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Drum Corps International will operate new Midwest Division

by Steve Vickers, DCW publisher

December 7, 2002 — Milwaukee, WI . . . On the day when most people remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 20 Drum Corps Midwest member-corps and many other corps directors and interested parties gathered at the Serenity Club in suburban Cudahy for a historical meeting of far-reaching proportions.

At the end of the day, two proposals were passed by strong margins that will mean major restructuring of the way corps do business during the first half of the contest season. DCI will now be operating the schedule of shows and the mid-summer two-day event at De Kalb, IL.

Several of the region’s division I corps had expressed concern about the direction of the circuit and wanted to see some changes made. The executive board, at their regular fall meeting in September at Michigan City, IN, called for a special meeting of the full membership that was held in early October at a hotel near the Milwaukee airport.

A list of recommendations was developed and turned over to a special “study” committee, charged with pulling together a variety of opinions from all four levels of the association (division I, II, III and seniors) and reporting back to the body at the regularly-scheduled fall meeting that was held December 7.

Chairman Greg Orwoll (Colts) opened the meeting and welcomed everyone, then gave an overview of what he saw as the purpose of the meeting as it pertained to the “hot” topic on the agenda — whether or not the membership would approve transferring management of Drum Corps Midwest to the DCI office. DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson was on hand to answer questions about the proposal that had previously been worked out by the committee.

Following a quick review of other topics (a report on the DCM Judges Guild by Martin McDaniel, information on the new DCI Division II/III time change to an 8 1/2 minute minimum requirement, a financial report and election of officers — Greg Orwoll was re-elected chairman, Jeff Fiedler re-elected vice-chairman, Rick Bays, secretary, Paul Chaffee, treasurer, and Mike Mayer and Butch Kolosso members at-large), the bulk of the 10-hour meeting was spent considering the changes that would take place from DCM to DCI.

The committee recommended a two-part concept, broken down into changes that relate to the operation of the De Kalb event and then the organization that would operate the regular-season line-up of competitions.

Highlights of the first proposal relating to the De Kalb weekend were as follows:

* DCI is authorized to administer the annual Midwest championship on the second weekend in July as a four-division Midwest title event. Costs and general administration will be handled by the Addison, IL, office; ticket prices and controls, as well as marketing, will be handled by DCI.
* The weekend will consist of a Friday evening competition consisting of division II and III prelims and a division I contest with between four and six corps, a Saturday evening finals competition consisting of a division III finals, the division II winner in exhibition, a division I contest with up to eight corps and the senior championship with up to four corps.
* DCI will determine order of appearance for the division I corps. Division II and III prelims and the Saturday senior corps line up will be determined as DCM has done it in the past.
* All Midwest corps will be paid 150 percent of their standard performance fee by DCI.
* All non-DCI division I corps will be paid the standard DCI scale.
* All corps will be paid for one performance, even if they perform on Friday and Saturday.
* Each corps will be paid up to $500 toward its housing costs.
* Corps can earn a commission on ticket sales.
* DCI will be responsible for all expenses relating to administration of the event.
* All profits or losses after all expenses have been paid will be incurred by DCI.

This proposal passed — 15 yes, 3 no and 2 abstentions.

The second proposal, for DCI to run the regular schedule of contests, will be for the 2003 season only, subject to a review at a special meeting to be held in September 2003. At that time, the membership of Drum Corps Midwest, which will continue to exist, will vote on whether or not the experiment worked. They will then have the option of starting DCM back up again.

The following provisions were proposed:

* The DCI executive director will negotiate, manage and provide support for all contest contracts previously administered by DCM. A new position of DCI Midwest Division regional representative will be created. The individual in that position will report to the DCI executive director and will have primary responsibility for carrying out this task on behalf of DCI.
* The division I scheduling for the 2003 Midwest shows will be coordinated by the DCI executive director, in conjunction with the DCI Midwest Division regional representative and the affected division I corps. The scheduling for division II, III and senior corps will be completed at the regular December 7 meeting in the same manner as previous years.
* The DCI executive director will be authorized to make any necessary future revisions to the schedule, under consultation with the DCI Midwest Division regional representative and the DCI Midwest Division advisory committee (the DCM executive board).

This proposal passed — 16 yes, 1 no, 3 abstentions.

Roman Blenski was selected as the DCI Midwest Division regional representative. It will be a full-time job. An agreement between DCI and Blenski has not yet been finalized.

Following the second vote, the member and non-member corps went through the normal process of signing up for shows on the schedule Blenski prepared.

A special thank you was offered by Dave Svaleson, on behalf of the entire membership, to both Susan Blenski and Murray Davis for the outstanding job they have done in the DCM office for many years.

The meeting was very cordial and Chairman Orwoll kept things moving along but still gave everyone an opportunity to express their views.

While there were some very strong feelings on both sides of the issues, the entire process was handled professionally by all those who took part in the discussions.

In collateral material passed out by the study committee, it was emphasized that their research indicates that, in most cases, the vast majority of operating procedures, costs for running a show and dealing with the DCI Midwest Division will not change significantly from the way DCM has been run for the past 25 years.

Jeff Fiedler did note, however, that one of his primary motivations for participating in the committee was to ensure that everything that happens in the Midwest continues to get better, not just remain the same as it has always been. Everyone in the room seemed to be in agreement with wanting the upward movement to continue.

In addition to the regular voting members of DCM (The Cavaliers, Phantom Regiment, Bluecoats, Colts, Glassmen, Madison Scouts, Southwind, Capital Regiment, Pioneer, Capital Sound, Blue Stars, Americanos, Marion Cadets, Racine Scouts, Lake Erie Regiment, Bandettes, Minnesota Brass Sr., Govenaires Sr., Chops, Inc. Sr. and Kilties Sr.), guest corps included the Rochester Crusaders, Chicago Royal Airs, Dimensions, Colt Cadets, Joliet Kingsmen, Decorah Kilties, Scenic City, Twilight Knights, 25th Regulars and Midwest Legends. There were also directors representing four independent events.

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

The worldwide staff of writers and photographers provide show reviews during the season and interviews, feature articles, news and human interest stories during the off-season. The photographs that appear in the magazine are provided by 27 staff members who are scattered around the world. The publication covers World and Open Class Drum Corps International corps, Open and Class A Drum Corps Associates corps, alumni, mini-, parade and standstill units, as well as the growing activity in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and South Africa.