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 Post subject: DCI 2017 Season - Final Thoughts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:15 am 
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Hello again!

Now that the season is over, ad-hoc analysis time is upon us!

1. BD won as I predicted after seeing them July 22. Some folks are saying that BD moves and then only plays standing still. I didn't see or hear things that way. I thought they were super! They came close in drums too, which surprised me.

2. Cavies squeaked by Blue Coats. Cavies guard and drums were really good I thought after seeing them. Cavies won not because their drumline was better, but because the margin in drums was far greater than could be predicted. Did Bluecoats drumline have a rough night? I have no idea. Also, Cavies brass did quite well in scoring. That opened my eyes a bit. Bottom line - things fell into place for cavies at the right time and they got 4th! Good for them!

3. Blueknights - took 4th in field drums and 6th in drums overall! per my July 22nd review I loved them, and per my other judges thread, I thought they could get past Cadets - but their field drums margin was 0.6 ahead of Cadets? Wow, but hard to believe. if BK can get a colorguard and integrate with visual they could challenge for top 5 from a scoring standpoint. They have the rest.

4. SCV won drums - as predicted and not a hard one to guess. The margin should have been greater. head and shoulders above the rest in a ll aspects of percussion ensemble/field drums - the writing, the musicality, the integration,the execution - it is all there. Sweet!

5. Boston - I didn't see their show this year. Comments anyway? from 12th to 6th in one year is impressive. It seems the arrows are all pointing in the right direction. On the launchpad for next year already. The energy and excitement must be pretty high right about now as far as next year. So much upward potential.

6. Cadets - well here comes the lecture. My old crew is swimming upstream and will probably stay where they are next year and maybe beyond. That doesn't mean Cadets can't contribute to the art, make a difference, and provide a great experience for corps members. That will happen for sure. Strong organization. The future placement success will hinge on George realizing his mistakes to himself. After the face book post saying how great the Cadets making a Cross on the field during retreat block was, he isn't there yet, but I always have hope.

For the record, I have only watched the Cadets this season online - but have done so many times throughout the season because I care and am interested. Field drums were truly excellent. An 18.3 in field drums doesn't seem right. They were good. They were clean. They sold their part of the show visually too. Front ensemble did deserve their 8th place placing however. There are two things you need to have for a successful front pit ensemble; exposure of carrying the corps twice in a performance, and top notch exposure of challenging mallet instrument passages; you have to have the talent and you have to write for it too. For whatever reason, it didn't happen for the Cadets this year and it can't be covered up either. It is out there.

As a general comment - it is my opinion that in the last two seasons the Cadets show was thought about and created in segments and then stitched together. The problem with that is that it inhibits a fan in the stands to be carried throughout the whole show. I hear about the cadets show coming out as it was envisioned; and lots of explanations of what each part meant. But an entertaining and engaging show shouldn't need an explanation to sell it - it should stand on its own with explanation for those who want a little more depth. Also, I don't think that intermittent regular cacophony and dissonance works or is enjoyable. It is just destructive and painful, unless you truly enjoy this as part of being "forgiven."

Vocals and electronics - fine but just remember it won't be part of any expected boost on scoring. I enjoyed Crowns vocals as part of GE and creativity, but I did not enjoy cadets vocals at all. ( I heard Crown had a mic problem at finals - NOT happy to hear about that!).

Dominant religious theme in drum corps - all right so a sensitive topic. No sensitivity on the Cadets part though. All through the season, I heard" I am agnostic and Mass was written by Jew" as if that makes it palatable for everyone. What I saw were uniforms with crosses on them, crosses being held high, Jesus Christ over the electronics, expected audience participation similar to sitting in church, and comments like " Ask a church for help with housing, just tell them about the mass" or "62% of Americans are dedicated christians" so you have that support. I then there were the "pass the plate"emails I kept getting for fund raising for the Cadets. ( Yes I make an annual donation to the Cadets). And this one - " I talked to a secular member of the corps last night who spoke positively about the meaning of the show." Can't we all see the problem here? members having to intellectually place themselves in a position of psychic acceptance just to feel OK? People loving the show and its meaning while over 300 got up and left the stands in silent protest at finals? Why does a corps show force a polarization among fans? Is that good?

As a fan I do not go to a show to be confronted by and think about religion - mine or anyone elses. Religion in most cases is an opportunity for a value system that is one path to better our lives. A drum corps show cannot accomplish that. Forcing a single belief path on a diverse audience is foolish. Not everyone has had good experiences in life with religion - why put people supporting drum corps in pain that they don't want brought up at a creative arts show?

Anyway, the bottom line is that prospective members and their families will see this and choose a different corps option next year. Not everyone, but the talent pool for next year is now less than it normally would be. Sad. But a challenge for George if he can accept it.


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 Post subject: Re: DCI 2017 Season - Final Thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:25 pm 
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I am a Cadets fan and tend to agree with your comments. The show had so much promise at the beginning of the season, a new set of instructors and the music of Leonard Bernstein which won in the past. I am from Toronto Canada, and took in five live shows this season. I will admit that it did take a few shows to really appreciate The Cadets production this year. I became really disheartened at the placement of the corps after each show. They continually made changes throughout the season, and in the end, produced a show that I really musically loved. Their seventh place finish this year, however, is a real disappointment. George Hopkins changed all of his instructors and arranger last year after their six place finish. I wonder what he will do this year.

I agree that the strong religious theme of the show was just not a winner in the eyes of the judges. The Cadets music however this year was majestic.

There was a similar backlash the year they played a Christmas theme 12-25. Perhaps George Hopkins should have got the message that year.

Right now it's really hard being a Cadets fan


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 Post subject: Re: DCI 2017 Season - Final Thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:56 pm 
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I got tired of all of the positive posts on George Hopkins and The Cadets Facebook pages throughout the season. Never a critical comment ever. I posted just after the Clinton New Jersey show, when The Cadets were on last (ideal position) and lost ground again to Boston that they would finish seventh this season. Someone posted that I was rude for saying this. Perhaps more critical comment by fans might motivate them to score higher next year.


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 Post subject: Re: DCI 2017 Season - Final Thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2003 9:07 pm
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hey friend - thanks for sharing your thoughts. Of course the topic at hand is long and winding- i just have a couple of comments.

1. George didn't change staff after 2016 - they left. En masse.
2. Your experience with being called rude is exactly the result of the polarization I was mentioning.
3. I am in a leadership/management position. A few conclusions I have drawn or am drawing is that if you are a mover and shaker, there are a couple of things to keep in mind - alignment with internal/external stakeholders ( like caption heads/instructors. corps members/ and fans for instance, as well as "DCI world") and at least being able to engage in a servant leadership mentality as needed and with sincerity. George seems to have an "anti-alignment" tendency. It is no longer evident in words as much but it is there by action and results. He is however, compulsive in trying to get things right, but the whole needs to be greater than the sum of the parts and a collective mind is better than a single one no matter who you are collecting with. The Cadets would be an interesting study for a Harvard Business Review case study on leadership challenges.
4. Finally, there is benefit when seeing that an emperor has no clothes, to say, " What a nice robe you have." George needs this skill ( he is not the emperor in this example). It is about humility and strategic thinking for long term success.

BTW - totally cool that you went to five live shows this year. That is what I call dedication!!


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 Post subject: Re: DCI 2017 Season - Final Thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:09 pm 
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Straight from today's Facebook post:

"This is one Christian that gets it and you all did it. God's greatest gift is music. Thank you so much for this show!

Tearing up again writing this . . . . . . . . . .

Thanks to all - Murphy"

So I am glad this person enjoyed the show and good for him and his enjoyment and heartfelt happiness. No issue there. But George is going out of his way to post this out of everything he receives. His "anti-alignment" tendency shows again. Likely just a small peephole into a wider mindset - I still support him and the Cadets of course. But he still doesn't want to accept his mistake and is just making it worse for talent acquisition at this point overall. He just has to move on for the benefit of the corps at this point. Wow!


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 Post subject: Re: DCI 2017 Season - Final Thoughts
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:37 am 
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I don't follow GH's Facebook page now. Too hard to look at it. I believed it when he said "trust the process " .


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