2007 junior corps census shows numbers keep declining

by Brian Tolzmann, DCW staff

This article originally appeared in the November 2007 edition of Drum Corps World (Volume 36, Number 14), mailed to subscribers on October 25.

The number of North American junior corps that made it to the field in 2007 stands at 53, an overall decline of six corps from the 2006 total. Of that 53, just 48 actually competed on the field, marking the first time in the DCI era that fewer than 50 junior corps made it to field competition.

California remains an amazing breeding ground for the junior corps activity, as its 14 corps gave that state its highest number since the 1978 season, when there were also 14. The figure means that California is home to 26% of all juniors that made it to the field in 2007. Compare that with the first DCI season of 1972, when California’s 20 active junior corps represented just 4.5% of the junior corps on the field.

It’s interesting to look at how the regions of North America have changed in their junior drum and bugle corps representation over the decades.

In 2007, the Western states now lead in junior corps population, being home to 37.73% of the active junior corps, while the Midwest had 24.52%, the East had 18.86%, the South 13.2% and Canada was home to just 5.66%.

Ten years ago, the 1997 season saw the East with 36.27% of the junior corps, Canada having 23.52%, the Midwest 20.58%, the West 10.78% and the South 8.82%.

Twenty years ago, in 1987, Canada had 28.57% of the junior corps, the Midwest 26.89%, the East 26.05%, West 15.12% and South 3.36%.

Thirty years ago, the 1977 season found the East home to 45.11% of the active junior corps, the Midwest 23.27%, Canada 19.25%, West 9.48% and South 2.87%.

Perhaps one of the most shocking developments is that New York state, which had 61 active junior corps in the first year of DCI in 1972 (the highest single season number for any state or province during the DCI era) had no junior corps on the field in 2007.

As has been the case most recent years, the number of new or resurrected junior corps simply can’t keep pace with the number of corps that have gone inactive or folded.

Here is a season-by-season breakdown in the number of North American junior corps that made it to the field during the DCI era, either as a competitive corps or as a field exhibition corps . . .

1972         442
1973         406
1974         389
1975         378
1976         362
1977         348
1978         294
1979         249
1980         246
1981         219
1982         205
1983         192
1984         161
1985         141
1986         122
1987         119
1988         128
1989         112
1990         108
1991         118
1992         125
1993         127
1994         121
1995         108
1996         117
1997         102
1998         92
1999         95
2000         85
2001         76
2002         72
2003         75
2004         65
2005         64
2006         59
2007         53