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Volunteer opportunities abundant as seasons transition

April Volunteer Report from Coordinator Courtney Beard

YEA! Volunteer Happenings!

Youth Education in the Arts has many opportunities for Volunteers within the organization. Volunteer Coordinator Courtney Bead shares the excitement for the transition of US Scholastic Band Association Indoor season into The Cadets 77th version now under way!

An April report from Courtney: 


The USSBA is proud to be nearing the end of the second annual Indoor percussion and guard season.  The season ran from February through Championships in Trenton next Saturday and was comprised of 15 events in four different states and showcasing 100 competing units.  2010_IND_vols_KKpsi-2.jpg

One of the biggest differences between the Fall and the Indoor season is that the Indoor events were completely staffed by volunteers.

 “We’ve always have a few staff members in the Fall who choose to volunteer their assistance but it was really amazing to see that it is possible to run an entire season with volunteers,” shared Tara-Lee Bryant, Indoor show host coordinator.  “It is amazing to see the work people do because they believe in and support the activity and the mission we’re trying to accomplish.  We could not have done it without them, that’s for sure!”

“The great thing about the indoor season is how close it brings people.  With everyone inside it adds a whole new dynamic.  It was a lot of fun to be able to talk with all involved and I feel like I became closer friends with people at the shows.  It really does remind you of a family!” said Jon Swengler, unit relations.

The whole team wants to share their appreciation to everyone who came out and helped thus far and to all of those who are planning on coming to the big event in Trenton, N.J., on the 16th!

With Indoor over the USSBA team will be focusing their energies on returning full swing this Fall with a stacked season of events from New England to Arizona including old favorites in Allentown, Annapolis and the New Meadowlands Stadium. 

Check out the full schedule here

HAPPENINGS with The Cadets

The Cadets are less than 40 days away from when the kids move in and the summer starts kicking in!  The corps is starting their 2011 summer back at the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown for the fourth consecutive year.  “It’s really great to keep returning to the same place.  Not only is it easier for the kids and staff to be familiar with the facilities but there is a whole group of local people who come out to see us and help out while we’re on campus.  We really appreciate getting to be a part of that community,” said Cadets admin staffer Melissa Barlow. 39017_416121057804_685122804_5295530_3968205_n.jpg

After Spring Training, the corps will be taking off on what has been dubbed a ‘pre-tour.’  The corps will leave Johnstown and from June 9 through June 11 and  will provide a series of performances and clinics in Allentown, PA, Meriden, CT and Northern Highlands, NJ before heading out for the full competitive tour.  “Our first DCI show is in Texas this summer and we don’t return to the North East until August so this is a great way for us to stay in touch with the home crowd and give everyone a chance to see the corps before we head off for two months,” said Cadets Assistant Director Justin Heimbecker.

The corps has an adventurous route this summer taking a circuitous tour of the country.  Starting in Texas the corps is anticipating experiencing New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts before DCI East and the homestretch.  “Of course our volunteers will be with us every step of the way.  We literally would not be able to move without them,” Barlow said.  “The whole operation really functions because of the volunteers.  From maintaining the vehicles to cooking the food and driving the vans we have them to thank for everything.” 

The staff is already deep in the process of organizing the volunteer roles for the summer.

“Many parents of corps members will use volunteering as a way to see their kids for a week but many of the folks who come out to help us don’t necessarily have a direct connection to the corps; they just love the activity and want to support it,” said Heimbecker.  “We’ll publish that we’re going to be in Oregon and I’ll get a call from someone who says they live in the town we’re staying in and wants to know if he can come help for a few days or I’ll get a call from someone who will tell me has two weeks free in July and wants to help us get down the road.  When people talk about the ‘Drum Corps Community’ a big part of that is really the volunteers and the people who come out to make this activity work.”

Heimbecker stressed there are still volunteer opportunities open and roles that need to be filled for a successful summer so if you’re interested, call Melissa at 610-821-0345 x115.

HAPPENINGS on the YEA! Home Front

The Urban Arts Center of the Lehigh Valley is operating in full force with three programs providing free music instruction and opportunities to the inner city youth near the YEA! office.

The Lehigh Valley Youth Drumline and Colorguard teaches kids drumming and spinning basics while teaching the life skills associated with being in a performing group.  The group is staffed almost entirely by volunteers including USSBA staffer Tara-Lee Bryant who works with the colorguard students after hours.

“It’s a lot of fun to work with these kids.  They are so proud when I acknowledge what they are doing right.  They teach me as much as I teach them.”

Xcape is the UAC’s hip-hop dance troupe which offers dancing instruction from beginners to expert level teens and young adults.  One young member of the program describes it as “A place where you can get off the streets and have fun.”  Other’s credit the program with literally saving lives.  Xcape is offered three days a week in the YEA! office studios and has dozens of regularly participating students.  Three peer “interns” have volunteered to have the extra responsibility of assisting with the operations of rehearsal and orientating new members. 

Another exciting development for Xcape took place in an evening meeting earlier this week.  A core group of adults related to Xcape students are beginning to explore creating a volunteer support organization modeled after a band booster club.  “We can get together and be a part of doing this for all the kids,” one mother shared. 

The third program the UAC offers is a hand drumming program on Saturdays called KIDS JAM.  The program is anticipated to expand into additional sessions starting with Wednesday evenings.

“We’re very proud to be doing good things for kids here but there is still so much to do and so much that can be done,” said UAC Director Eric Kitchenman.  “From data entry to grant writing and public outreach we have a big mission on our hands but I believe we’re on the right track to really be a positive presence in the lives of a lot of kids who don’t have much else.”

All of the Urban Arts Center programs will be visible and performing with the Cadets on June 9 in Allentown.

For details about the Urban Arts Center or other activities in the YEA! office calls Courtney Beard at 610-821-0345 x137.


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