Any-key instrumentation, new scoring sheets are among changes to DCA

January 11 and 12 Drum Corps Associates held its bi-annual Rules Congress in Scranton, PA. At the meeting, rules and sheets for the next two seasons were determined. President Mickey Petrone guided the long, busy weekend. A large turnout of directors, managers and staff members, worked hard and long to accomplish what had to be done in just one weekend.

Petrone was particularly grateful to the leadership provided by judge coordinator Ken Sherry and the three caption chairmen, Bob Cardaneo, Ed Argenziano and Eric Sabach. They led their captions successfully through a “tweaking” of the sheets and rules. While the system will be very similar to that of the previous two years, they were able to more clearly define the intent of the member corps on the sheets and for the first time in many years and have woven the color guard score into the final score achieved.

The sheets for 2003-2004
The new sheets are broken down into an even 50/50 split for music and visual. The visual will have four judges — field visual (20), ensemble visual (20) and color guard (20). These three scores will be added and then divided by two to give 30 points toward the final score. The fourth visual judge, general effect visual, will have 20 full points go directly into the final score. This gives the visual a full 50 percent of the final score.

Music will have five judges — field percussion (20), ensemble percussion (20), field brass (20) and ensemble brass (20). These four scores will be divided by eight and then multiplied by three to give 30 points toward the final score. The fifth music judge, general effect music, will have 20 full points go directly into the final score. This gives the music a full 50 percent of the final score.

The non-averaged status of the two general effect judges and representing a full 40 percent of the score, recognizes DCA’s stated emphasis on entertainment.

DCA expands
While management passed efficiently through numerous “housekeeping” items too numerous to mention here, there was great care given to the future vision of DCA. After much discussion on Saturday, a committee was formed to meet Saturday night and prepare a proposal for the members that will set the tone for DCA to gradually take other regions of the country under their umbrella organization. The recommendations of that committee were unanimously adopted on Sunday.

Effective January 12, 2003, DCA South has been sanctioned within the organization of DCA. They will hold shows, use DCA sheets and whenever possible use DCA judges. Member corps will be required to travel at least once a season to participate in other DCA shows. Many other details were worked out to allow this sub-organization to immediately begin functioning. Any Southern Regional shows held in August may be used for computing seeding in prelims at championships. It was felt that the South was the farthest along, with three corps participating in the 2002 DCA Championships and more than five appearances in regular season shows. Expect announcements soon on at least two or three DCA South shows.

Everyone was very excited that these corps in other areas of the country recognize the success of the DCA sheets and programs and their success in the senior corps “weekend warrior” arena. DCA means entertainment, and now that entertainment will be brought to other areas of the country.

Expanded voting member privileges
To go along with the sanctioning of DCA South, it became necessary to redefine the different categories of membership. They are as follows:
* Affiliate Member: They must attend the first annual DCA meeting of the year in addition to any regional meeting that is held. They must pass the screening procedure as defined by DCA rule. That rule will be defined with the changes following.
* Associate Member: Open to North American corps attending Championships. The four highest scoring corps in prelims that don’t qualify for full membership become Associate Members.
* Full (Voting) Member: The full voting members of DCA will be the 10 highest scoring North American corps in prelims. Additionally, the next four highest scoring North American Corps in prelims who have performed in at least four DCA sanctioned shows will become full (voting) members. This means that at any one time, there could be between 10 and 14 voting members determined by participation during the season.
* International Participant: Any corps from another continent who participates in the DCA World Championship.

Other items that were approved are as follows:
* New Corps Criteria were defined. Any corps that has not competed at all in the previous two seasons must meet the following criteria before they are scheduled to appear in a regular season DCA contest: 1. Prove they have 501C Status or are otherwise properly incorporated; 2. Show proof of liability insurance; 3. Be visited by a person or committee appointed by the executive board to determine that corps’ capability to field a competitive unit.
* Corps may start anywhere they wish — on or off the field, but not over the front sideline. This clarifies the previous sideline rule, which had been interpreted as requiring all members to actually start on the field.
* Any-key instrumentation. While DCA encourages the use of brass instruments in the key of G and remains close to the heritage of drum and bugle corps, the members felt that the time had come to deal with the reality of the situation. After considering all ramifications and feeling certain that the day will come soon when G-only instruments may no longer be available, the members voted to allow any-key brass front instruments during the coming seasons. With the possible exception of contra bass horns, it is doubtful that we will see non-key of G horns anytime soon.
* A motion to eliminate the timing gun completely was defeated. A gun will continue to indicate the beginning of the judged portion of the show. Moving warm-ups that proceed directly into the show proper with the indication of the drum major’s salute will still be allowed, making the gun VERY necessary. Since all judges now adjudicate until the end of the performance (this is not new), it was clarified that a final gun will only be shot if the chief judge has determined that the performance is either under or over time limits.

Before closing the weekend, Petrone announced that the DCA Judge’s Clinic will be held June 7 at a site to be determined.