My Dear Friends:

Last evening seven member corps of Drum Corps International simultaneously posted a press release. Shortly thereafter an article was posted on the independent Drum Corps World website titled "DCI member corps divided on group's future direction and leadership." Both the press release and the article were the result of discussion and action taken recently at a regularly scheduled DCI Board of Directors meeting.

One can only conclude from reading the press release and the article that there is a philosophical division among the member corps as to the best course for the future of Drum Corps International. Unfortunately this is true. Some of the actions taken in the past several weeks could be interpreted to be either detrimental to the future of the organization or perhaps a necessary discourse to lead the drum corps experience into a positive direction. Others may contend that this is a dark moment in Drum Corps International's 38-year history, which in its very own mission statement claims to be "a cooperative fraternity of its member drum corps."

I would be less than genuine if I tried to make a statement without expressing how concerned I am that the differences among the member corps have brought the organization to such a level of disagreement. However, as frustrating as this can be when discussions become mired in egoism and self-righteousness, I know all of the corps representatives are noble in their pursuit of what they perceive to be the right direction for Drum Corps International. The passion runs so deep among the individuals who serve as the DCI Board of Directors and among the representatives of the DCI Member Corps, that at times, the magnitude of the figurative explosion that sometimes occurs can be staggering.

Because of recent governance related events, these passionate corps leaders have a long way to go to come back together as a "cooperative fraternity" in order to determine a direction for the future. After 22 years in the DCI boardroom, I can say I have never seen anything quite like this. However, I do know each corps leader is equally compassionate toward the other as well as their respective corps. One of the truly spectacular aspects of DCI's fraternal dynamic is that no matter the background, no matter the different points of view, no matter the underlying competitiveness, there has always been compassionate resolve in the end that serves the entire collective.

I have been asked from time to time when the drum corps activity might cease to exist. My answer is simple; when the passion to preserve the collective interest and consideration for all who wish to participate goes away. I frankly do not see that happening any time soon.

Now, I realize many fans and participants want all the facts of what has taken place and want to dissect every word of every statement to get to the truth. Certainly, I respect the passion held by them. They too are concerned for the future of the drum corps experience and for that I am truly grateful. However, it is time for the corps leaders to join together, and with the DCI staff and the fans, focus on delivering the best experience to date for the amazing participants in all groups who will take the Drum Corps International stage this summer. We owe them nothing less than a magnificent experience, and we owe the volunteers and professional staff around them the support necessary to make this happen.

Although I am realistic about the depth of our governance challenges today, I am confident we will endure and emerge an even stronger organization. Thank you for your continued support of the drum corps experience and the cooperative fraternity of its member organizations, Drum Corps International.

Most Sincerely,

Dan Acheson

Executive Director/CEO

Drum Corps International

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