On Jan. 26, the Drum Corps International (DCI) Board of Directors passed the following four rules, one of which will take effect for the 2008 season.
• Double the general effect judging panel for World Championships (effective 2008)
• Allow use of water on the field (effective 2009)
• Allow amplification of brass instruments for soloists and ensembles of up to 12 members (effective 2009)
• Allow use of electronic instruments (effective 2009)
The use of electronic amplification and instruments has been a topic of hot debate for DCI directors, participants and fans.
“In my opinion, this is the first time we could potentially change the characteristic sound that a drum corps is known for,” says Greg Orwoll, executive director of the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps based in Dubuque, Iowa. “I think we do have a niche that’s distinct and separate [from marching band] and important. That natural brass sound is something we really need to stand by.”
Others, including George Hopkins, director of The Cadets from Allentown, Pa., disagree, saying that the new set of rules is a move in the right direction.
“I’m grateful that it’s passed,” comments Hopkins in a recent article on DCI’s website. “It’s an evolutionary development, and I believe that the corps and instructors will use it in an appropriate fashion, and that it will add to the entertainment value of our performances.”
As far as the direction of the sport of drum corps is concerned, only time will tell: Most of the rules won’t take effect until the 2009 season. One thing is for sure, though. Fans can still expect the high-energy competition of DCI for years to come.