The Marching Industry Cult

Pageantry competitions are built upon Erhard Seminar Training, a 1970’s sales tool by former scientologist Warner Erhard. Instead of psychiatry, those seeking help for the self invested up to $300 for Erhard’s lectures in the mid 1970’s and 80’s.  Known as EST, the technique involves psychological analysis, new hopes and dreams, a regained sense of control over life, release from past mistakes and the search for a “new self” using  religious-like connotations and false discipline.  Character is totally irrelevant.  Proof of EST influence is pageantries “get with it”,  “you don’t get it”, “you need to get it” mentality – the perfect vehicle for George Hopkins “modern art experiments”, using incomprehensible mental gibberish and Larry McCormick football field show designs as “values.”.  (Erhard usually warns his audience against thinking – “just be”.  It’s all good.  Everything has merit.)   Like John Dewey’s Seven Cardinal Principles, EST stimulates homogeneity.  The Garfield Cadets became EST art experiments using the football field hoax of “three dimensional space”, “cubism” and “surrealism”, whatever they could get naive people to accept as “modern art.”  Erhard says everything half a dozen times in different ways, similar to an art salesman explaining animals’ footprints on canvas as “a great artistic statement.”  Are the entire Garfield/Bands of America staffs Erhard trained?  Erhard was flown in to “teach” McCormick’s staff at substantial cost.  Band members who tried out at Cadet camps stated their staff was “strange” and “we wouldn’t buy into their crap.”  Of what do they speak?

Warner Erhard grew up in Philadelphia then converted to Episcopalianism from Jewish roots. A used car salesman in the 1950’s, he left his first wife and four kids in 1960 and fathered three more. He seemed to want to hide his past, changing his name, John Paul Rosenberg, to Erhard after reading an article in Esquire Magazine called “The Men Who made the New Germany.”  In the late 1960’s, he sold encyclopedias door to door.  Warner became involved in scientology and was an instructor in “Mind Dynamics”, a “spiritual discipline” founded by Englishman Alexander Everett.

EST is a combination of Dale Carnegie seminars, Scientology, Zen, Taoism and door to door sales pitches.  Seminars might last 16 hours a day for two weekends with a few bathroom breaks.  To Erhard, the “experience” is most important.  Morality and quality matter not. It just “is”.  John Dewey, the destroyer of American education, stated, “We cannot claim to understand anything until we have experienced it.”  Experiences differ with each person.  There is no socialist “whole consciousness.”  Like Dewey, EST has no judgment of right and wrong.  Erhard states, “I didn’t say it was bad to be an asshole.  It isn’t good or bad.  It just is.”  Erhard sells the perceived happiness people believe they missed out on.  Seminars are emotionally “syrupy” with touching and false compliments.

Like John Dewey and Warner Erhard, McCormick and Hopkins used misdirection to gain acceptance.  It’s all good.  Just “be with it.”  Any morality is acceptable.  Tight control is kept over those who work and volunteer “to serve the state of things”.  In band, drum corps and color guard, the philosophical bankers of EST are Larry McCormick and George Hopkins.  McCormick made great artistic contributions to drum corps in the 1960’s.  (Marching Bands of America formed as a subsidiary of McCormick’s Enterprises Inc., in 1975. MBA became Bands of America, a non-profit organization in 1984 and merged with the Music for All Foundation in 2006).  His quest was to convince thousands of band directors into spending money on useless design and ran many clinics where visual designers spouted the latest field fashions for high school children.  Drummers ran around, taceted and held props to remain part of this wayward teams “experience.”

Warner came from Scientology, a concept that envisioned man a machine, an automaton with no freedom.  His philosophy is based on escape - to create a “new image” and erase past failures.  Hence, the “empty your mind” attitude of his 1970’s tapes.  The George Hopkins “change the game” mantra is a borrowed Erhard Seminar sales pitch. Marching Bands of America (now BOA) had Erhard flown in to “teach” them as a group at substantial cost. “A possibility of possibility is a product of taking a stand for the possibility of being the stand you take… There must be a transformation.”   This partly explains the Cavaliers misplaced 1971 “circus” show which was booed off the field all over the country.  Some say Larry was ahead of his time.  Not at all.  He tried to get the GE Percussion sheets cancelled at the American Legion rules convention in 1971, hoping to “change the game” to sell his show designs.  Cavalier members state the 1971 corps was very talented.   McCormick destroyed their chances at competing to further his goal of some day selling show packages to high school band directors.  The 1971 Cavies were sacrificed for his cause.
Erhard on “change”: “Experiment with me.”  “There needs to be transformation.” “Change alters the circumstances in the vicious circle of life.” “We need to create new possibilities.”

Hopkins: “There are no limits.”  All competition is set to limits.

McCormick saw that marching bands would be a much bigger market but were 30 or 40 years behind drum corps in the late 1960s.  Band directors didn’t know anything about drumming nor disciplined field presentations.  They ran from formation to formation and were not taken seriously.  They were laughed at as “bandos”.

Erhard’s “game” came to drum corps from Pennsylvania. Erhard was from Allentown.  Judges Mike Kumer (Finleyville Royal Crusaders, Dean of the School of Music at Duquesne Univ. BOA Chief Judge and Board of Advisors Vice-Chairman.),  Tim Lautenheiser (in the “personal development “ game, another DCI “motivational speaker”, President,  Attitude Concepts for Today,  BOA Executive Director), Dave Lorenzi, a Pennsylvania percussion judge  and George Hopkins (DCI/YEA/Cadets) embrace Erhard selling method.  “Drum Corps is Marching Band” is a Warner Erhard ruse.

EST is about persuasion.  Everything is a game.  The “human being” is nothing but a tube where food goes in and out, similar to nihilism where life is pointless - human values worthless.  Some EST trainees were locked in closets and unable to use a bathroom to show that humans are biological slaves – similar to other brainwashing techniques. Historian Donald Meyer states:  “It was the genius of mind cure to discover how the weak might feel strong while remaining weak.”  Erhard and Dewey both preach there is no objective basis for truth, itself a contradiction. There is constant pressure to “rediscover” yourself in quirky “new age spirituality”, the essence of the modern marching music industry.  What you learn is irrelevant.  It’s all about being part of an “experience.”  McCormick and Hopkins copy Erhard’s verbiage: “I’ve got it together – expand your human potential – now you’ve got it together” emotionalism; all hope and doublespeak.  The mental masturbations of “modern art” fit with the morality of the marching music cult.  There are no absolutes.  Anything goes.  Everything has “value.” Emotion is always mentioned as a goal because it has no unit of measure.  (Hence, DCI judges like Jeff Prosperie state: “emotion has demand”. No one ever said DCI judges had an oversupply of intelligence.)  The capitulation of people like Prosperie caused pageantry to become a staff design commercial instead of a youth music contest.  McCormick wanted to sell.  Hopkins wanted to manipulate victory.   Erhard sounds like an introduction to Zen Buddisism, “The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” which leads you into a philosophy resting on the buzz-word “quality.” “I feel that Ken Turner has again brought this accepting attitude back to the activity – that is, accepting a different approach as long as it is quality.  “Instant healing or forgiveness is common to countless therapies and religions.”
Erhard’s philosophy on “thinking”:  “If you’re thinking then STOP THINKING!”   I will think for you.
“There is not much power in what you think.  The universe doesn’t care.”  Man is feeble.
“It’s not about what you already know.  It’s about what you don’t know that you don’t know.”  What?
“Live the superstition you think.  One of the things it thought up was YOU!”  Superstition is defined as irrational and magical.
 “There is an enormous indifference to your opinion in the universe.”  The individual is powerless.
“You don’t have an appetite.  The appetite has YOU!”  You are but a useless tube where food goes in and out.
 “Asking questions isn’t very powerful in dealing with what you don’t know that you don’t know.”   Trust me.  Don’t think.   Empty your mind.
Erhard on “life”:   “Life is a racket. If you can get beyond the horror of that…”  “There is no possibility of being for human beings.”  “Life is a mechanism.  It has no meaning.” “Life is a vicious circle.” “We have to restore the meaninglessness of that which we are.”
Hopkins:  “We begin to go with what’s comfortable, we begin to pull in our vision, and we actually begin to repeat the past!  ….. (And) begin to create a reality for our existence that is not actually all that real!”
This is not about change but the action of people that cut corners to win. It doesn’t matter if the contest is a fraud. Money is what counts, integrity of sport be damned. The insecurity of Warner Erhards “constant change” produced George Hopkins’ warnings similar to the children’s story Henny Penny - the sky is constantly falling. There must be change or we will fail!  With Hopkins, the Green Monster at Fenway Park should be torn down, the parquet floor at the Boston Gardens uprooted and Christmas moved to July to make it more convenient to sell, no matter the damage to the art or sport.  Hopkins used plastic “weapons” to display his concern for “violence”:  “If DCI stays the same and doesn’t play down its military heritage, it will continue to be plagued by declining crowds…  people who are new to the event can’t understand why we use weapons”, said Hopkins… In the Cadets 2001 show, there are no rifles… “You can’t sell football field design.  No one cares.  People want understandable competition.  Once there were 10 football bowl games.  Now there are 35.  Competition sells.  Socialists hate competition.  George is an admitted socialist.  EST was the method he used to influence then run the “party”.  Study Hitler to see how Hopkins manipulated DCI.

Sports organizations are very careful not to change the rules very often.  When they do change
something it is minor in nature so as not to upset the client base.  EST is all about "change" and "transformation"
yet they try to market themselves as "sport".  The result is like watching a bad DJ dance to his own music
wearing a funny hat.  Hence, McCormick and DCI plead for money and a stable market. Hilarious.

Modern DCI resembles 1940 football halftime shows, slow motion picture changes using running as the binding element and drummers doing infantile 16th note patterns a Civil War drummer would scoff at.  (Civil War drummers could do better breakdowns than the unintelligent garbage I’ve seen at PAS “individual” contests – so don’t laugh.  They had serious instruction, respected the art, could breakdown and play all of their rudiments and innovate syncopation via the flamacue and 3 vs. 2 phrasing.)  One would think those making football field stick figures and squiggles for self proclaimed “designers” would at some point revolt … or quit upon realization that such nonsense is a waste of their time and intelligence. (What has your connect-the-dot visual designer or band director taught you about art?   Do not do what visual judges do and read an art critique book at the library.)  It’s the intellectual equivalent of playing Hawaiian War Chant and having the band form a hula-hoop with waving palm trees and band members switching to fake grass skirts.  WGI judges have emotional musical orgasms over such “modern” tripe done by marching bands 50 years ago.

DCI, BOA and WGI are trying to visually compete against Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.  They lose badly, without the millions of dollars to erect state of the art lighting and electronics.  Tickets to the London 2012 opening ceremony is $3105, too fat for Hopkins or McCormick’s “design teams”.  DCI markets the “Summer Music Games” and then tries to sell modern art on a football field.  Hilarious. The one thing they COULD sell is competition, completely successful in American television culture over the past 20 years (American Idol, The Great Race, Celebrity Figure Skating, Hell’s Kitchen culinary competition, bartender flipping competitions, and on and on.  American Idol has been copied by about every country on the planet).  Why did the marching music industry choose to market design instead of competition?  Reilly Raiders had enough showmanship and following to get something started in the mid 1950’s let alone Royal Airs, Cavaliers and late 1960’s champion corps like the Troopers who successfully appeared on national television  doing state of the art music arrangements and sharp “drill” that carried respect.  Marching bands gawked at the excellence: “How in hell did these uneducated corps people get so many decades ahead of us?  Band and drum corps “visual football field art” has always been a two dimensional failure.  It has no third dimension.  Music trumps “drill.”  The attempt to do “forced perspective” and “surrealism” using 10 to 15 foot high props was the laughable conclusion except that drummers had to put their instruments down to erect the contraptions for scantily clothed color guard to preen and prance on.  Make-up might get you a few extra points, even the mascara one drumline used to heighten their manliness at a WGI show I saw.  As competitors, drum corps was 30 years ahead of bands and attracted audience curiosity and ticket sales with unmatched precision, not “design”.  What happened?  

DCI, BOA and WGI market design over competition.  They claim to market “education.”  That space is already taken by socialist teachers unions. Two of three are going out of business.  Why would Larry McCormick write a letter to band boosters across America asking for money to keep BOA from closing its doors in spring of 2009?  Marion Catholic gave him $10,000…..  ! Nothing like buying a score but that $200,000 Plymouth Centennial Park spent one year was as bad.  I put them near last place as their kids couldn’t play their way out of a wet paper bag.  Mommy and daddy tried to buy their kids a BOA championship.  (McCormick must have laughed all the way to the bank.)  The 1500 corps when I marched are down to what…. 57?  Or is it just those breakaway seven?  Liberals like George Hopkins always ruin progress.  They are destroyers.

Through constant Erhard Seminar Training “calls for change”, DCI became not marketable but reckless, losing weeks off its season.  The Hopkins/McCormick designers failed. The roots of this are teachers unions having no understanding, if not hatred of competition and a visual caption without the raw artistic talent to realize the idiom is visually extremely limited.  Buffalo DCI finals attendance displays a precipitous decline: 1990 – 30,000, 1995 – 19,100, and 2001 – 16,406.   Customers refused “show design” that forced corps to sound like a broken record skipping back to the beginning every 11 minutes - art experiments without meaning for them.  Drum corps skill is based upon execution - presentational, not representational. This creates “sport”.  The art of drum corps is precision, uniformity, power and momentum. Moving away from this simple fact produces backtracking and confusion.  George Hopkins:  “We simply need to adjust who we are so that we can reclaim the base of support.”… “Our audience is declining. We have the facts.”… “As we reposition ourselves we need to be COOL.”
Declining it is.  The only “reposition” can be a return to objective criteria, something socialists hate, after 25 years of abuse or McCormick and Hopkins must vacate the landscape.
Letter from the PCMB President  February 12, 2009
Subject: An Urgent Call for Your Support
Dear Plymouth-Canton Music Boosters:
    You may recall receiving a couple fan outs from one of our most active Alums, Lee Bonner, asking for us to support the Bands of America (BOA) campaign to raise funds in order to stay in business. As with many things today, multiple factors are threatening the very existence of BOA.

    Apparently, things are getting much worse and more layoffs took place yesterday.  Where BOA stands financially at the end of February will determine whether or not they are in business after March of this year.

    If BOA shuts down there will be no Grand National Championships, no National Concert Band Festival and no Summer Symposium... all events dedicated to furthering music in young people's lives.

    To date, people representing the Plymouth-Canton Marching Band have only pledged $260 to this campaign. Compare that with Marian Catholic who has pledged over $10,000. Many of the "Powerhouse" bands have also pledged a lot of money to the cause.

    We are all cash-strapped and even the smallest donation hurts, but by the same token, I consider PCMB to be one of those Powerhouse bands and would like us to be represented properly. If I recall correctly, only Marian Catholic has been a Finalist band more times than we have. That is a legacy to be proud of. We have a long history with the BOA organization and I would like to make an effort to support them in their time of need. And it's not just about Marching Band. BOA robustly supports Concert Band programs as well.
Please consider making a donation today... even a $5 or $10 donation will show that PCMB cares.
    Thank you,
    Plymouth-Canton Music Boosters
How cute.  McCormick ripped Plymouth boosters off for tens of thousands of dollars over the years trying to buy their little ones any championship.  The bullshit the Plymouth boosters spout is absurd and they heartily believe it, perfect little design sheep.   I met some of their drummers in later years at local colleges.  They agreed it was all bullshit.  From a percussion instructor very familiar with the situation:

“We all know that BOA has had nothing at all to do with the promotion of American youth, high school band programs, and/or the marching music activity, but only enriching the likes of Scott McCormick and his cronies!!!! (Some of whom are from our own home state), and in particular, doing their dead level best, to completely EMASCULATE MARCHING PERCUSSION!!!!!!!

I was at one of the first clinics with a self appointed design expert – Ken Snoek.  He stated curved shapes were better for ballads.  He had no art degree, just design propaganda.  I was still in corps at the time and remember thinking to myself, “Who the hell is this guy to be saying this stuff?  Can he draw?”  I should have asked him.  He became one of McCormick’s first design gurus.  At a “design clinic” in 1983, I asked Ken turner and some other DCI guru why the design they were considering was so ugly.  They stated “as long as the form changes, we consider it.”  Erhard’s “everything must change no matter the consequence”.  Supposedly educated band directors bought this crap without question then defended it to not look stupid in front of their band boosters and school administrators.

Both McCormick and Hopkins pushed hard to gain control of score sheets, McCormick to sell products and design, Hopkins to sell his corps through design, the only way to defeat the large pocketbook of the Blue Devils.  McCormick and his crew needed to convince naïve band booster parents that “champion designs” are needed to win using his judges and score sheets.  McCormick was an excellent arranger that brought the Cavaliers fame in the mid and late 1960’s.  This explains his 1971 attempt to destroy the General Effect Percussion at the American Legion convention in Indianapolis. He wanted control of the criteria to force corps to buy his music arrangements, show design and equipment. Drum instructors from New York, Pennsylvania and Canada drove all night to stop him and voted McCormick down.  Don Angelica (another band director) was incensed!  Ralph Pace, drill guy for the champion drumline Blue Rock (winners of 30 or 32 shows in 1971 and the first junior 8 man snare line) wanted their drumline to use marching band high-steppers that year.  Blue Rock drummers told him to F-off.  If successful, McCormick, Angelica and Pace would have cancelled the great drumlines of the 1970’s, where competition arranging for percussion sections unfortunately peaked.  Bands of America has never had a percussion sheet because McCormick figured he could not market drumming to band directors who couldn’t do it or teach it.  He used a small 5 point sub-caption on the music sheets sometimes judged by a bando with no experience.  Sometimes a drum judges was hired to pick a “champion” but the scores were never counted.  Larry wanted to sell his show concept to people, not uphold any drumming art.  Proof is Greg Markam, a BOA guru who stated “If you build it they will come – you do not want to build percussion sections.”  Percussion students can go to hell.  They scare band directors.  We can’t make much money off them.

McCormick published a monthly newsletter to band directors and interested parties (band kids must have read it as well) meant to spread his EST doublespeak design mantra.   (Buy my champion shows to be number one but the scores will not be announced because we don’t want to offend customers – nice self imposed contradiction.) When band directors began criticizing him, he published a tearful article asking band directors and students to join his cult, publishing addresses and phone numbers or EST centers in the country. Very strange.  This guy is wacko. The August 1983 issue of The Marching Band Director has a half page picture of numerous people in a strange pose with arms outstretched and thumbs up, headlines with big blue letters: “POSITIVE TRANSFORMATION IS HAPPENING” across the front with BOA staff members posing with their arms extended and thumbs up as if in a weird trance. Very VERY STRANGE.  But I am not a cult member so “I don’t get it.” This is what marching band in America is built upon.

McCormick comes clean on EST, publishing a long list of EST training sites in his band magazine.  He wants you to join.   In his article The Greatest Gift I can Give You; (Dec 1979 pp.12, 13) Larry pushes the EST cult, publishing the addresses and phone number of 27 EST centers all over America.  This in a marching band periodical?   On page 12 he states his purpose is to “give you an update on my present attitude about the EST training.”  He often uses George Hopkins verbiage.  “I got in touch with the game in my life called “success”, and how it seemed so terribly important, almost as though my survival depended on it. I used to let the success game “run me” which is not the case anymore.  (Two contradictions – an overly emotional plea to band directors to get to know him” so he can sell more stuff and the George Hopkins repeated EST phrases of “life is a game”, “everything is only a game”.  POLITICS IS A GAME OF MANIPULATION.   SKILL IS NOT.  Manipulating “modern art” gave them power and money destroying competition. The EST technique is to issue false love and discipline.  “The truth is, I have a need to now (sic) each of you better.  The time has come for you to know that I am your close friend and I care beyond your wildest imagination about you and the work you do with young people.  You see, I am really just an extension of each of you, your lives your values and dreams.”   “Can We Talk?”  February 1983.  Be happy!  Larry loves you!  “The EST training can contribute enormous value to your lives.  It can let you experience how magnificent you really are, and very well can be the answer to MAKING YOUR LIFE WORK….. Look into it!  Don’t wait a moment longer.  Simply do it!  The EST experience is the Greatest Gift I Can Give You….”  First he sells band directors design packages they don’t need, and then tells them to join a cult.  There’s a sucker born every minute.

Larry says EST cleared him of tension headaches and gave him purpose. What effect his television church has had on him is not clear.  Hopkinesque/EST verbiage is frequent akin to the YEA!’s “magnificent human beings” mantra): “The magnificent irony of this transformation in my life is you…. What has actually happened is that all of you band directors out there are transforming.” Dec 1979 issue p.13.  Transforming into what?  Helpless little design  peons?   The constant “we are in this together” verbiage is self serving, an emotional sales pitch having nothing to do with “concern” for students, otherwise, his score sheets would have been student oriented, not adult design oriented.   It would seem McCormick is selling wholesome family values “love” to people he doesn’t even know.  In reality, he is selling a design hoax, an emotional slight of hand aimed at naïve band directors and band booster parents.

Finally, McCormick gets to the heart of the matter.  “We will be sharing more about the subject of winning in everything we do at MBA because we’ve found that winning is participation: it’s in the doing and comes from the experience itself.    Sept vol.3 No.3 1980.  The contradiction: Buy my championship design packages at high prices to score well, but you know what?    Scores don’t matter.  Just be happy!  Transform yourself!
Erhard on “competition”:  “The answers make no difference.”
Hopkins:  “Music is a matter of opinion.  There is no real winner.”
(Modern art is the perfect EST vehicle.  It takes no talent, has no limits and produces money from intellectual junk.  The perfect pageantry hoax.)
To simply “show up” and “emote” has no educational merit or learning process.  Using competitive running as an example, there is a large difference in training, commitment and knowledge between a marathoner and 5k race finisher or the 6 hour marathon finisher to the 3 hour.  McCormick and Hopkins have been saying for decades there is no difference. Achievement does not matter.  Standing around holding props and running around for the visual people – putting the drums down on the back sideline and facing the rear stands – equals achievement.  McCormick and Hopkins both believe competition is bad for their business.  They have put drum corps OUT of business.  Band booster parents continue to raise money for their children to be transformed.  Nice racket. How stupid can you get?
Erhard on individualism: “The you that you are, when saying “I AM” is a superstition.  The “I” is superstition.”   Hopkins:  “There is no “I” in team.”  Without the individual there is no possible way to create a “team.”  Individual first.
George Hopkins is a power freak.  A devout admitted liberal/socialist he had to find a method to cancel Dave Gibb’s  2.1 million dollar Blue Devil bank account.  Garfield the sure loser of that equation.  He also had to cancel the Devil’s lead in drums.  (History shows that the most critical tick judging was in drumming.  Bad drumline?  No chance.)  “TRANSFORMATION IS HAPPENING”.  Hopkins gets DCI to eliminate the objective tick system and the risk/reward criteria of demand in 1984.   In its place comes “design” as running around was considered “cool” and “artistically forward thinking” by all the orchestral judges DCI brought in and tried unsuccessfully to train in rudimental competition drumming/arranging.  (By 1992 Tom Float was severely attacked as unmusical by orchestral DCI judges, now considered “too rudimental”.  Tom hated rudimental drumming.  Nice DCI contradiction.)  In the 1990’s the words “too rudimental” were written across many score sheets, especially in WGI.  That’s what socialists do…. Take the best and tamp them down to make everyone equal.  (This is the mantra of teachers unions in the United States and why American public schools are the laughing stock of the world.  As one Shenzhen Chinese businessman stated: “You Americans all tink you John Wayne with ten gawun hat and six shooter.  You have no more buwets.  You education system suck! We will rule the 21st Century!).  

Orchestral biased DCI drum judges loved the EST “change the game” mantra because they couldn’t pick up a stick in their hands correctly of know which of the two were the left one.  They tried to mix rudimental and orchestral, something rudimental champions like Steve Chorazy state is ridiculous as the two have little in common.  Chorazy is from the drum corps (Troopers, SCV), orchestral (Anthony Cirone) and drum set (big band) idioms.  Hopkins used the orchestral musician’s rudimental incompetence as a happy accidental by-product to further his goals of dominating DCI.  No more drums!  My designers are artists that have works in museums!  (The one guy I checked out used 50 layers of glue over an insect infested couch found in an alley to make a statement on some aspect of human psychology. And please forget the fact that Garfield was cheating on these orchestral types by cutting half the guts off the snare drums and adding tape and whatever else to dampen their mistakes.  Perfect drum score?  DCI orchestra guys have always been scared when confronted with anything rudimental.   It dwarfs them. (Listen to corps shows of about 1984 on for overdone orchestral swells and overstated dynamics.  That was their contribution.  Audiences began staying away. Football field orchestra doesn’t sell.  The only reason orchestral people came into drum corps was for a quick buck.  They did not respect the art or the music.  When DCI’s Stanley Finck lectured drum instructors and judges, he pushed practice of Cirone’s orchestral snare book.  That was 1985!  When I asked him “who the hell are you sir” his response was telling: “I taught the Madison Scout bass line for two weeks.”  At least Madison was smart enough to keep this clown away from their upper battery.  Hopkins tinkering allowed non-qualified people to judge, just what he wanted to disrupt the historical lineage and destroy objective thinking.  He had the perfect tool to cancel the threat of others talent – confused, untrained percussion people with advanced music degrees who couldn’t write, teach nor judge the art properly. Erhard Seminar Training allowed them to use their advanced degrees to justify their complete incompetence.   Hopkins and McCormick smiled.

McCormick sold design to make money off naïve band parents hungry to buy their kids false titles.  Hopkins sold design to change competition rules to cancel others better organization and staff talent.  Both are destroyers.  Both believed rudimental drumming is not marketable.  Then came the hit movie “DRUMLINE.” Music stores all over the country had a major increase in sales of lessons, sticks and instruments.  Too bad they didn’t use some real competition lines in that movie.  (The stick tricks in Drumline were being done in 1968. Jay Tuomey and Bobby Thompson critiqued my solos.  It was Tuomey who gave me a method to execute fast visuals with an arm launch and center of gravity catch.  The rest was practice.)

So if you are a young player running around the field or gym, wearing face paint and putting your instruments down to satiate some silly EST art/design fraud, know that it wasn’t always that way…. And realize the idiots you support by participating.  Rudimental drumming is war drumming.  It is use of the arm weight with scientific efficiency (Sturtze since 1931 at St. Francis, Sons of Liberty 1950 Bronx, NY; The NY Regimentals of fife and drum:  Cavaliers hire of Frank Arsenault and his move to the midwest; The difficulty of Mitch Markovich in the early 1960’s, the speed drumming of Rob Carson in the early 1970’s, Olympic training techniques 5 years ahead of Tudor O. Bompa the Soviet block coach who trained their gymnasts and beat the US.  We were doing interval, distance and speed drills/training before Olympic coaches, quantifying our 40 year lead on colleges in drumming.  They never knew what hit them.  Choreographed solos using visuals in the mid 1970’s, full upper battery Olympic technique training in the late 1970’s and the competition writing it spawned, then….

McCormick and Hopkins….. EST.   The entire Cavalier staff quit DCI at the end of 1976 after DCI orchestral biased judges refused to give them quality demand marks in the risk/reward trade-off vital to proper adjudication of rudimental competition drumming.  This ended the Frank Arsenault influence in major competition.  Marty Hurley (Sons of Liberty influence) never won a DCI drum trophy.   By the time his players were mature, the EST crunch was on.  The orchestra people had no clue as to his arrangement skills or complexity when writing for the classical music Phantom Regiment performed.  Judges wanted “idiomatic integrity” – make it sound like the original on a football field using marching instruments.  So much for originality as drum corps tried to be something else that something else was already better at.  (A rudimental competition line of orchestral trained DCI judges would have been a clown act.)  Yes, they might be able to play a paradiddle or a sloppy ratamacue, but rudimental drumming is not the rudiments, it is the technique behind the rudiments – use of arm thereby requiring a more developed grip strength.  They can’t do it.  They have no literature requiring it.  For the first time in the long history of war drumming, its best players were quitting instead of coming back to mature the art by giving clinics, writing more objective score sheets and judging.  By 1990, drumlines across the nation were reduced to simple 16th note passages, holding up stupid props and hoping no one would call on them to play flams – or anything difficult – clean.  They had been reduced to orchestra snare drummers where no rudimental literature exists – just occasional meaningless tappy notes.  Once the forefront and drive of competition, they had become an orchestra sideshow of embarrassingly difficult “musical tacets” and overdone dynamic “shaping”.

The one drumline that remained true to difficulty (orchestral judges still do not know what rudimental difficulty is) was the Madison Scouts line of the 1990’s taught by Jeff Moore.  His students were degraded by DCI’s orchestral judges but Madison corps director Bill Howard never fired Moore for his low percussion scores.  Bill Howard knew what was happening and that the Madison drummers were getting a good education in basics and difficulty.  I saw the 1997 and 1998 DCI individual contests at Pleasure Island in Florida.  It was a bad mix of sloppy orchestral wrist drumming, multiple bounce, bad flams and happy-go-lucky difficulty that was only slightly better than the poor kids that competed in Percussive Art Society snare competitions over the last 10 years that I saw.  (Only two had any inkling of how to breakdown a double stroke roll.  The rest were pathetic.)  There is no more money to be made off kids who play so poorly.  The destruction is complete… except of course for the judges who inflated their scores by 30 points because happy customers trump the state and direction of the art.  Skill goes missing.   The “coordination library” of individual players has been severely compromised by running around for no purpose.  This observed at the 1997 and 1998 DCI individuals and PAS individuals 6 times where a double stroke roll breakdown, well performed by Civil War drummers, was too difficult for most all the “contestants.”  The progress of EST is striking.
Ancillary Research
Larry sells “charisma.”  Tim Lautenhiser is Larry’s “emotion guru.”  “Tim’s unbelievable charisma has taken up the full spotlight and center stage of our work.”  He is selling a “motivational speaker” having nothing to do with “music”.  “Tim is now turning over the responsibilities of the administration of MBA and moving to work directly with more students in the areas of motivational workshops.”  (More Erhard converts?)

The EST influence is seen through Tim Lautenhiser’s piece entitled “The Choice is Yours…. A New Definition of Winning” Vol. 3 No.1 February, 1980   (or as Hopkins puts it “everyone is a winner”.)   You have no control over scores so don’t worry be happy.  If you emote you are a winner.   Educational sophistry at its best.

McCormick and Tim Lautenhiser bring EST to children.  “At the recent marching bands of America workshop, Tim Lautenhiser and I conducted our first clinic sessions for students and directors dealing with the subject of winning… but not through the conventional definition of the word… The participants discovered that winning has very little to do with being in 1st place, and that first place is often just a by-product of understanding and following the principles of winning.”  Sept. Vol.3 No.3 1980

“It is most moving to have young people come up and ask you after a session and ask you to repeat what was said so they could write it down word for word…. I feel we are on to something very meaningful with this Winning Clinic.  It is powerful stuff and needs to be spread around.”  Sept 1980 vol.3 no.3

McCormick states his employees share his purpose of “music education.”  “As of this writing 13 of 33 employees have gone through EST, and 2 more have signed up for upcoming seminars…. “I’ve personally witnessed people’s lives change around as they realize who they really are, and witnessed them “getting off” the games that used to run their lives.”

McCormick never used a percussion sheet for scoring, always an unimportant sub caption on the music sheet.  Instructors stated major MBA shows had percussion experienced music judges or a separate percussion judge that picked a winning line for a trophy, without counting the scores.  Another EST contradiction: Buy my percussion clinicians, videos and arrangements, and then realize the drummers count for very little my score sheets.  The design team was judged far more than the kid’s performance, causing severe scoring swings when MBA affiliated judges mixed with others.  McCormick’s score sheets were destructive to percussion execution and the performance level. Kids did not need to perform well anymore to score high.  All they need do was be happily dumbed down holding props and running around for the artistic maturity of a 4th grader with a small set of crayons.

In A Bandwagon For Winners, (The Marching Band Director Feb 1981 p.5 Executive Director MBA) Lautzenheiser introduces band directors to Werner Erhard’s “change” and “everyone is a winner.”  “Most of us don’t like changes…. Change also means; opportunity, adventure, unlimited possibilities, excitement, exposure to new thoughts and ideas, and saying “welcome to what can be…. It means a BEGINNING!” “With all of the changes, there is one CERTAINTY that you can bank on EVERYTHING that has the name Marching Bands of America on it will directly benefit you students!”  (It’s always “together” “team” “doing it for you” etc.  You need to “see the light”.)  How does 60 percent or more of the score being “design” benefit students?  They don’t design anything.  Funny, DCI stated the same quote in one of their rules congresses: “Everything we do is for the performer.”

McCormick goes after young impressionable band directors.  He formed a team (SWAG) organized by Lautenhiser, extending the “love” and “get over your past” EST seminars.  “We blame everything except the root of our all our headaches: our own ego.”  This stated, why does McCormick’s publication give the qualifications of their clinicians in terms of “champions?”  The S.W.A.G. Experience   by Dave Greennagel a director of choirs at a Virginia High School. “I was a member of a 30-person S.W.A.G. team which was organized and overseen by Dr. Tim Lautenhiser… It was my experience as a S.W.A.G. that snapped me out of it and renewed my spirituality.  As a S.W.A.G., the first thing we were instructed to do was “get over it”…. The S.W.A.G. attitude is infectious.…. I believe the most valuable thing I learned as a S.W.A.G. was to shut up and listen…. the essence of a successful director is love.”  (Warner Erhard usually began seminars by telling audiences he “loves” them.)  SWAG’s act as guides, sell tickets, be judges runners, watch the gates, and handle the finale ceremonies, sold on the idea of “growing with participation” - the “experience.”  Free time and work for McCormick’s corporation.

Young SWAG team members are picked to positions in the MBA organizations. So What Does Swag Really Mean?  H Todd Stone  Sept 1984:   “Some of you have also seen a bunch of teary-eyed SWAG’s coming out of their meetings.  I can only say that by being apart from each other all week doing what each of us has to do in order for this growth and winning spirit to occur only brings each one of the SWAG’s closer.”  These “sharing of experiences” equal the wasteful high school “rap session” low on intelligent content, high on emotional variables - the “loving family.”  McCormick turned MBA into a self help psychiatry clinic.  Teary eyed? Anyone can share “experiences”.  Not everyone can choose to attain mastery of a skill.  That takes about 10,000 hours of practice.

MBA was jointly taken over by sons Scott and Kevin. Bands of America… A New Beginning
L. Scott McCormick: “My hopes are that you are able to pick up on some of those feelings that are being emoted in the various articles and letters written by others that experienced the events this summer. The experience for me was just that… FEELINGS… too large for words.”  (Those are his enlarged letters.)  Don’t think.  Emote.

Tim Lautzenheiser states in the August 1982 edition in the “Weekend with the Experts” program that the “student division” focuses on motivation, leadership and “self awareness” by “accepting the responsibility of a “positive attitude” in their roles as a “valuable member of the organization.”  (Do not think about what we are telling you.  Buy us, our products and shut up.   Be valuable!)  The first Garfield squiggly drill was 1982.   The Garfield staff I stood next to years later laughed at the fact they couldn’t fix their squiggly drill.  Their instructor stated “I don’t know how to fix it.”  Hopkins reply was “The judges don’t know what we are dong anyway.  LEAVE IT.”  The entire Garfield staff laughed.

The December 1984 issue of The Marching Band Director has a two page Lautzenhiser special on band directing through his videos.  Included is a strange letter of happiness form a previous client: “Watching Dr. Tim made me feel so much better… Tim Lautzenheiser puts your emotions in the palm of your hand to look at.”    This sounds like a new cult member.  It is always about emotion or “the experience”, never about skill.  Anyone can go to the corner store and buy a soda pop.  That’s considered an “experience”, the lowest common denominator of comparison.  Spitting on the ground is also an “experience.”  One gains no “skill” going to that store.  Skill takes much more work – too much for McCormick and Hopkins to invest in.

In 1987, Bands of America appointed a new “Chief Judge” responsible for monitoring and critiquing all approved BOA judges.  Basically it was to sell more design junk. “The uniform MUST reflect the mood of the music you’re trying to display.”  Bands without the money for new uniforms and useless costume changes do what?  Poor school districts still have competitive sports teams that do well in state playoffs.  McCormick has set it up so poor schools can’t win.  You must buy his designs or those of his “team.”

Erhard’s and Dewey’s psychobabble defines George Hopkins and Larry McCormick.  It defines drum corps “art”, snare drummers without guts (understand that both ways) and competition with nebulous criteria that constantly must change.  (Criteria defines the product. They destroyed the product.)  The way to compete is to claim you don’t want to and constantly change “political” rules to gain advantage no matter the damage done. Erhard constantly repeats, “I’m not saying what I say is true”.  Consider George Hopkins contradictory speech to the 1985 Cadets, “We’re not here to win and we’re only competing against ourselves, but we’re not here to lose either.”  Dewey saw man as constantly changing without needing philosophical foundation.  This combines well with EST.  Change has no rules.  Change has no responsibility – no absolutes.  Change takes no talent.  Just say or do something different, the creed of “modern art” - sell emotional spitballs that have no purpose or intellect. Erhard and Dewey believed people want to be told what to do.  Dewey resented final conclusions.  There was no permanent “truth”, only a truth of the day as “things change”.  Since there are no constants to build from, money can be made from the resultant chaos and weak leadership.   

John Dewey stated, "Education is not to educate, it is meant to indoctrinate." Warner Erhard's EST is meant to indoctrinate or brainwash weak people. DCI markets itself as "educational".  Youth involved in the "marching music industry" couldn't be in better hands.
John Pratt:  “The stars are constants.  People navigate by them.  We have no constants in drumming today.”