DCI: Beyond Imagination

Drum Corps International (DCI) is at its highest level of popularity, spreading all over the world, reaching movie theaters all over the nation, and earning slots on ESPN. Drum Corps may not be trending on every newsfeed on Facebook like the recent Kim Kardashian “Breaking the Internet”, but within the performing arts and music industries a lot of people are familiar with DCI and there is no sign of it stopping there.

DCI’s popularity has expanded tremendously since the first drum & bugle corps were founded. The shows that are created now are much different from the past. Nowadays there are corps keeping up with technology by using modern audio technology and microphones to take their sound to a new level or sound. I’m a fan of DCI and have watched shows from DCI’s history. Personally, I have seen the modifications and can see the sport reaching heights that were never imagined.

Every year DCI is growing and expanding whether it be through advertising at high school marching band competitions or by airing DCI Finals on the big screen in movie theaters around the country.DCI Cinema

US Bands, run by the company “yea!”, holds a series of competitions for high school marching bands. “Yea!” also owns the drum and bugle corps, The Cadets. “Yea!” has a tent for The Cadets at some of the shows to reach out to local students that are in the age range to march in the corp.  The Cadets aren’t the only corp using this strategy of admission. DCI is the NFL of marching band (luckily with the exception of woodwinds). Every year the number of high school marching band shows that use DCI moves, ideas, etc. to take their show to a new caliber of professionalism and expertise increases.

DCI’s website posted an article explaining the logistics of the trip held for drum corps in foreign lands. “Carolina Crown Executive Director Jim Coates says that the idea for this trip to Japan is one that’s been in the works since all the way back in December of 2012. That’s when the corps started discussions with its corporate partner Yamaha about working on additional performance opportunities for the corps outside of the summertime Drum Corps International Tour.” Drum Corp is clearly on the rise overseas if there is a demand for people to watch drum corps in their country. Drum Corps have also been asked by Disney to perform in parades like their annual Christmas Parade. DCI is heard halfway around the world and it is in high demand.

Medium is the Message by Marshall McLuhan states an interesting point which ties to the potential future of DCI.  “Note that it is not the content or use of the innovation, but the change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it.  Thus, the message of theatrical production is not the musical or the play being produced, but perhaps the change in tourism that the production may encourage.  In the case of a specific theatrical production, its message may be a change in attitude or action on the part of the audience that results from the medium of the play itself, which is quite distinct from the medium of theatrical production in general.”

Similar to many viral videos uploaded to YouTube, members of corps started recording themselves marching their show thanks to the technological advancement of the GoPro camera. The GoPro camera is commonly attached to their head or chest so they can perform their show without a worry of holding the camera or worry about the camera negatively altering their show. This trend has trickled down to high school marching bands. It’s interesting for the audience to see what the member’s point of view is and its especially nice for people who haven’t experienced marching in a show.  This is an excellent example of technology affecting pop culture.

            For those who aren’t familiar with a DCI show, here’s a taste of the sport with a video of my favorite show from this past season. The Bluecoats from Canton, Ohio won second place.

DCI has everything from challenging physical demands to an emotional roller coaster that will take you on the most beautiful journey empowered by the richness and warmth of brass and the shot of adrenaline which intensifies through driving rhythms of the battery.  In my opinion, it is the ultimate sport that can only be done by a high level of smart, talented, and athletic individuals.  It is the ultimate test a person can put themselves through to see what they are made of.  DCI is headed in a direction beyond imagination.

I marched with this corp in 2011.  So far, it’s been the best decision of my life.

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One thought on “DCI: Beyond Imagination

  1. I think it’s so awesome you chose to write about such an underrated topic like Drum Corps. Drum Corps has definitely come a long way in the past ten years. Some of the worlds most talented musician take place in march and competing in this organization. I think this art sport definitely has the potential to take take center stage in the future as a new form of entertainment for the masses. Although it may not reach the popularity of most professional sports, it definitely has the potential to become a much bigger thing than it already is.

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