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Hi Drum Corps Community,

Ok, this a rant. Before you all hate me and tell me how I should just "get with the times,"  I do have free speech. These are just opinions -- take them or leave them.  You may disagree. Fine.  Drum Corps is not above an honest critique and review each year.  I continue to be amazed at the talent and majesty of the activity.  This is not to take away from the hard work all of the kids went through this summer.  Yet, here are some drum corps cliches that are bugging me...(I'm biased...to me this year's shows were...meh.)  Let me know...what are your cliches? What do you wish could be done better in shows? 

1. Futuristic/space-aged modernism themes -- how many shows do we have to see that could be from the planet Krypton?!  Sci-fi and drum corps fine. But EVERY year we have to keep traveling to distant planets and incorporating modern, geometric visuals? C'mon. Let's get a little more creative and diverse in our show themes, please.  Does EVERY show theme have to be modern to be good?  

2. Full body modern space suits worn by color guard and no helmets/hats worn by instrumentalists...what's the deal with that?  If it's covid related fine, but it this is a trend, why? 

3. Shows about nothing ... when I want to watch a show about nothing, I watch Seinfeld. Can we get SOME show that I can easily explain to my grandmother?!   Instead, I'm usually sitting back saying, "Huh? What was that?"  Perhaps I'm not "hip" enough to get it.  Does a show have to be existential and theoretical to be good?  

4. Guitars (maybe added recently)...fine. But I feel as though corps have to say, "Look at how avante guard we are being by adding a guitar this year!"  Years ago we added the trombone. Now we have electric guitars.  Why not just add ALL of the instruments...woodwinds, etc.?!  At what point can we just keep drum and bugle corps about drums and bugles?  If you want to be more creative, start with ditching the sci-fi shows and doing something new and different. 

5. Bad marching. I see inaccurate and sloppy lines even among the top corps -- lines that are supposed to be straight but are off and curved.  People off their mark.  And park and blow.  As a brass player, I love some park and scream...but it's becoming a bit cliche.  It should be special and done the right way.  What happened to the innovative marching of the 90's Cavaliers?  There was some innovative stuff in 2022, but it seems as though innovative and super challenging marching routines kind of have been lost in recent years. I'm not saying what they are doing now isn't challenging. I'm just saying I see a lot of the same stuff in marching...especially from one of the top corps.   

 

 

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i see where you are coming from, but i have to respectfully disagree. not only has adding more percussion or frontline instruments increased interest in frontline, but it also gives more people a chance to tour with their favorite Corps. 

personally i dont think that every show needs a "message" or "meaning," some shows exist just for fun and thats great!

as for modernism themes, i can't disagree more (mainly because i haven't really seen a "modern" theme in a while)

i am not attentive or qualified enough to say if marching is sloppy. 

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4 minutes ago, Tamborista Viejo said:

Is it just me who enjoyed seeing the Troopers marking time at the end of the show?  Brought tears to my eyes. 

A number of us were hyping over the high mark time!

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Most of what you listed aren’t cliches but rather the identity of modern drum corps. 
 

1. yes a lot of modern and sci fi shows. Who knew kids who grew up and lived on that stuff would want to march it? Off the top of my head of the finalists, BD, Boston, Cadets, Blue Stars, Cavaliers, Colts, and Troopers had historical productions rather than modern/sci fi. that’s over half of the top 12 corps. Perhaps you have a different definition of what modern/sci fi is.

2. This is the identity of modern drum corps, not a cliche. Calling this a cliche is like calling uniforms and shakos the cliche of pre 2010s drum corps. 
 

3. Most of the shows have been about something. The only top 12 shows I’d consider being about “nothing” are Crown and Phantom. Whether you understood the concepts is a different thing altogether and I’ll grant you that most shows nowadays are more intricate and harder to decipher. . I personally prefer to just enjoy the music and visuals without worrying about the concept. Honestly, I can’t really decipher   The concept of most of the shows from the 80s and 90s either but people found a way to just focus on the music and visuals in those shows. I really don’t think that drum corps programming became all that understandable until the 2000s and then at some point in the 2010s, became hard to understand again. 

4. Guitars are definitely a cliche. They add a cool sound to some shows and are distracting in others. I wouldn’t cry if I didn’t hear another one in drum corps ever again. Not all corps use them but they have become trendy

5. You listed multiple things here, none of which are cliches. Is marching technique worse nowadays? It’s plausible given the emphasis on choreography but hard to quantify. Are formations less clean? I truly don’t think so but would be happy to be proven wrong with some more concrete examples. Formations now and before are much different than before so it would need to be apples to apples. Isn’t park and blow a “cliche” derived from the very era you’re longing for? A concert number has been a part of drum corps for a very long time. Corps definitely March much less than they did before but that is more of an identity of modern DCI than a cliche 

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15 minutes ago, Cappybara said:

Most of what you listed aren’t cliches but rather the identity of modern drum corps. 
 

1. yes a lot of modern and sci fi shows. Who knew kids who grew up and lived on that stuff would want to march it? Off the top of my head of the finalists, BD, Boston, Cadets, Blue Stars, Cavaliers, Colts, and Troopers had historical productions rather than modern/sci fi. that’s over half of the top 12 corps. Perhaps you have a different definition of what modern/sci fi is.

2. This is the identity of modern drum corps, not a cliche. Calling this a cliche is like calling uniforms and shakos the cliche of pre 2010s drum corps. 
 

3. Most of the shows have been about something. The only top 12 shows I’d consider being about “nothing” are Crown and Phantom. Whether you understood the concepts is a different thing altogether and I’ll grant you that most shows nowadays are more intricate and harder to decipher. . I personally prefer to just enjoy the music and visuals without worrying about the concept. Honestly, I can’t really decipher   The concept of most of the shows from the 80s and 90s either but people found a way to just focus on the music and visuals in those shows. I really don’t think that drum corps programming became all that understandable until the 2000s and then at some point in the 2010s, became hard to understand again. 

4. Guitars are definitely a cliche. They add a cool sound to some shows and are distracting in others. I wouldn’t cry if I didn’t hear another one in drum corps ever again. Not all corps use them but they have become trendy

5. You listed multiple things here, none of which are cliches. Is marching technique worse nowadays? It’s plausible given the emphasis on choreography but hard to quantify. Are formations less clean? I truly don’t think so but would be happy to be proven wrong with some more concrete examples. Formations now and before are much different than before so it would need to be apples to apples. Isn’t park and blow a “cliche” derived from the very era you’re longing for? A concert number has been a part of drum corps for a very long time. Corps definitely March much less than they did before but that is more of an identity of modern DCI than a cliche 

A bit of an issue here with the reference to Regiment’s show this year. Did you listen/ read the show description at all?

From DCI. Org:

PR ends season as fan favorite

No Walk Too Far followed the human journey we all experience: the comfort of our familiar home and the call to adventure that makes us leave. The friends and foes we meet along the way. The paths we choose and the ones we pass by.

 

In drum corps, as in life, things are not always easy. Life pushes us to our limits. It takes us to unexpected places and can make us feel alone. But while we may leave home, home never leaves us. There was No Walk Too Far.

I think they did a pretty good job of getting their theme across. If not they might have not garnered “Phan Phavorite” this year.

Now you know this, rewatch the show. You might “get it”.

Edited by Sutasaurus
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3 hours ago, chris7997 said:

Shows about nothing ... when I want to watch a show about nothing, I watch Seinfeld.

* corps directors on this thread furiously scribbling notes *

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58 minutes ago, Sutasaurus said:

A bit of an issue here with the reference to Regiment’s show this year. Did you listen/ read the show description at all?

From DCI. Org:

PR ends season as fan favorite

No Walk Too Far followed the human journey we all experience: the comfort of our familiar home and the call to adventure that makes us leave. The friends and foes we meet along the way. The paths we choose and the ones we pass by.

 

In drum corps, as in life, things are not always easy. Life pushes us to our limits. It takes us to unexpected places and can make us feel alone. But while we may leave home, home never leaves us. There was No Walk Too Far.

I think they did a pretty good job of getting their theme across. If not they might have not garnered “Phan Phavorite” this year.

They were a fan favorite because they had a melodic show that was easy on the ears and fun to listen to. They also had a classic closer that exuded Phantom Regiment, something that has been missing from the corps since 2013-2014. Ask a random audience member what the show was actually about however, and they would not be able to tell you. 
 

And yes I’ve read the show description before. With this show being my 2nd favorite of the year, I have given it many views including a live read. The show is highly entertaining, but is mostly nonsensical. And that’s totally okay, because it was entertaining as hell and everyone loved it.
 

Btw, phantom’s description of the show is a lot of words not saying much at all. But that’s par for the course for most corps’ show descriptions as designers really do love the hoity toity stuff

 

edit: @Sutasaurus I hope you don’t take any offense. It is quite telling that the two shows I mentioned as being about “nothing” are the two shows that were by far the biggest crowd favorites this year. Perhaps that should tell the designers of other corps something about the way they’re currently designing their shows. I don’t think anyone would complain if we got more shows about nothing 

Edited by Cappybara
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