DCUK 2007 - Corps Directors College Report

The inaugural DCUK Corps Directors College took place on Saturday 3rd March 2007 in Walsall, West Midlands. The College was well attended with representation by nine Drum and Bugle Corps along with a number of Judges, a delegation representing Drum Corps Europe and members of the WGUK and MPA-UK management teams.

The brief and purpose of the College was to update all those with an interest in the future of DCUK as to the future plans and actions taken to date by the DCUK management team in their efforts to redefine and further reshape Drum Corps United Kingdom into a cooperative of organisations (Corps) who wish to benefit and take advantage of a competitive season where the Drums Corps style is the focus.

The College covered many topics and generated much positive discussion in areas such as:

Updates on the DCUK activities since December 2006 including
• Meeting and Planning feedback
• Judging developments
• Inter organisation co-operation (Strategic Partnerships)
• Financial support

Plans for Drum Corps United Kingdom 2007
• An all new class structure allowing Corps to self select based on their own needs and requirements
• A three show 2007 Summer Season with a Spectacular end of season Championships
• 4 Venues affording great amenities and facilities for performers and spectators in strategic geographic locations
• A cost of membership which incentivises participation and commitment to DCUK 
• A new and revitalised judging and Judges accreditation System
• A new and streamlined DCUK Rulebook which eliminates much of the previous bureaucracy and red tape.

After hearing the plans for 2007, eight of the Corps present declared their commitment to the 2007 DCUK Summer Season schedule and this, coupled with the commitment already received from another Corps unable to be present, a real sense of unity and expectation filled the conference room. At this point a spontaneous round of applause broke out as if to signal a breakthrough and groundbreaking moment had been achieved and our immediate future had been secured.

Emma Weir, Senior Corps Co-ordinator for the reigning DCUK Champions, The Black Knights commented 
“We at Black Knights are now extremely excited for the 2007 season having heard the plans of the DCUK board at the meeting and look forward to 4 great shows at 4 great venues"

With Dave Pope Corps Director of Southern Aurora adding:
“An excellent meeting, with some new fresh ideas, and a determination in the room to create a successful circuit for 2007, we are looking forward to returning to competition even more now!”

As previously reported DCUK will offer a four show season schedule with shows based in the South West, South East, North West and the Midlands. Further details on these showpiece events will be available via the DCUK website in due course. Those in attendance at the Corps Directors College were advised and presented with the probable venues of the 2007 shows but at the time of the College and without knowing that DCUK were definitely in business for 2007 no firm contractual commitments had been made with the potential show venues until DCUK knew it had a season to run. Further details will be posted via the DCUK website when the venues are confirmed but the management can confirm that the venues are new to DCUK and are high profile and of a very high standard in terms of amenities for performers and audience alike.

The College spent time discussing the implementation of the already released information on the new class structure and in particular guidance as to how Corps could, at this embryonic stage, confidently select the correct class for their own organisations. The new Class Structure of International Open Class (IOC), National Open Class (NOC) and the National Junior Class (NJC) will afford corps the opportunity to self selects their divisional class based on their own organisational structures and strategies. Further information on the new class structures and definitions can be found via the DCUK website.

The attendees at the college were presented with the facts and figures with regards to belonging and participating in the 2007 DCUK summer Season. The DCUK management team had worked hard on its commitment to reduce the cost of membership and further explored avenues of incentivising participation.

The proposals put forward by the management team really do seem to hit the spot. In essence while there will be an upfront cost to register with MPA-UK and DCUK at both a corporate and individual level, DCUK are able to offer participation rebates to corps based on the level of their commitment and the number of shows they participate in.

In short the more shows that each individual Corps compete in the higher the rebate on offer which means that in most cases corps who commit to the full calendar will see the actual cost of membership compared with 2006 and previous years reduce by up to 90%. 

“In essence this move by DCUK to reduce the cost of participation in return for our commitment is fantastic news. It means that we will be able to enjoy all the benefits of competing in a exclusively Drum Corps Style environment at a fraction of the cost of previous years and use that saving to possibly take advantage of other membership opportunities within the marching band activity here in the UK” commented another director upon hearing the proposal.

Another aspect of the College was to receive feedback and information from The DCUK Judges Coordinator, Jason Oates, who reported that a high level of interest had been shown by nearly 20 judges and potential judges in attending forthcoming judges training with a view to being accredited by DCUK to adjudicate at DCUK shows in 2007. As an aside Jason also took the opportunity to meet and discuss further areas of cooperation with Tony Mackenzie Jones who was in attendance at the College representing the DCE judges Committee.

Douglas Caldwell, the well respected activity Judge, later remarked 
“I travelled to the meeting fearing that we would not have a circuit in 2007. I have gone away from the meeting feeling good and that there is still passion for our activity. The suggested formats and venues are different and will hopefully make each event more enjoyable. I look forward to judging again this summer.”

As previously mentioned the College was attended by Mr Andy Hewlett (Project manager, DCE) and Mr Tony Mackenzie Jones (Judging Committee, DCE). Andy gave all in attendance an overview of the Ethos strategies being adopted by Drum Corps Europe and fielded a number of questions surrounding participation of DCUK members in DCE sanctioned events along with offering comfort to the DCUK membership with regards to the Strategic partnership DCUK and DCE are benefiting from. 

Andy went on to later commend DCUK in its efforts to date by stating:
“Saturday’s meeting was a great success. We saw what was in essence the rebirth of DCUK, and it marked another important milestone along the road towards European integration. Now that DCUK have adopted the DCE Judging System we have uniformity across the continent. DCE wishes DCUK the all very best for the future. We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to our training weekend in April and working together in 2007 and beyond."

In addition an announcement was made that planning is in the early stages for a collaborative event involving DCUK, the British Youth Band Association (BYBA) and DCE in the summer of 2008.

At the conclusion of the Corps Directors College there was a real sense of purpose and excitement about the coming summer and in addition what DCUK and its membership will be able to achieve and deliver. There is now a belief that the new DCUK is not about any one singular entity but that its strength relies on the many constituent parts that make up the whole which is Drum Corp United Kingdom.

Roger Steele, Corps Director of one of DCUK’s longest standing members, Concord Drum and Bugle Corps made comment
“I’m delighted that the DCUK management have presented us with a viable and exciting competitive season for 2007 and would urge all those still on the fringes to give their support. The plans offer the opportunity for both active competition and social interaction.
The reduced commitment offers corps the time to seek out non-competitive outlets for the wealth of talent and entertainment potential within our activity. We complain often that the public don’t get to appreciate our performances. Here’s the opportunity to take it to them. Be creative – the work’s out there if you look."

The Management Team, Corps Representatives, Judges and other interested parties who attended the Corps Directors College are now committed to delivering an excellent series of events throughout 2007 and beyond. The message in short is that Drum Corps United Kingdom is alive and kicking and looking forward to the summer of 2007 with a real sense of anticipation and vigour. 

For further information with regards to joining our ranks as we move into this new and exciting era of development of the Drum Corps Activity please visit our website at www.dcuk.org.uk or contact a member of the management team at board@dcuk.org.uk



© Drum Corps United Kingdom 2004