by Ken Mason, DCW staff
March 29, 2003 — Wayne, NJ . . . Member corps of the Garden State Circuit voted to place the circuit on a six-month hiatus, suspending operations for the 2003 season. Circuit members will meet in October to reassess the role of GSC in future drum corps activities.
The action came in the wake of decisions by several GSC member corps to operate their annual contests under the DCI Atlantic Division banner in 2003. In recent years, the Atlantic Division changed its operational policy for division II/III shows, moving away from the performance fee system and adopting a “round-robin” approach, very similar to the model GSC has employed throughout its 40-year history. The only show-hosting expenses assessed by the circuit are for judges and a contest coordinator. Under these conditions, Atlantic Division show sponsorship has become a palatable option for GSC units, several of which had already decided to do so prior to the meeting for a variety of reasons.
Coincidentally, in the 2002 season, all GSC member corps were also DCI participants. While earlier seasons have seen some exclusively local units counted among GSC’s active membership, the only such corps in 2002 were the two division IV units, both feeder units for two of the aforementioned GSC/DCI participants. The circuit roster for 2003 gave every indication that GSC’s entrants would once again all be involved with DCI, save those same two feeder corps.
Five show sponsors agreed to make provisions for the division IV units to perform prior to start time of their DCI-Atlantic shows in 2003. Thus, sponsors and corps are making sure that the GSC commitment to grass-roots drum corps is still being fulfilled this season. Interest in drum corps at the grass-roots level is certain to be a consideration when the GSC convenes once again in the fall.
For now, though, it is interesting to note that DCI will be the only active junior corps circuit in the United States in 2003.