The continued implementation of and best practices for the artistic use of sound reinforcement, electronics and amplification in drum corps performances was one of the most discussed topics of the 2018 DCI Annual Meeting last weekend in Indianapolis.

Corps directors representing Drum Corps International’s voting membership spent a large portion of their meeting agenda on the topic, not only evaluating its creative and competitive impacts, but also considering and debating what it could mean from philosophical, educational, pedagogical, financial and business perspectives—presently and many years down the road.

“I think we all need to get better at it—including [the Bluecoats]—and I think we will, “ said Bluecoats executive director David Glasgow whose corps in recent years has been at the forefront of utilizing electronics and sound reinforcement innovatively. “I think it really is just a matter of going through the process of learning to perfect this to the level it needs to be perfected. That includes the audience and making the experience for the audience the best that it can be.”

“There’s a balance we need to strike with what we’re [currently] doing with what is financially feasible for all the member organizations, and making sure that we’re keeping in mind our audiences and the experience that they’re having sitting in the stands,” added Blue Knights executive director Mark Arnold. The Denver-based corps is also no stranger to the groundbreaking use of sound reinforcement and was one of the first to embrace the opportunities it provides.

An in-depth and educationally-focused panel discussion for drum corps instructors and designers attending the DCI Annual Meeting also took place last weekend. The session was facilitated by DCI Hall of Fame member Tom Blair who is the longtime executive producer of DCI’s World Championship broadcasts.

Featured panelists at this standing-room-only presentation included Boston Crusaders electronics designer Michael Zellers, Bluecoats lead sound engineer Erik Kosman, Cory Coken of NoiseFloor Ltd., and Aaron Beck who in addition to serving as Bluecoats audio systems designer, currently is the head of audio for the “Michael Jackson ONE” Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas.