Those were the days?

Reminisce about your memories of those glorious days gone by

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cavies79
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Those were the days?

Post by cavies79 » Thu May 01, 2008 7:03 am

I was recollecting my memories about drum corps from about 30 years ago and was wondering was it better then than today. Yes, the quality of performances is much better today than yesterday. However, were more kids involved back then in the activity than today? I know there were many more drum corps than today.

Shows today include better drill, better playing, etc. However, we all know that today's music isn't as familiar to the average person than past seasons.

I'm happy about the level of today's drum corps, but wish there were more units in the activity. Also, I wish that it was more affordable for the kids today. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Post by buckofan » Thu May 01, 2008 7:30 am

IMHO the change over came around 2003. Up until then you could still recognize most of the selections.

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Post by Dave B » Thu May 01, 2008 10:42 am

Honestly, I think the change-over happened a lot earlier. I've always thought of myself as somewhat savvy, musically, but the show selections from year to year have ALWAYS challenged (and added to) my repertoire of familiar pieces. That's happened less as time has gone on, rather than more, but I still have to look up about half of the pieces that end up listed in the program.

Maybe it's just because I'm younger, but I've never experienced a time when most of the music by most of the corps were pieces I already knew. The closest I've come was the mid- to late-'90s when lots of corps were busy re-exploring the music and styles of their respective pasts, but even then they were careful (mostly) to either re-arrange it, or to enhance the old arrangements - usually to better effect (though not always).

I do appreciate the once-common aspect of 'drum corps' as 'community youth group,' and unfortunately it's the case that to be competitive from a performance standpoint means selecting for quality. This USUALLY means that a corps can't perform both functions simultaneously, and often results in community drum corps simply dropping out of all but the most local of circuits, sticking mainly to local parades and the like. That is, if they don't end up dropping out of existence altogether, which seems to be more the rule than the exception.
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Post by Jd » Fri May 02, 2008 12:20 pm

I can take it back a little further. In 1983, the mantra in show design was "Advancing the Art" and it started with the Garfield Cadets. Some of us knew then that drum corps as we knew it was over and shows got more esoteric.
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Post by Malibu » Sat May 03, 2008 5:56 am

Jd wrote:I can take it back a little further. In 1983, the mantra in show design was "Advancing the Art" and it started with the Garfield Cadets. Some of us knew then that drum corps as we knew it was over and shows got more esoteric.
I agree....I think George Zingali wanted to use the whole field as his canvas rather than mirrored images. True SCV and Crossmen experimented with this idea in 1980.
You see hints of Zingali's genius in the 1982 Garfield show only to be improved by 1983. His imagination stretched beyond what most humans could comprehend.
There were rumors from friends that George would throw Spaghetti noodles on the floor to come up with his wild spell bound drill moves. All I can say is many, many others have learned and copied what George created. He was a one of kind and is sorely missed. I can only image what kind of crazy drill designs he would be doing today. RIP George. :angl:
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Post by Jd » Sat May 03, 2008 8:06 am

I'm okay with the drill design changes and they were needed. However, there was talk back then of changing the activity in a way so corps members' feelings would not be hurt if if their corps scored low. IMO, that was and is a ridiculous mindset.

I also wish there were more corps competing out there. It would be nice to have the Top 25 as the elite group of corps out of 40-60 corps (or more) instead of hoping 25 corps compete at DCI. As easy as it is to blame DCI, it is prohibitively expensive to field a junior corps in competition.

We talk about the good old days and the number of corps who competed back then, but here's a question. What can corps and/or DCI do to make competing and touring more affordable so more corps can compete? Maybe DCI can provide a greater concentration on regional competition. Also, and DCI can do this now, market the smaller corps and their competitions, including the DCI Championships. I have said that the large corps get the glory, but the small corps are the lifeblood of the activity, and IMO, growing the smaller corps and the number of them, are a key solution to this problem.

Just another $0.02 worth. 8-)
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Post by Malibu » Sat May 03, 2008 8:46 am

Jd, it seems that DCI doesn't care for the smaller corps. If they did they would not have changed the classification.
I think DCI is preparing themselves for the day when there will be only 6 power corps left.

I do think the whole top 12 scenario should be revamped since there aren't as many competing in World Class today. I know it could hurt some corps if DCI were to only take the top 6 into finals, but it would have more of a meaning to "making finals" like it used to be. I'm sure you remember back in our day, making finals was an accomplishment.
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Post by Dave B » Sat May 03, 2008 9:54 am

Jd wrote:I also wish there were more corps competing out there. It would be nice to have the Top 25 as the elite group of corps out of 40-60 corps (or more) instead of hoping 25 corps compete at DCI. As easy as it is to blame DCI, it is prohibitively expensive to field a junior corps in competition.

We talk about the good old days and the number of corps who competed back then, but here's a question. What can corps and/or DCI do to make competing and touring more affordable so more corps can compete?
Simplest, easiest thing would be to LOWER the number of members per competing corps, say back to 128, or even further, to 116 - however many can be accomodated by three buses, instead of four or five. Fewer students means less equipment, perhaps enough less that it can all fit on a single tractor-trailor (the way we used to do it), instead of two. All of this lowers fuel costs per corps. Lots. Also, fewer members mean fewer eyes/ears needed for instructional staff, less equipment to buy/maintain, and fewer mouths to feed & water over the course of the summer.

In addition, the fewer members that can march in a given corps, the more are forced to go somewhere besides an already-Finalist corps to march their first year, age-out year, etc. This spreads the talent around, making parity go farther amongst the corps. The side effect will be that DCI's prestige amongst potential members will RISE, since making the Top Twelve will be more than just something that half the corps make just by showing up, and making the Top 25 will be (once again) more than just a "thank you for playing." (Remember: when I joined the Crossmen, they had tied for 21st the year before. Why did I go anyway? Because even in 1986, just making the Top 25 was worth something.)
Just another $0.02 worth. 8-)
Hehe, mine, too - worth all the paper it's printed on. :D
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Post by Groucho » Sat May 03, 2008 5:35 pm

Bring back the 60's and the early 70's. Just think of some of the great corps during this era. Also, remember how many corps were active!!

How many circuits were active at this time.

Just think about about how many circuits were active during this period..

Also Conn had the Yankee Circuits which include corps from Conn, Mass,
N.H. and Maine.

Just imagine on a Sat. night going to show that included SKEK, BAC, St. Mary's, Charlestown, St. Mary's, Beverly, Camb Cabs, Braintree Warriors,
St. Rose, I. C., Gatesmen with an exhibition by the "Lt. Norman Prince"!!!

In Conn, you would be able to see PAL Cadets, Milford Shoreliners. St. Rap. "Bucs", Royal Lancers, and Conn. Hurcs in exhibition


Now we move onto NJ/NY area, and we can see Garfield, SAC, Bon Bon's,
St. Lucy's, St Pat's, OLPH, CMCC, and exhibition by Cabs, Skyliners, Sunrisers.

Now to the Midwest. How about Chicago, Skokie, Kilts, Scouts, Royal Airs,
Racine Scout, Norwood Park, Casper Troopers.

What do we have today? With Hoppy destroying this great "hobby" it is just a matter of time before we will be happy watching the old tapes.

Gas will be close to $4.50 a gallon, and the price that DCI is charging, sit home with a hot dog and a beer, coke enjoy on T.V.


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Post by buckofan » Sun May 04, 2008 4:39 am

Groucho wrote:it is just a matter of time before we will be happy watching the old tapes.
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Post by Jd » Sun May 04, 2008 5:01 am

Some random thoughts on the subject...

Gas prices aren't going to the levels they once were anytime soon, so it won't be a surprise if DCI decides to focus on more regional vs. long national tours.

Bringing back the old days would be nice, but can't be done. Besides, there were a heck of a lot more people of junior corps age 30-40 years ago than there are today. I haven't checked, but wonder if the percentages of that age range in drum corps are consistent.

If possible, what circuits can be brought back? What existing corps would compete? I see what happened to the US Open, VFW, and the American Legion competitions and wonder who (corps) would go. I'm not trying to be negative, just analytical. I'd love too see them come back, because there would be a venue for corps who may not be able to afford to compete nationally.

I like the idea of lowering the number of members back to 128 and agree with Dave's economic argument. But they can do that now without a rule change.

I have read that a lot of potential marching members try out for their favorite corps and if they get cut, they don't march at all that season. I never understood that reasoning. Many, if not most, of us either here or on DCP marched in small corps. I appreciate my time in Class A corps as much as I appreciate my time with the Phantom Regiment. These guys don't know what they're missing out on.

The last paragraph goes back to the point I made earlier about DCI needing to focus on growing the number of smaller corps. But this brings up another question. Why wait for DCI to do anything about any of this? Chances are, they won't. If anything positive is going to happen, it's going to be up to us, the fans, to get it done.

Finally, it's really nice to read and post on a thread that addresses a serious situation and see thoughtful, respectful posts.

Just a few more cents worth... 8-)
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Post by Blurae1 » Sun May 04, 2008 5:50 am

IMO the last show I enjoyed was in 1989, the year Clara did Phantom. I, without laying blame on anyone, just don't care for what's out there now. I'm not saying it's bad, good or anywhere in between, I'm just don't care for it.

Drum Corps today has a different purpose than it used to. Back then the purpose was to get kids off the street, today it's about the art..........Bill

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Post by WE ARE SPARTACI » Sun May 04, 2008 1:21 pm

I wonder what the typical fuel budget is like these days. Maybe corps can simplify their convoy a bit. Be more efficient with the number of vehicles they use.

Let's see, motor coaches average about 5.5 MPG;
A typical tour might be 3,000 - 7,000 miles depending on location of Finals.
Four buses

So using 5,000 miles
5.5 MPG
909 Gal. per bus
x $4/gal (diesel)
x 4 buses

$14,500 for bus fuel alone
Add in equipment truck, chuck wagon, souvie wagon, staff motor home, support vehicles, etc...

A $20k fuel budget would make the commitment per member at around $140 for the summer.

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Post by Malibu » Sun May 04, 2008 1:29 pm

We had four buses, one station wagon (souvie stuff) pulling a pop-up camper (chuck wagon), a Winnebago (the corps manager's RV) an equipment truck and the directors Conversion Van.
Today that is nothing to compared to what corps are traveling with.....two tractor trailers, RVs and various other tag-a-longs. I know it MUST be expensive!
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Post by Hostrauser » Sun May 04, 2008 3:52 pm

Blurae1 wrote:IMO the last show I enjoyed was in 1989, the year Clara did Phantom.
You didn't enjoy 92 or 93 Blue Devils?
93 or 96 Phantom?
92 or 95 Scouts?
97 or 99 Vanguard?

I mean, I know to each their own and all... but, really?
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