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Reconsidering the DCI Touring Model


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Back in the 1970's west coast corps had to travel east to compete against "the big boys!" Troopers (pre-1970) toured to be able to compete. Let's be honest, they were all that was available in that region until Anaheim and Santa Clara. Then came DCI and then everything changed. Smaller corps were eventually forced to undertake more touring.

I marched in the 1970's and every Saturday we traveled to a city in NY, PA, OH or Ontario to compete. The good part was, as a teenager, we got 3 or 4 days of being able to be a kid and hang with our friends. Drum corps had two evenings of rehearsals a week and meet early Saturday morning to leave for wherever the show was. Fast forward 10, 20, 30, 40 years and every corps has to tour all summer. This model forced a whole lot of corps to fold up their tents. It helped some bigger corps as the serious drum corps kids would travel to California, Massachusetts, NJ, WI, IL or wherever a good corps was still active so thy could continue marching. Joining a corps became more expensive and so joining a corps took money or sponsorship. In 1977 I could have and should have went up to Toronto to march Seneca Optimist but...I didn't.  

Anyways, If the Drum Corps activity is to grow today, smaller corps and less touring is essential. In the 1970's it was a big deal for us to travel to Marion and then Butler to do a "tour." Our best year was 1976 and we didn't go to those two shows, although I wish we did. Time to look at history and re-group!

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I may be way off as I'm no authority on today's DCI, but the way I see it now, the business model (with emphasis on the business part ) in today's DCI is quality over quantity even to the point of controlling the model's growth. It's a capitalistic entity for a large part in that the rich survive and thrive based on their organizational structures, but at the same time, it can be very restrictive, some may even call it cliquish. In short, I don't think drum corps wants to grow all that much. I don't think either that type of model is totally a bad thing for such an niche activity. The quality today is pretty #### good. 

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I LOVE the quality today! If DCI and the corps currently making up DCI are okay with what they have then...Okay!

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