Undoubtedly mikekimchi, you not only are a legendary drum major but also come from a strong line of MOB predecessors and traditions. That is definitely
something to be applauded for, and it gives you a lot of clout in the art of drum majoring.
However, even within conducting, it is not simply reading the score and mechanically going about the motions of what the notes say on paper. Fieldshows may provide scores, but most of the field conducting stuff doesn't. We have to go over it "infinity-plus-one"
times to mentally understand what is going on, and then visually represent what is going on the field. And you can be creative about the visual aspect because certain things you may do can help accentuate what is going on in the music. The most recent drum major performance that best describes this is from the Granite Bay HS 2006 field performance...check out what she does!
(by the way...she takes 1st place at this competition!)
Not only that, but there are definitely technical and leadership aspects that are accounted for in field conducting. I do agree that FC affords the competitor liberties to display more in the area of showmanship, but it's not *JUST*
"conducting a piece of music".
If that were so, then using a similar premise as what DMJUDGE
and yourself used about Mary Had a Little Lamb...then anyone with a good pattern that performs their "routine" should be able to do well (which is totally not the case, btw)
Even in colorguards...they have evolved a great deal over the last several years. They used to be bearers of the national flag...high-mark-timing with those tall/cowboy boots...and now it is more of a dance/visually-packed performance. And even then...there are debates as to the appropriateness of colorguards interpreting the music (specifically, marching straight forward on the street vs. going to the back of the band to complete the visual package). Suffice it to say, the analogy used is a shaky because colorguards have their own issues themselves (with respect to street performance).
Which brings me to my next point. L-patterns are simulations
of what takes place on the street, in the same way that winterguard is an extension
of what takes place on the street (or field, but let's keep the example simple). Is winterguard the same as street performance? Clearly not. Does that make it any less of an activity? NO WAY!!!
Technique, teamwork, and confidence (just to name a few by way of example) are being taught in the winterguard arena. The integrity of the activity is still maintained, and it's the principles
that are most important.
SIMILARLY, same goes for the L-pattern. While drum majors still clad themselves in band/military-esque uniforms, the principles of spinning, marching, and leadership remain as non-negotiables (for which I COMPLETELY AGREE
with you mikekimchi) in an activity that is slightly less formal than the street...
Which allows the performer to display a little more creativity that they otherwise may not be able to do in a more formal atmosphere like street competition. A number of years ago I saw Jason Paguio perform "Music from the Royal Fireworks" with Scottish Mace. It's not a march...nor a fight song...nor even bagpipes! Yet it was beautifully performed
and executed...by a first-year 8th grade competitor! (although he too comes from the long line of legendary competitors from the Paguio clan)
So I guess my point in all of this is the following (in no particular order):
1. Musical selection accentuates the musicianship that the drum major is to possess as the LEADER
of the marching band
2. Interpretation provides showmanship within the context
of the role given (i.e., tall flags, ID unit, majorettes, drill team, drum major)
3. Field conducting is NOT
just conducting a piece of music (sorry bro...I am a BIG field conductor...and I think that point gets majorly butchered especially
in Southern California)
Knowing of course that it will be impossible to change the mindset of yourself, DMJUDGE et al. re: drum majors in street/L-pattern competitions (from a strict military style vs. content-packed/showmanship-filled routine), this has generated some good discussion! And I believe we have been fulfilling the purpose & intention of the forum...I always appreciate bouncing off thoughts & ideas off the professionals and gain some insight on what the "bad boys" are thinking HAHA
Once a drum major, always a drum major.