Twenty-three weeks since the cancellation of the 2020 Drum Corps International Tour due to circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic, DCI and its participating organizations are remaining steadfast in their desire to bring Marching Music’s Major League™ back to the field in 2021.

“During this unprecedented time, our hearts go out to those who have experienced a loss or who have been suffering physically, emotionally or economically due to the pandemic,” said DCI CEO Dan Acheson. “We are continually grateful for the countless heroes in the healthcare field along with other frontline essential workers. Especially on our minds this week are those who are teaching and headed back into classrooms across the nation.”

Since the cancellation of the 2020 DCI Tour in the spring, DCI leadership and the participating organizations have been in constant communication, meeting weekly to discuss, plan, and work through a myriad of challenges caused by the pandemic that are often compounding and changing on a daily basis. Since early in the onset of the pandemic, DCI corps directors have split into subcommittees to strategize and plan for a number of different scenarios on topics ranging from health and wellness, to corps housing, to required changes to longstanding logistical procedures.

“With guidance from the medical professionals who share their experience, skills and talents in the Marching Music Health, Wellness & Safety Project, we’re continuing to monitor the progress of the virus, the treatments, testing and how other like organizations around the world are reacting to performing and gathering,” said Colts director Vicki MacFarlane who serves as chair of DCI’s MarchOn! Task Force. “It’s apparent there are significant issues that will have to be tackled in order for DCI to stage events in 2021 with a focus on the safety and wellness of all of our participants, staff, volunteers and spectators.”

What does that mean for the Drum Corps International Tour in 2021?

Acheson says that while he is gaining optimism that we will see the return of marching music in some form in 2021, right now it’s a waiting game to see how things develop as each participating corps has to follow its own set of guidelines on the state and local levels, as they look ahead to ramping up to resume operations as best suits their respective situations.

“We’ve been working through various scenarios, the most obvious being necessary safety protocols, but we also want to create a meaningful experience for all who want to participate,” said Pacific Crest’s Stuart Pompel who serves as chair of the DCI membership. “There are many hurdles to overcome, and we understand that the drum corps experience will likely be different for both the performers and the fans for the near future. I have no doubt, however, that with our amazing creative teams, outstanding teachers and incredible organizations, whatever we see on the DCI stage will uplift us all.”

While the uncertainty of what lies ahead for the 2021 DCI season will likely be present for some time, Acheson anticipates that many corps will begin announcing educational winter programs in the coming weeks that are focused on music and leadership while keeping an eye on what might be in store for the 2021 DCI Tour.

Acheson added that he is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from the marching music community as seen by DCI and its participating organizations in ongoing fundraising efforts.

“Together with our fans, partners and donors, we are reaffirmed in our unwavering belief that the drum corps experience is important to our society,” he said. “We pledge our unconditional commitment to pour in the effort necessary to see the activity through in the coming year and to DCI’s 50th anniversary in 2022 and beyond.”