Michael J. Carlson
August 5, 2017First, let me put things into perspective. What do I love about drum corps? The music, the drill, the pageantry, even the business side of things -- bottom line, I love drum corps…absolute! This love affair, however, is not defined by time, era, or musical genre. Okay, so I am just a little partial to the "little guys" of the Class A, Class B, Class A-60, All-Girl (am listening to the 1970 Ambassadears as I write this), Division II/III, and the current Open Class corps.
Consequently, I get real excited with the coming of DCX -- The Drum Corps Xperience. This project is a fruition of love -- no, of passion -- for all things drum corps. On the DCX web site you will travel historical hallways crammed with information and photos of the drum corps activity from all eras. The numerous galleries include History by Decade, Corps, Shows, and featured collections of historical equipment and uniforms. And the list goes on and on.
Without question DCX will quickly become the Smithsonian Institute of the drum corps activity, a place where the smallest of corps will be remembered alongside the most memorable of corps.
Let me throw out some names: Alliance, Court of Honor, Maryknoll Cadets, and Patriots Praise. How many can you remember? If you have followed the activity for any length of time you know there are numerous corps that entertained audiences for a year or two and disappeared for one reason or another. DCX efforts and through the support of fans everywhere even these fledgling drums corps will not be forgotten.
From the moment a drummer and a bugler stepped off the line in battle together drum corps began to evolve. From parades to close order drill competition to full-blown field production there has been a evolution going on. Through the medium of DCX fans and performers alike will see the origins of drum corps to the talented young performers who are taking the field this summer…and everything in between.
Too often we get caught up with what is real drum corps. The drum corps experience is very real to every member whether they marched a tenor drum at the 1941 American Legion Nationals in Milwaukee, French horn at the 1968 US Open in Marion, or performed in the color guard in the 2016 DCI Finals in Indianapolis. The activity is not just about the music and the performance, but it also reflects a spirit that gives rise to "can do" attitude and the importance of teamwork to over come the most challenging of obstacles. Real drum corps teaches life-skills that stay with its members for the rest of their lives. And it's these experiences and memories that DCX will capture for inspiration to others. It's up to each of us to share with future generations not only our passion but also the experience and scope of the activity we knew in our time.