Yes, the Blue Devils actually recreated the DINER from that famous painting on a football field, and then wrapped a well-conceived production around the backstory of the diner's customers.
On the heels of what might be considered one of the most innovative and competitive Drum Corps International seasons in history, this post seemed appropriate.
Props and scenery, advanced costuming and customized artistic layouts are not necessarily the key to high scores. I can tell you that in my own years around the marching activity as a performer, and later a director, designer, and judge - I've seen plenty of well-resourced groups come onto the field with all kinds of stuff that would rival a KISS concert, only to fall short in the music, movement and performance categories.
You can't "buy" a championship. The performers still need to move, play and perform at a high level regardless of your region, your competitive circuit, and your ensemble's level.
Odds are - if your program is looking to go to the next level you are pondering upgrades in certain areas:
- Designers - THIS MATTERS. Finding designers of the highest level is one of the easiest ways to advance your program. It's easy in that all you'll need to do is budget for it and then write the check, but it's tougher than it sounds since these elite designers are few and far between, and they tend to be in high demand. Bonus points for finding an integrated team where the drill writer and the music arranger have some sort of linkage together as a team.
- Costuming - Some people still grumble about the drum corps, or the marching band eschewing traditional uniforms in favor of costuming that is thematic to the show production, but it's the new normal. Might as well get used to it, and save those older uniforms for parades and festivals.
- Electronics - When advanced sound engineering hit the DCI field some years ago, it started with simple amplification. Now, the top-level corps all have complete sound design teams that engineer a customized soundscape to fit each show. The elite groups that compete in Bands of America Grand National Championships are also employing some of those same techniques to great effect. Your needs might be much simpler, but even simple wireless mics, a mixer board, and amplification still runs a pretty penny even if just to make the soloists easier to hear.
- Props - Probably the most controversial area to debate is the whole "props versus minimalism" thing. We aren't here to cast a vote, but as you see more and more groups showing up on the weekends with AN ENTIRE TRACTOR TRAILER devoted to JUST their props, it's just the new normal. This trend will go back and forth over a period of years as prop-heavy productions are fatiguing to a program when you consider the expense of designing, building, transporting, and then MOVING them with hundreds of volunteer parents each practice and performance. The sheer logistics make it daunting, but it is a way to create an effect that does reinforce the show concept when done properly (see the example from the Concord Blue Devils in the image above, where they used Edward Hopper's famous work "Nighthawks" for their 2018 production "Dreams + Nighthawks".
Any way you choose to look at it, even the most early-developing marching band can benefit from the points above, provided the budget allows...
And when you look at what your budget can allow, you should consider ways to generate large chunks of funds, and FansRaise is the perfect way to do just that. Don't sell your program or your kids short - these types of upgrades ARE within your reach.
Download our free "$10,000 Blueprint", and learn how ensembles and performing organizations around the country are using the FansRaise platform to raise more money than ever before.