With more than 35 in attendance in a crowded Philadelphia meeting room, the upstart Drum Corps North America (DCNA) organization took its first steps toward the creation of a new entity focused on community-based drum corps activities during a four-hour gathering on Saturday, Nov. 13. The event took place only several months after starting as an idea shared by a few drum corps fans on Facebook. It attracted attendees representing a number of prospective, existing and former drum corps organizations from the junior, senior and alumni ranks spread across eight states.

A break in the action: Some of the attendees at the inaugural gathering of the new DCNA organization in Philly
on Sat., Nov. 13. More than 35 were in attendance, representing groups from eight states.
The session featured presentations from guest speakers and invigorating discussion about the potential rebirth of grassroots drum corps activity throughout the United States and Canada. "We are very encouraged by the turnout at this meeting, and we're looking forward to working to create opportunities for a resurgence in community-based drum corps activities," said Craig Coldren of San Antonio, Texas, a former member of the Sky Ryders drum corps of Hutchinson, Kan. and one of DCNA's founders. "It's great to see that what was a small idea and little more than a Facebook page a few months ago is already producing tangible results," said Roger Exposito, director of the StarCross Drum Corps of Allentown, Pa. "We know we have a long road ahead of us, but I'm proud to be a part of an effort which brings people together to create opportunities rather than complain about the status quo." The meeting featured presentations by Bob Jacobs, executive director of the neighboring Jersey Surf of Camden County, N.J. and the director of marketing for Drum Corps International; and well-known drum corps personality Carl Ruocco, a former DCI World Class corps director with a long resume of varied drum corps experience. Ruocco currently serves on the administration of the reigning Drum Corps Associates Champion, the Reading (Pa.) Buccaneers. Jacobs' presentation, titled, "Removing Barriers and Creating Success," focused on overcoming the challenges and maximizing opportunities for community-based organizations; offering unique perspectives and food for thought on creating "areas of opportunity" and potential growth for the fledgling units. "When we started the Jersey Surf program in 1989, we were in hindsight pretty naive about what we were getting ourselves into," said Jacobs. "My goal today was to offer a helping hand to the young and prospective organizations, by cutting down the learning curve and sharing some of the lessons we've learned along the way. There are some great opportunities on the horizon already, and some obviously passionate people getting involved. I think it's a great thing for the drum corps activity to harness some of this positive energy." Similar themes were echoed in Ruocco's keynote presentation, "Turning Vision into Action." During the session, Ruocco spoke of the importance of paying attention to the details during the building phases of bringing an organization to fruition. "When establishing a new organization, your priority is to give young people a quality experience from day one," Ruocco said. "It's important to remember, however, that you're running a business that is filled with tremendous responsibilities. You cannot take this lightly." Several of those in attendance have volunteered to serve on a steering committee which will be impaneled during the coming weeks to determine organizational priorities, organize and create a legal entity, and begin work in support of start-up drum corps seeking to affiliate themselves with similar groups from throughout North America. Stay up to date on the latest from DCNA on the organization's Facebook page. Photo courtesy Bob Fields, Drum Corps World.