As some of you have heard, effective 2024, Drum Corps Associates (DCA) and Drum Corps International (DCI) will partner for the 2024 and 2025 competitive seasons to produce, promote and expand the “DCI All-Age Class.”
So, what does that all mean for DCA Corps? Let us break some of this down for you.
· MORE RESOURCES – DCI has 32 full time staff members. They have a department dedicated to marketing and have said that they are going to be dedicating plenty of their resources to promoting this new move. It’s just as important for DCI to make this move successful as it is for DCA. They will also be helping with securing housing and travel requirements, not monetarily but with contacts. We’ve already signed up for the DCI show in Allentown. We’ve had a first-hand look at their organizational skill. We can attest to how incredibly organized they are. The resources and assistance we had during the process were invaluable tools to have.
· MORE PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES – For many years, some of the non-Northeast corps have been participating in DCI shows to get scores, often times being the only DCA corps in attendance. It was for the score only. Now more DCA corps will have that opportunity with other DCA corps in attendance making it a true competition. It will also give our members the opportunity to watch some DCI corps perform which typically they would not be able to do while marching in a DCA corps! It will also provide the opportunity to attend different shows then the regular shows we’ve all been doing for most of the last 10 years.
· RECRUIT MORE CORPS INTO THE ALL AGE BRAND – DCA has lost many corps over the years, partly due to the current model. Many of them have moved over to Soundsport or formed mini corps. There’s no guarantee that these corps will reestablish as DCA corps but there is a possibility that more groups will start up that are not in the NE and feel that they will have more skin in the game throughout the entire season without going broke.
· THE FINANCIAL ABILITY TO CREATE INCENTIVES TO INCREASE FAN ATTENDANCE FOR THE ALL-AGE CHAMPIONSHIP – Last year, Champs in Rochester had about 1200 people in the audience. This is something that we’ve yet to see but with 25,000 people in town for the DCI festivities, we may potentially double the attendance by bringing the Champs to where the people are!
· INCREASE REVENUES AND RECRUITMENT IN THE “MARKET PLACE” DURING CHAMPIONSHIPS - We’ll be able to keep our tables up during the entire weekend. Not only will this be a great opportunity, but it’ll be nice for our alumni to come by and catch up with us during the weekend. We can put aside special gifts for alumni who come by and visit! On the recruitment side, we will be able to have exposure not only in Indy but also at regular season shows.
· ENSURE THAT CHAMPS WON’T BE RAINED OUT BY HOLDING CHAMPIONSHIPS INSIDE – Not sure if anyone remembers the 2006 Championships in Rochester where some of the corps had to do their show during a monsoon with no lines, but imagine that happening now with electronics. We still have to face this during regular season shows but we won’t have to face it at champs!
· PROVIDE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR DCA/DCI CORPS TO WORK TOGETHER BOTH ON AND OFF THE FIELD. – We’ve been talking about collaborating with DCI for many years. By DCI being directly involved with how DCA operates, it will give them a better idea of what/how we do what WE do and what our needs are.
This may not be a perfect solution and there may be a lot to work out, but in true Fusion Core style, we will work hard to make it happen. Afterall, one of the best things about drum corps is that it teaches us how to be resilient, work through challenging times and never give up!
Here’s a timeline of some of the challenges we’ve had to face and overcame in our short 16 years! Some of the most difficult years in drum corps for all of us.
2007 – Fusion is born
2008 – A recession hits the US but Fusion finds a way to thrive and Fusion Core’s Director works with Joe Geswaldo and Dick Eschenmann after Joes' passing, the DCA Class A coordinators, to help build the circuit from the bottom up!
2020 – The unthinkable happens - While it wasn’t a perfect show, we knew how important it was for people to literally get outside to be with people, so with careful intention, we took the last few weeks of the season to get outside and, while observing social distancing, got together and produced a 3-minute show and dubbed our season “Farther Apart, Stronger Than Ever”. We were the only DCA corps to get out in 2020.
2021 – A virtual season is born. We were an active participant with our fellow Directors, the DCA Admin and the Judging community, in creating a competitive virtual season
2022 - Fusion Core presents a rule to open a third class, giving multiple corps an opportunity to be truly competitive and to give them stepping stones to work their way up on their time, within their means. Post pandemic and coming off a virtual season, recruitment had become more difficult and finding schools to open their doors to outside groups was near impossible but we made it work by going back to our humble beginnings as a Class A corps and ending the season undefeated.
2023 – Fusion Core moves to Open Class
2024 – Fusion Core will participate for the inaugural DCI All Age season debut
Truth be told, while we are concerned about the unknown, that’s how The Core was started. Stepping into the unknown, but 16 years later, we are still here. We’ve watched our members come in, most with little to no drum corps experience and move on to marching with DCI, WGI or in some cases other DCA corps once they built up their skills and confidence. While that sometimes hurts, we’re ok with that. Deep down, we want YOU to GROW and that is the TRUE meaning of success.
There is a lot to be excited about but we can’t do this without you. Whether it be marching, volunteering or donating. We’ll need a truck to make these longer trips and we hope to do this without putting a large financial burden on our members and on the organization as a whole.
Whether you miss competing in Lucas Oil, you missed out on being there all together, OR you always thought how much fun it would be to do this with your fellow Fusion Fam, 2024 is your opportunity to be part of the excitement! The best part, is you can do this while still being able to work a full-time job and spend time with family in our weekend only model.
If you’re interested in being part of Fusion Core in 2024, fill out an interest form now so we can keep you in the loop. The 2024 season will be here before you know it!
If you love the marching arts, can’t march but want to see it thrive, please consider taking part in our fundraising campaigns that will be held throughout the next year.
This doesn’t have to be the end of drum corps, it’s just a new beginning! 2007’s show was titled “The Journey Begins”, and now in 2024 “The Journey Continues”.