Cadets and Toy SOULdier blossom at Spring Training

Q&A with Hopkins as corps readies for Allentown show

Having spent nearly five weeks at Spring Training in the beautiful picturesque setting on Western Pennsylvania, The Cadets have taken to the road, and are today rehearsing at J. Birney Crum Stadium, readying for their first performance of the season! 

Tonight, in their hometown of Allentown, Pa., the corps will debut their 2010 production, Toy SOULdier, to the world. Undoubtedly, there are nerves among the members, but mostly the feeling of excitement has taken hold as the start of the season that will take 150 wonderful young men and women on an extraordinary journey begins to unfold. 

Cadets Director George Hopkins, now in his 28th year leading The Cadets, reflects on a productive Spring Training, the 2010 production Toy SOULdier, and the anticipation of the first performance.

The wrap up of Spring Training. Five weeks seemed to fly by. How did it go? 

Hopkins: WE DID WELL! We did not quite finish but I think the students are pretty well prepared for the beginning of the season. Ninety new members require real teaching and I think the teaching staff did a fine job. Patience is key! We have 60 days!

There is no possible way we can be at our very best on June 18 but, what is important is that we are performing at a standard that is indeed, the very best for June 18! 

Did the corps keep up to schedule as you had hoped? What were the hold ups challenges? 

Hopkins: We did well with weather so, we had just a few member departure issues, and injuries were moderate. End result – we had a good Spring Training! Next year, we plan to have one week less so we need to make adjustments. Not to say we lose time, but we do take out time! Moving forward- speed and preparedness will be far more important.  

What some consider the best part – what do you think the members took away in terms of bonding and becoming a family? 

Hopkins: Becoming a team is a process. We are in the initial stages; but, what I did see was a group of people who are open to listening, open to learning, and willing to share and grow. A large part of the Cadets’ experience happens outside the lines, and although there is much community to be built, we took a few big steps. In short - I like these guys! And I expect nothing but a grand season!  

What can fans expect tonight when they see Toy SOULdier for the first time at the Three ‘C’ Double Play Season Opener in Allentown? What should they look for within the program? 

Hopkins: Well, with two chances to view I hope folks will get the gist of the program. We may not have an ending tacked on so things could be a little vague but in basic form. Young boy brings toy soldiers to life. There is interplay, there is relationship, there are toy soldiers gone wild, and there is a bit of a poignant ending. 

Add to this, The Cadets – DRUM, PLAY, MOVE and TOSS! And we hope we have an entertaining and intriguing production!  

Anything else you want to throw out there?  

Hopkins: It’s an interesting program to be a part of! Last year, we were all about the grand ending. There were more than a few shows where we received four standing ovations! This time, we are more provocative. There is dissonance, there are ideas left unrolled, and there is sensitivity. In short, this time around, there is a story! Toy SOULdier and the quest for individualism in the face of the world leaves much for the viewer to consider! 

See The Cadets, the Cavaliers and Carolina Crown in the Three ‘C’ Double Play Season Opener tonight at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Pa. 

Reserved and Value Reserved tickets will be available at the gate for $23 and $13.
Lehigh Valley residents and military receive a half-price discount!

4 p.m. - Ticket Booth Opens
7 p.m. - Gates Open
7-8 p.m. – Meet the Directors at Gate 1
8:03 p.m. – Step Off!

For details on the schedule, tickets, parking and more, see the FAN GUIDE.


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