Thirty Division II & III corps directors met at DCI headquarters in Addison, Ill., this past weekend to address many issues pertaining to both the future and recent past of the drum corps activity. The proceedings "went very well," according to DCI executive director Dan Acheson. "It was another very productive meeting," said Jersey Surf director Bob Jacobs (who is also vice chairman of the Division II & III advisory committee). "The directors were brought up to speed on a variety of topics, including the 2004 tour, championship week planning, and various administrative, financial and budgetary issues." John Rodriguez, director of the Revolution and a Division II & III advisory board member, said, "It's come such a long way in the last four years. The minds in that room are tackling deeper issues that we've never been able to tackle before." The group debated the current Division II & III finals format, in which finals are scheduled on the Saturday morning of finals week, preceding Division I finals, which happen on Saturday evening. Although this format will remain the same in 2004, the group will evaluate and discuss the 2005 format in future meetings. Division II & III judge liaison John Turner and Tim Bartholomew, representative to the Division II & III advisory board for judging, moderated an informative, detailed discussion about judging and rules. The Division II and III directors are also examining systems which could realign the current divisional structure based on achievement and other factors, rather than on membership size alone, according to Jacobs. "This is a concept that has been studied and discussed for several years, and one which I'm sure will continue to be examined in order to best serve the needs of the wide range of corps in Division II & III," Jacobs said. These systems proposals elicited a "spirited" discussion, according to Acheson. "A great exchange occurred there," Acheson said of the debate. Jacobs elaborated on the proposals. "Our primary goals in looking at this again are to not only reward excellence in the most competitive groups, but to also provide a more thoroughly developed "blueprint for success" to all participating units. As the corps get better at what they do both on and off the field, we realize that it's in our best interest to make sure that we do a better job of providing a method for achieving and sustaining growth as a collective," Jacobs said. "My hope is that at some point soon, more and more corps will realize that looking beyond their own organizations and looking at the collective whole will serve to the betterment of the entire activity," said Rodriguez, who was responsible for compiling the most recent set of realignment proposals. "It's exciting to see that most of the corps in the room are not merely worried about "winning a contest," but are passionately involved in growing the Division II & III program for the future... and in turn, increasing our audience and improving the quality of the entire experience for the members of our corps," Jacobs said. The Division II & III advisory committee will refine these realignment positions further before submitting them to all of the Division II & III directors for their review and potential ratification at their meeting in January.