Band programming clinics continue in January

First two New Jersey sessions result in strong turn-out

Nearly 50 band directors and members of their teaching staff took advantage of this week’s marching band programming clinics led by George Hopkins and Eric Kitchenman. 

The feedback from the Bridgewater-Raritan and Pennsauken sessions was so terrific, the duo is hitting the road again in January to help more band directors and their teams get a head start on planning their fall 2011 field programs. 

Mark your calendars in these regions: 

January 25 - Northern Virginia

January 26 – Harrisburg Pa., Red Land High School

January 27 – Southern Connecticut  

“The focus was primarily the does and don’ts of programming,” said Kitchenman, long time programmer in the marching arts and Director of Educational Outreach for Youth Education in the Arts. “George used his lifetime of experience with The Cadets to show the range of possibilities in how to collect process and communicate show design.  He showed examples of many clips both from The Cadets over the years and last year’s band programs to demonstrate his points.  Needless to say it was two and a half hours of rich information that is hard to put a price on." 

Some key points that were covered:

  • From a judges’ perspective – what works?
  • Identity and how to establish it
  • Programming and its development
  • Looking at real time programming  (Cadets 2011)
  • Drill design and its impact
  • Spread sheets, flow chart
  • Three key factors to success – play together, stay in step, if you throw it, and catch it!

A little background on what to expect: 

“There are a number of errors that folks make, sometimes on a continual basis. Much has to do with staging, there are more and more concerns about storyline and production values, and there are practical items related to coordination that seem to appear with a number of bands,” said Hopkins. “Rather than wait until April, or until it’s too late again, I thought I might spend a few days on the road to see if there is an impact that can be made. 

What if …

We could show folks what does not work.

What if ..

We had concrete examples, not to embarrass folks of course but to use real life situations. If we could make an impact, might folks do a better job?” 

The sessions will run about 2 to 2 ½ hours and will include demonstrations and discussion.  The cost is FREE to USSBA bands at this time, and for non USSBA bands, the fee for the evening is $150 per person.  Anyone is welcome to attend, although the target may be the band directors, assistants and even adjunct staff.  

If you plan to attend the January sessions, can you please send the following to George Hopkins at

  • Your Name  
  • Name of your school
  • And the number attending

If you need any additional information, please contact Kitchenman at (610) 821-0345, Ext. 124.



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