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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today gets a little more interesting...

It's day 2 of DCI rules proposals. Yesterday's were pretty harmless, at least in my estimation. Today's get a little harder hitting. Both of today's reference a change in the way field entry is done and judged.

DCI Contest Director Tony DiCarlo's is relatively inocuous; he suggests merely to formalize the manner in which corps have recently utilized the setup and warmup period; namely, the first five minutes of a corps' 17 minute time slot can be used in whatever manner they choose, including setup or pre-show exposition. This was perhaps most famously done by Phantom Regiment in 2008's championship Spartacus show. Increasingly, shows have been using their warmup time to begin to set the stage for their judged 12 minutes of performance.

Hopkins takes the concept a bit further. His proposal wants to add one minute to the current 17 minute total time, allowing for three minutes of set-up and three minutes for the corps to, and I quote, "warm up, move, use any device they wish, taped music, legal or illegal instruments, etc" before the 12 minute judged performance begins.

Whoa. Slow down there, cowboy. That seems quite loosey-goosey, especially for an unjudged portion of the show (though he acknowledges that at this point the general effect judge could and would take this portion into account when scoring the entire performance). We're using anything here? No holds barred?  What about the corps that wants to set off fireworks? OK, he does make a "common sense" provision for things that could be a danger to corps members, but someone could make the argument and do this safely. Michael Boo of dci.org imagines a performance a la Petey Pablo in Drumline. It certainly is allowed in this proposal. You could tap into a stadium's jumbotron and show a video presentation. You could invite a 400 piece marching band on to blow people's faces off for three minutes. After all, what's to say those additional people aren't "any device they wish"?

But there's something more troubling in this proposal than this free-for-all. One of the things he goes out of his way to mention the use of is "illegal instruments". This, to me, reads like a potential gateway drug to non-brass/percussion instruments in DCI. After all, if you can bring your clarinet up to the six minute mark, how long will it be until it can come out beyond? It's not a road I'd like to travel down in drum corps.
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