The directors of the World and Open Class corps convened in Indianapolis this weekend to discuss the state of the drum corps activity and plot a course for the near and distant future of Drum Corps International. On Friday, Jan. 23, all DCI member corps directors present met in a combined session to review the previous year and absorb the latest news about the organization. Mark Arnold, chairman of the DCI Board of Directors, explained the new governance structure that was installed last year. Arnold commented that the flexibility of the new nine-member board setup worked extremely well in the last year. To keep things moving in a positive direction, the board is revising its bylaws and has added a significant new governance committee to be sure the processes are followed correctly. Dan Acheson, DCI executive director, addressed the business of Drum Corps International, Inc. A renewed sense of how to do business has been implemented in response to the nationwide economic downturn of 2008, which he noted was a most challenging and unusual year. "Looking back at the skyrocketing fuel prices for corps and fans, slow early-season ticket sales, and the last minute relocation of the 2008 World Championships from Indianapolis to Bloomington, there were a host of variables that we were forced to work through last season," said Acheson. Staging a successful Championships is no longer good enough. Now we need to stage an amazing set of events. What are the goals of Drum Corps International as it moves forward as a business? While it is always an objective to promote, develop and preserve the activity, one of the most critical points DCI is focused on is creating unprecedented value for its fans and those involved within its member units and its strategic partnerships. Acheson stressed the importance of building new audiences while embracing "legacy" fans, particularly reaching out to the legions of band students across the country. Corps will be given more information and tools to assist with the overall promotion of their appearances and ideas for bringing more value to the audiences. Acheson asked the directors to leave no doubt in the minds of the fans that they must come to Indianapolis for the World Championships. "Staging a successful Championships is no longer good enough. Now we need to stage an amazing set of events," he said. Senior DCI office staff members also presented overviews of what is going on within their respective departments. Operations staff members are making upgrades to enhance customer support. Plans for substantial improvements to the DCI.org online store also are in development. The finance department is focused on positioning DCI to turn a healthy profit through more efficient controlling of costs, no matter what is happening in the rest of the world. Those responsible for DCI's Internet initiatives are working with the new Digital DCI Committee (made up corps directors and DCI staff members) with the goal of expanding the popular Fan Network, and even more importantly developing technological solutions to enhance standard business processes within the organization. The events team offered a brief overview of the 2009 World Championships. The marketing department explained how enhanced target marketing would be implemented in 2009, along with several other projects. Acheson ended the presentation by looking toward 2013, five World Championships from now. Business initiatives will be focused on building year-over-year financial strength. The organization will continue to strengthen its position as Marching Music's Major League, establishing itself as a notable and contributing non-profit within the Indianapolis community, enhancing its nationwide tour events, and focusing on leading marching music education initiatives while attracting a greater number of student attendees to events. While it will take time to accomplish all of these goals and more, action will be taken with urgency.
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