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


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10 minutes ago, IllianaLancerContra said:

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.

Was with a corps that came back from being inactive... twice... Once inactive for a full season and once for a few months (not getting into that story). What helped on the rebound was setting realistic yearly goals and not dwelling on past glories. Let us hope that is possible. 
edit: joined the corps when they came back after a year off and after a break rejoined after their few months break. So an eye witness to the restarts

Edited by JimF-LowBari
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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. 

25 minutes ago, JimF-LowBari said:

Was with a corps that came back from being inactive... twice... Once inactive for a full season and once for a few months (not getting into that story). What helped on the rebound was setting realistic yearly goals and not dwelling on past glories. Let us hope that is possible. 
edit: joined the corps when they came back after a year off and after a break rejoined after their few months break. So an eye witness to the restarts

Agree that goals are key - both long & short term.  Short term is to field something in 2021 & have some kind of tour / championship.  Long term is to have tour / season like was planned for 2020.  But as we are all too aware there are lots of moving parts completely outside of the activities control whatsoever that will need to fall in place.

Drum Corps could learn a lesson from all the NCAA football stuff going on now - someone in a leadership position, I'll say DCI for lack of a better example, needs to set some clear milestones with associated dates that will need to happen before 2021 season, whatever it is, can happen.  DCI also should come up with several options for what 2021 could look like, again depending on outside events that factor in (availability of vaccine, housing options for Corps on the road, availability of performance venues, etc.) along with firm dates things need to happen by.  

IMHO this is what Jones, Warren, Bonfiglio, and the rest of the 1972 gang would be doing (or already have done).  

Current DCI leaders - it it time to buck up.

Edited by IllianaLancerContra
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1 hour ago, IllianaLancerContra said:

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

 

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9 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

my concern is if just the corps themselves....will egos remain in check

LOL

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Maybe I'm a cynic, but my view of the vast majority of the movers and shakers in this activity is that they are concerned with what is best for their corps/organization first, and the drum corps community as a whole second (or third or forty-seventh). DCI needs widespread organizational humility to affect all of its member corps for the tour to return to even some semblance of its pre-COVID self.

Maybe that will happen. I've certainly been wrong plenty of times before.

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10 hours ago, mfrontz said:

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.  

?

Thing is, the "activity" in its current form is what fits their needs and aspirations... and business models.  More than anyone else, the corps envisioned as G-7 are built on the backs of everyone else.  Their bloated budgets, bloated staffs and bloated infrastructures depend on a sea of other corps, and a universe of other pageantry arts.  They have built revenue streams based on providing services to drum corps, marching bands, winter guards/drumlines and other art forms.  And since those are all "non-essential businesses", the G-7 corps are ironically ill suited to cope with either the pandemic or any dramatic change to the form of the activity.

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

How? 

If DCI cannot mount a 2021 tour because we still have a pandemic, the G-7 are not going to be able to tour either.

Even if the pandemic ends or is winding down in time, summer 2021 is not going to be "back to normal".  Cobbling together a tour will require all hands on deck.  We will need every corps, every show host, every housing prospect, every volunteer, every marcher, and every fan who is willing/able to get back on board, if we want the per capita costs/revenues of touring to be anywhere near what they were.  If leadership thinks that downsizing from 46 corps to 7 would solve the housing shortage, they would make the mistake of catastrophically slashing resources in every other department.

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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.

True.  Why reinvent the wheel?

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12 minutes ago, cixelsyd said:

?

Thing is, the "activity" in its current form is what fits their needs and aspirations... and business models.  

The unanswerable question of course is what will be possible to fit the needs and models. 
No guarantee all the G7 corps will survive either.

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For better or worse, DCI is the best we’ve got. In general I do believe that DCI has kept the activity alive, but I also wonder at times at what expense has this happened. 

Right now we do not know what a post COVID world will look like, and while a vaccine is crucial, so too is a treatment option, especially for those for whom a vaccine will not work. There could be all sorts of societal changes. We don’t know which corps will survive, and it may be some of the venerable WC war horses that are in trouble and some of the newer OC corps will be the ones to hang on, which makes sense when you consider how much it costs to not run a corps for the season. My thought is we will begin to hear some disheartening news come September about who will and will not survive. I have heard a few rumors, but without going to Allentown and Indy, I did not talk with my More reliable sources. 

What DCI needs to do is look at where drum corps is going in the next five to ten years. What will sustain the activity? What are young marchers looking for?  Bring in lots of folks to discuss it. We have lots of great design people in the discussions. Some bright business minded people are in the mix too. We need to expand those in the discussions more than we do. Educators in addition to music teachers should be included. How do we best serve young people at a time music budgets are slashed and they may not get music at school. This could be crucial. Changing times and financial issues are often blamed when Drum Corps faded away in the hot spots of Massachusetts and New Jersey. We can forget that school music programs in both states were decimated at the same time. Youth workers, people from the athletic world, clergy, first responders can all offer advice about safe environments and working with the community based on their experiences.

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34 minutes ago, Tim K said:

For better or worse, DCI is the best we’ve got. In general I do believe that DCI has kept the activity alive, but I also wonder at times at what expense has this happened. 

Right now we do not know what a post COVID world will look like, and while a vaccine is crucial, so too is a treatment option, especially for those for whom a vaccine will not work. There could be all sorts of societal changes. We don’t know which corps will survive, and it may be some of the venerable WC war horses that are in trouble and some of the newer OC corps will be the ones to hang on, which makes sense when you consider how much it costs to not run a corps for the season. My thought is we will begin to hear some disheartening news come September about who will and will not survive. I have heard a few rumors, but without going to Allentown and Indy, I did not talk with my More reliable sources. 

What DCI needs to do is look at where drum corps is going in the next five to ten years. What will sustain the activity? What are young marchers looking for?  Bring in lots of folks to discuss it. We have lots of great design people in the discussions. Some bright business minded people are in the mix too. We need to expand those in the discussions more than we do. Educators in addition to music teachers should be included. How do we best serve young people at a time music budgets are slashed and they may not get music at school. This could be crucial. Changing times and financial issues are often blamed when Drum Corps faded away in the hot spots of Massachusetts and New Jersey. We can forget that school music programs in both states were decimated at the same time. Youth workers, people from the athletic world, clergy, first responders can all offer advice about safe environments and working with the community based on their experiences.

I would take your suggestions a bit further.

There's been a lot of talk over the years about having a true authoritative body govern  Drum Corps.

Unfortunately,that isn't the case now.

Right now its,as I've seen posted before ,"the inmates running the asylum".

DCI could be reorganized to have a board that, in addition to 1 or 2 rotating corps directors, also has people,with expertise in things like business,including marketing.

The board would also need to have  the authority to make binding decisions on the member corps.

I realize each corps is an independent organization.
But,to move forward they would have to agree to follow the requirements of the reformed DCI.

 

 

 

Edited by rpbobcat
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47 minutes ago, rpbobcat said:

I would take your suggestions a bit further.

There's been a lot of talk over the years about having a true authoritative body govern  Drum Corps.

Unfortunately,that isn't the case now.

Right now its,as I've seen posted before ,"the inmates running the asylum".

DCI could be reorganized to have a board that, in addition to 1 or 2 rotating corps directors, also has people,with expertise in things like business,including marketing.

The board would also need to have  the authority to make binding decisions on the member corps.

I realize each corps is an independent organization.
But,to move forward they would have to agree to follow the requirements of the reformed DCI.

I was thinking along similar lines.  My dream, colored by lessons learned in the past 10.5 years, would be that DCI would become a mission-driven organization instead of member-driven, because the latter seems destined to devolve into fights over how to slice the pie instead of focusing on making the whole pie bigger/better.
 

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