The Open Class Advisory Committee met during the first week of May for a final evaluation and review of new and re-emerging drum corps throughout the country. Following the evaluation, six Open Class corps have been approved for participation in the 2010 Drum Corps International Tour.
"For DCI's Open Class, growth is not optional, it's an integral part of our mission," said Open Class Coordinator David Eddleman. "The Open Class exists to provide life changing experiences for our youth participants by encouraging, developing and supporting existing corps, new or re-emerging corps, and those corps whose goal is to compete in DCI's World Class. As a result, we are pleased that six drum corps will be added to this summer's contest schedule."
New and re-emerging corps wishing to participate in the Drum Corps International Tour annually undergo an evaluation process, which is supervised by the Open Class Advisory Committee (made up of seven Open Class corps directors) and key members of the DCI staff who monitor progress and offer assistance.
Documentation in support of insurance, financial, legal and licensure requirements, and other information is collected in an effort to determine each group's organizational stability. The goal of the process is to ensure that corps are provided with a framework from which to operate, and to help ensure that corps members receive a positive experience as a part of their participation in the DCI Tour.
"Because these organizations have successfully completed our evaluation process, we are confident that they will provide quality training, travel, and performance opportunities to more than 300 students who may not have otherwise marched this summer," said Eddleman.
Four corps have been approved for regional touring and to compete this August at the DCI Open Class World Championship in Michigan City, Ind. and Indianapolis.
Director: Rich Rigolini
Returning after a one-year hiatus from the DCI Tour, the Spartans remain one of the most decorated groups of all currently competing Open Class corps. The corps took home World Championship titles in its division most recently in 2007 in addition to 2004, 1998 and 1997. In 2010 the Spartans will be celebrating their 55th anniversary as a performing organization.
Grand Prairie, TX
Director: Chris Green
New on the scene from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, Forte has drawn many of its staff and members for its inaugural season from the former Open Class corps Memphis Sound, though they are two are separate organizations. Forte is run as part of Overture Youth Advocacy Through the Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to the pursuit of excellence through the marching music activity.
Director: Steve McKeiver
Platinum was founded in 2006 as an indoor ensemble, primarily competing as part of the Atlantic Indoor Association, an organization that hosts events throughout Virginia and North Carolina. 2010 will mark the first year this group will participate as part of the Drum Corps International Tour, breaking into the scene as one of only a small handful of junior drum and bugle corps to ever come out of North Carolina.
Rio Grande Valley, TX
Director: Chris Magonigal
Founded only within the last year, Genesis has made a quick jump start with support and staffing from a number of Texas band directors in the Rio Grande Valley. While primarily filling its ranks with local participants, Genesis' membership is open to all areas of the country. The corps focuses on giving its students "the chance to be a part of a program rooted in education, physical fitness and a competitive spirit."
Two additional Open Class corps have been approved for regional touring:
Director: Rich Harvey
Thunder will return to the Drum Corps International Tour in 2010 after last competing in 2008. Founded in 2004 as the Spokane Thunder, the corps worked its way up to a 7th place finish at the '08 DCI World Championships. That same year the group earned recognition as the Open Class' Most Improved Corps. This year the ensemble will focus on a regionalized tour, making appearances at DCI events in Oregon, Washington, Utah and California.
Long Beach, CA
Director: Nathaniel Lewis
Founded in 1997, City Sound will join the Drum Corps International Tour for the first time this summer, limiting its participation to events in Southern California. The organization's goal has long been to "make available performing arts opportunities to young adults, to steer them away from street violence, to provide them with an excellent performing arts education, and to provide a place of refugee from the everyday problems that young adults face."