Innovation and Evolution in Modern Drum Corps(Part THREE)

Innovation and Evolution in Modern Drum Corps
(Part THREE)

In Part ONE, we covered brass.

In Part TWO, we covered electronics.

Next, we look at the evolution of Repertoire:

Part THREE – Repertoire

Back in the day, drum corps played complete songs. Remember that? It was common for a corps to play a march or martial-type song ‘off the line’, a Spanish Jazz piece for concert, and a ballad for their ‘exit’ with a production number in a completely different idiom. Back then, it did not matter if those songs were related in any way. This meant you could get a variety of musical styles in a single corps’ performance. With a few exceptions, programs did not have a ‘common thread’ or theme. Take, for example, the Madison Scouts 1975 Championship program: ‘Slaughter on 10th Avenue’ (Broadway show tune), ‘MacArthur Park ‘(pop), ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (classical with jazz influence), ‘Dueling Banjos’ (bluegrass), and ‘The Way We Were’ (ballad). This type of mixed idiom program was the standard up through the mid 1980s.
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Innovation and Evolution in Modern Drum Corps (Part ONE)

Innovation and Evolution in Modern Drum Corps (Part ONE)

Drum corps enthusiasts who have followed the competitive activity for decades have witnessed a significant evolution. Gone are the days of the ’starting line,’ playing ‘concert’ at a standstill, inspections (ended in the early ’70s), color presentations, the ‘tick’ system (early ’80s), and uniforms that appear, well…….uniform. What corps play, how they look, and what is allowed on the field is dramatically different now than in DCI’s inaugural season. Changes that have transpired over the past two decades have been especially significant, as the visual and musical landscapes of the activity have morphed away from their traditional roots.

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‘Hits and Misses’ in Show Design

‘Hits and Misses’ in Show Design

Top DCI competitors these days regularly leverage their wealth of resources to put out excellent shows. Over the last 10 years, six corps: Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Carolina Crown, Bluecoats, Cadets, and Cavaliers have been at or near the top of the rankings, with Boston making a dramatic surge of late. They all have strong organizations and are teeming with talent in their design teams, instructional staffs, and performers. And, most of the time, the shows they put on the field ‘hit a home run’. There are also instances where, despite all that talent, there have been ‘swings and misses’. (more…)