Drum Corps International

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Drum Corps International (DCI), formed in 1972, is the non-profit governing body operating the North American drum and bugle corps circuit for junior corps, whose members are between the ages of 14 and 21. It is the counterpart of Drum Corps Associates (DCA) which governs senior or all-age drum corps. DCI consists of only a small full-time executive and administrative staff in Indianapolis, Indiana.[1] Policy is created, carried out, and enforced by the Board of Directors, which is primarily composed of the executive directors of its member corps. The board meets several times a year to discuss the issues facing the activity, as well as what the possibilities are for further developing the corps for the following season.

The primary purpose of a DCI corps is "to provide a life changing experience for youth through the art of marching music performance." Their competitive summer tour, consisting of DCI-sanctioned competitions (known as the Summer Music Games) throughout the United States and Canada, culminate in August with the week-long DCI World Championships. Many other drum corps associations around the world are based upon DCI. It continues a tradition of exceptionally high-quality drum corps, with membership in the top corps highly sought after and extremely competitive, attracting the interest of potential members from many countries.

Contents

Structure

DCI splits corps into 3 classes. Corps from all classes often compete together at smaller shows, but are still judged and ranked separately.

  • World Class (formerly Division I) corps are the elite corps in the activity, with more than enough applicants to fill out their 150-member maximum. The top 12 corps as determined from the previous season are given voting rights to help govern the DCI circuit, as well as increased performance purses and preferential touring schedules. Corps gain World Class status at the discretion of the DCI Board of Directors, based on its opinion of a corps' financial and competitive readiness. There are approximately 23 active corps in this class.
  • Open Class (formerly Division II/III) corps are generally smaller and easier for applicants to attain membership. Some Open Class corps are more competitive than others, but there are almost always spots available for those willing to commit and able to learn. The class was established by combining Division II (corps with 71 to 135 members) and Division III (corps with 30 to 79 members). On September 22, 2007, DCI approved combining the two divisions into the new "Open Class" division.[2][3]
  • International Class is a new class for corps based outside North America that wish to tour in DCI's circuit. Corps in this class are allowed to follow their own country’s organizational guidelines. However, if they choose to follow DCI Open Class rules they have the option of competing in that class.[4]

Historic Classes and Divisions

1972-1974 1975-1982 1983-1984 1985-1991 1992-2007 2008–Present
Open Class Open Class Open Class Open Class Division I World Class
Class A Class A Class A Division II Open Class
All-Girl Class A-60 Division III

Season

The DCI circuit is extremely competitive. The rehearsal schedules are significantly more intense than those in other drum corps circuits. Beginning in late fall or early winter, corps hold weekend rehearsal camps once a month. The first two or three camps are primarily to audition members, though the audition process is not necessarily formal. At the end of the college school year in May, camps cease and members of full-time corps report for move-in, that is, move to the locality where the corps rehearses. Corps then spend 12- to 16-hour days refining the music and movement of their show, as there is little time remaining before the beginning of the competitive season in June.

For members of all World Class corps and the most-competitive Open Class corps, the activity is a full-time summer commitment. Members are on the road performing in competitions and parades across North America virtually non-stop until the DCI Championship week in mid-August. Corps travel by coach buses in convoy with tractor trailers holding equipment and field kitchens. Once on the road, members generally sleep on the buses as the corps travels at night, and in sleeping bags on school gym floors once the next destination is reached. They practice their show for as long as schedule allows during the day, and then load up for the evening competition nearby. After the show is over, the cycle repeats. The few breaks in the cycle are laundry days, and free days.

Some smaller Open Class corps do not have the finances or member commitment to tour the entire summer. Such corps are called weekend-only corps. In late April or early May, they typically increase the frequency of camps from monthly to bi-weekly or weekly. A few weeks before DCI Championships, members will typically move-in for an abbreviated tour. However, some corps—especially feeder corps associated with a World Class organization or relatively new corps—will not travel to championships at far away locations, only attending local competitions due to financial constraints.

Before the reformation of World Class and Open Class in 2008, the divisions were Division I, Division II, and Division III.

DCI Championships

The DCI Championships, first contested and won by the Anaheim Kingsmen in 1972, are the epitome of the drum corps activity in North America. They are typically held the first or second week of August. Championships have been held at a variable location each year, but beginning in 2009, they will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis until at least 2018, as part of a 10 year contract negotiated between Lucas Oil Stadium and DCI. [5] The Championships last for the better part of a week. Division I quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals are held at a professional or large college football stadium. The DCI World Championships, which had previously aired on PBS since 1975,[6] began broadcasting on ESPN2 in 2005.[7] However, the 2008-2011 Finals were not nationally televised.[8] In 2004, DCI started screening the quarterfinals live to select movie theaters across the United States.[9]

During championships week, there is also an Individual & Ensemble (I&E) competition, which is typically held at a nearby indoor facility such as a convention center. Members of all attending corps are welcome to compete, but it is optional. Participating members often use what little free time they have throughout the season readying their I&E routine. There are categories, called captions, for every individual brass and percussion instrument, individual auxiliary members, brass ensembles, percussion ensembles, auxiliary ensembles, and mixed ensembles. In the 2005 season, I&E included woodwind instruments for the first time. The first woodwinds at I&E were two saxophonists from The Cavaliers, a flautist from Pioneer, and an oboist from the Oregon Crusaders.

References

External links

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