Drum Corps International held its annual meeting in January. Two rule proposals were unanimously approved: the addition of vocal performance categories at the individual and ensemble competition and the ability for corps director to control their soundboards remotely from the stands.
A third proposal, the addition of an entertainment effect caption along with other experimental judging systems being looked at by the Rules and Systems Task Force, led by Artistic Director Michael J. Cesario, will be tested this summer.
“It’s part of a refreshing revitalization—it was just about time,” Cesario says. “It’s always good to make sure what you do doesn’t fall behind. We want to make sure we’re constantly in a state of examining it and doing right by our membership and audience.”
The committee plans to make formal recommendations by next January’s meeting, Cesario says. “What we want is that when all is said and done, it’s clear to understand why who won, won—and that [scoring sheets] are easy to read and use and more welcoming to potential judges.”
This summer, the task force will run invisible trials of several new scoring sheets alongside the current system and will publicly test a new system at the Tour of Champions events. “There’s going to be a lot of intriguing things going on,” Cesario says. “We should have a good idea of what’s working and not working.”
Cesario doesn’t predict a complete overhaul but is anticipating some significant changes and an evolved vocabulary to help judges know what to look for and how to weight it and to help make show designer’s jobs easier. “We’re very optimistic about our ability to find something that covers all the needs but gives us a different approach,” he says.