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Old Drummer

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Old Drummer last won the day on October 29 2015

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  1. Scores for the Weekend of October 23-24, 2015

    (Why the request to move to a new thread? You brought it up here, related to scores last weekend.) Judging on execution and music performance, yet… I’d mostly agree with you. But to say judges should not have difference of opinion on the general effect of a show or the effectiveness of the drill to present the show and relate to the music… both within a panel and also from week to week ... is crazy. Which is really kind of what you are implying; maybe not intentionally, but it comes across that way - especially with your statement on subjectivity “… that most in our state are not educated to appreciate that or use it correctly.” That is like saying ”Everyone should love modern art the most… because it is the best. If you don’t think this way, then you don’t know art.” I would contend most Band Directors in this state – at least those that have been at this thing a few years – are certainly educated enough to know how to take some nuggets of useful feedback from comments they receive each week. And, many (if not most) probably select the competitions they attend, based in part on who will be on the judging panel, or the history of the type of individuals on that panel. Of the events I have been to over the last dozen years, I would say the bios printed in the program books would indicate most judges are experienced enough and qualified enough to perform the task at hand… even if you think some are not. Do some judges perhaps score high? Sure… but that typically means every band scores high by that judge (or judges) at that event. To expect that a director and staff only takes numerical comparisons as their guide from week to week on their progress – rather than observing that progress personally (cleaning, better technique, better performance and sound, etc.) seems like you underestimate the skill of most directors in this state. We’ll need to agree that we disagree here. I was at DGS; lots of GREAT performances… and all in finals seemed worthy of being there. By your original comments, you seem to indicate that you think one or two were not, or that someone was robbed of a finals spot. Hats off to everyone who has concluded their season… and best of luck to those who are still performing. The overall level and quality of a vast majority of programs in Illinois has improved quite a bit in the last 6-8 years. But again, that is just one person’s “subjective” opinion. J
  2. Scores for the Weekend of October 23-24, 2015

    I will agree with you that performance order can make a big difference; I'd say we can probably all agree on that. However, taken from the Judges Bios in the DG program book from this past Saturday: • Almost all are either full-time instructors or performing musicians; several were former performers in a DCI group or guard. • One is a 40-year professor of Music at University of Wisconsin • One is a professor of percussion, and past instructor with Cavaliers • One is a current instructor with Cavaliers • One was the first instructor certified as a “visuals judge” for DCI, and was an Associate Director of Bands of America • One was a former Associate Director of Bands at University of Nebraska • Another has a PhD in Music Arts and Performance, a current professor at NIU’s School of Music, and has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, • One is an active adjudicator for Winter Guard and Drumline competitions across the country, and is a past director or instructor with various award winning Drum Corps and/or Colorguard groups • Still another is a past member of the Cavaliers and later became and instructor for Imperial Scotts; was also a Wintergaurd International judge up to 2010. I could go on. So, while this group may not have been 100% comprised of current judges on the BOA event roster (after all, many were in Indy this past weekend), to imply the judges were not qualified and inflated some scores ... simply because a couple of bands that always win… didn’t win this past week, is really getting old. (It seems to surface every year.) It is also disrespectful to both the judges, the bands that did win, and the organizers of Downers Grove. One could make the same argument about ISU; I mean, how does a band not make finals at ISU, but then finish in a top 3 or 5 position at BOA in Indy a week later? Was it that they were at a disadvantage because they played early in the day or followed a power-house band at ISU? Perhaps. But, that's what makes Marching Band competitions what they are... in Illinois and other states. The subjectivity of judging will always be there, because judging is done by individuals who are human. If you don't like the "subjectivity" of the judging in events... and the fact that judges will sometimes differ in there scoring and evaluations, then become a fan of Track or Cross Country - fastest individual that day will always be the winner.
  3. Judging in Illinois (and beyond)

    On a different, but somewhat related note on judging: Was it just me, or did the onfield judges at ISU stand on the sidelines - or way off the the side - all day this year? It seemed like I don't recall them ever going through the field (at least the first judging group) the way you typically see field judges at most competitions. I'm guessing there were some sad bandos - never got a chance to hit a judge.
  4. Judging in Illinois (and beyond)

    I find the ongoing (yearly?) comments about judging in Illinois interesting… and at times entertaining. If a common or standard scoring sheet were widely used through most of the contests, it might help. But, that argument presumes it will remove of the subjective element from the scoring… which it will not. To illustrate; comments our family overheard from a couple of judges at one well-known, late-season competition this year, as those judges were making their recordings (It was a warm day; press box windows obviously open, and judges speaking loud enough where those in the first few rows below the press box could hear): •“Well, that was your big chance to really build and make a statement… and you blew it.” •“I HATE those flag colors; they don’t apply at all to what you are doing on the field.” •“Yeah, your color guard changes uniforms; but why? It does NOTHING to help your show, and the ones you just changed to are lousy.” •“Boy, you guys could have done so much more with this show… and you didn’t.” And they went on; were kind of surprising, actually. My point: INDIVIDUALS design the shows; perform the shows; judge the shows. Personal taste and preferences influence the design… and judging. And, I would suspect that there have been bands that have made changes to their show based on input from a judge one week… only to find a judge next week that didn’t like the change that was added. Which is why scores are tallied and averaged across multiple categories and judges. Thanks Dan and company, for all you do to keep the site current and timely. Good luck to those who have yet to end their season.
  5. Scores for 10/23

    This is from the BOA Handbook, rule 2.03: ISU has a 12 foot pit area, in which the front sideline is included. Directors are allowed to conduct from outside the 12' pit area, from behind the back sideline, or from the end zone(s). I was at the ISSMA Class B/D regional in Chesterton a few weeks back. I was amazed to see directors/band staff conducting from/standing next to the pit, or in front of the drum major podium. One band had a drum major saxophone solo, and the director walked through the pit and conducted from in front of the podium. Thanks for the additional information Dan...didn't know that. It still seems to make the performance of the students less impressive (at least to me), but while what we saw may or may not have technically been outside the pit area, in general it is allowed...at least by BOA rules.
  6. Scores for 10/23

    OK, thanks for the update; the "if performing near the end of the day" exception seems to be fine and a reasonable exception. Still, the statistical chances of the highest score from the day getting to go last via a "random" draw out of 7 are rather astronomical. its not really. THe chance of the highest scoring band to perform last is 1/7, or 14%... Every band from the top 7 had a ~14% chance to go last. Don't you need to factor in two variables: the odds of being drawn out of 7 (1st variable) in the first year of this new event (2nd variable)? This would be about 2 or 3 out of 100. I may be wrong; if so, my apologies. But even using your example and factoring for only one variable, they had an 85% chance of NOT going last. Just seems odd: it happening actually on the first year of going to this new system, especially in light of what some have posted here regarding the events in the field house during the unusual circumstances/delay yesterday.
  7. Scores for 10/23

    They way it was supposed to work: The lowest 4 bands from 1A-4A and the lowest 3 bands from 5A-6A were selected at random draw for the first 7 spots. (Eureka, UT, LWW, Warren, Lockport, Plainfield, and DGS) The highest 3 bands from 1A-4A and the highest 4 bands from 5A-6A were selected at random draw for the last 7 spots. (Prospect, LWN, Morton, NN, Lake Park, LWE, and Marian) The only stipulation was that if you performed last or second to last (i.e. DGS), you could not perform first in Finals. From what I heard from Eureka staff was that they were asked to go first earlier in the day, before the random draw occured. Not sure why. My only guess is that Stalter is used to having Eureka go first, and already had his itinerary in place to do so. So if they could get warmed up ahead of time and on the field...finals could start earlier, due to the delay. Other than Eureka...everything should have been random draw from the above mentioned groups. OK, thanks for the update; the "if performing near the end of the day" exception seems to be fine and a reasonable exception. Still, the statistical chances of the highest score from the day getting to go last via a "random" draw out of 7 are rather astronomical.
  8. Scores for 10/23

    Quck question about the finals order at ISU last ight; I'm guessing it wasn't random draw (I thought I read on here earlier this year that it was going to be done that way)? The chances of the lowest scoring band in prelims going first and the highest scoring band from prelims going last via a random draw seem statistically impossible. So, I'm presuming it was from lowest to highest for the finals order? Dan, Mark, or other Admins: I'm guessing you know the answer. Just wondering....
  9. Top 14 Bands in Illinois

    Well said. You're honestly going to say that even at a BOA event, there isn't some subjectiveness and personal opinion in judging? that if an entirely different pannel of qualified adjudicators judged the same event and came up with a comparison list of "top" bands, that the lists between the two sets of judging pannels would be identical? And, that while every band improves during the season, performance every week only improves proportinally across all bands? So if Band A is better than Band B last week, their performance this week is also going to be better; that Band B can't clean their show to a finer degree where they would edge out Band A by a few tenths of a point or more? Really? Your passion is admirable. But it appears you want absolutes; that are cut and dried and can't be disputed: Isn't going to happen in these contests. Try switching to cross country or track; faster person always wins...provided they make it to the finish line and don't cramp during the race. Oh wait...that would mean that the fastest person during the first part of the race didn't win. And that scenario happens; sometimes the individual who is clearly a faster and better runner during the span of a season might be injured or cramp during a race or get sick, etc. and doesn't win first place on a given week. Personally, I thought the change this year for ISU was an improvement. Could it be improved? Probably. But it will never be perfect.
  10. Top 14 Bands in Illinois

    Well said.
  11. Scores for 10/23

    This was a topic in the director's-only forum on here last season. Unless the rules explicitly prohibit it, it is completely legal. I believe it becomes a legit 'problem' if the director crosses the white line into the field area, but otherwise, nothing can be done. I don't approve of it, and I think there comes a point where you have to turn them loose and let it happen. However, each director sees their own role and the role of their student-leaders differently.OK, thanks. I guess it is possible then that some of the scores might get inflated for "reasons" other than judging or performance order. Personally, the performance of the schools that do this suddenly seems less impressive for me. From one fan's perspective: If your students are that good musically (and it strikes me that MOST are), they don't need this assistance during the performance. Take the training wheels off; let the DM's take control; and let the band do their thing. If the music book or drill is so difficult that the director needs to be involved directing during the performance, the drill and/or music should be adjusted to the skill levels of the band. Simply one opinion.
  12. Scores for 10/23

    Question regarding what we noticed happening during finals at ISU yesterday: Are directors allowed to actually "direct" their bands during the competition? I thought it was strange to see two bands in finals last night where the director was actually directing the band's performance. One was down on the ground in front ot the large D-M stand using white gloves and directing the entire music on the field, or perhaps directing the DMs. He was standing in such a way that he was trying to hide from the audience (or perhaps the judges up in the box), but obviously could be seen by the field judges. The other one we noticed was actually standing about 10 feet from the student who was responsible for playing the audio effects for M-C, flipping through a multi-page folder with script/music and calling the cues for when to play them. That student never looked at the D-majors, just the director. If those audio bits get played at the WRONG time, the entire effect of their show is different. Just thought both of those were rather strange; seems like there should be some kind of D-Q or serious point reduction for that. I don't know what the rules are on this. Can someone explain? Has this been done in years past and we just haven't noticed?
  13. 2010 Illini Marching Band Championships Schedule

    For what it's worth, the entering issue wasn't much of a problem in the upper level, where we were at most of the day. But that is probably due to the ability to stand on the upper concourse at the top to watch and wait. There was a larger proportion of students in our general area, compared to parents, so compliments to the kids (at least on the north half of the upper balcony) for respecting the other bands and not taking a seat during another band's performance. Now, as for some of the parents in the area that were visiting and talking during performances.... And, two notes to the U of I Music Staff: First, from a parent, thanks for the changes this year...a great step in the right direction, and appreciated. Second; next year, please instruct your stadium maintenance crew to NOT drive their golf carts/service "gators" along the sideliine from one endzone to another while a band is on the field performing. Found it very strange that two guys each drove their own cart from the horseshoe to the north end, then returned about 10 minutes later. It looked like both times they were not carrying anything in the vehicles...simply driving to get from one end to the other, rather than walking. One time it happened during an especially quiet section in the band's performance; felt bad for the band (about when Normal West or Minooka performed, I think, but don't recall excat band(s)). But, I guess it beats having a wedding party on the field.
  14. Student Behavior

    I appreciate the advocating for Central Il bands, and I liked the changes for U of I this year...but I'm not sure I'd put a lot of stock in the idea of the "switching things up every year" at U of I being a long-term change...at least based on my understanding of what is supposed to happen. In the years when the large schools are supposed to play earlier in the day, is it possible that a number of the directors of 5-6A bands will simply elect not to go to U of I that year, and choose a different event that might be scheduled for the same day? If that happens, the change in order will quite likely be temporary. Bottom line: bigger schools and bands bring more family members with wallets to fill seats, which means more $$....especially for bigger venues. It simply "is what it is" for most of the competitions in Illinois. But, perhaps the order switching, over the long term, will play out the way U of I hopes and plans. And, two notes to the U of I Music Staff: First, from a parent, thanks for the changes this year...a big step in the right direction, and appreciated. Second, another big change to think about for next year: instruct your stadium maintenance crew to NOT drive their golf carts/service "gators" along the sideliine from one endzone to another while a band is on the field performing. Found it very strange that two guys each drove their own cart from the horseshoe to the north end, then returned about 10 minutes later. It looked like both times they were not carrying anything in the vehicles...simply driving to get from one end to the other, rather than walking. One of the times it happened during an especially quiet section in the band's performance; felt bad for the band (about when Normal West or Minooka performed, I think, but don't recall excat band(s)). But, I guess it beats having a wedding party on the field. ^o)
  15. U of I Changes?

    Does this explain how & why bands were treated so poorly this year? If the Department lost their clout with the retirement and was left with nobody to defend the day, and then lost out to other areas in regards to rushing through the awards and the wedding thing and all, does a new Director of Bands have the clout to at least restore some respecftul treatment for participants? And, protect the day from additional reception reservations? It looks like the scoring situation may improve, which is a good thing. But the "festival improvements" should also address the inexcusable treatment this year. Otherwise, the press box suites may be rented out starting at 4:00 next year, rather than 6:00. Until U of I makes some kind of announcement about scheduling going forward (and/or apology for the treatment this year), don't get your hopes up too high just yet. Just my opinion...
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