity so "...why pay DCI to do it?".  Witness Individual and Ensemble contests as an example.  BD deserves much credit for keeping it alive, but it was doomed from the moment they determined that I&E was more about "paying for itself" than it was "promoting the activity".  In my view, it became a competitive battle of who could do what part of the drum corps activity best.  

DCI, that central org of which we all speak, is not a monolith.  It's funded FROM THE SAME TICKET REVENUE that funds the corps, and from the same marketers that spend marketing dollars on individual corps.  It, as a central entity, is charged with responsibilities the funding of which is determined by the very corps that charge it with the responsibility - like building, maintaining, and growing "The Tour", and funding programs that promote the activity.

In the new, "Post-Covid" drum corps world, what role should DCI have?  How should it be funded if it's charged to provide "The Stage" on which the corps can perform? 

Is DCI's ROLE still pertinent, necessary, or even wanted? 

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Just because you say so doesn’t make it so! A lot of organizations, independent show sponsors, and numerous regional circuits were eroded instead of supported by DCI. It wasn’t until just recentl

You are a nonprofit arts/education organization and you have the resources.

What is needed are visionary leaders like Jim Jones, Don Warren, George  Bonfiglio, Gale Royer, etc.   I’m not sure that they exist in Drum Corps these days. 

It may be that COVID-19 is the seismic event which finally makes the 'G7' concept a reality - the departure of the 'big corps' from DCI and their coming together to create their own 'stage' which fits their needs and aspirations. They might think this is a risk they have to take if the local community infrastructure in the country cannot or will not support a traditional drum corps tour. In their view, the important thing will become to save their own organizations and to allow them to continue their mission. A noble goal to be sure, but one which doesn't have the goal of maintaining the 'activity' in the form it is in now.

It would be a great loss in many ways - firstly, the loss of the tradition in many communities and in the drum corps community as a whole that links the current drum corps experience with the past in an unbroken chain. The talent pool would be negatively affected, because the disappearance of the DCI tour might well mean the folding of many smaller corps upon whom the big corps depend to develop their talent. People would have to travel farther to 'drum corps' shows and pay more - the activity would become out of reach financially for far more students and fans. 

But the corps involved may believe they are saving the drum corps activity in many ways, or, again, at least being able to save 'their corps.' They will count on the idea that young people don't want to 'march DCI' so much as they want to be in the Vanguard, Blue Devils, Bluecoats, Carolina Crown, Boston Crusaders, etc. (Ironically, in my vision, BAC is part of the G7 and The Cadets are not.) 

If DCI cannot mount a 2021 tour in some form, I would be very concerned that something like this could happen. 

Even if it does, there will need to be some person or group coordinating summer performances. This becomes the new DCI, or the cooperative arm of the member corps which coordinates their activities, gets 'stages' on which they perform, decides the format of the shows, decides on whether there is adjudication and what kind, etc. etc. In that sense, as Voltaire almost said, if DCI does not exist, it will have to be invented - and funded.

 

 

  

Edited by mfrontz
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my concern is if just the corps themselves....will egos remain in check and truly promote the activity or their brand? the G7 was all about 7...#### the rest.

 

 

thats not promoting the activity

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Depends how many corps are left and what kind of travel they are able to do. DCIs role may be driven by these outside events and not what DCI wants to do.

And I do not see DCI being able to determine WHICH corps will be around.

Edited by JimF-LowBari
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9 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

my concern is if just the corps themselves....will egos remain in check and truly promote the activity or their brand? the G7 was all about 7...#### the rest.

 

 

thats not promoting the activity

What is needed are visionary leaders like Jim Jones, Don Warren, George  Bonfiglio, Gale Royer, etc.   I’m not sure that they exist in Drum Corps these days. 

Edited by IllianaLancerContra
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10 minutes ago, IllianaLancerContra said:

What is needed are visionary leaders like Jim Jones, Don Warren, George  Bonfiglio, Gale Roger, etc.   I’m not sure that they exist in Drum Corps these days. 

Finding unique ways to connect to what matters (members and fans), will be a challenge if touring, facilities and venues are limited. IMO the corps need to protect their non for profit businesses, and they don’t need DCI for that. 

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8 minutes ago, Poppycock said:

Finding unique ways to connect to what matters (members and fans), will be a challenge if touring, facilities and venues are limited. IMO the corps need to protect their non for profit businesses, and they don’t need DCI for that. 

True this.... Irony is DCI broke away from the AL/VFW mold because they thought DCI would serve the corps better. What happens if corps don’t see the DCI mold as serving corps in the post COVID world?

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2 minutes ago, JimF-LowBari said:

True this.... Irony is DCI broke away from the AL/VFW mold because they thought DCI would serve the corps better. What happens if corps don’t see the DCI mold as serving corps in the post COVID world?

The 'Circle of Life' - like the Lion King.  But different.

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One lesson that we all learned in Drum Corps, during endless rehearsals of a 16-count move, or during a 5-mile uphill parade, is 'No matter how bad it is, it could be worse'.

And that is true today as well - consider what we would be dealing with if a certain former director was not under a criminal indictment.

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