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For all of those who have marched DCI:
I am thinking of marching in two, maybe three years. I am currently a freshman in high school, which means I will be a junior/senior when I march. So here is my question...for my first year, should I start with a smaller corps? See, I am located in Texas, and I'm a huge Crossmen fan. But I want to march either Bluecoats or Cavies. I would not mind marching Crossmen, but me and a friend were just wondering. Thanks!
There is nothing wrong with going with "lower caliber" corps. You will get just as good an education and family as you will with the "higher caliber" corps. Each corps has it's own personality and you should audition with the corps that best reflects what you are interested in. Marching Crossmen would obviously mean less cost for transportation for camps for you than going from Texas to Ohio or Illinois would. There are several corps in Texas worth investigating: Forte, Genesis and Revolution.
You should audition next year for several corps or the corps in Texas for feedback even if you do not wish to march next year. It also depends on what type of education style best suits you, every corps has different people on staff people who will have a different teaching style and even musical/visual direction than the staff at another corps. You're best bet is just to attend experience camps in the fall.
The thing about marching these "better" corps in high school is that they often start all-days before you finish school. Cavies start All-Days around May 1 and Bluecoats about a week or so after that. I, personally, don't finish school until the third week of May. Crossmen, however, might start all-days around the end of May or beginning of June. Would your parents and your school let you miss three weeks of school? You, also, have to remember that at these "better" corps you will be auditioning against mainly college students who have marched maybe a summer of drum corps at either a "lower caliber" corps. Crossmen would be a great starting place for sure. Get your feet wet. Believe it or not. Some people do not like the drum corps life style. Would you be willing to sign a 3.5 month commitment to get your butt beat everyday without knowing if you'll like it or not? It's ultimately up to you. Do you want to spend the money to go to Illinois or Ohio once a month just to get a medal? Will that effect you marching that next year? I prefer to think in long term drum corps which is "what will allow me to march the maximum number of years?" Nothing stinks more than people not being able to march there age-out because they can't afford it. With all that said, good luck.
Any world class corps will kick your butt period.
since you are so young, I would highly recommend going for one of the wonderful open class corps in texas, (Forte, Genesis, etc.), then working your way up to World Class by your junior and senior year. Crossmen would be wonderful for this.
I would recommend trying out for Bluecoats/Cavvies once you get into college.
The unfortunate truth is that with most of the top corps (you mentioned bluecoats and cavvies) is that a majority of these individuals of these corps have previous corps experience. Because of this, many people who are rookies in one of these really intense corps are the "tick boxes", simply because they are brand new in the activity, and have to fight very quickly to ensure that they can keep up with the rest of the corps. Many people can do it, but many people are not up for the challenge.
That said, going to the camps to learn is a wonderful idea. It will help you to figure what the corps is about, their ideals, etc.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me! I was on the unfortunate end of not being prepared physically and mentally for the world class corps I made, and lost my spot as a result. So I definitely want to help in any way that I can. :)
Being on tour with a younger corps will often give you clearer idea of how other corps are really like off the field, which might also help you make your decision later on.
Go locally. I went for a lower tier corps that was close to me when I started, and three years later we made finals.
Marching an all-age DCA corps and having that experience is basically what got me into Blue Stars when I tried out, even though I wasnít that good. With both Cavaliers and Bluecoats specifically, of the people I know in both corps, most of them have marched a lower tier corps before going to those corps (with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 people, but thatís because they were incredible players). As others have said, start with Crossmen, see what the activity is like, and make your decision about what to do after that first summer.
I attest that being in a lower tier corps isn't bad. I'm in Jersey Surf and loving every second of it!
Thanks guys! I wasnt expecting this big of feedback in jist a couple of hours! I really appreciate it! Genesis, Forte, and Revolution are all great choices as well. I believe Genesis is closest to me. Hm. I am most interested in going to a Crossmen, Cavs, or Coats camp this next winter, as you can go to their camp while you are underage, and just not make the corps but still get a tadte of the experience. And im sure that you guys' kind, educational, and inspiring words are not just helping me, but also any other lad who has these same questions. Thanks so much! =)
Hey Riley. As someone who is contracted to march Bluecoats this season, I do know a bit about the audition process.
First off I'd like to say that I did march with an open class corps last year. I had a great time and really learned a lot. Personally, coming from a high school with a poor marching band program, I loved learning from people who actually knew about the activity. Also, just because it's "open" class doesn't mean you can't get world class instruction and make lasting friendships and memories.
As far as auditions for the Bluecoats go, I can tell you that the majority of kids who made it are older and are generally college level players/music majors. Also, a good portion of current members do seem to have some form of previous experience (DCA, open class, other world class corps). I myself am a college freshmen who plays sax and is not a music major. So go figure. In my eyes, experience can't hurt. I'm pretty sure it helped me a lot. I really don't think I'm qualified to talk any more about the Bluecoats organization, because I haven't marched a season with them yet... I've only gotten through the winter camps. I'm not going to be that guy and overstep my boundaries.
So if your decision was up to me, I'd hold off on going to multiple world class camps for now... they can be quite expensive. I'd stick to joining an open class corps. It is a great introduction to the activity, you can really get an idea of what it takes to audition for the "big boys," and the general age of the members will be closer to yours. Your a freshmen in high school. You have plenty of time to figure your drum corps career out.
So yeah, that's my opinion. Good luck with your endeavors.
Thanks! And also, i mean, next winter is a long way from now! I dont have to make a plan for something any time soon! But I am an avid Genesis fan, as well as the three aforementioned. They would be great to experience as well. Just the experience of my own high school this year was outstanding. Thanks again, good luck this summer, see you at Houston and San Antonio! =)
Auditioning for The Crossmen this year has been the best decision I've made so far! No matter what corps you audition for, they are your family. I know that you can just go to an "eXperience Camp" for the Crossmen just to get a feel of how a corps rehearses, I'm sure other corps do that. If you're thinking about auditioning for an Open Class corps to get a better feel for it, by all means, MARCH. I had no corps experience with anyone (except for a few camps with an open class) and I made it into a great horn line.
The staff is probably the make or break aspect for almost every young adult wanting to march. Don't pick a corps just because they place higher than others. To echo what other people have said, any corps-world or open- is a monster to tackle if you're unprepared. And as Jerry said, just because a corps is "lower tier" doesn't mean that they won't "do well." Speaking personally, the people in The Crossmen are some of the nicest, most accepting people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I'm sure that every corps is just like that.
Obviously, I rep-ed The Crossmen quite a bit (because I love it there). But do some research, find members from corps that you're interested in, ask questions about the staff/members/work-ethic/tradi and the ultimate way to decide what corps to march with is to try out. You never know what the result will be!
If you have any questions about The Crossmen, feel free to message me on my profile! Good luck in the future with your endeavor. =]
I agree with the others above. I am also from Texas, and one of my friends who is a senior now tried out for the Cavaliers on bass in November or December in their Austin camp. He has no drum corps experience. They basically told him that he should try out and compete in a smaller, more local corps, like Forte, and then next year come back to the Cavaliers camp. This is exactly what you should do. Even though Forte is probably considered one of the most smallest DCI corps, it is still excellent. Them, Revo and Genesis are all great. Hope this advice helps!
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