FAMQ plans changes for 2002

by Daniel Buteau, DCW Staff

Circuit des associations musicales du Québec (CAMQ), the competitive drum corps arm of Fédération des Associations Musicales du Québec (FAMQ), is planning for a radical overhaul of its sponsored events for the coming drum corps season.

Faced with a continued downsizing of the activity in Quebec, one that leaves the province with only four existing drum and bugle corps, the association is ready to experiment with new formulas in both the presentation and judging of its events. Martin Labelle, president of the Les Étoiles organization, who also acts as the circuit’s president, explained what challenges the circuit faced in attempting to shape a competitive schedule for the coming season.

“With only four corps, it is impossible to hold a contest proper,” he said. “Corps directors therefore voted to abolish the rule that forced all events to be of a competitive nature.” The new ruling will allow for various types of presentations to take place at Quebec’s drum corps events during the 2002 season.

“No more timing and penalties, no more minimum or maximum,” Labelle said. “Corps can add features such as charts they play in parades, individual presentations, choral pieces. Corps can now do anything they want.”

At a meeting held in conjunction with the FAMQ-sponsored Individual and ensemble provincial contest held in Montreal on May 4, corps directors and judges also discussed ways of changing the type of judging done at the CAMQ-sponsored events.

According to Mark Kozma, who currently heads the CCE (Commission d’Éducation et Évaluation) that regroups FAMQ judges and instructors, discussion centered on whether “evaluation was necessary for the new format for shows in Quebec this summer.” Kozma, contacted through e-mail interviews, further stated that “after an excellent debate (proponents of each side produced their point of view), it was agreed that there is still a need for evaluation, no matter what format the circuit decides for their ‘galas.’ This was not a unanimous decision, but a consensus was agreed to.”

Individual corps updates

The CAMQ had no choice but to adopt a new style of events given the disastrous off-season just experienced by the Quebec drum corps community. Of the three existing division III corps that competed at the 2001 DCI Championships in Buffalo, only Stentors remained unscathed. For the coming season, Sentinnelles and Sénateurs have established a protocol for collaboration that will see the two corps merging into a new entity named Alliance for their competitive activities.

The two organizations nevertheless continue to operate independently for all other aspects of their functioning. Two non-field drum and bugle corps, La Relève de Fleurimont, a feeder for Les Stentors, and Pers-Clairs of Sainte-Hyacinthe, will also appear at CAMQ-sponsored events.

Two more organizations had attempted to establish competitive units for the coming summer.

Chevaliers-Ambassadeurs of Rimouski/Rivière-du-Loup recently folded for undisclosed reasons.

A brand new organization established in the fall of 2001, La Renaissance Drum Corps of Chambly, successfully fielded two competitive guards this past winter, but was unable to get its two planned drum and bugle corps off-ground, as a result of what Martin Labelle described as…