Finally, we no longer have to rely on show announcements, uniform reveals and scouring YouTube for sneak peeks of each corps to satisfy our appetite for drum corps. In just a few short hours, props will begin to adorn the field, performers will stage their opening set and before you know it the familiar “Drum Corps International proudly presents…” will ring out across the stadium.
What should we be looking for this upcoming season? Here are a few questions I will be looking to answer:
Now taking the… stage?
Whether the buzzards, who circle the activity looking for something to complain about, like it or not drum corps has been following the lead of WGI and evolving more and more to a stage production. There is a lot of crossover between the designers working in drum corps and those working in the theater (beyond Blast!) or some other sort of stage work. Will we see that trend continue? Will corps continue to limit the amount of space they utilize on the field? I would argue some really need to. We will see what develops.
How does Santa Clara respond to the success of Babylon?
Vanguard has found a formula that really works for them. They started constructing that formula in 2017 and perfected it in their championship run last season with Babylon. So where do they go from here? Will Vanguard employ the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” to Vox Eversio or will we see them continue to innovate and evolve the activity the way they did with Babylon? They asked a lot of each individual last season. My guess is, they will use the same formula but this might be a more for physically demanding show than anything we have seen before.
With the exception of the Blue Devils and the Cavaliers, no corps has consistently defended their championship from the previous season. Will Santa Clara be the next?
What will be the impact of restricting field judges to the sidelines?
Earlier this year, DCI announced some “competitive policy changes” for the upcoming season. These policy changes, including restricting the field judges to the sidelines, are part of the organization’s commitment to participant (and judges) safety.
1) Will corps be more strategic in placement or change how they design (particularly with the pit or battery) because of the new rule? I think we may also be an indicator of how confident a corps is with their percussion.
2) There are likely going to be some growing pains with this change. With that said, will there be any noticeable impact on how judges score or the scores themselves? This will be difficult to measure, but I can assure you, the corps will keep a very close eye on that and likely making some significant adjustments as the season progresses.