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DCI's John DeNovi leads a discussion with SoundSport directors Friday in Atlanta.
Courtesy: Drum Corps International

SoundSport educational track makes debut at DCI Annual Meeting

By: Chris Weber
          Release: 01/28/2017
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For the first time at the DCI annual winter business meetings, SoundSport team directors were in attendance for their own exclusive development sessions.

“As interest in SoundSport continues to explode around the world, we’re thrilled to be provided with the opportunity to develop this new track at the DCI Annual Meeting,” said DCI Director of Global Business Development, John DeNovi. “This weekend has provided us with the occasion to bring together teams from the USA and the United Kingdom for an historic next step in the evolution of the SoundSport program.”

Hosted at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, attendees kicked off sessions the evening of Friday, January 27 with a welcome by Drum Corps International’s John DeNovi, along with Sr. Director of Marketing Bob Jacobs and SoundSport and DrumLine Battle Events and Promotions Manager Eric Hjellming.

Workshops included interactive discussions on opportunities for “non-traditional” performing ensembles and venues, and best practices for charting a course for growth and success.

In-depth discussions on Friday night also featured personal conversations with DCI Judge Administrator John Phillips and DCI Creative Director Michael Cesario. Dialogue was centered around the process of selecting appropriate programs for different types of ensembles, with other sessions focusing on an inside look at the SoundSport evaluation system, and program design essentials intended to help participants “max out” their performances.

Saturday brought additional opportunities for development and sharing of best practices, while SoundSport team directors joined with their World Class and Open Class directorial counterparts for a number of general sessions on a packed agenda of business topics of interest to the collective.

SoundSport teams represented this weekend included Columbus Saints (Columbus, Ohio), Cutting Edge Corps (Fort Worth, Texas), Impact (Orlando, Florida), LakeShoreman (Brownstown, Michigan), Rocketeers (Huntsville, Alabama), and Appalachian Sound (Atlanta, Georgia). Also joining the SoundSport sessions were representatives from All-Age drum corps including Alliance, Southern Knights and Atlanta CV, and International Class corps The Company, who came all the way from the United Kingdom in preparation for their inaugural tour to the U.S. this coming summer.  

With SoundSport teams in various stages of development, attendees came to the meeting to experience the atmosphere and soak in information on a variety of topics, experiencing many different takeaways.

“Attending these meetings this weekend gives us the opportunity to find out more about what’s going on not just with SoundSport, but with all of DCI,” said Bill Gullatt of the Rocketeers. “We learned we have the same struggles other groups have, including building a fan base, dealing with financial concerns, and recruiting new members.”

SoundSport teams consist of five or more members of any age and any instrumentation. Competing groups perform five- to seven-minute productions on a 30- by 20-yard performance stage. In competitive divisions, a three-member panel adjudicates and ranks the teams, providing them with helpful recorded commentary as part of the process.

Featuring an expanded schedule of competitive and non-competitive U.S.-based performance showcases during the summer of 2017, SoundSport teams will have the opportunity to perform in conjunction with DCI Tour events in Orlando, San Antonio, the Atlanta area, and the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival in downtown Indianapolis during the DCI World Championship Finals in August, among others.

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