Monday, August 30, 2004

Write Drum Corps History!

Please visit DrumCorpsWiki and consider contributing some information there.

For those of you who don't know what a Wiki is: it's a web site that you can edit and contribute to with just a web browser. The upshot is, if you can see the web site, you can also post and edit things on it. It helps if you know a little bit about making regular pages but it's not required. It works est with text contributions anyway. It's a great collaborative tool. It may seem like it is open to defacement and wrong information but with a good number of editors working on it, it is a good source of information. Every change is logged and available for everyone to see so mistakes are caught quickly. Another example of a Wiki is the Wikipedia, an on-line encyclopedia made up of the work of many volunteers. The DrumCorpsWIki hopes to become a similar site for information about Drum Corps.

If I had a means of using this software to manage the Ambassadors site, I would do it. It would make things so much easier to manage and allow others to help me out.

This particular Wiki is being run by Harlan Landes who has worked for the Crossmen.

For those of you out there who wish you could set up a tribute site for your corps, this is the place to go. You can start with a little as the name of your corps and let others fill the blanks in or do it yourself when you have time. It's free to contribute. The only caveat is that it's not your personal site and the information you input should be from a neutral point of view. (That means no rants about being robbed at '78 Nationals or the like.)

Have a look!

I have already started an Ambassadors section there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Conqueror II / Ridge Raiders Reunion

Found on the ODCA web site:

- FOR MORE INFO CALL 905-578-0580

Links to info on

Ridge Raiders, Hamilton

Conqueror II, Hamilton

DCI 2004 PBS Broadcast

At this link (scroll down) you can find a list of broadcast dates for the 2004 DCI Championships.

WNED, Toronto, Ontario: Thanksgiving Weekend TBD

I guess that means _American_ Thanksgiving weekend in November.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Drum Corps Bibliography

Since I am a librarian type, it is time I started up a Drum Corps bibliography. This is a list of sources of information about Drum Corps. I will list things that I have not necessarily read myself but that I can find in the various library on-line catalogs (OPACs)

This is a work in progress


Magic on the march : the 50 years history of Canada's famous Preston Scout House Bugle Band /
Gagne, 1988

Directory of Canadian drum corps /
by Canadian Drum Corps Association.
Canadian Drum Corps, [1963?]

Corps-fax /
Ontario Drums Corps Association, [1978?].

History of Drum & Bugle Corps [vol. 1]

History of Drum & Bugle Corps [vol. 2]

Introducing the Drum and Bugle Corps /
Janet Chiefari.
Dodd, c1982.

Brass secrets of the drum and bugle corps : a comprehensive guide to outdoor brass technique / Bill DeJournett
Springfield, IL : Focus on Excellence, c1997.

Buglers & drummers manual : bugle bands and drum corps : rudiments of music and instruction for the bugle and drum, with regulation duty bugle calls for camp and garrison, including a splendid collection of Bugle-Trumpet marches / compiled and arranged by Mr. John Slatter
Buglers and drummers manual
Calgary ; Toronto : Waterloo Music Co., c1912.

The Slingerland complete instructive manual for the piston bugle, including the new rotary slide attachment / J. Richard Wilson.
Chicago : Slingerland Drum Co., [c1935]

Competitive drum corps : there and then ... to here and now / written, compiled, and edited by Jodeen E. Popp
[Des Plaines, Ill. : Olympic Print., 1979]

The Encyclopedia of drum and bugle corps / [Editor and publisher: David Ross-Robertson and A. P. Samuels
[n.p. : Allen Co., c1966].


Circle of rudiments : twelve medium to difficult street beats used by the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps ; each includes a mallet part in each of the twelve keys / by Marty Hurley
Hattiesburg, MS : Rudimental Percussion Publications, c1993.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A familiar thought...

I somehow stumbled across Tim's blog. He marched bass drum with the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps this summer. I was struck by a few sentences in one of his posts that I can identify with. It was how I felt after the drum corps season was over in August:

I had a life changing experience while all my friends and family stayed here in Grapevine where it seems nothing has changed at all. It's like I never even left. I dunno, its a weird feeling.

It was always hard coming back to the "real world" after an intense summer.

Bandettes Bingo Bother

BANDETTES could use your HELP!, Bingo Hall closing?

For those who wish to help out the Bandettes from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, have a look at the above post on the Drum Corps Planet forums.

You can write a letter of support for the Bandettes to the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie at the following address:

Mayor John Rowswell
99 Foster Drive - Civic Centre
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
P6A 5X6

759-5344 (Mayor's Office)

541-7171 (fax)

Email: mayorjohn at

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Active Ontario Corps - a comparison of years between 1979 and 2004

Updated: September 28, 2004

I have been thinking about the state of Ontario drum corps and have recently recanted my opinion that there aren't any more. (I have been preparing an entry melodramatically called The end of Canadian jr. drum corps.)
Recently, when discussing the 2004 DCI preliminary competition in Colorado, CO with my wife I mentioned the Kiwanis Kavaliers ( Ambassador vets: "boo!" ) were competing in Division I. She said: "I thought you said there were no more Canadian corps." I had to admit, I was wrong. There are 7 Canadian corps competing at the DCI World championships (Kiwanis Kavaliers, Dutch Boy, St. Johns, Bandettes, Blue Saints, Les Stentors and Fusion. 4 from Ontario! ) and undoubtably more who didn't tour to Colorado. So it's time to come up with some data to see if drum corps in Ontario is really declining. I will start with the number of active corps in Ontario compared over a set of years that I have some information about. Later I will look at the number of contests occuring in Ontario over the same period.

This is a work in progress. I will keep adding corps as I find evidence of them.

Active = appears in parade or contest at some time that year

1979 (22)

Ambassadors, Aurora, ON
Bandettes, Sault Ste, Marie, ON
Blue Saints, Sudbury, ON
Bluewater Buccaneers, Sarnia, ON
Canadian Knights, Peterborough, ON
Cardinal Cadets, Scarborough, ON
Durham Girls, Durham, ON
Dutch Boy Cadets, Kitchener, ON
Georgian Lancers, Owen Sound, ON
Imperials, London, ON
Kiwanis Kavaliers, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Krescendoes, Peterborough, ON
Leamington Townsmen, Leamington, ON
Rebels, Oshawa, ON
St. Andrews, Cambridge, ON
St. Johns All Girl, Brantford, ON
Simcoe Golden Lions, Simcoe, ON
Ventures, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON


Royalaires, Guelph, ON
Regionnaires, Niagara Falls, ON
Hamilton Firefighters, Hamilton, ON
Second Signals, Toronto, ON

1983 (19)

Ambassadors, Newmarket, ON
Bandettes, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Blue Saints, Sudbury, ON
Bluewater Buccaneers, Sarnia, ON
Cadets of Dutch Boy, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Canadian Knights, Peterborough, ON
Cardinal Cadets, Scarborough, ON
Conqueror II, Hamilton, ON
Dutch Boy, Kitchener, ON
Emerald Cadets, Mississauga, ON
Kiwanis Kavaliers, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
St. Andrews, Cambridge, ON
St. Johns, Brantford, ON
Rebels, Oshawa, ON
Ridge Raiders, Hamilton, ON
Ventures, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON


Royalaires,, Guelph, ON
Hamilton Firefighters, Hamilton, ON
Second Signals, Toronto, ON

2004 (12)


Bandettes, Sault Ste. Marie
Blue Saints, Sudbury, ON
Dutch Boy, Kitchener, ON
Kiwanis Kavaliers. Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
H.Y.P.E., Hamilton, ON
St. Johns, Brantford, ON


Grenadiers, Kingston, ON
Optimist Alumni, Toronto, ON
Kawartha Kavaliers,
United Alumni,
Hamilton Firefighters, Hamilton, ON
Second Signals, Toronto, ON
Scout House Bugle Band, Alumni

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Corps, darned Corps, and statistics

I have been following with some interest the Drum Corps Scores and Rankings mailing list (a Yahoo group, so you have to register with Yahoo to see the archives of the list). What's interesting about it is that as well as the scores from contests it also posts an aggregated score and ranking of all the Division I, II and III corps on major tours this summer. The idea is to make an average of a corps scores over the season and compare them with the same averages of al the other corps. I am not sure if it's a running average for a few weeks or it uses scores for the whole summer. Here's a link to an example for August 1, 2004. (It's on Google's archive of R.A.M.D. newsgroup post. The paranoid conspiracy theories about slotting are just a bonus for reading it on R.A.M.D. :P ). There is also a nice graphic depiction of the Division I averaged rankings here made by James Meister.

It is effectively a running set of rankings something like the positions of baseball and hockey teams over the season. It's a calculated version of something that drum corps fans like to do in their head during the season. I personally don't think this ranking is much use for predicting the winners at Denver, CO this week. The analogy with sports doesn't hold for drum corps.

When I marched we used to hear about the scores other corps were getting early in the season before we "met" them in competition. We would hear about a rival getting higher or lower scores than what we had received that year so far and then there would be much debate and anticipation of the rankings of various corps together. The thing I noticed was that these anticipated rankings never held up when we actually met the corps in the same contest.

This happened and still happens because the scores from different contests are generated by a panel of different judges each time and it doesn't mean anything to compare scores from different contests directly even if they are contests that occur on the week. The only way to tell if a corps is better than another one is to have them appear in the same contest.

I acknowledge that the scores from different panels will probably agree within 2 or three points as they try to make things as standarized as possible but in the end it's a judgement about art and it's difficult to get people to agree about such things, even people trained to do so.

So DCI Worlds is still up for grabs and there are probably some surprises in store. The further away from the top scores you get, the more room there is for change in my experience anyway. The Kavaliers aren't going to win DCI but they may move up two or three rankings from that predicted by this ranking thing.

Don't use the average rankings thing as a reason to claim: "We wuz robbed!".