Music educators and drum corps fans around the country tuned in to the DCI ESPN2 broadcast last night and today took the time to reflect on how the broadcast was an effective tool to educate students about the benefits of drum corps. Jeff Weir, who has been the director of the United States Naval Academy Drum Corps for 11 years (and who marched with the Cadets in 1991 -- "back in the day," Weir says), digitally recorded the broadcast in addition to watching some of it. "I thought it was great!" Weir said, adding that he even enjoyed all the drum corps-related commercials. "It was drum corps from beginning to end, which was great," Weir said. Weir added that the coverage on ESPN2 will "absolutely" help educate the masses about drum corps. "It's nationwide!" Weir said. "I think word will spread! I think in a global sense, it's going to be a great tool!" On the West Coast, band directors expect drum corps enrollments to go up as a result of the broadcast. "Watching the DCI Broadcast with my students was a great experience. It got them fired up to practice and perform at a higher level of excellence, while giving them an idea of just how good a marching group can be. I expect that a good number of them will be trying out for our local drum corps as a result of watching the show on ESPN2," said Chris Nalls, director of bands at Leigh High School in San Jose, Calif. Eric Rath, associate band and director of percussion at Randall High School in Amarillo, Texas, said the broadcast was "Very informative for the person new to the activity and just a lot of fun for us old folks! As a former member of Phantom Regiment, I was very proud to see DCI represented so well," Rath said. Weir prepped his students to tune into the broadcast beforehand. "I spread the word to my students!" Weir said. And for those of you that missed it, or who want to tune in again, ESPN2 will reshow the first hour of the DCI broadcast on Sept. 21 from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time. The second hour will be reshown on Sept. 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern time. Coupled with this summer's DCI Cinema Live (the DCI quarterfinals broadcast live to movie theaters around the country on Aug. 11) event, Weir believes this year has been a watershed year for DCI exposure. "With the ESPN2 broadcast and the DCI Cinema Live event, those two things are great for DCI – it's getting the word out," Weir said. Drum corps fans are likewise singing the praise of the DCI broadcast as well. Steve Surina, a fan from Trumbull, Conn., e-mailed us with his feedback this morning. "I just wanted to extend my enthusiasm and congratulations on a great DCI Championship telecast last night on ESPN2. It was good to see drum corps in a mainstream environment, and hopefully introduce the activity to scores of people who really have no idea what it's all about. Having been involved with the pageantry activity for almost 20 years as an instructor and member, I've seen it grow and evolve," Surina said. "Last night was a milestone for the fans, members (both past and present) and staff of the activity. The production value was excellent -- Tom Blair did a great job -- and the presentation was perfectly crafted for the target audience," Surina said.
DCI fan Garry Flemings of Bellevue, Neb., noted that the show's balance between interviews and show footage served as an excellent introduction to the activity. "Good balance between introducing people not familiar and letting DCI fans see some of the shows. Good choice of footage; it showed off the DCI activity at its best. Good interviews. Good coverage," Flemings said. Fleming's son played mellophone this year with Phantom Regiment and in 2004 with the Blue Knights. Former drum corps instructor Jessica Schloemer said the nationwide exposure was "amazing." "As a former member and instructor of the activity, it was amazing to see it nationally televised and given the attention the members have worked so hard for. I would love to see this become a yearly venture by ESPN2! From all the members, instructors, volunteers, alumni, parents, and devoted fans of Drum Corps, thank you!" Schloemer said.