Six proposed changes to Drum Corps International's rulebook will be up for discussion the first week of January during the annual DCI winter business meetings.

The DCI Rules Congress is a process that is directed primarily by the participating drum corps. During scheduled sessions January 6-7 in Indianapolis, drum corps instructors and designers will meet by caption in individual caucus sessions to discuss the proposals that have been vetted by DCI's Artistry and Competition Steering Committee (ACSC). 

Instructors from World Class member corps and the previous season's Open Class finalists will be polled to determine whether or not the proposal should be passed along to the full membership to debate, discuss and eventually vote on in the final round of the rules change process.

As part of the Rules Congress process, the ACSC, which is made up of corps-affiliated representatives from the instructional community and members of the judge leadership team, may also bring up any relevant procedural and administrative changes for 2023 which may also be discussed and considered in both individual instructor caucus sessions and by representatives of DCI's member organizations.

1. | Addition of “Brass Ensemble” Judge at Regionals and Championships; Removal of Additional “Music Analysis” Judge

Proposed by: Michael Martin (Carolina Crown)

Summary: This proposal would remove the second Music Analysis judge and add one "ensemble” judge who evaluates from the pressbox level at all major "regional" events (San Antonio, Atlanta, Allentown) and all three days of competition in Indianapolis for the DCI World Championships. This judge’s sole focus would be to evaluate the "holistic brass ensemble," from the same viewing perspective as the General Effect and Music Analysis judges. 

On the record: "Highlighting and evaluating, however subjectively, the differences in acoustic and amplified/enhanced sound for the purposes of volume is of particular concern to everyone. This would serve as a very specific avenue by which instructors and designers might have open and honest dialogue with the judging community about the quality and quantity of amplification practices as they pertain to the brass choir and would provide a standardized adjudicational and educational guardrail on our road to more sophisticated productions without imposing a hindrance on creativity.”

2. | Competition Times

Proposed by: Chris Komnick, David Lofy, Nick Monzi, Jason Robb (Madison Scouts)

Summary: This rule proposes all World and Open Class corps' competitive performances fall between 8 and 10 minutes in length with corps scheduled in 15-minute intervals.

Currently corps are typically scheduled in 17-minute intervals with the rulebook stating: "Each World Class corps shall be in competition with its complete competing personnel not less than 10 or more than 13 minutes. Each Open Class corps ... not less than 8-1/2 minutes nor more than 13 minutes."

On the record: “The purpose of this rule is to decrease the show length for all corps and thus, their subsequent preparation time, student’s physical exertion, and potential costs. As well, to decrease the overall time requirement of a DCI event and create better consistency of show planning that almost always includes a mix of World and Open Class units.”

3. | Change the Captions “General Effect 1” and “General Effect 2” to “General Effect Music” and “General Effect Visual”

Proposed by: Michael Martin (Carolina Crown)

Summary: This proposal would change the nomenclature of the General Effect judging captions from "General Effect 1" and "General Effect 2" to "General Effect Music" and "General Effect Visual."

On the record: “Our shows are indeed more organically both visually and musically inspired and designed, but that does not necessarily mean that they should be evaluated as organically. For the purposes of ranking and rating, the judges’ purviews should be more specific. In exhibition, or any other non-competitive sphere, less specific commentary and evaluation is not as necessary as it is in a competitive environment.”

4. | Pacing of Evaluation

Proposed by: Chris Komnick, David Lofy, Nick Monzi, Jason Robb (Madison Scouts)

Summary: This proposal would introduce a 10-day exhibition period at the beginning of the 2023 DCI Tour, providing performers an opportunity to transition into the competitive season with a series of non-scored performances. As proposed, all performances through July 6 would receive verbal feedback from adjudicators. No scores would be recorded, privately or publicly, for these performances. The recording and publication of scores would begin with events on July 7.

On the record: “Today’s average DCI performer spends just 1.2 years in the activity. As such, a greater percentage of our students are experiencing their first public performances during the first week(s) of the season. Hosting a set of non-scored shows provides these performers with an opportunity to stabilize their personal performances without the added pressure of public adjudication."

5. | Brass Amplification Parameters

Proposed by: Jason Robb, Chris Komnick (Madison Scouts), Jim Coates, Michael Klesch (Carolina Crown), Monte Mast, David Starnes (The Cavaliers)

Summary: This proposal stipulates that short-range personal microphones cannot be used for ensemble reinforcement of the horn line. Such microphones would only be used to amplify musical content that is "soloistic or soli-istic" in nature. This proposal would not place limits on the number of performers that may perform such content at one time or through the duration of that ensemble’s performance. Noted is that amplified solo content should not reinforce non-amplified ensemble content.

On the record: “This honest approach protects the level playing field that DCI has historically fostered and promoted, and it ensures that students leave our corps as musically-educated people who are able to rely on their own abilities to strive and accomplish and who value the act of doing so, understanding the value of true musical achievement modeled through the approach of those that instruct them and DCI as an organization.”

6. | Brass Pre-Recorded/Sampling Electronics Management

Proposed by: Jason Robb, Chris Komnick (Madison Scouts), Jim Coates, Michael Klesch (Carolina Crown)

Summary: This proposal would restrict the direct and simultaneous duplication of brass parts within a given corps' brass music by similar pre-recorded or synthetic electronic voices.

On the record: “Without the ability to increase the volume of the brass line via pre-recorded or synthetic sampling, this will preserve the integrity of the brass performance caption and the ensemble and effect captions — relying purely on the performance of the individual students to generate impact and effect through brass performance.”

Read the proposals in their entirety