Cadets 2012 Season Underway - Plus, Video!

Nearly 300 auditionees on hand for first rehearsals of 78th season

Shiny new horns and a jumble of music stands line the hallways, the drums are arranged in sections, the front ensemble has unloaded the truck for the first time since finals day, and guard equipment is all laid out for morning. Friday night of camp is over, and The 2012 Cadets are off to a great start.

Most Cadets and auditionees rode the bus from Philadelphia International Airport to Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., which departed a little after 7:00 p.m. and arrived around 9:00. Two vans shuttled back and forth to pick up anyone who arrived after 7:00 p.m.

After registration at the school, George Hopkins kicked off the weekend with an hour-long logistical meeting in the gym. He introduced himself, the administrative staff and instructional staff, and new tour manager Patrick Duncan introduced himself to those who didn’t already know him as a trumpet player and visual staff member of past years.

Then Hopkins talked the newcomers through the audition process, reiterating the ranking system: Caption supervisors will listen to and/or observe each new student and give them an overall rating of one, two or three. If you get a one, you’re in! Two is the most common rating and is considered a positive result. It simply means you should work hard and come back prepared for the next camp because you’re not guaranteed a spot yet. If it’s a three, you’re more than welcome to come back better prepared next time, but the staff tries to give a realistic impression early on if it doesn’t look like you’re ready for The Cadets this season. Throughout the weekend, caption supervisors and sub-section instructors give constructive advice so that everyone knows what to work on in order to improve.

New this year will be the option for prospective Cadets to check out Cadets2 as a place to work and learn more about the Cadets performance style under the tutelage of Cadets staff members.  Cadets2 rehearsals begin next Saturday and Sunday at Upper Darby High School in Upper Darby, Penn.  For more information on Cadets2, visit

Here's a link to the first Fall Access of 2012 recorded Friday evening at camp:

After the meeting with Hopkins, the color guard, drum line, front ensemble and horn line separated to warm up and rehearse. More introductions were made, and they each began working through their agendas for this camp.

At 1:00 a.m., a late-night snack of hot dogs was served, and many of the sub-sections (e.g., the mellophones) ate together and got to know each other.

After a long day of travel, introductions and rehearsal, the gym lights finally went out for the first time this season. With a 2:00 a.m. bedtime, 8:30 will come early on Saturday morning, but camps have to be fast-paced to get much accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Auditions continue as well for the 2012 Cadets in December with another camp in only a few weeks.  Those interested in becoming a member of the corps who were unable to make the November camp, or are still deciding on their plans for the summer of 2012 are encouraged to attend the Dec. 9-11 camp at Woodstown High School in Woodstown, N.J.

Auditions will begin Saturday morning after everyone has eaten breakfast and warmed up. More to come from camp soon including photos, the first All Access video of 2012 and more!  Stay tuned!


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