Mike wrote:This is from you...that generated my response: "...however many can be accomodated by three buses".
Yes, but my statement didn't end there:
Dave B wrote:...however many can be accomodated by three buses, instead of four or five. (emphasis added)
The point was that with these self-same newer busses, one might try to fit the entire membership and staff on one or two fewer busses than what they're currently running. I apologize for not making that point more clearly.
Mike wrote: Again, the post I responded to spoke to ADDING equipment requiring more...because of the added members...not discussing the current number of trucks being used.
Again, it might be a good discussion to have, but it's not the one I responded to.
I'll buy that, but only if you can tell me honestly that you think the amount of equipment used by these corps didn't
grow measurably with the addition of only seven more members (128 to 135), and that it won't
grow even moreso now that we're adding TWICE that number (i.e., 15) to go from 135 to 150. 15 more kids may not sound like much, until you realize that this year's increase represents 10% of the total corps membership of 150. (Ask any business whether a 10% increase in sales/profits/costs/etc. is significant in any way.
) In addition, one has to recognize that the average member weighs 150+ pounds each, and by the time you figure their baggage, the added food you're carrying to feed them for (x)days, the weight of their uniforms, equipment, and props... in short by the time you're done, you've added 2-3 TONS of cargo the corps is carrying around. Busses and trucks, however new, are nevertheless finite in capacity: the more butts and baggage the corps haul, the more vehicles the corps need to haul them, pure and simple. This not only increases fuel costs, it increases maintenance costs. Prodigiously.
Of course, if the maximum membership remains at 150 (and continues to expand in the future, as I expect), then there will be no choice for the individual corps but to try to fill that quota in order to remain competitive on the field. At that point, start-up corps, to even have a prayer, will themselves have to field larger numbers just to be taken seriously. Do you see how this cycle is self-defeating? If, as you say, "potential members do not think this way today," if they "spend a lot of time and $$$ to march" in an effort to get the best possible experience, then how do you suppose future new corps will convince MORE potential members to break that cycle, instead of fewer?
Are there too many instructors? What is "too many?" The top-12 are the top-12 for a number of reasons....one being the ability to have sets of eyes and ears to fine tune the performance levels. It's not my call to say they are excessive. I like the idea of having specialists available.
From a performer's/spectator's standpoint I agree with you: more technicians usually means better, more focused instruction, and thus a higher performance level from the same start-point. Higher performance levels are a good
thing. Most good things come with a price tag, though.
So let's compare the Top12 hornlines of my day - membership of 128 overall = avg. hornline of 54 - 64 horns - versus the hornlines we can expect this year - 150 overall = expected/announced hornlines of 64 - 76 horns. (I use the hornline because it has the largest ratio of members to instructors, usually.) As you can see, the increase is significant; roughly two thirds of the new members joining can be expected to end up in the hornline. By way of comparison, the whole Crossmen soprano section numbered only 16-18 horns when I marched, the mellos only 10-12. Now, sure, the new number equates to only about a 2-3 person gain in each section of the line, but if 3-4 brass techs THEN made sense, and 4-5 brass techs last year made sense, then adding 1-2 more to cope with 10 or so more players this year makes sense, too, right? And what about the visual staff, specifically those responsible for monitoring these brass players as they march? To get the same level of coverage/instruction, you've gotta add 1-2 more there, too, right?
The bottom line is that we've grown the membership of the top-class DCI corps once already on the argument that "we can handle it on the vehicles we have." The actual result
was the addition of more and more equipment and personnel, which then required the addition of more vehicles. All of these additions added to the corps' operating costs significantly. Now we're going to add twice as many new members as we added before. Based on recent history, the only assumption/prediction possible is that we're going to see still more equipment/personnel added, which is going to mean MORE of a fleet of vehicles, which means even higher corps costs. Sure, some of that can be absorbed by the addition of the new members' tuition, but there's not a World-Class corps out there now that covers their costs through membership fees alone, and the more members they add, the bigger that short-fall becomes.
Even many of the corps that exist today seem to be looking for members, from reading posts on DCP... Most of the kids in the World Class corps come directly from scholastic programs.
All the more reason to find ways to re-structure DCI such that those kids are as POSITIVELY motivated towards new/smaller corps as possible. Doing so would mean that:
there wouldn't be an insurmountable number of people to convince, against their better judgement (which you accurately pointed out), to march in a newer/smaller corps.
these newer/smaller corps would have (admittedly potential
, not guaranteed) access to more raw talent, since there would be fewer slots open at "the top."
paradoxically, the premier corps could maintain their level of excellence more
easily, not less, since there would be fewer holes to fill each year, and there would be more previously drum-corps-trained members out there to fill them.
ALL corps will have lower fuel/operating costs (to bring it back to the start point of the discussion), since they'll be carrying around fewer people and less equipment. The shortfall between membership fees and costs will drop, or at least quit growing, so corps will 1)be financially easier to start up, and 2)be less likely to fold due to financial concerns from year to year as a result.
All that having been said, Mike, I suspect that we're both right, in our own ways. (Everyone watch, now: this is where Mike says: "What!? All that and you don't even think your way is RIGHT??
" ^_^) I expect that the "right" way forward is completely different, not only from the way things ARE going, but also from what I've put forth here. Though I DO think my way would work.
Stay tuned for a post in the general discussions area that addresses our differences in a slightly different way.