Keep the Amps Out of Drum Corps sign now

Drum and Bugle Corps is a unique activity with long-established traditional roots. Historically, it has involved an acoustic musical idiom consisting of brass and percussion instruments, along with marching and color guard programs to create an entertaining and compelling form of competitive musical and visual pageantry. Also in drum and bugle corps' uniqueness is the fact that while it shares many similarities with the traditional marching band activity, it still remains something distinctly different.

Last season, we were opposed to all forms of amplification, and in particular amplified narration. This season, corps continue to employ such narration, and our objections to it remain. We now have 2 seasons worth of evidence that such innovations fail to enhance the overall quality of the product, but rather degrade it. Last season we were led to believe that pits would be smaller and able to play across a greater dynamic spectrum than in the past, but instead, the result was a glut of overbalanced pits that made it impossible to hear brass lines on the field, as evidenced in DCI end-of-season recordings. We were also told that brass lines would not be able to utilize microphones, and yet there were several instances of the brass lines being picked up by the microphones because of their field staging. Finally, we were told that there would be consistent standards of judging corps that used amps in their performances; there were none. On a few occasions, corps suffered electrical or equipment failure, and yet were rewarded with higher scores, something that would never be done for any other sort of failure, be it a musical or marching mistake.

We are also greatly concerned about what lies in store for the state of the activity if such changes continue unabated. Due to rising costs, the activity is becoming more and more expensive. 5 division 2 and 3 corps were forced to go inactive this year as a result of these costs, and yet some directors want to continue to push the economic envelope and make it even more expensive for corps to be able to compete. We know that this is what lies ahead, because two Division 1 drum corps directors have even admitted that it would be impossible in the future for a corps to be competitive without utilizing the newest innovations, should the visions of a few directors continue unchecked.

Recently, a few individual corps have been able to secure sponsorship from various corporations. We are concerned that such arrangements, while beneficial for these individual corps, will ultimately wind up hurting the activity as a whole if lower-ranking corps are not able to make similar arrangements, thus making the competitive gap even more difficult to span. Such a scenario is NOT in the best interests of DCI, and if amplification continues to remain legal, DCI should work to ensure a level playing field for all corps by arranging for all corps to receive the same level of sponsorship.

Those that support the use of amplification ask that we "give it time" for people to get used to the idea. We have already taken all the time we need to form our conclusions. Already, we have witnessed corps shows where such voice-overs, singing, narration, amplifying pits, etc. do not provide any meaningful additions to the corps' program. In some cases, they distract or interfere with the musicians and color guard performers. In some cases, they are simply unnecessary and are being relied on too heavily to produce music that the musicians are capable of producing by themselves, without any vocal accompaniment. In some cases, they lead to shows that rely too heavily on the narration or vocalization and cannot stand up in the rigorous competitive environment without those elements.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, having witnessed that amplified narration has not justified the costs it brings to the activity, hereby call upon all competing corps to abstain from using these elements in their programming. We also petition the Drum Corps International Board of Directors to vote to rescind all rules and policies regarding the use of amplification at the earliest possible opportunity, or else to work to ensure that all corps have equal access to electronic equipment. Let us keep Drum and Bugle Corps as the distinct and unique activity that it is supposed to be.

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Latest Signatures

  • 17 January 2016600. Jason R
    Drum Corps Staff Member & Performer Place of Residence Houston, Texas
  • 07 December 2015599. Charro Ochoa
    Coochie, Coochie, Coochie! Place of Residence Mexico
  • 13 November 2015598. Selfsen T
    Drum corps exists only to please me. THOU MUST DOETH AWAYETH WITH AMPS! Place of Residence Fascist Germany
  • 11 November 2015597. Joseph Adamd
    В Place of Residence Andalusia, Alabama
  • 10 November 2015596. Tim K
    all that amplification does is take attention away from the music (ie: narration) Place of Residence Wisconsin
  • 07 November 2015595. Ms O
    Amps and women need to go! Place of Residence The land of the Amazons. Help!
  • 05 November 2015594. Caroline M
    I support this petition
  • 04 November 2015593. Dave D
    I support this petition
  • 23 October 2015592. Frank P
    I play so loud I don't need amps to suck. Place of Residence Ego Long Island, NY
  • 13 October 2015591. John G
    I support this petition
  • 08 October 2015590. Dan S
    I have yet to hear a good use of amps! Get rid of "narration/singing" too!!!! Place of Residence SoCal
  • 07 October 2015589. Percy I
    Those stupid punks who march today and disagree with what I say need to stop whining and get back to REAL drum corps. If I don't see major improvements next year, i'm not going to any more shows. And I mean big improvements. Like Sousa marches at 120 bpm
  • 01 October 2015588. Craig G
    I support this petition
  • 22 September 2015587. Harry An
    I itch so bad and amps make it worse! Can someone give me an enema? Place of Residence New Yawk
  • 21 September 2015586. Justin As
    I support this petition
  • 18 September 2015585. Erin S
    I support this petition
  • 17 September 2015584. Chris A
    I support this petition
  • 07 September 2015583. Mike K
    I support this petition
  • 26 August 2015582. Line V
    I support this petition
  • 25 August 2015581. Joseph B
    I support this petition
  • 25 August 2015580. Dan M
    I support this petition
  • 11 August 2015579. Bill B
    Just saw Bluecoats - amp. vocals not necessary Place of Residence Kennesaw, GA
  • 06 August 2015578. Nick G
    Rain & Wires do NOT mix- its a safety issue. Place of Residence Utah
  • 24 July 2015577. Mike S
    All of you who have been doing these fake posts can go to hell. It is rude and not fair to the good people trying to take a stance and change things for the better. If you want to be a comedian, go to the cadets web site because they look like a bunch of
  • 18 July 2015576. Debbie Kb
    The Mikes aren't instruments, bugles/drums Place of Residence Somerset, Kentucky
  • 13 July 2015575. Bob B
    My opinion hasn't changed after a season and a half of watching corps with amps-They are totally un-nesascary and distract from the corps performance. Please DCI-return Drum corps to what it is supposed to be: ACOUSTIC! Place of Residence N.W. Ohio
  • 11 July 2015574. Matthew T
    Keep it acoustic. Let the music speak not the voices.

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Fred FloydBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
Drum Corps Internationl

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