Drum Corps International (DCI) recently approved several new rules that will have a major impact on the activity. Perhaps the biggest change is a new rule allowing any type of brass instrument including trombones, French horns and sousaphones. The vote is said to have “passed overwhelmingly.”
“I don’t really see groups marching French horn line, and I don’t know that anyone will march with a trombone,” says Jeff Fiedler, chairman of the DCI board and chief executive officer of Santa Clara Vanguard. “Even though high schools and colleges do it every day, and a lot of those people that write their shows write our shows, I don’t think it will be as practical with the tight drill forms and moves. I think we’ll see the French horn and trombone used more as special instruments in a solo or small ensemble to make something more authentic.”
Although the change is certain to spark much debate among fans, Fiedler argues that a much more significant development is the addition of a second percussion judge in the press box. “We’ve decided to add the percussion 2 judge to all major regionals and championship in the box and stands rather than the one guy that’s on the field,” he says. “It won’t be at every show but will be at all major events to make sure that both parts of the percussion ensemble will be appreciated in a broader fashion.”
A vote on the addition of an “Entertainment Effect” caption was tabled and revisited in early March. As of press time, Fiedler was not at liberty to disclose the results; however, he promised an impactful announcement within days. Also approved at the event, Open Class corps will now be judged by the same criteria as World Class corps.
In other drum corps news, the top seven ensembles—joined together in a not-for-profit entity called Music in Motion—are collaborating to create four high school band competitions, to be known as the Marching Music Series. The events will be managed by USBands and will debut in the fall of 2014.