"Woodwinds should be allowed in Drum Corps." Mention this phrase in your local band hall and you're likely to have the entire Flute section singing your praises. (Can you say prom date?) Mention this phrase on DCP and you're likely to have your car vandalized and house burned to the ground.
The argument for Woodwinds in Drum Corps is as old as the activity itself. While we are fairly new to the scene, we wanted to weigh in on this important topic. Historically, The Couchmen have been staunchly opposed to the idea of Woodwinds entering the Drum and Bugle competition field, but we realize that in order to make a truly informed decision, we have to see not only the negatives, but the positives to each side of the issue. (Politicians, take note.)
In the past when a woodwind player wanted to perform in DCI, he or she either earned a brass or percussion instrument, picked up a flag, or auditioned for Drum Major. While learning a new instrument can be of great educational value, allowing woodwind players to perform on their principal instrument would open the activity to a host of new talent.
2. MORE FRIENDS TO SHARE BUS SNACKS WITH
What do I miss most about my marching days? By far: the shortbread cookies Mom used to send in her care packages. Any weight I would have lost marching was negated by these cookies. It was also a way to quickly make friends on the bus. 2 brownies for a package of sour patch kids? Seems like a fair trade.
3. BARI SAX PLAYERS NEED LOVING TOO
Lets face it. If you play the Baritone Saxophone, you're going to have a tough life. Self esteem issues, back pain, and a life of poverty are just the beginning. Drum corps is a great confidence builder, and Bari Sax players need all the confidence they can get.
4. SPARE CHOPSTICKS
If you're in a corps lucky enough to have a Chinese Food day, consider yourself blessed. (Unless its followed by a 4 hour visual block.) But eating Chinese food with a fork just doesn't provide the full experience. Not to worry! Just grab a bass clarinet, chop of a little bit of wood, and tada! Chopsticks!
5. DOUBLE DECKER BUSES
More instruments = more performers = more buts to find a bus seat for. This creates an inherent logistical problem. The only obvious solution? DOUBLE DECKER BUSES. We can think of no good reason for a drum corps to own one of these, but we can't think of a bad one either.
6. SMORE S'MORES
One of my biggest regrets from my marching days is never having the opportunity to make S'mores on tour. Truthfully, the lack of wood to make a fire was the only thing standing in our way. Well no more, we say. Lets round up all the clarinets, light a match, and get to roasting those marshmallows.
7. SOMEONE TO PUSH WHEN THE BUS BREAKS DOWN
"The Bus is broken down." An inevitable and horrible moment in every season. If you've ever made it through a summer without the bus breaking down at least once (Has this ever happened?) you must be among a rare minority. With the addition of woodwinds, corps will finally have a superior option to waiting on a repair from the bus company. Just have the woodwinds file out on the side of the highway and start pushing!
And there you have it folks. A compelling argument for Woodwinds in DCI. Will 2017 finally be the year that George Hopkins sees his wish come true? Probably not.