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Friday, May 21, 2010

Suggestion or Secession?

I was thinking not too long ago about how it's about that time of year when my sports/activity calendar starts to segue from college lacrosse to drum corps. And as if the ousting of UMBC from any tournament hopes a couple weeks back didn't already do it for me, recent developments launched DCI into the forefront.

Apparently an "ad hoc committee" (or "rogue element," depending on whom you ask) made up of representation from Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, The Cavaliers, Bluecoats, Carolina Crown, and The Cadets have been meeting--possibly in back rooms--to craft their vision for the future of the activity. What followed is a 60-page manifesto, and while I don't know if that will ever see the light of day, a peek into their thoughts can be found here. Basically, the proposal calls for new "super events," designed to be fan-friendly and feature the seven corps mentioned, who clearly, via this process, are denoting themselves as the premier corps. It also calls for two of these top corps to be guaranteed to make a west coast appearance with BD and Vanguard. In turn, DCI's executive director has responded here.

What remains unclear is if this is merely a suggestion, or seeds for secession. Are these corps saying "we have an idea..." or "adopt this model or else..."? While the press release describes this as something that will be good for all of the corps, it's hard to see at face value how this isn't primarily self-serving.

The language of the release is both troubling and exciting to me. On the one hand, the fact that The Cadets are among the undersigned and the proposal "...suggest[s] a plan to better marry drum corps to scholastic music..." makes me fear that it is an insidious plot to turn drum corps in to high school band, complete with electronics and woodwinds. On the flip side, the events that they propose, including pre-and post-event activities and fan involvement in voting, sound like they could be amazing for the fans and for the activity. But at what point does "the activity" become merely those seven corps?

The potential of realignment in major college football has kept them in the forefront during the offseason. Such a development in DCI may very well do the same for drum corps.
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