This past Saturday night were the World class drum and bugle corps championships. And the Blue Devils won. Again.
I'm a bit disappointed.
I just don't like the direction of the activity, and I disagree wholeheartedly with the judging.
It's not that the Devils aren't good. Because they are. Very good. But they play and march about half as much as the other corps– and the judges don't seem to care.
In fact, they seem to reward it.
The greatest demand on the marching members comes from performing while moving across the field. And not just moving– but moving in concert, with precision.
Maintaining forms. Monitoring step size. Horn angles. Body position. Keeping your horn still while your feet are striking the turf at 180 bpm. All while playing music with dynamics and nuance.
This… is wickedly hard.
The Blue Devils know this, so they write their programs to have the players stationary for much of the music– or moving at 1/2 speed. Then, when they stop playing, they take their horns (or equipment down) and then move to their next location.
Almost no technical demand on the kids.
And the judges are placing this in first– effectively killing drill and formational marching.
This simultaneously makes me sad and frustrates me to no end. It's called "the marching arts" not the "stand and playing arts". It's supposed to be music in motion– synesthesia in a sense.
And the Blue Devils are ruining it.
Well, the judges are ruining it by scoring them well. And if it's winning, why change things?
At least my old corps (the Cavaliers) managed to jump a spot at finals and ended in 4th.