Monday, August 2, 2010

Sometimes, DCI needs a color coach

This past weekend, I went to Drum Corps International's Southeastern Championship in Atlanta. Basically, I saw 25 "professional" marching bands for $0 thanks to a friend that is interning with DCI this summer. Because I didn't know anyone in Atlanta that was there or that wanted to go to this show, I had to make friends with other people. I ended up sitting with a recent high school grad from Oxford, Ala., who was attending his first DCI event and was also by himself because he bought different tickets from his friends. I made due with what I had.

Anyway, that is not the subject of this post. I want to talk about corps' color scheming for their shows. There has to be a lot of thought that goes into some of the uniforms the players wear on the field, and there is a huge difference between what the band wears and what the color guard wears. Some corps, such as the Phantom Regiment, are very traditional in their dress. The corps will wear an all-white uniform every year. Others, such as the Madison Scouts, will maintain a color scheme, but change up the uniforms from year to year.

However, the thing I take issue with is the coordination between the band and the color guard. In corps, the guard's dress usually reflects the theme of the show. For example, the Scout's show this year kind of has a 1920's industrial theme (photo courtesy of They play "Rhapsody in Blue," which is one of my absolute favorites (the link is to a video of Fantasia 2000's interpretation). But I digress. The color guard's uniforms, above, reflect the show's theme, and by using the neutral colors, they don't necessarily clash with the rest of the band, left.

Corps have even begun to use their uniforms in different non-traditional ways. In the Blue Coats' 2009 show, the whole band, which started in a traditional marching uniform, ended up stripping down to match the color guard, as shown below and courtesy of smata2 from Flickr.

A show I saw this year from The Cadets was unique in this way, too. Their show "Toy Souldier" involved a "little" boy and his "toy soldier" army. He was directing them, and all the toys were dressed alike. In this instance, the guard matched the band exactly for a while, which also made sense for the show.

Carolina Crown, even though I don't really like their uniforms, have been color coordinating brilliantly the past several years. The band wears an off-white uniform, but its plumes (the feathery things on top of their head, for those non-nerdy types) and other decorations will reflect the show's theme and color guard's uniform.

It is the corps that clash, that really need a makeover. The ones with the red and white uniforms for the band, and pink and purple ones for the color guard, such as the Boston Crusaders this year. Their show, "Thy Kingdom Come" celebrates the Crusaders' 75th year marching. I can understand wanting to incorporate the regal colors of red and purple, but in my opinion, they should not be used together.

It is an interesting dilemma. Should a corps maintain its traditional dress even if the show they are doing one year completely clashes with the uniforms? How do you remedy a complete color clusterf*** on the field? I think more though should probably go into these decisions, but that's just me.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Scouts color guard=hot
    2. I hope you don't plan on becoming a red hat lady anytime soon
    3. The remedy to colors clashing on the field? Use more! I think we need a rainbow show