Drum Corps International
Dreams and fantasies: From the dream of joining a corps to fantasy drum corps leagues

Dreams and fantasies: From the dream of joining a corps to fantasy drum corps leagues

by Michael Boo

This week, we take a glimpse at dreams and fantasies, the dream of marching in a corps and the fantasy of running one...the drum corps equivalent to a football fantasy league. Josh Mosley contributed the following: Dreams mean a lot to a lot of people. To the child that plays basketball and wants to be an NBA star and the kid running a lemonade stand who wants to be the next Trump, a dream can seem a long way away. Drum corps can be that far away dream for some people too. For the longest time I watched the bands at football games, but not really the game itself. Mom says, farther back than I can remember that I would get excited when the band went on the field. My school isn't the biggest school in the world, but there is just something about your band. It was a no-brainer when I had the opportunity to join the beginning band. I picked up a flute because I had always liked the sound flutes made. Years later, in the high school band, I somehow gained an unrelenting interest in drums. I would watch them and be in awe of what they set themselves on achieving. Listening to the section leader talk about how stick heights should be all the same made my head reel as I asked, "Is that possible?" I set out to find any way I could change sections in the marching band. It was my dream. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was given the chance and I took it. At the same time, though, I began to think, "Is college band as far as it goes?" Even then, drum corps was only a special interest group in my town, and that special group consisted of the section leaders. To everyone else, drum corps were just really big bands. The first corps I ever heard was Blue Devils. I was in shock at what I was hearing, especially from the snare drums. The precision was beyond anything I had ever heard and the first time I saw drill, I was sold. I knew this was what I wanted to do. This was now my dream. Five months after getting the audition packet I'd been working on, I can honestly say I've been chasing that dream. The band still treats drum corps as a special interest group, though now more people know a little more about it. Some people think you get paid for marching in a corps, and some are appalled when I tell them these people give up their whole summer to "march in a band." I know a corps is not a band, but you can't explain it to people that don't follow it. I've also learned that no matter how noble or ambitious your dream is, there are going to be people who support you, and there are going to be people who don't think you can do it. That's where dreams come back in. How strong is your dream? How bad do you want it? When it comes down to it, if your dream, your desire, is strong enough, you can withstand anything that will be thrown at you, even your own frustration and criticism. Chase your dream while your legs are still young. I've heard people who know of their missed opportunities, and it doesn't sound fun. So here's an invitation from one drum corps hopeful to the world: Auditions are open to all comers, and it's never too soon to start working, although it can get too late. Many of those interviewed say that the hardest part of joining a drum corps is working up the guts to audition. Fuel your dreams. Fuel them with your own desire. Fuel them with the doubt of others. Prove those who say you can't do it wrong. There is a place in the drum corps world for all of us if we just chase the dream. Who knows, you may even end up seeing me some summer!
Matt Galen contributed the following about the Drum Corps Planet fantasy drum corps league: One of the fastest-growing online trends is the world of fantasy sports leagues. From baseball to football to poker, there seems to be a fantasy league for just about everybody. And recently, drum corps fans have started to find fantasy opportunities as well with the emergence of online fantasy drum corps leagues. Steve Burstall of Detroit started one of those leagues, Drum Corps Planet-International. At first, Steve was content being a member of another fantasy corps league called FDCI. Then, two years ago, staff members of Drum Corps Planet asked Steve if he would be willing to create a fantasy league for their Web site. Steve agreed, and in the spring of 2004 the DCPI circuit was born. Now getting ready to enter its sixth season, DCPI has grown into one of the premiere online fantasy drum corps leagues under the guidance of Steve and co-director Jeff Hinton, who has provided technical data and score management for the league. Fantasy drum corps works much in the same way as fantasy football or baseball. Instead of picking a player for a certain position for your roster, fantasy directors have a list of drum corps rankings from past DCI seasons. Using those rankings, directors put together a "roster" of corps captions that matches the DCI judging sheets, (i.e. the Cadets in field percussion, Phantom Regiment in music brass, the Cavaliers in GE visual, Colts in color guard, etc.) as well as a tour schedule that lets them compete head-to-head against other directors. Then, using an archive of past scores as well as a series of statistical formulas, each competing corps gets a score for each contest. Just like DCI, the DCPI schedule has shows all over the country, including its own championship event that takes place this season in Seattle. Directors can enter multiple corps in all three divisions, and this past season, nearly 90 corps competed at the DCPI championships in Boston. There are two DCPI seasons per year; a "live" season that coincides with the DCI summer schedule, and a second "off-season" that typically runs during the winter and early spring. Individual members find numerous reasons to participate and staying active. For some, including this author, (who won the inaugural DCPI championship), it's the thrill of friendly competition. Others take advantage of programs like Finale, Sibelius and Pyware to write their own musical arrangements, drill and even create their own corps Web sites. Some directors, like Matthew Smith of Seattle, enjoy DCPI so much that they don't even let the real drum corps season stand in the way. Matthew toured with the Seattle Cascades in 2003 and 2004 and made arrangements for a friend to manage his corps while he was on tour. While each director's reasons for competing may vary, the chance to play "armchair director" and make their ideas for drum corps shows become a reality is a common desire for everybody. The 6th season of DCPI begins on June 16th. Participation is free, and aspiring directors can still register for the season. More information can also be found at Drum Corps Planet. Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
   
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.

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