The Blue Devils Win the DCI 2015 World Championships

On Saturday night, the scores of the DCI World Championships were announced. There wasn’t much controversy until the top four names were called.

The Cadets placed fourth, which was surprising since they were doing so well early season. The Bluecoats came in third, earning the bronze medal and beating the Cadets for the second year in a row.

Once second place was called, the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium was both ecstatic and furious. Carolina Crown came in second place, putting the Blue Devils in first. The Blue Devils are known for winning, now having 17 championships under their belt, which is why people were so outraged when they won.

As soon as the scores were called, people started saying terrible things about the Blue Devils, DCI, the scoring system, the judges, the fans, and so much more. People were so outraged that they took to insulting the performers themselves, all of whom are young men and women 22 and below. The people who were saying these horrible things were using a plethora of rhetorical fallacies to get their point across. They had no evidence to back their claims, and their claims were essentially just insults.

As someone who doesn’t take the activity too seriously, I don’t really care who won. I believe the Blue Devils deserved it, although I wanted another corps to win. I believe that the real winner are everyone who got to perform this season, and that the losers are the people who took to insulting the performers when they didn’t get their way.

The Blue Devils after their 17th DCI World Championship victory

The Blue Devils after their 17th DCI World Championship victory

The Arguments on Drum Corps Uniforms

On July 30, 2015, The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps unveiled their new ‘blackout’ uniforms. These uniforms were totally black with a few silver decorations on the front, which is a huge change from their traditional uniforms. They had a uniform change because it fit their show’s theme better, but many people saw it in a different light.

The Cadets' normal uniforms

The Cadets’ normal uniforms

The Cadets' new uniforms

The Cadets’ new uniforms

To start off, new uniforms are extremely expensive, costing about $150 for each uniform. Buying 150 new uniforms at that price costs $22,500. The reason this purchase is controversial is because members of The Cadets pay $4,000 to march each year. Critics of this purchase say that the money used to buy the new uniforms could have been used to save each member some money when marching. The other big controversy with this purchase is that The Cadets purchased these uniforms nine days before finals. After finals, these uniforms will never be used again, which also makes the purchase questionable.

That argument is just a small one regarding uniforms in drum corps. The biggest argument is that corps should stay with a single uniform for multiple years instead of buying new ones each year. Corps that buy new uniforms usually make them fit the theme of their show, but critics say that this takes away the character of the corps and makes them unidentifiable. A good example is Carolina Crown, who sported brown uniforms in 2008, switched to white in 2010, then a different uniform each year since then. These uniforms are very expensive, and as said above, the kids end up paying for them. If corps recycled uniforms, then the price of marching would be lowered significantly.

Is DCI ruining Drum Corps?

Drum Corps International, or DCI for short, regulates and scores the drum corps activity. As with any company, there will be people who disagree with its intentions. Although they bring up good arguments as to why DCI might be ruining drum corps, I think these arguments aren’t 100% true and are just made up so people can complain about DCI. Here are their arguments and why I disagree with them.

The 2015 DCI logo

The 2015 DCI logo

Most people who march/have marched corps pride themselves on not being marching bands. Although they essentially do the same thing in marching and playing music at the same time, corps and bands are different in terms of instrumentation, show style, and rehearsal etiquette. Many of the people who think that DCI is killing drum corps also think that drum corps is slowly turning into marching band because of big instrument companies’ influence on DCI. They think that DCI profits off of allowing more instruments into shows, but I disagree with this. These people are essentially insulting DCI, and therefore using a rhetorical fallacy. Each new rule change allows corps to implement creative ideas into their show. For example, the rule to allow electronics into DCI made it possible to use narrations to explain concepts that music alone couldn’t. This allowed the corps Carolina Crown to perform a show based on physics, having the narration explain the concept. Overall, I think that DCI allows new instruments for use because they want to give corps new creative opportunities rather than profit.

The biggest accusation of DCI is that they don’t give corps a fair shot at winning, but instead make it about politics. Although this may seem true at some points, there are 1 minimum of 12 different judges at every show, For every single judge to throw the scores is impossible, so I think these people are wrong. If DCI were to do this, it would have been exposed by now, and I think these people are just making things up so they can stay angry at DCI.

Overall, I disagree with the people who think DCI is ruining drum corps. DCI has regulated the activity for so long that ruining it by accident or on purpose would be impossible. In my opinion, these people use rhetorical fallacies to explain their conspiracy theory, which gives them no merit whatsoever.

The 2014 DCI World Championships

The 2014 DCI World Championships

Who will win the 2015 DCI World Championship?

With the DCI World Championships around the corner, the top 5 corps will be fighting tooth and nail for the gold medal on August 8th. With a difference of only 2.8 points from 1st place to 5th place, any corps could pull ahead of the other and win. That being said, fans are arguing over who they think will win. Here are some of the arguments presented.

The Cadets, currently in first place with a score of 87.625, are fighting extremely hard for the win. Being only .3 points ahead of the Blue Devils, they have to keep up the momentum to stay ahead. Some people are arguing that The Cadets are only winning because of their history of being the oldest corps. However, most people reactions are positive; they like The Cadets’ show this year, and it’s performed at an extremely high level.


The Cadets’ bassline in 2011

The 2nd place Blue Devils are also the reigning champions, winning last year with a score of 99.65. Being only .3 points behind The Cadets, the Blue Devils have a chance to pull ahead. Some fans of the Blue Devils argue that they’re only behind because DCI doesn’t want to have the Blue Devils win for a 2nd year in a row, which is apparently bad for business. The fans are insulting DCI’s ethos, saying that they’re untrustworthy.

Coming in at 3rd place is Carolina Crown with their show Inferno. Their Hell themed show has them with a score of 86.200, a full point behind the Blue Devils. Many people agree that Crown should win, arguing that their show is performed the best.

In 4th place are the Bluecoats with a score of 85.625. Everyone had high hopes for the Bluecoats, who came in 2nd place last year, but 1st in terms of audience support. Their show, Kinetic Noise, involves a lot of electronic audio, which actually hurt them in their most recent performance. One of their speakers went out during the first few minutes of the show, so their score was lower than it could have been. Fans of the Bluecoats say that barring any technical difficulties, the Blueocats could pull ahead into 2nd or 3rd.

The Bluecoats' 2014 show "Tilt"

The Bluecoats’ 2014 show “Tilt”

In 5th place, Santa Clara Vangaurd and their show The Spark of Invention. Winning the award for the best percussion last year, everyone expected their percussion to do great this year. That certainly is the case, but the corps is a full 2.8 points away from first, which is a fair amount. Although they’re not projected to win, Santa Clara Vanguard could possibly pull ahead into a higher place than what they’re in now.


The Santa Clara Vanguard drumline in 2014

A History of the Blue Devils and Why They’re the Most Hated/Loved Corps in Existence

The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, based out of Concord, California, are legends in the drum corps world.  Whether they’re being praised by hardcore fans or ridiculed by others, the Blue Devils are always a hot topic of debate all over social media, YouTube videos, and forums alike. Critics of them mention that their show design is meant just to please the judges and not the audience, while fans praise their show’s freshness and creativity. Whatever the case is, there a good arguments on both sides of the spectrum.

Critics can’t deny the Blue Devil’s prowess in the drum corps world. Their 16 world championships and world record high score of 99.65/100 shows that they are undoubtedly a talented group of staff and performers. However, these same people accuse the Blue Devils of being too open in their show design and not using enough visuals. The most recent complaint about their show is that they used a K-pop (Korean pop) song in their show. For those of you who have ever listened to K-pop at any point, you can understand why some critics are bothered by this choice in music. This particular song, I Like You, by GOT-7, consists of a very high pitched voice saying “I Like You” in Korean. This has never been done in drum corps before, so it could take some getting used to before it’s accepted throughout the fanbase. Another complaint of critics is that the Blue Devils don’t do extremely difficult visuals, like other corps do. A lot of their show consists of standing around or doing some dance moves, which makes it easier to blast your horn at a high volume and win the music category. This strategy has been said to appeal only to the judges by critics, essentially accusing the Blue Devils of abandoning drum corp’s roots of entertaining the audience.

Blue Devils 1

The Blue Devils snareline performing their 2014 snare feature

The Blue Devils, being based out of California, has hardcore fans that come along with them. These people are the ones who defend the Blue Devil’s every move to the end. Although these fans can be a little arrogant sometimes, they always bring up very good points as to why the Blue Devils deserve what they get. In the ever evolving world of drum corps, trying new ideas is the key to victory. Whether it’s performing a show based on randomness, or selecting very odd song  choices, as with the one above, they always execute these choices with extreme clarity. Regarding the argument about the lack of visuals, the fans agree with the choice, saying that the show designers know how to design an entertaining show which still scores high. Whatever the case is, the Blue Devil’s fans defend them to the end with good reasoning.

In my personal opinion, the Blue Devils are an incredible drum corps. They have an extremely talented drumline that performs even the most complex of passages with clarity. It’s very hard to find a drumline who can play clean cheeses. As someone who follows the activity for fun rather than for competition, I appreciate every Blue Devils show for what it is, even if I need to listen to it a few times to understand it. In the end, the Blue Devils will continue to be high scoring pioneers in the drum corps world.

blue devils 2

The Blue Devils after they set the world record high score of 99.65


Rhetoric and Drum Corp: The Debate Over Electronics

Ever since Drum Corp International (DCI) was founded, there have been many rule changes that revolutionized the way that each corp fields their 10-12 minute show. Whether it be the inclusion of trombones to not requiring corps to stay for the awards ceremony, each decision was met with supporters and opposers. However, the most controversial decision, the one to include electronic amplification and noises, caused an uproar in the drum corp community.

Older members of the community resented it, saying that the activity should “stick to its roots”, essentially appealing to tradition. Newer members and corps staff, however, embraced the new creative opportunities that this new ruling offered. Whether it be allowing a single person to blast their solo from across a football field to thousands of fans, or making it possible to have a drum feature by just using “drumspeak”, the possibilities are endless.

On the topic of endless possibilities, George Hopkins, the director of the famed corps Cadets, took this rule a bit too far when he employed multiple speaking parts into their 2014  show Promise: An American Portrait. Each of these quotes ended with the words “That is what he said”, which many fans found repetitive and boring. They all criticized the show for this, saying that if the esteemed Cadets used electronics for this, then every other corps would follow in their footsteps. This bandwagon statement had already been proven wrong, however, by another corps.

Carolina Crown’s 2013 production, E=mc^2, was an extremely well-recieved show by audiences and judges alike. This specific show was praised for using electronics in an artistic way that wasn’t too distracting. The corps used said electronics to explain a concept in physics, something that no instrument can do. The fact that this show won first place at finals really revolutionized the view of electronics.

Carolina Crown's 1st place show "E=mc^2"

Carolina Crown’s 1st place show “E=mc^2” at finals

As is real life, there will be supporters and opposers of every decision. The ongoing argument about the use of electronics in drum corps will always have good points on both sides, but in the end, drum corp’s main priority will be entertainment. And in my personal opinion, the use of electronics, when done correctly, can transform a boring show into an award winner.