On Jan. 25-28, instructors of Drum Corps International member corps and the DCI Board of Directors will meet in Atlanta to consider 10 new rules proposals. DCI.org columnist Michael Boo breaks down each of the items that will be considered and gives his insight and opinions on how passage of each rule might affect the direction of the drum corps activity. Part II of this series looks at three proposed rules for 2007 that deal with changes to the adjudication sheets and a proposal that would change the way that winners of drum corps contests are decided. Simplified adjudication sheets: This is one of those occasional clarifications to existing adjudication sheets that few people get excited about, but are deemed necessary to keep things moving forward and eliminate potential confusion. Those who enjoy reading the judges' sheets will find that implementation of this change will make things more clear. George Oliviero of the DCI judge administration team has proposed that the front of the judging sheets be updated to reflect current terminology, such as "amplification" and "environmental impact," which are not mentioned on earlier sheets. This would serve to give judges a comprehensive list on the front page of the most important components of the sheets that they are using. There is no philosophy change here and the judges would not need to learn a new system. These changes would simply make the sheets—at the glance of an eye—more easily understood by judges and anyone who reads them. Read the entire proposal (PDF). Changing the back of adjudication sheets: Another Oliviero submission involves allowing the DCI task force of instructors, the director-liaison and the judge administrator to change the back of the judging sheets without changing the system. This is simply an effort to allow for changing the more comprehensive wording on the back of the sheets to better help judges comprehend the meaning and intent of the words. Just as dictionaries are continually edited to reflect subtle shifts in understanding of language, this proposal would allow for similar editing of text to reflect ongoing changes in the understanding of judging criteria. Read the entire proposal (PDF). Ordinals decide placement at contests: This is quite an interesting proposal from the Cavaliers' Jeff Fiedler about how the winners of contests are decided. It would have no effect at all on how judges judge, but rather would change how their scores add up to declare a winner. Quite simply, corps perform and judges rank and rate the corps against criteria, as opposed to against each other. In this system, to maintain current system weight on effect, general effect judge rankings would be counted twice. The purpose is to avoid having one particularly strong or weak section of a corps dictate a large rating spread. Corps would instead be placed equally on the basis of the strengths and weaknesses of their entire ensemble. This would also lessen the effect of large point spreads from individual judges. The goal is to make it so that no corps section is second in priority to any other in design, performance ability or education. As far as the audience is concerned, the corps would be ranked according to their overall quality, and it might be perceived that "the value of a tenth" is not as critical as it was before. This is destined to be controversial, but it's possible that it might be more controversial with the fans than the directors and their staffs. The concept requires us to wrap our heads around a different mindset of how scores are presented even though the way a corps is judged and scored doesn't change. In the past, some corps have prospered competitively based on abnormally strong scores in certain sections and have "taken it on the chin" based on abnormally weak scores in other sections, with such results changing who won and who advanced to Semifinals or Finals. This proposal would affect that dynamic. Some will agree with this philosophy, and some will argue that this would forever change the whole spirit of what drum corps contest results have been based on. It should make for a fascinating discussion in Atlanta. Read the entire proposal (PDF). Monday: Michael Boo evaluates the final four rules proposals including those on membership limits and inclusion of electronics in performances.
Michael Boo was a member of the Cavaliers from 1975-1977. He has written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century and serves as a staff writer for various Drum Corps International print and Web projects. Boo has written for numerous other publications and has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating.
As an accomplished composer, Boo holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition. He resides in Chesterton, Ind.