Drum Corps International (DCI) announced several rules changes for this year’s summer tour including altering how percussion is judged, allowing judges to award half-tenths, and delaying the release of tour recaps.
The Percussion 1 and Percussion 2 judges will be replaced with an Ensemble Percussion judge (either in the press box or halfway up the stands, depending on the stadium), and for large regional events and championship week, a Field Percussion judge will weave his or her way through the show.
“Percussion has exploded,” says Michael Cesario, DCI artistic director. “If you’re on the field following the snares, did you see the pit? In order to look at the whole percussion ensemble and what’s happening within the percussive voices, it’s not somebody on the field but upstairs.”
As the corps’ shows become more intricate, add more pit percussion and electronics, and scatter the drumline across the field, DCI wants to make sure to catch all of that. Later in the season the two percussion judges’ scores will be averaged together.
“[There may be] some specific bit of excellence or achievement that maybe we’re missing up top and that will be averaged in,” Cesario says. “I think that it will give us a different perspective and help us keep things fresh as we get to the end of the year.”
In addition, judges will now be allowed to award half-tenths, which may be necessary as the corps continue to compete neck and neck. “I don’t want to see a tie,” Cesario says. “I don’t know that I really want to see somebody win by half a tenth either, but we’ve seen people win by a tenth. And part of this is because these corps are getting so amazing.”
In a change suggested by the corps’ directors, detailed score recaps will no longer be released to the public until the end of the season. Each show will still announce the overall winner and winners of each caption, but only the corps will receive their detailed scores.
“We want the judge to judge the show of the night,” Cesario says. “For the judges it’s a little bit more room to give and take some points, and for the corps it gives them a sense of not being slotted into a specific place.”
For fans that might be upset by the delay of the tour recaps, Cesarios says, “We love our fans, we do. Look at the caption awards … those awards will show you what’s going on.”
All of the changes will be revisited in July, and some may be sent back to the DCI Rules and Systems Task Force for further study.