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We’ve Gone Theatrical… Let’s go more.

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18 hours ago, PopcornEater1963 said:

Make the product 360… and sell the other 65 percent of the seats. 

My seats on Friday were on the 50, 20 rows up. The sound is clear and amazing!  Its actually been about 10 years since I've been to finals and I must say from the volume increase since then I'm pretty sure all corps are miking the overall sound into their speakers.   On Saturday night I sat with a friend near the end zones just as the stands start to wrap around.  From a spectators standpoint the sound really is unacceptable....basically a muddy echo mess.  That got me wondering....is there a way that DCI could add speakers starting around the 5 yard line and into the end zones that corps can patch their board into so that fans in those areas get a better sound experience? I'm sure there are some acoustical challenges but if they could figure this out, then they could sell cheaper end zone seats to better fill the stadium.  

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45 minutes ago, KVG_DC said:

Yes. Crown could have used that for sure 

well i wasn't gonna go there but....

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19 minutes ago, OldSnareDrummer said:

I think I've matured enough as a dino fan to now accept live animals on the field. 

Troop - you managed to lasso the sun. Get after dem wild broncos out there on the 50 yard line. 

VK 88 had a bull. with an attitude towards judges

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I'm down. I'm on record, almost 30 years ago, in the old RAMD group, predicting drum corps becoming Summer Winter Guard with Hornline Accompaniment. A few years later, in the same group, I predicted the horns being replaced with 100% electronics, using only speakers. I missed the transition period we're now in, where hornlines will be using wireless mics. Right now, some corps are mic'ing the entire tuba line. Most corps are mic'ing a few players per part. All of this is then added to the "mix" coming through the speakers, basically rendering acoustic brass "impression" to be useless. (Even if you can still hear the acoustic brass, the sound level of the brass through speakers changes that impression...especially if one cares about Tuba sound, which admittedly, 99.99999% of the world doesn't.)

All corps will be mic'ing all brass over the next few years during this transition to "Theatrical Drum Corps," after which it'll all be electronic, controlled by Organists (as in, organ consoles, with multiple keyboards, and using the feet too....surprised we haven't seen an organ-like console out there yet. I'm calling it! lol)

You won't even call it drum corps anymore. Almost 30 years ago, I predicted that the horns would be replaced by fake instruments, so they'd still be marching in that style of a drum corps, cuz ya can't have 150 flags/rifles, right? RIGHT? lol, I dunno, maybe some people think that'll work.

You'll still need some kind of visual "organization and deconstruction" movement variety to keep the visual interest. But the musical interest? Hell, bring on the rock bands, the woodwinds, the orchestras, the alphorns, 150 trumpets, 100% Electronic...whatever! Think Transiberian Drum Corps! Line the entire front and back sidelines with speakers, shared by all corps. Provide a "spec" to the member corps at the beginning of the season, so everyone can learn how to "plug in" their stuff. Heck, pipe it through LOS' sound system! Surround Sound baby!

Acoustics be ######.

And, get off my lawn 🙂

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2 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

i do think actual acting coaches could go a long way to improving story telling and role playing

Agreed. When corps incorporate any element, they ought to support MMs with the design and coaching to succeed in what they are asked to do. Just because some corps have had success by featuring performers who may have come in with significant experience in acting or who might have been “naturals” doesn’t mean every MM is able to succeed without support.

Similarly, as choreography has become important for more MMs’ responsibilities, proper design and teaching are essential for it to be effective and most importantly, safely done to protect MM health.

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OK I will put in my .02. I never marched in a Drumcorps only marching band way back in the 1980s so flame away. lol

I first got to see a live drumcorps show at the 2000 semifinals at the University of Maryland. It was incredible, the sound the pomp the drill really a thrilling experience for my brother and I. I had followed DCI and drumcorps since the mid 80s (bought the VHS tapes and wore them out- they were on sale!) and watched each year thru the only channel available for me at the time which were the Thanksgiving shows (edited to fit all 12 in one broadcast) and I looked forward to them each year. My band director at the time had told us how incredible it was.

Then things started changing - I am sure they were changing before but I guess I first noticed it with Carolina Crown's Bohemia (2004?) when you had a person mic'd singing. I enjoyed the show but I remember not really being into focusing on just singing with one person. It seemed too much like Broadway to me. I did enjoy itwhen an entire corps would sing like a chorus but for whatever reason the individual stuff rubbed me the wrong way.

I was away from it for a while and then started watching it in the theaters sporadically over the years when they started around 2004. My brother and I went and it was an event with 3 sold out theaters and a lot of people wearing their patches from their days in Drumcorps and it seemed special. Now the theater event seems more like something I occasionally attend and the shows I have seen locally are sparsely attended - usually with band kids from local highschools.

Now Drumcorp has evolved and I am happy that so many still enjoy the shows but even though I am still impressed by the horn playing I tend to zone out during the more "live play" portions of shows. (portions with electronics (guitars, cellos etc) As much as I loved watching 2016's Bluecoats performance Downwside up, I kind of didn't enjoy The "Great Gig in the Sky" portion with the macbook pro and keyboard even though I am a huge Pink Floyd fan. 

I don't know. I am truly a dinosaur as I was introduced to drumcorps when it was horns and drill. Now it is horns, drill, (trombones....) and a lot of electronics and at times up to 1/10 of the members on the field not actually marching but essentially being teamsters moving props around. I guess I am looking at this like this is an old favorite band who evolved from the sound that brought me to them and have now gone down a road that is not part of what made me like them in the first place. Does that sound sensical? Watching DCI shows now is like going to see that old band and waiting and enjoying only the old songs and just tolerating the new stuff in between. 

Sorry for the long rant but I think the way that Drumcorps is evolving I probably won't be going to shows in 5-10 years but I hope I will still be supporting them in some other fashion.

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26 minutes ago, Fred Windish said:

For me, it’s now

“I no longer know what the he*l to call this activity . . . but it’s d*mn good and I can’t wait to see more!”


Agreed. While I miss the pre-amplified experience unique to a drum corps performing on a 100-yard stage (SCV Miss Saigon helicopter effect comes to mind), I'm grateful for the Garden of Love, keytars, harmonicas, and all of today's creative drum corps sights and sounds...and excited for what comes next.

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All my life I have loved frames and limits; and I will maintain that the largest wilderness looks larger seen through a window.

 -- G K Chesterton

Chesterton was right. To view Matisse through the rigid frame of the drum & bugle corps form is to see Matisse enlarged through a unique prism. To remove the frames that confine drum & bugle corps to its unique characteristics will be to throw the viewer out from behind the window and into the midst of the large wilderness.

Limits on any individual art form create the possibility for more art forms. The enjoyment of art, then, is in the experience of its different forms, not in the creation of a single ominform. When every ingredient is put into every pot, every item on the menu tastes the same.

Maybe there is a reason for 360-degree, electronics-driven, drone-enabled, laser-powered, gravity-defying, AI-generated stadium extravaganzas to exist. Maybe the ultimate form is a single DJ pushing a single "Play" button. Maybe there are DJs our there willing to create such lollapaloozas. Maybe there is an audience for it willing to fill arenas to witness it. Great. But even that new idea will have its own frame around it, defining what it is, and what it is not. The experience will be grander because of that frame.

But it should be its own art form with its own frame, and not pretend that is some kind of evolutionary step for Drum Corps International. If there is no longer any interest in the art form of drum corps, then let's shut down DCI. But if there is interest, let it be what it is, and let other art forms blossom around it.



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22 hours ago, PopcornEater1963 said:

Why not put wireless stage lights on those sky- scraping props. Incorporate special effects like wind, explosions,earthquakes, waterfalls, etc? 

Put silks on drones, and fly them in time to music over the field. Put MEMBERS in hovercraft and take “3D” to a whole new level? 

I liked the whole post. Not easy for sure and setup time would be even longer. There is always the danger of electronics with weather but we already have that. 

Honestly I thought some of these things were coming (special effects lighting, video, more natural sounds and sound effects) after the Bluecoats absolutely turned the activity upside-down with Downside-Up. With all credit to Blue Devils use of props in 2019, the 2016 Bluecoats is the most amazing and large-scale use of props I have ever seen. 

Now take what Bluecoats did that year and marry that with what Boston Crusaders did in 2021 during the exhibition year and you are beginning to get somewhere. 

My girlfriend and I did not do DCI Finals this year (we will be there next year) because we went to Orlando and did a 3-day weekend at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and City Walk. One of the big things there now is how well they can do 3D video/Animation and marry it with a short coaster ride or some tricked-out coaster or bus or seating arrangement. There would be a cost for video panels, lighting, 3D tech if possible, and working the sound system would require a real pro or perhaps 2 or 3 people doing any number of things. 

Maybe DCI needs an experimental FUTURE CORPS division for those corps (big or small) that wish to try some of this stuff. 

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