Drum Corps International
Drum corps terminology

Drum corps terminology

by Drum Corps International

I am taking a course alongside my study of English in the classics department called "oral traditions," which focuses on the various stories passed down orally by different civilizations. It seems like we are a civilization ourselves in the drum corps community, and we also have our very own dialect and stories that are passed down from corps to corps, member to member. What we end up with is a strange terminology that may even differ from corps to corps. I thought it might be fun to run down a couple of my favorite tour terms, with the hope that you will send me some of your own, and we can have some fun with them.

Bus funk, or "jank": An odor similar to tour funk, only much grosser, and you live in it. Bus funk is more of a source of funk, rather than simply a spot where it has decided to grasp onto. Some people tend to be great purveyors of bus funk, and those people, combined with hanging towels, rehearsal shorts, show shirts, and for some corps, the under-armor shirts, tend to make this a very difficult thing to deal with. Typical remedies for bus funk include Febreze, and stick-up air fresheners. Disco bus ride: I don't know if this transcends all drum corps, or if it was just a Capital Sound thing, but it sure is fun. Sometimes a dance party just kind of happens on the bus. What you get is a bunch of aisle-dancing to bumpin' dance music. To sum it up ... word .... Fake free day: On your schedule you get at the beginning of the year, this day is marked as "free day." However, when we get to that date, it comes up that the staff wants to get a little bit done, and not waste the day, so what we end up with is this: You rehearse for some five or six hours, and then take a "free" evening. It's actually not too bad, because you are working towards something, and when you get to chill for the rest of the day, it feels that much better. Free day basics (courtesy of Allan Zwettler): Free days tend to bring a lot of relaxation, and less attention to our daily focus on our show. So the next day, the staff decides to bring the corps back into form from the first step of basics. Really, this is a pretty rough beating, to wake up those members who might of had a little too much fun the night before. It makes you realize that drinking soda, or any other convenient carbonated beverage, is probably not your best bet before a day of drum corps. Ring chaser (1): Everyone knows one of these. That guy or girl that has marched in five different drum corps in all three divisions in order to pick up that elusive championship ring, and for many, it doesn't even matter what division they get it in. Now there really is nothing wrong with striving for certain goals, but it definitely can get ridiculous sometimes, and those guilty of "ring chasing" will sometimes agree. For some, watching the ring chaser go is like watching a clumsy guy who dropped his briefcase on a windy day: Running back and forth, and then eventually speeding off on that straight-ahead chase, with only the slightest chance of picking up his papers.

Ring Chaser (2): Well, we also all know one of these. This is that girl or guy who you always see hanging around the busses of the latest DCI champions, or even the hot corps of the summer/month/week/show. It happens! I can't say that I myself haven't walked over to the busses of various corps to hang out with friends from there, or even just to meet people, but again, there is meeting people, and then there is crossing the line! This term is half-joke, half-reality, but think, drum corps members, about your last tour. Trust me, you knew one of these people.

Tour funk, aka Tour 'jank': Ahh, yes, that lovely odor that just seems to stick to you. Could be from the bus, the gym, the water "enhanced" with sulfur, but no matter what it is, it's there. It's not necessarily always very strong, or very awful, but it is definitely distinctive and noticeable. It's one of those things that you just carry with you like your sleeping bag (which it sticks to) or your pillow (which it also sticks to). Don't let things get too janky, folks. Tour goggles: I'll admit I nearly had a coronary when I saw this as the title of a recent Forzato picture. When you wear tour goggles, every person on tour seems to be that much more attractive. This is traditionally said to a friend who develops an appreciation for someone that they might not have earlier in the summer: "Wow, someone just put on the tour goggles!" Tour goggles tend to come into play at different points for everyone, and for a lot of people never. And although Amy would disagree with me, this definitely works similarly for both genders. I would say the middle of tour is generally when people put on the tour goggles. I don't want to say that every mid-tour couple that develops is due to the effects of tour goggles, but I imagine a few of them are. Tour spread: The luggage rack above your seat holding your backpack or various items. It starts to take up two spaces on the rack, then four, then people begin finding stuff of yours all over. I've known some tour spread felons, and some very angry tour spread victims.    Send me more, or your own interpretations on these! dittrich@uiuc.edu

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