In May 2015, I set off to Great Britain to attend the DCE Judges’ College. What should I expect? What will others expect from me?

In May 2015, I set off to Great Britain to attend the DCE Judges’ College. What should I expect? What will others expect from me?

A report by Malte Steiner

In the run-up, Mark Bassett (DCE Adjudication Manager) and Marco Harder (Caption Head Music) supported me with my preparation for the event, which was done via Skype sessions and emails, which helped me with the topics I should revise for the examination. Nevertheless, I became a little bit nervous as the College drew nearer!

The Journey. I flew to Manchester to meet up with Matthieu Meulenare (Ensemble Visual judge) and together we drove to the hotel to meet-up with the rest of the judges team. (I was really glad that Matthieu was about to drive, as I’ve never travelled by car on the left side of the street. ;)) Arriving in the hotel lobby, everyone gave us a warm welcome and we had the opportunity to talk to several judges.

Saturday. We had breakfast and drove to the school where the Judges’ College was held. On the basis of an agenda, several topics were discussed in the whole group, and afterwards in the specific captions. As an interest as a DCE trainee judge, I tried to catch as much information as possible from the discussions and meetings. My personal highlight on Saturday was to listen to some tapes and afterwards the judges' descriptions and to their tape. It was impressive how professional and dedicated each judge explains their impressions and ratings. 

I was finally glad to sit the certification exam, which has to be taken by all prospective judges, as well as re-sit by each judge every three years. My preparations, and the help of Mark and Marco in advance, helped me a lot, and I managed to get through the test without too much trouble. Happy that I had finally taken the exam, we went out to eat and I had the opportunity to get to know the judges team a little bit better. The test results are usually published a few weeks after the College – I was pleased to have passed!

Sunday. On Sunday, we spent the morning with The Company. They gave us an inside look into their rehearsal, and their design process during the early part of the season.  We split into Music and Visual captions and had the opportunity to go on the field with the corps to get our first sampling experience. The percussion judge team discussed the performance, the technique, the written book and other specific details during this session. 

We had a meeting together with the whole judges team, before I had to say goodbye to leave again for Manchester Airport. 

I was impressed how professional and dedicated the judging team prepares for a season, and how the team work during the season itself. I am really glad that everyone was kind and open with me, and that I made the acquaintance of a lot of interesting and friendly people.

I am really looking forward to meeting up with everyone again at the 2016 college, and during the upcoming season.

Malte Steiner
Trainee Percussion Judge

If you are interested in training to become a judge for Drum Corps Europe, please contact Mark Bassett, Adjudication Manager at