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 Post subject: Southern California field show circuits - pros and cons
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:38 am 
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Location: Chino, CA
SCSBOA, WBA, CSBC, MBOS


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 Post subject: Re: Southern California field show circuits - pros and cons
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:46 pm 
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Ok everyone....play nice.....

I'm actually curious about this mainly because I've only ever competed SCSBOA, primarily from convenience of show locations and the cost saving associate with traveling less distance.

So for SCSBOA and my particular situation as a teacher I would say location of tournaments is a pro. I've looked into some of the circuits before and always found options to be more limited which would mean traveling longer distances regularly, which becomes more costly since my district charges by hour and mile for trips.

I think a con when competing SCSBOA is that, since SCSBOA isn't actually a circuit and just provides judges, some of the shows are run significantly better than others between suitability of the location to actually be used for a competition, and other factors like the level of organization of the show, standardization of pricing, and so forth.

I don't really know much about any of the other groups. I went to one WBA show probably 10 or 12 years ago just to spectate so I don't know the director / performer side of things.

I believe WBA and CBSC set division size by number of performers, not musicians. I'm not sure if I think of this as a pro or a con. But then I teach an SCSBOA 1A size group with 36 musicians and regularly am up against those with 48+ who have way more brass than me and definitely feel like those 12 more musicians have a way bigger impact on score than if I have a few more guard members than another group. On the other side of things, those 1A groups with 48 musicians, almost all of whom are on the field and then another 20 guard members have a way better chance for visual impact and variety than one with 30 musicians marching and 7 in the guard. So I'm not really sure about which of these options is better....just different I guess.

To my knowledge all these associations have pretty similar rules about timing and such. I have no experience with other associations so I feel I can't make any educated comments regarding other aspects like adjudication, both the judges and the sheets/standards.

Oh and some of them have a prelims finals type format which I think is pretty cool, but I totally understand why it can't work in SCSBOA without some big changes. SCSBOA shows are simply too big to do such a thing. Though I do love that MBOS has the open class mixed times thing (or at least did at some point....I might be behind), I think that is pretty cool....as someone who often has to perform at pretty ugly times of day simply because my band is small and most shows start with smallest and work their way up. I also think it would be great for big bands to sometimes have to deal with the hot wind that's making them all sweat, the reeds dry out super fast, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Southern California field show circuits - pros and cons
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:54 pm 
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I too competed with small bands in SCSBOA. A 45-48 musician band, in my opinion has a almost insurmountable advantage over a 25-28 musician band. I prefer the smaller classification numbers in CSBC.
Class 1A (up to 35 total) does not have to compete against a band of 45 musicians, who if well balanced can get a great full sound.
That same SCSBOA 1A powerhouse with a guard of 10-12 would be in class 3A in CSBC. I think this levels the playing field a bit more.


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 Post subject: Re: Southern California field show circuits - pros and cons
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:36 pm 
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To be honest, while WBA may classify by a total number of performers on the field, the judges are only judging what they see. There are some tiny 1A bands that have done well against the 2A/3A bands in grand championships. In my opinion, worrying about if a 20 musician band will score better than a 48 member band is not going to get you anywhere. It's more about the execution of what you have given the students. For many years Beyer was a 3A sized band but opted to compete in 5A, and did very well in WBA. There are several other bands from the smaller divisions that have done well too. Plus, WBA uses a two-tiered judging system, so that 1-2-3A bands are on a different criteria sheet than the 4-5A bands. To my knowledge, this is the only circuit that caters like that for the bands. Often you will see smaller bands earning 80s-90s because of the tiered system, allowing those groups to meet criteria for their size and in some cases, resources. You rarely see that in other circuits.

I can't speak on other circuits in terms of judges, but my experience having judged in WBA, hosted a WBA show, and having taken my own groups to WBA shows to compete--the quality is of the best on the west coast. There are many myths about the circuit being all about visual, and effect, and that is just not true. The music judges that the circuit employ will reward a band that plays well, no matter what size they are. Since you are competing by class, you aren't going to have that much difference in size from band to band. Sure, you may have a group that has more winds than another group, but in the overall scheme, that doesn't matter to the judges. I also appreciate how the judges are local meaning, most are from CA, but they do bring in several out of state folks too. Folks who have seen a variety of bands of all levels nationwide, which can be helpful to any director.

One thing you will get from WBA is consistency. While each show host operates their show with their own identity, they still follow the same "template" of WBA. I personally like the ease of registering my band electronically, and then WBA making the schedule for the entire season (all shows), so that I can plan my transportation in advance. I also think WBA has done a good job covering the different areas of Southern California at least as far south as Orange County, and as east as Riverside/Palm Desert.

California has a lot of circuits, but it really comes down to what circuit fits your teaching philosophy. Whatever you want your band to look and sound like, should be the type of circuit you put them in. And I do believe there are SEVERAL outstanding SCSBOA groups who would do well in WBA but choose to do SCSBOA because of the logistical and financial reasons you mentioned.


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