Drum Corps International
Dutch Boy attempts to think un-'Boxed'

Dutch Boy attempts to think un-'Boxed'

by Michael Boo

Dutch Boy is taking a stand for 2008. They're going to break out, defy expectations, upend the status quo and turn some heads along the way. The corps is certainly innovating on the field again; the corps was the Division III bronze medalist last season, and this year is in the midst of thick contention in the new Open Class. But when the corps isn't proudly representing Canada on the field, they have some ideas about the future of drum corps in their nation, and you can't deny that they want to think outside the box.

Dutch Boy performs on July 5 in Kalamazoo, Mich.
That expression is instantly evoked by the title of Dutch Boy's 2008 show "Boxed," a musical transformation from the safety and security of structure into the joy of being unrestricted by convention. The entire corps starts the show inside a boxed drill form; then all manage to escape, except for one person. She escapes at the end of the show, at the point when all prior musical ideas presented in the original music production are synthesized into one cohesive whole. Dutch Boy's very history has defied convention. The corps was known as the Dutch Boy Cadets until 1998 and had previously served as the feeder corps for the original Dutch Boy, a DCI World Championship Finalist in 1990. The name "Cadets" was dropped to reflect that the corps is now the sole representative of the Dutch Boy organization. The iconic Canadian corps found a new life in Divisions II & III beginning in the late 1990s. Dutch Boy also stands out as one of the only competitive junior drum corps in Canada at the moment. Helping to keep the "I" in "DCI" alive from year to year is something that the management and staff view as both a challenge and responsibility. They intend to keep the corps focused on sustainability and are planning to open new youth programs to attract more students who can potentially join the drum corps. According to visual caption head William Lee and brass caption head Nick Klawitter, Dutch Boy has plans to help the drum corps activity in Canada experience a resurgence.

Nick Klawitter (L) and William Lee
"We're discussing how to franchise new drum corps in Canada so it's a set formula for finances, how others can get the finances and recruit for their corps and how our kids can go out and be instructors for these new corps," said Klawitter. "We have a small business owner who is spearheading this idea. He's talking about setting up a package that anyone can take to a city, approach the local government for Canada Council Arts Grants, show them the financial requirements and get something going in conjunction with the local governments. This program would be offered free to whoever is interested." Lee added, "It would be a total package that we can give to potential directors to get the ball rolling and get corps started. The programs must be self-sustaining so they're not concentrating on government money. We're trying to iron out the details as we go, but we need to give it a try for the sustainability of drum corps in Canada." With their focus not boxed in to merely their own corps, Dutch Boy looks to do a lot of good in the future. Their eyes are on a true renaissance of Canadian drum corps, and it's hard to think more outside the box than that.