Dave Monesmith and Dick Turner are marching band judges from the Midwest who not only enjoy Drum Corps International shows, but learn from them as well. Turner, from Cincinnati, is the assistant director for the Central States Judges Association (CSJA), an organization that judges marching band contests in 22 states. Monesmith, from Indianapolis, is CSJA's executive director. Both regularly judge band contests in several states.
One has to wonder if it's difficult for a marching band judge to just sit and enjoy a drum corps performance without watching it with a critical eye. "It is a challenge, but we come to shows for the enjoyment of the performance level," said Turner. "We always tend to get too analytical with what's happening, whether we're watching a high school marching band or a drum corps." But even then, according to Monesmith and Turner, that analytic nature pays dividends in what they do as judges for marching bands. "What the corps do keeps us current with what's happening. We can more intelligently talk with the bands and understand better what they are trying to attempt," added Monesmith. "Obviously the drum corps are the professionals in the world of the marching arts, whereas the marching bands are trying to emulate the drum corps. From watching drum corps, we get the reference point on which to help the high schools get better." Naturally, it's hard not to compare the corps, but Turner also finds that the performance level of drum corps members gives him a reference point for evaluating other high school groups. "[Watching drum corps] helps us become better marching band judges, putting things in perspective as to where the bands are competitively, professionally and where they are in terms of quality," Turner said. "Drum corps are the epitome of marching music pageantry."
Dick Turner (L) and Dave Monesmith