Drum Corps Associates

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Drum Corps Associates
DCA LOGO 2008.png
Drum Corps Associates 2008 logo
TypeAssociation of Drum and Bugle Corps
FoundedSeptember 1963; 55 years ago (1963-09)
No. of corps19
PresidentAlan Buell
First championsReading Buccaneers (Open Class), 1965
Current champions

Drum Corps Associates (DCA) is a governing body for modern all-age, or senior, drum and bugle corps in North America. DCA sanctions competitions, certifies adjudicators, maintains and enforces rules of competition, and sponsors an annual World Championship during Labor Day weekend.[1]

DCA is viewed as a counterpart to Drum Corps International (DCI), which governs junior drum corps in North America.[2]:25 Historically, DCA members were referred to as "senior corps" in contrast to the "junior corps" of DCI who limit participants to a maximum 22 years of age. DCA has no such age restriction, so the term "all-age corps" has come into common use.


In August 1963, Almo Sebastianelli, sponsor of the annual “Parade of Champions,” approached then-director of the Skyliners, Henry Mayer, to discuss problems affecting show sponsors and senior drum corps. Sebastianelli and Mayer organized a meeting later that month, attended by representatives from the Archer-Epler Musketeers, Reading Buccaneers, and Yankee Rebels and the Skyliners.[2]:24 Five areas of concern were identified during the meeting:

  • Conflicting contest dates.
  • Inconsistent contest formats.
  • Inconsistent adjudication.
  • Uneven distribution prize money.
  • Need to promote better relationships between competing corps.

During a second meeting the following month (September 1963), by-laws were adopted and the name Drum Corps Associates was chosen. Mayer was elected the first president.[2]:25 Charter members were: Reading Buccaneers, Connecticut Hurricanes, Interstatesmen, Archer-Epler Musketeers, Pittsburgh Rockets, Yankee Rebels and the Skyliners

DCA sanctioned one event in 1964, the 12th Annual Tournament of Drums in Waverly, New York;[3] the first DCA World Championship was held in Milford, Connecticut on 11 September 1965. The Reading Buccaneers won the first of their sixteen championship titles at this inaugural event.[4]

Hawthorne Caballeros joined DCA in 1966, along with the Sunrisers, and Brigadiers;[2]:25 the Rochester Crusaders joined in 1967. The number of corps competing in Open Class reached twenty-three in 1987.[5] In 2008, twenty-four corps competed at World Championship, twelve in Open Class and Class A each.[6]

Corps from Canada have been frequent competitors since DCA's founding, such as Les Metropolitains from Montreal, and Les Dynamiques from Buckingham, Quebec;[7]:249-254 the Kingston Grenadiers, from Toronto, competed in 2010. Yokohama Inspires, from Japan, competed in 2005; the most recent competitors from the United Kingdom were Kidsgrove Scouts from Kidsgrove in 2017, and Cadence from Guildford in 2018.[6]

Past championship locations[edit]

Year Venue Location
1965 Jonathan Law Field Milford, Connecticut
1966–67 John F. Kennedy Stadium Bridgeport, Connecticut
1968–71 Holleder Memorial Stadium Rochester, New York
1972 Roosevelt Stadium Jersey City, New Jersey
1973–76 Holleder Memorial Stadium Rochester, New York
1977–78 J. Birney Crum Stadium Allentown, Pennsylvania
1979–80 Hershey Park Stadium Hershey, Pennsylvania
1981 Franklin Field Philadelphia, Pennylvania
1982–87 J. Birney Crum Stadium Allentown, Pennsylvania
1988 Hershey Park Stadium Hershey, Pennsylvania
1989–90 J. Birney Crum Stadium Allentown, Pennsylvania
1991–95 Lackawanna County Stadium Scranton, Pennsylvania
1996 Frontier Field Rochester, New York
1997–99 J. Birney Crum Stadium Allentown, Pennsylvania
2000–01 P & C Stadium Syracuse, New York
2002–05 Lackawanna County Stadium Scranton, Pennsylvania
2006 PAETEC Park Rochester, New York
2007–12 Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Annapolis, Maryland
2014–17 Rochester Rhinos Stadium Rochester, New York
2018–19 Williamsport Area High School Williamsport, Pennsylvania


Headquartered in South Orange, New Jersey, DCA was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the New Jersey Department of the Treasury on 8 June 1977.[8] DCA was previously designated a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS, however this designation appears to have been revoked as of 15 February 2011 for unknown reasons.[9]

Allen Buell is the current president, he serves alongside a board of directors elected by the member corps.[1]

Active corps[edit]

Classification and adjudication[edit]

Currently, DCA assigns all competing corps to two classes. No distinction is made for corps from outside North America. Corps from all classes often compete together, but are judged and ranked separately.[citation needed]

Current Classes[edit]

Open Class corps are the groups that have chosen to compete at the highest level, and generally march up to 130 ensemble members.

Class A[a] corps are small, often young and developing, groups who wish to compete, but may or may not have the resources to compete against the larger Open Class corps. Participation in Class A is limited to corps with less than 65 ensemble members.

Mini-corps is a special class reserved for very small groups consisting of horns, and percussion or a rhythm section, often no more than twenty total performers. These groups typically compete on a theater stage, and not on a football field. A mini-corps championships is held the day before World Championship prelims.

Historical classes and divisions[edit]

Sources: [7]:249-254

1965–1997 1997–2001 2001–present
Open Class Open Class Open Class
Class A Class A
1965–2001 2001–present


DCA's Adjudication Manual is based on three broad categories, Visual, Music and Effect.[10] Visual and Music categories are further subdivided into three reference criteria, or captions: one caption for each of a corps' sections, and two ensemble performance captions. Unlike other adjudication manuals, DCA's manual does include captions for individual or ensemble analysis, or design or effect analysis.

The manual includes definitions for appropriate, and achievement, in lieu of proficiency, or attempt; this vocabulary reflects the style of programming utilized by modern all-age corps.[11] Audience entertainment and engagement are also important factors in adjudication as well.[10]

Category Caption + Caption + Caption = Points
Music Brass (20) / 2 + Percussion (20) / 2 + Ensemble (20) / 2 = 30.00
Visual Color Guard (20) / 2 + Ensemble (20) / 2 = 20.00
Effect Visual Effect (25) + Music Effect (25) = 50.00
Sub-Total : 100.00
Timing & Penalties : - 0.00
TOTAL : 100.00

Prior to 2011, nine adjudicators were required for each competition, using a different manual;[11] the "European Music Games" adjudication manual published by Drum Corps Europe (DCE) was adapted from the previous DCA format.[12]

World Championships[edit]

Sources: [6][7]:249-254

Year Open Class Class A Mini-corps
1965 Buccaneers
1966 Skyliners [A]
(New York)
1967 Hurricanes
1968 Buccaneers (2)
1969 Hurricanes (2)
1970 Caballeros
(New Jersey)
1971 Skyliners (2)
1972 Caballeros (2)
1973 Caballeros (3)
1974 Caballeros (4)
1975 Skyliners (3)
1976 Caballeros (5)
1977 Sunrisers
(New York)
1978 Sunrisers (2)
1979 Buccaneers (3)
1980 Buccaneers (4)
1981 Hurricanes (3)
1982 Sunrisers (3)
1983 Sunrisers (4)
1984 Caballeros (6)
1985 Caballeros (7)
1986 Bushwackers
(New Jersey)
1987 Sunrisers (5)
1988 Bushwackers (2)
Sunrisers (6)
1989 Bushwackers (3)
1990 Bushwackers (4)
1991 Empire Statesmen
(New York)
1992 Bushwackers (5)
1993 Bushwackers (6)
1994 Empire Statesmen (2)
1995 Caballeros (8)
1996 Westshoremen
1997 Empire Statesmen (3)
1998 Empire Statesmen (4) Generations
(Rhode Island)
Heat Wave
1999 Brigadiers (2) Skyliners [B]
(New Jersey)
2000 Brigadiers (3) Generations (2) Ghost Riders
(New York)
2001 Brigadiers (4) CorpsVets [C]
Renegades [D]
2002 Brigadiers (5) Skyliners (2) Erie Thunderbirds
2003 Caballeros (9) Heat Wave (2) Renegades (2)
2004 Empire Statesmen (5) Grenadiers
Golden Eagles
(New Hampshire)
2005 Buccaneers (5) Chops, Inc.
Minnesota Brass [E]
2006 Buccaneers (6) Govenaires
Star United
2007 Buccaneers (7) Sunrisers [F]
(New York)
Star United (2)
2008 Buccaneers (8) Alliance
Star United (3)
2009 Buccaneers (9) Govenaires (2) Star United (4)
2010 Buccaneers (10) Fusion Core
(New Jersey)
Star United (5)
2011 Minnesota Brass
Govenaires (3) Star United (6)
2012 Buccaneers (11) Carolina Gold
(North Carolina)
Star United (7)
2013 Buccaneers (12) White Sabers
(New York)
Ghost Riders (2)
2014 Buccaneers (13) White Sabers (2) Star United (8)
2015 Buccaneers (14) Govenaires (4) Star United (9)
2016 Cadets2
Cincinnati Tradition
Star United (10)
2017 Buccaneers (15) Cincinnati Tradition (2) Star United (11)
2018 Buccaneers (16) Carolina Gold (2) Star United (12)
  1. ^ The Skyliners were then called the New York Skyliners, based in New York City.
  2. ^ The Skyliners were based in New Jersey, beginning in 1997.
  3. ^ CorpsVets are now known as Atlanta CV Drum & Bugle Corps.
  4. ^ The Renegages mini-corps was composed of members from the Renegades Open Class corps from San Francisco, California.
  5. ^ Minnesota Brass mini-corps was composed of members of Minnesota Brass Open Class from St. Paul, Minnesota; also known as Minnie Brass.
  6. ^ Long Island Sunrisers previously competed in Open Class.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Class A is often written as A Class on official materials, score recaps, and summaries.


  1. ^ a b "Drum Corps Associates » About Drum Corps Associates". dcacorps.org. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  2. ^ a b c d Peashey, Tom (2003). "Chapter 3: A History of Drum Corps Associates". In Vickers, Steve (ed.). A History of Drum & Bugle Corps. 2. Sights & Sounds, Inc. pp. 24–31.
  3. ^ "DCX - Drum Corps Xperience". www.dcxmuseum.org. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  4. ^ Blocher, Gregg. "1965 Season". www.fromthepressbox2.com. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  5. ^ Blocher, Gregg. "1987 DCA Season". www.fromthepressbox.com. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  6. ^ a b c "Drum Corps Associates » Historical Scores". dcacorps.org. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  7. ^ a b c Vickers, Steve, ed. (2002). A History of Drum and Bugle Corps. 1. Sight & Sound, Inc. (published 2010). pp. 227–303.
  8. ^ "Business Name Search". www.njportal.com. Entity ID 0100041592. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  9. ^ "Details about". apps.irs.gov. 2011-10-07. EIN 23-2754515. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  10. ^ a b Kreitzer, John (2018-04-04). "Judging DCA Corps". dcacorps.org. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  11. ^ a b Hinton, Tim (2013-09-04). "Judging DCA". Marching Roundtable (Podcast). Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  12. ^ "European Music Games: Guide to the Judging System 2017" (PDF). www.dcuk.org. 2017-04-02. Retrieved 2018-09-21.

External links[edit]