Drum Corps International
9 proposals on the table for 2018 DCI Rules Congress
Photo by: Drum Corps International

9 proposals on the table for 2018 DCI Rules Congress

by Drum Corps International

Nine proposed changes to Drum Corps International's rulebook will be up for discussion in January during the annual DCI winter business meetings.

A biennial event, the DCI Rules Congress is a process that is directed primarily by the participating drum corps. During scheduled sessions January 5-6 in Indianapolis, drum corps instructors will meet by caption in individual caucus sessions to discuss the proposals.

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.

In addition to the formalized rules process, a number of proposed procedural and administrative changes brought forth by Drum Corps International's Rules and Systems Task Force may also be discussed and considered in both individual instructor caucus sessions and by representatives of DCI's member organizations.

2018 rules proposals at-a-glance

Proposal: Increase maximum membership to 154

Proposed by: Brad Furlano, Blue Stars

Summary: Currently set at 150, this four-member increase is proposed as a way to give corps more flexibility to set the number of performers in each section as they see fit.

On the record: “Designers and caption heads [would] no longer have to lobby for the desired numbers for each section. Corps would be able to have 80 brass and 40 guard without having to sacrifice a standard sized percussion section or conductors.”


Proposal: Extend World Championship Finals to 15 corps

Proposed by: Michael Cesario, outgoing DCI Artistic Director

Summary: Since Drum Corps International’s founding in 1972, the top-12 scoring corps have advanced to the World Championship Finals. This proposal looks to extend that lineup to the top-15 advancing corps from the DCI World Championship Semifinals. This proposal is designated as a procedural change. As such, it may not be “voted on” by the instructors caucus, but it will still be discussed amongst that group and their feedback will be shared with the directors who will ultimately consider and vote on the proposal.

On the record: “To allow recognition of the level of achievement in all corps, especially those currently in the 11-15 positions. To give added status to corps for use in local fundraising and general recruitment.”


Proposal: No scoring before July 1

Proposed by: Will Pitts, Phantom Regiment

Summary: For all contests before July 1, no scores will be given. Corps will be "adjudicated" with recorded commentary and critiques, but no scores will be assigned or announced.

On the record: “There are numerous moments in the summer where designers and teachers are encouraged to make adjustments to the show to create better clarity/definition. If these comments can be made during a no-scoring period, corps are able to make adjustments before their performances have competitive implications.”


Proposal: No scores – ordinals only

Proposed by: George Hopkins, The Cadets

Summary: Instead of scores, this proposal calls for corps to simply be ranked by ordinals (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). The order of finish will be determined based on ordinals, with General Effect judges as the exception. The effect judges will still assign scores, however, those scores will only be used for tie-breaking situations.

On the record: “This eliminates the ability, more or less, for someone to spread big or someone to make no decisions. All decisions are equal. Now, if someone wants to put someone in fifth in brass … OK … that is a substantial decision and that decision will weigh into the total.”


Proposal: Annual Rules Congress

Proposed by: Kevin Shah, Blue Knights

Summary: Changed to a biennial process in recent years, this proposal calls for instructors and judges to come together on a yearly basis to discuss rules changes as part of Drum Corps International’s annual winter business meetings. The proposal specifies that even-numbered years would be open to rules change proposals from the corps, while in odd-numbered years the Rules and System Task Force will be able to submit rules changes to allow for adjustments, amendments and clarifications.

On the record: “We should allow our system to evolve at the rate of the activity. If there is a proposal that is passed but needs adjustment, currently we need to wait two years before addressing it.”


Proposal: Brass amplification limitations

Proposed by: Michael Martin, The Cavaliers

Summary: Currently with no limits, corps are free to mic brass musicians as they wish, either individually or as a whole. This proposal calls for a limit on the number of brass musicians who can be amplified at any one time to be set at six.

On the record: “This rule change would still allow for amplification of soloists and small groups (enough to represent every instrument and two more), but would prohibit groups from being able to amplify entire brass lines, which dilutes one of the great identifiers for each brass section.”


Proposal: Add a “Brass 2” judge at large shows

Proposed by: Michael Martin, The Cavaliers

Summary: The brass caption is currently judged by a single on-field judge at DCI Tour events. This proposal calls for an additional brass judge to evaluate corps from an “upstairs” press box position at large regional events and the DCI World Championships.

On the record: “A single brass judge cannot accurately assess all of the strengths and weaknesses of a brass section in a single performance, particularly overall sonority, balance within the brass section, and ensemble.”


Proposal: Percussion adjudication and music analysis

Proposed by: Kevin Shah, Blue Knights

Summary: This proposal packs two pieces into one. The first: Remove the Field Percussion and Ensemble Percussion judges and replace them with a percussion judge who will evaluate performances on the field. The second: Utilize a Music Analysis 2 judge at large regional events and the DCI World Championships who has a percussion focus.

On the record: “After much discussion in the percussion community, there is a growing consensus that these evolutions will lead us to a more desirable system for all. We should, through policy or education, instruct the Percussion Judge to stay safely out of the way of the performers yet position themselves in an advantageous way to experience the percussion performance.”


Proposal: Update the music analysis adjudication sheet

Proposed by: Kevin Shah, Blue Knights

Summary: This proposal calls for the Rules and Systems Task Force to update the criteria used by adjudicators to evaluate Music Analysis based on discussion and feedback from the music caucus at the upcoming DCI Rules Congress.

On the record: “As trends continue to evolve, we should review the music ensemble sheet for potential updates. Include updated verbiage to account for specific feedback as it relates to electronics/amplification/percussion/brass.”

Read the proposals in their entirety