'For Drum Majors Only' Workshop features years of Cadets experience

Meet the talent headlining the April 30 drum major clinic

Coty Clowers conducts.JPG 

Drum majors will learn from some of The Cadets best leaders during the April 30 For Drum Majors Only Workshop.


"Enjoy it while it lasts."

- Sam Saunders

"Delegate. Use the capable leaders around you to help accomplish tasks."

- Will Plenk (Cadets Drum Major 2004-2006)


As the plans come together for the inaugural set of “For Only” Clinics powered by The Cadets and the US Scholastic Band Association, the initial response has been extremely positive from band directors and students alike. Logo.jpg

“With 100 years of experience between The Cadets and the USSBA, it is a great time for us to bring the two forces together to create a whole new level of relationship between our organization and the band students and directors we serve,” said Sean King, director of marketing for Youth Education in the Arts, the parent organization for both programs.

For Drum Majors Only

On April 30, the For Drum Majors Only Workshop will be held at Woodstown High School in Woodstown, N.J., in conjunction with The Cadets April training camp. 

The Cadets and USSBA are proud to announce the current and former drum majors who will be the featured clinicians for this first-ever event.  Damon Grant (1999), Matt Haines (2004), William Plenk (2004-2006) and Sam Saunders (2002-2003), will join with 2011 Cadets Drum Majors Ben Pouncey and Brad Pouncey to provide insight on the leadership, communication and conducting needed to help your band and you achieve the highest heights of performance and accomplishment. 

Sam Saunders

Sam Saunders was a member of The Cadets brass section from 1998-2001 and served as drum major in 2002 and 2003. After aging out, he entered law school and taught the marching bands at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park in Michigan and West Johnston High School in North Carolina. Upon graduation, he moved to New York and worked as a freelance writer while studying for the bar exam. 

Sam currently serves as Vice President of Content and Legal Affairs for Fitango, Inc., He practices law in his spare time and lives in New York. 

William Plenk

William Plenk is currently in the process of completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at UCLA, under the mentorship of Prof. Thomas Lee.  His other conducting instructors have included Prof. Steve Peterson, Jeff Grogan, Prof. Craig Kirchhoff, and Prof. Gordon Henderson.  Plenk also has a strong background as an instrumentalist, having completed a Master of Music degree in Tuba Performance at UCLA, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Tuba Performance at Ithaca College, in his home state of New York.  In addition to being an Associate Conductor of the UCLA Wind Ensemble, Plenk is Conductor of the UCLA Symphonic Band and Associate Conductor of the UCLA Brass Ensemble. 

Plenk is active as an educator in the marching band field.  He is in his fifth year as a Teaching Associate with the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, and is an instructor with several groups outside of UCLA, including the Tenrikyo Aimachi Marching Band from Nagoya, Japan, the eight-time All Japan National Champion. As a student, Plenk spent three years as drum major with the Cadet, including their 2005 Drum Corps International championship season. 

Plenk is also in high demand as a clinician.  He has worked with concert bands and marching bands from across the United States, and Japan, and has an upcoming engagement with the Deyi Secondary School in Singapore.

Damon Grant 

Damon Grant performs original and traditional jazz compositions on vibraphone, marimba and a variety of other percussion instruments with Afro-Caribbean flair in his own group, The Damon Grant Project. He and his group have been recognized for their work in “Modern Drummer” and “Latin Beat” Magazines. Grant has also been recognized as a performer with the University of Massachusetts Jazz Ensembles by “Downbeat Magazine”, and has received four awards. Most recently Damon was in “People” magazine twice with the Funk/Rock group, The Bomb Squad, and the “Norwalk Beat” magazine as an independent artist.

Grant, a native of Norwalk, Connecticut, has played with many of the top musical ensembles in the United States and internationally. His percussion versatility has helped him in performing on stage with many world class musicians, including: David Ryan Harris, Robbie McIntosh, Richie Flores, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, John Benitez, Robby Ameen, The Original Parliament Funkadelic, Fred Wesley, George Porter Jr., and Stefon Harris. Damon was a member of the Funk/Rock group, The Bomb Squad, which won an American Music Award in 2003. Grant was also an original member of the Broadway show, Blast!, which won both a Tony and an Emmy award. He, and the groups he has performed in, have opened for, or shared the bill, with acts such as: John Mayer, Soulive, Martin Sexton, Colbie Caillat, Isaac Hayes, Dave Barnes, Brett Dennen, DJ Logic, David Sanborn, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and George Clinton. He also performs regularly at NYC’s legendary Webster Hall with Gun’s & Roses personal DJ Chris Landry. Damon performed as a member of the Cadets Drum Corps for several years, in which he participated in the 1996 Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia as well as winning a World Championship in 1998. Grant has performed at countless venues from intimate stages to sports arenas and major festivals.

Grant received a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz performance from the University of Massachusetts in February 2001. He has studied with musical legend Yusef Lateef, as well as master percussionist; Giovanni Hidalgo

Grant has just as much teaching experience as he has playing experience. He started by teaching at the high school he graduated from, Norwalk High School, in Norwalk, CT. He has taught their award winning marching and jazz ensembles in addition to being a guest performer and clinician. From there he began teaching at Boston College. Damon currently teaches at his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with Thom Hannum. He continues to do so today while also teaching privately in Fairfield County, CT. Damon has consulted at the East Coast Jazz Drum Corps, and taught the front ensemble for the 22 time DCI finalist, Crossmen Drum Corps as well as the 9 time DCI World Champion Cadets Drum Corps. Damon not only teaches locally, but also has traveled around the country giving masterclasses and clinics on various percussion instruments and styles of Jazz and Latin music. 

Watch for upcoming interviews on what makes a great drum major, how being a drum major has changed their lives, and what current and future drum majors can learn from participating in this great event! 

Cost is per student:  $69


For Percussion Only

The Cadets and USSBA announce that Bridgewater –Raritan High School in Bridgewater, N.J., has been secured as the location for the For Percussion Only Clinic on Saturday, May 14. 

In addition, former Cadets Percussion Arranger and Caption Head and Current Blue Stars Percussion Arranger and Caption Head and WGI World Champion Tom Aungst of Dartmouth High School has been added to the impressive line-up of clinicians for this one day clinic. 

Cost is per student: $79

For Colorguard Only

Saturday, May 7 – Mount Olive High School, Flanders, N.J. (Tentative)
Cost is per student: $49

Study with April Gilligan (The Cadets), Katie Hopkins (Marian Catholic High School, The Cadets), Ronnie Bynum (The Cadets) and Louis Hellinger (West Orange High School) for this one-day intensive skill building session.  Concentration for the day will be on equipment and dance for performers, while instructors and designers will have opportunities to discuss the creative process and choreography.


Also coming up in July is FOR FRESHMEN ONLY at locations in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland!

For the first time ever, incoming ninth graders are invited to a ‘Boot Camp’ to learn the basics of marching, music and movement.  A student’s first band camp will be a breeze after completing an in-depth day-long clinic of learning “everything you need to know” before members ever take their first step as a member of their high school band. 

A special “For Freshman Parents Only” session caps the day. All attendees registered in advance will receive a special Band Camp Survival Kit.

For more information, please contact Melissa Barlow at melissa@yea.org, or by calling (610) 821-0345, Ext.  115.


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