Download: Blueprint for Fielding A World Class DCI Cymbal Line in 2020

I’ve had this feeling for a while- an internal fire full of optimism fueled by a plan. I want everyone to know that there’s a very strategic way to implement a new cymbal line to a world class drum corps next summer. In the blueprint I listed the pros under three main categories- identity & philanthropy, finances, and a partnership with Seavine (something we’ve never offered before). This blueprint would not only offset the costs of a cymbal line but bring in a new avenue of revenue for a corps.

I’m serious about getting more cymbal lines on the field next summer. There’s no benefit in keeping this information for myself. In fact, if you feel qualified, passionate, and available enough, I encourage you to use as much or as little of this blueprint as you’d like to try and reinstate a cymbal line. If you want me to teach it, facilitate it, or cheer for it- I’m your girl. If you “know someone” and think this could be your in- go for it!

Feel free to send an email to for more information or to keep this discussion going. The time to be inclusive is now. The time to make a smart business decision is now. The time to have the drum corps community celebrate you is now.

Chelsea LevineComment
DCI 2019 Statistics

One drum corps chose to bring back their cymbal line this summer. That corps is Jersey Surf. In 2018 they were in 30th place. In 2019 Surf landed in 24th place making semi finals for the first time since 2014. 

One drum corps decided to add the number of cymbal spots they offered to 6 positions this season. That corps is Pacific Crest. In 2018 they were in 20th place. In 2019 PC finished the season in 14th place. 

Three drum corps in world class got rid of their cymbal lines and still fielded a corps this summer. Those drum corps are Mandarins, Crossmen, and Madison Scouts. Mandarins had the same placement (10th), Crossmen went up one placement from 2018-2019 and the Scouts went down one placement. 

For the fourth year in a row the world class drumline that won the high percussion caption had a cymbal line. That group is Santa Clara Vanguard. 

Do I think these placement jumps or lack thereof are correlated to having or not having a cymbal line? Not at all. Do we not prove year after year when a new champion is crowned that infinite formulas for success exist? Let’s be inclusive fam. Someone bring back their cymbal line- it will only bring your drum corps good press, more talent through the door, tap into an ecstatic alumni base that has felt disconnected from its corps, and a drum corps community that will celebrate you.

Chelsea LevineComment
DCI 2019=Huge Success
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We’re still completely overwhelmed by all of the love and support given to Seavine at DCI Championships this weekend! It was incredible to see some old faces and make new friends both at our booth and in the lot.

New merch! If there’s one thing we learned this weekend it’s that a lot of people are up to date on the latest season of Stranger Things! If you’re still interested in picking one of our Marching Things Tees, Dad Hats or Fanny Packs head on over to our store! We have limited sizes, quantities, and colors left. In the midst of all of the new swag at the booth we had some serious nostalgia going on with WGI and DCI lot videos streaming of all of our cymbal lines and hornlines over the years. Everyone was able to enjoy some videos and try on gloves all at the same time! None of this would be possible without our amazing staff compiled of Jacob, Pedro, Kim, Jess, and Emily. You guys killed it this weekend. If you were there, you know!

Last but not least, the performances. The showmanship in the lot and in the stadium were the best we’ve ever seen-point blank. We are so proud and thankful to 7th Regiment, Arsenal, The Blue Devils, Colt Cadets, Colts, Guardians, Seattle Cascades, Shadow, Southwind, and Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle corps for sporting Seavine in such a professional and impressive way this season. We will have a Seavine Spotlight Video of Spirit coming out later this week that you won’t want to miss. In the meantime enjoy this montage of our weekend at Drum Corps International Championships!

Chelsea LevineComment
DCI Finals Here We Come!
Photo Credit Oliver McKenna

Photo Credit Oliver McKenna

We are pumped to announce we are joining the ranks as a sponsor of Drum Corps International Finals this year! In our new role we will be inside Lucas Oil sharing the Seavine love at our booth and in Military Park getting all the lot footage!

With it being such a celebratory milestone to present at DCI Championships we thought we should introduce some new merch to be released at the event. New to our line up is our “Marching Things Tee”. You can wear it around Lucas Oil or in the Upside Down. You’ll also want to pick up one of our fanny packs that will come in black, blue, lime green, and red for your band rehearsals this fall. We’ll have a few more items to add to our exhibit over the coming days and of course some of the classics available so stay tuned.

We are extremely excited to see everyone at one of the best marching music events of the year. Make sure you come introduce yourself, try out The Hornline Gloves, eat our snacks (what?), play our cymbals and brass instruments, and pick up some swag! Big thanks to all of our supporters and fans who have helped us along our journey.

Chelsea LevineComment
Collaboration In Cymbal World.

Collaboration. What does that mean in the marching arts? We all know that in order to be successful in any capacity the organization and each of its moving parts need to operate like a well oiled machine. Administration. Logistics. Design. Teaching staff. Leadership. Membership. Because this is a medium specifically for cymbal players, teachers, and enthusiasts alike I wanted to take a moment to shed some light on what collaboration looks like in the dynamics of fielding, teaching, and marching a cymbal line.

Let’s start with designing and arranging for a cymbal line. As a battery percussion arranger/composer your job by definition is to write the music. As it relates to cymbals you choose the rhythms and the sound techniques and put them on the paper. Essentially your job stops there and you pass the baton on to the cymbal technician. 

You’re up cymbal tech! What do you see when you look down at a new sheet of music for your line? A skeleton. Opportunity. Notes to be sung from pairs of circular metal strapped or not to the hands of your performers. Visual movement that hasn’t been dreamed of yet. 

What does a cymbal player see when they are handed a new piece of music? A skeleton. Opportunity. Notes to be sung from their pair of circular metal strapped or not to their hands. Visual movement that hasn’t been dreamed of yet. 

You’re smart so you realize that what a cymbal technician sees and what a performer sees is one and the same. This is one of the unique and beautiful aspects of marching cymbals. As a member and staff member you have the opportunity to collaborate on a product that has the ability to be trend setting and seen by thousands. Every note needs definition. Every space has the possibility to turn into, simply put, a cool moment. In the cymbal lines I teach we make sure that how the notes are played and the visuals we write complement and embellish the rest of the music score. What was new vocabulary last season is now a standard and needs to be topped. It’s this fire as staff and members that has to be fed to innovate our instrument. We work together to make the best product we can. 

Now this isn't to say that in other sections there isn’t collaboration between members and staff with the product, but I would argue that the degree a cymbal player and their cymbal tech must work together to make the book what everyone involved wants it to be is substantially higher than other sub sections. Cymbals and their vocabulary are changing at a rapid pace. Once a member is aged out one or two years they find that the next generation has dreamed up something they never did and ultimately something that they can’t do themselves. From a sheer physical standpoint a tech can’t throw the plates around the way the members can. I’ve rarely seen a cymbal tech be able to outplay a world class cymbal line after being aged out more than two years. And you know what? They don’t have to.

As a cymbal technician your job is to be a facilitator. You need to provide vision for the cymbal line and as they say, help the creative juices flow. And once you have a visual or musical phrase in place you must clean it. You also need to be the voice of reason and make the final call when the balance of innovation starts to outweigh consistency and cleanliness. And this is where the lines get blurry between staff and members. From one side you need each other for the show to meet its full potential. On the other hand as the tech you have the final word and difficult task of deciding where the bar should be set in order to be achievable and innovative. It takes a lot of maturity from the membership to accept that the decision that you make is for the best, not to stunt their growth but to set them up for success. I remember very vividly as a member performing visuals that I didn’t think were cool enough. I had to trust my teacher and trust the process almost blindly to keep the peace and momentum moving forward. When you don’t it can get toxic very quickly.

Collaboration- to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor. The creative process is unique in cymbal world. It can be equal parts frustrating and fulfilling. Keep pushing the envelope. Keep working together. Don’t lose sight of the common goal. It’s an amazing process to be a part of. Enjoy it. 

Chelsea LevineComment