When You Know And Do Nothing

Christina Bishop
7 min readApr 16, 2021

One of the common themes I have seen over time in the stories of victims in the performing arts is that there were people who knew much but did nothing. Ken Mazur was one of these people who knew about corporate corruption and full-on abuse and neglect in bands and corps owned and run by DCI, BOA, DCA, WGI, and their affiliated charities which only act as a pipeline to lure more students, teachers, educators, and parents who do not know better. Sadly his rhetoric towards me and other advocates against the toxic competition in the performing arts said otherwise

“Life is competition so you might as well be good at it.” My drum instructor to me as a 10-year-old. He was right. I competed all my life in the marching arts and it prepared me for what I do now in the real world quite nicely. It’s not my fault the educators couldn’t handle competition or that they became socialists. Realize that the drum corps beat the living crap out of the educational system by having tough but fair rules to compete by. It developed a 20-year gap and the band people had to capitulate. The socialists in education, especially the teacher’s unions, made the competition a sin. You need to read the history of John Dewey and his experimental psychology on American school children. The anti-competition in schools has made our school system the laughing stock of the world. When in China I discovered their kids doing 12th-grade work commonly in 9th grade. Very similar in Russia as well. They compete. The Dewey people simply teach “if you feel good you’re a winner.” The world does not care about feelings. It wants results.

The ability to perform means nothing if you can’t take it into the world and execute in front of your audience and your competition. I don’t really care about what anyone says. Im out there living it and see it every day. If it harms people then you don’t have to do it. We will do it. You seem to have a problem with excellence.

What I have lost in my childhood? ROFLOL. Who the hell are you? I don’t remember seeing you back then. I had a blast competition and am having a blast with the skill level I have because of it. The anti-competition of John Dewey ruined our schools. The competition of the drum corps went right past those schools. Explain that. Sorry but I don’t get into liberal emotional anti-logic.

I asked him about his childhood because that is where the indoctrination of toxic competition or any harmful and destructive cult or idea begins. Many of the victims of these groups started just like Ken and many other young musicians whose only desire is to learn and be filled as a whole person and not be a token or a trophy to the bidding of another person. Sometimes the parents, teachers, and educators think they are sending people to corps and bands affiliated with them for good intentions rather than waking up one day and residing that several lucky students get to go be abused and their needs neglected by a band or corps.

In Tolkien’s book Lord of the Rings, we think Bibo’s problems with the ring are subtitle until he vanishes at his birthday party and even when Gandalf tells him to let go of the ring it’s hard for him to do so ever since he found it in Golems cave until he does. For some people, it’s easy to let go of a cult mindset and toxic philosophy when we know what happens to the victim; which is why Bilbo pitied Gollem. Imagine if music educators, parents, and teachers saw the conditions of corps and band members then they would know the truth behind all of the over-marketing, charity work, scholarships, and festivals that are just competitions with a disguise for educators and community leaders.

Ken Mazur in my mind is Boromir who knows some things about the ring but does not know its true nature and power until he too becomes corrupted with its power until it’s too late to realize its danger. This is also the mindset of Drum Trolls who harm and attack victims without knowing their story and face the consequences when it’s too late. This is also true for band-booster parents and band directors who claim they are not affiliated until you realize they are rooting for the same system that uses public schools and colleges as pipelines to get young and unqualified teachers and students.

Are they even aware that a Drum Major at A&M Flordia died because of hazing that was treated as a norm rather than a warning? Do they know that Gorge Hopkins is not in jail despite his abuse? Morgan Larson in a DCA corp despite his label as a sex offender in Florida. Roman Blenski still on DCI’s honor roll despite reports of neglect and mismanagement? The Troopers attack journalist and whistleblowers who were a member of the corp and did nothing except replacing a director; did they do anything to make sure it would not happen again? Do people in Ohio know that a serial hazer John Waters of the Ohio State Marching Band directs the Heidelberg Band and is not in jail for his actions?

Toxic competition and the people who use it for profit and riches do not belong as educators and teachers whose only goal is using young children and teens as a motive of gaining money and prestige. A teacher or student who does not compete and is only an educator for the well-being and development of a young child and teen are looked down upon by educators who do not know the truth and do nothing to save schools and charities that work with a community, not corporations and monopolies.

Forms of competition should be friendly and respectful of their rivals and team members with lower income and disadvantages. However, when performing arts becomes sports it no longer becomes about cooperation, creativity, humanity, education, community, and diversity of all kinds of people doing something good. It becomes a game of profits, perfection, delusional grandeur, power, love bombing, and how many people you can acquire and indoctrinate with the cult of toxic completion in their minds every single day.

This is why Star of Indiana left DCI; it was never about how much money was made or how many awards they won it was about how the culture of toxic competition in bands and corps got worse and became a model for bands and corps to be run. The young people who were in the show Blast and their future members and students should hear the story of who saved these young people and their team from the toxic culture of DCI and BOA.

A young vet JamesMason and his group saw what Canadian Brass did for students without corp and marching band training or background. Their philosophy and ethics are based on the work of tubist and teacher Arnold Jacobs who was also the teacher of the group’s leader and my hero Charles Dallenbach. Eventually, their collaboration with Brass Theater leads to Blast.

Blast has laid the groundwork but there is so much we can build off of it without toxic competition and a book by Warner Erhard. With a stage now special needs people and body diversity can happen in the art from. Without judges, there is no fear but confidence and joy in the playing of the musician. Musicians can live in a hotel or in logging where there is more emphasis on cooperation, accountability, building relationships, cooking together, playing games, and sleep on a bed with no deprivation. Without completion young directors and teachers can focus on education, accommodation, addressing issues like depression and eating disorders, and outreach for all people regardless of economic and cultural background so they can understand the culture of a group of people and their musical language.

So future students, educators, parents, teachers burn your trophies and awards from directors affiliated with a toxic competition and cooperation and share them with other victims. To burn the old toxic competition and elitism that existed in performing arts that John Phillip Sousa started when he wrote the Menace of Mechanical Music begins with this and ends with the education of our students not competition and death of them. If any educator is made to compete the offer must be rejected and this message must be made clear by the burning of these blood awards. Who wants to have an award or trophy that comes at the price of a student’s eating disorder, abuse, discrimination, neglect, trauma, and debt they now have because they paid $3,000 to get an education in how to abuse and harm others?

Originally published at https://www.reddit.com/.



Christina Bishop

Tuba player, creator of Struwwelkinder and The Flying Circus Orchestra