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


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2 hours ago, garfield said:

Even with all of the immigration into the US in the last 75 years, the number of performing groups has declined.  Is that because of "depopulation"?  If so, why were there not more suburban and smaller city corps started to pick up all of those stranded performers?  Edited: If this subject relates to the thread, then should DCI's function include lobbying to increase the number of O-1 visas because not enough American kids don't want to march drum corps?

I think this might be an interesting discussion about contributing factors of the declining number of corps, but not sure how it relates to the thread.

Here's why I thought it related to the thread. FYI, I've heard about that guy's forthcoming book for months and never mentioned it on DCP (and to be fair, his argument that the way to make America great again is to increase America's population calls for both more immigration and for the Americans already here to have larger families -- I don't really want to get into a discussion about immigration; that was just what spurred his remark). It was his comment yesterday about the population decline of many midwest and northeast cities that brought home for me the disconnect between where most corps have been located and where the population was trending up.

Any post-Covid plans may as well take into consideration the whole of the reality that corps face. The simplest thing that occurs to me is that corps might be more successful in the south. It's not just about membership but about local corporate support. Take it from someone who works in a non-profit performing arts organization in a city with less than 50% of the people it had in the 1960s. Looking back at our older files, as recently as the 1980s, I see the names of lots of companies that moved from here.

There is one well-known example of corps having adapted to that population shift by moving across the country: Crossmen. Are there other corps who should consider that? it occurs to me that another notably growing city is your own (meaning Columbus not the suburb where you live). There is one tiny corps based there now. I wonder if they're making the most of their situation.

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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. 

1 hour ago, E3D said:

 

What's really striking is that Jersey Surf, for decades, has been ridiculed for not making a full tour and for being a "part time" drum corps.

I suspect that Surf is probably better positioned to make a "short tour" both meaningful and profitable than many or most corps in the activity.

 

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2 hours ago, garfield said:

Even with all of the immigration into the US in the last 75 years, the number of performing groups has declined.  Is that because of "depopulation"?  If so, why were there not more suburban and smaller city corps started to pick up all of those stranded performers?  Edited: If this subject relates to the thread, then should DCI's function include lobbying to increase the number of O-1 visas because not enough American kids don't want to march drum corps?

I think this might be an interesting discussion about contributing factors of the declining number of corps, but not sure how it relates to the thread. 

 

Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet a number of people involved in starting drum corps in the 50’s and 60’s. Some have been through religious organizations of which I can probably speak of with some certainty but also people who wanted to start a drum corps. In the case of the drum corps started in Catholic parishes, almost all of those who started drum corps or in the case of Boston, bands and drill teams, also started baseball, softball, and basketball teams. One was a founder of a youth golf league and tournament that for many years produced a number of top golfers. Many also started youth service programs. CYO dances were always well attended. The first question in many of their minds is how do we keep young people occupied and drum corps became an answer. It was one of many other activities. It soon got too expensive for a parish to run a drum corps and in the case of many of the Catholic parishes, it had little to do with the expense of the activity. Until the mid 1970’s or so, nuns who taught in the schools were given about $10 a month, lived in convents, and staffed the schools for free. With the decline in the number of nuns, Catholic schools which practically ran for free had to start charging higher tuitions and pay lay teachers. A priest was given a clothing allowance and some  spending money, but anything else came from his family. In the mid 1970’s, clergy in most denominations earned an income, began paying into social security, and had to file income tax returns. Parishes could no longer afford drum corps when everyone one worked for practically nothing. Add to this the expenses of drum corps when it was no longer an all volunteer activity.

Another factor to keep in mind is the variety of sports and youth activities available. Growing up (I was born in 1962), my hometown offered Little League baseball, a Pop Warner football team with cheerleaders, a hockey team, and a basketball league. There was a drill team, a CYO band in the neighboring town, and a drum corps a few towns over. There was also a very bad theater group. Soccer gained some popularity when I was in junior high. Today, the town still has the same sports teams along with rugby, lacrosse, curling, field hockey, gymnastics, and swimming/diving. The schools have excellent music programs, there is a nationally recognized school for the arts, along with tons of martial arts programs. There’s more for kids to do today. 

The decline of drum corps is due to the rising costs, no question, but where drum corps has so much competition today, it could also mean there are lots of other activities to keep kids busy.

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18 hours ago, Fred Windish said:

How long would it take a replacement, call it Acme Pageantry, Inc., to achieve the same position held by DCI?  Establish its own brand, abilities, and unique appeal. Difficult road for Acme to travel, it seems.

Probably more accurate to call the hypothetical group Varsity Spirit.

Mike

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23 hours ago, IllianaLancerContra said:

At some point between 1972 & now this changed. I guess this change is what drove DCM et al out of business?  Until early 2000s DCI Corps participated in both circuits.  And in the late 1970s there were DCI Corps that still went to VFW Nationals.  Not the top Corps, but finalists. I recall Crossmen winning one year. And I also recall Cavaliers winning Illinois state  VFW in 1983; we were next to them at retreat. 

I actually interviewed Jeff Fiedler for DCP back in whatever year it was the big groups left DCM.  I'm paraphrasing, but their big concerns were the equal pay structure (big corps the same as little corps) and the fact that the circuit was pretty much being run out of someone's car trunk.

Mike

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2 minutes ago, MikeN said:

I actually interviewed Jeff Fiedler for DCP back in whatever year it was the big groups left DCM.  I'm paraphrasing, but their big concerns were the equal pay structure (big corps the same as little corps) and the fact that the circuit was pretty much being run out of someone's car trunk.

Mike

Nobody seems to remember the gritty details.

In the end, follow the money.

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9 minutes ago, garfield said:

The question is:  What's it worth?

 

I know it's not your actual question, but ... $2.5 billion in 2018, when they were acquired by Bain Capital.  Make no mistake, Varsity is coming for music programs next.  They've already monopolized cheer and dance.  They also own yearbook publishers and class rings (bought Herff Jones who bought Jostens who bought ArtCarved, which I worked for back in college).

Mike

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6 minutes ago, MikeN said:

I know it's not your actual question, but ... $2.5 billion in 2018, when they were acquired by Bain Capital.  Make no mistake, Varsity is coming for music programs next.  They've already monopolized cheer and dance.  They also own yearbook publishers and class rings (bought Herff Jones who bought Jostens who bought ArtCarved, which I worked for).

Mike

Of course.  My real question is What is DCI worth if Varsity wants to buy it?

I'd say two times the present value of, say, five years' worth of all revenue above expenses (excluding corps payout).  Two-times-"book" value is really ONLY gate cash flow as the activity as a whole has little or no assets to buy.

Varsity would be pretty much buying the brand.

(But WAIT!  The corps ARE the brand!  Well, we'll see if VS (not Victoria's Secret!) puts in a bid for any of the "brand" drum corps.)

 

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22 minutes ago, Tim K said:

1.  Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet a number of people involved in starting drum corps in the 50’s and 60’s. Some have been through religious organizations of which I can probably speak of with some certainty but also people who wanted to start a drum corps. In the case of the drum corps started in Catholic parishes, almost all of those who started drum corps or in the case of Boston, bands and drill teams, also started baseball, softball, and basketball teams. 

2.  CYO dances were always well attended.  

 1.  In many situations, the teenager was black mailed.  Either you join our parish D&BC, or we will not keep you out of youth services if you cause anymore trouble.

2.  Hope you didn't ask the children dancing slow if there was room for the Holy Ghost.  That job was usually done be the nuns.

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