DCI held its annual fall meeting from September 23 through September 25 at the Westin Hotel in Rosemont, Ill. Highlights of the meeting included a review of the highly successful, recently completed competitive season, and the ratification of the Lacrosse, Wis., Blue Stars as a touring Division I corps after a 23-year absence from the ranks of Division I. In addition to a meeting of the full Board of Directors of Drum Corps International, the Division II and III Directors and their Advisory Board met to review the 2005 season as well. "The fall board meeting is a great time for us to review the past season and finalize the next years' budget and schedule, "said Jeff Fiedler, chairman of the board of DCI and executive director of the Cavaliers. "We also use this meeting to review the "state of DCI" and talk about longer-range issues." Executive director Dan Acheson presented a summary of the 2005 season, highlights of which included: *Distributions to the corps of more than $2,500,000
*Record attendance at the Murfreesboro, Indianapolis and San Antonio events
*Record attendance for the Regal Cinema quarterfinals Cinecast event
*Over 17,500 paid attendance for the spring "Classic Countdown" event at Regal Cinemas
*A .49 audience rating for DCI on ESPN2
*Successful launch of the "Season Pass" program Acheson also reviewed details of the maiden "DCI on ESPN2" broadcast, indicating that a preliminary evaluation of the program's ratings warrants a strong interest in again returning the program to the airwaves of ESPN2 in the year ahead. "Our challenge for the 2006 program will be to create new sponsors that may not be directly related to our industry," said Acheson. "We expect to leverage the verified television ratings and demographics for this year's program to help attract these new sponsors." A detailed discussion on rising fuel costs was spearheaded by at-large director Chuck McCurdy. To address this situation, DCI anticipates offering a "Fuel Price Insurance" policy to the member corps. Details of the program will be available prior to the next board meeting in January. During the Saturday board of directors meeting, Division I touring status was awarded to the Blue Stars from La Crosse, Wis. The Blue Stars were one of the founding members of DCI in 1972. The corps dropped from the ranks of Division I in 1982 and has been a steady participant at both the Division II and Division III competitive levels since that time. Three years ago, the corps petitioned for re-admittance as a Division I corps, with their final evaluation occurring during the 2005 season. In other business matters, the Board of Directors renewed the Division I competitive status of Pacific Crest of Diamond Bar, Calif., and Esperanza of San Diego, Calif. Pursuant to the DCI By-laws, the board of directors voted unanimously to terminate the membership of the Troopers from Casper, Wyo., due to internal and external compliance issues, spanning several years. Division II and III summary The Division II and III directors also discussed a considerable amount of business during the weekend's meetings, outlining a revamped championships week format and recognizing outstanding corps and directors from the 2005 season. The 2006 Division II and III World Championships will feature multiple performance opportunities for member corps, with a preliminary round of competition taking place for all of the participating units on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at Camp Randall Stadium on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. On Thursday, Aug.10, the top nine advancing Division III units from Tuesday's prelims will compete at Camp Randall in the Division III semifinals contest, prior to the start of Division I quarterfinals. On Friday, Aug. 11, the top nine advancing Division II units from Tuesday's prelims will also compete at Camp Randall, in the Division II semifinals contest, prior to the start of Division I semifinals. The Division II and III World Championships will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12, featuring the top three corps from both of the semifinals contests, plus the next six highest scoring semifinalists, spanning both divisions and both days of competition. Starting times and additional information on these shows and the complete 2006 Division II and III tour will be made available as final arrangements are solidified. Tom Maiello, director of the Raiders of Wayne, N.J., was recognized by fellow directors as "Outstanding Director of the Year" in Division III. The Raiders were also honored with "Most Improved Division III Corps" recognition. Tom Chopelas, director of the Malden, Mass.,-based East Coast Jazz was voted "Outstanding Director of the Year," in Division II, with "Most Improved Division II Corps" honors going to Teal Sound of Jacksonville, Fla. Chopelas was also elected to fill a vacant two-year post on the Division II and III Advisory Committee.