Cadets Re-announce 2012 Program

An open Letter from George Hopkins

Back in September, when the creative team met in Philadelphia for their first design meeting for 2012, a number of ideas were presented, and many were tabled. Sometimes the worry was perception, sometimes the idea needed more work, sometimes there was music without concept and sometimes there was concept without music.

At the end of the day, we were pretty stuck, and in fact, we headed to a Philly watering hole for food and some football. It was then, on the way to a fine Philadelphia establishment while walking the streets, the "Pearl Harbor" concept surfaced. A combination of flight, action, and confrontation, indeed, the idea grabbed the imagination of many.  We talked, we agreed on a concept, we had some musical references, and then, we all headed home.

Band Season awaited most, if not all, of us.

Over the months, ideas floated back and forth. Sure, we had put "Pearl Harbor" out there, but we did not feel a commitment to the concept. Over the years, we have allowed our fans into the process with the notion that change does occur and indeed, the creative process includes wavering, debate, concern, worry and mind-changing.

So, ideas that originally were dismissed reappeared.  I would rather not give away the discussion, as we will return to many of these ideas in the future, but rest assured, we discussed  anything from Angels Part 2, to Jeremiah, to Copland, to Wild Nights and tons of material in between. Most of the time, the discussions are late night e mails, a song copied, or a concept scratched out on the back of a napkin.

Still no ideas seemed to catch fire. At some level, we were stopped by our success, held in place by the two uniforms. We were stuck in being unsure of our next step and being a bit nervous. "Ready, Fire, Aim" was not the directive we were utilizing. And yes, in most years, a "leap of faith" has always been a big ingredient when it came to Cadets' show selections.

At the audition camp last weekend, fueled by car drives back and forth and back and forth, one idea began to catch some attention.


We talked and talked, mostly tucked in an over-heated class room, and we agreed, it was time to commit to a direction.

It was time to commit to 12.25.

So .. what the heck is it ?

The Music of Christmas? Kind of.

A story about Christmas? Kind of.

The Grinch? Nope

Good vs. Evil? Well ... ummm ... maybe.

The 12 days of Christmas - no

The reality is there is a ton of work to be done. You can be assured we will be exploring "Carol of the Bells" and well, "O Christmas Tree" seems like an obvious choice for a bar or two huh? But, at this juncture, what we are announcing to our members, friends, and fans, is our decision to head out in a new direction, with a new concept, a risky concept; one that will take weeks and months of effort to fine tune.

As one of the team stated in a note to me last week, "We have talked about this for years. Others have talked about it. A few bands have done it. But, no marching group will do it as we will do it. And now, as defending champs, if there is ever a time to take a leap, and to make sure we are not compared to 2011, well, this could be the show and this could be the time"

Here’s a video we recently shot with some more insight into “12.25.”

So away we go. Time to get some Cadet Holiday gear for it could come in handy this summer. And hey, some of the greatest music of our time is the music of Christmas. So much to choose from, so much to consider. It's a shame we only have 11 minutes. Or 13 minutes with Pre-show :-) and, maybe an encore, and a Holiday Parade tune. :-)

Keep an eye for more to come. We plan to do an interview answering questions in depth on this Thursday, and of course, the program teaching will begin on December 9-11 at our next camp at Woodstown H.S. in Woodstown, N.J.

For more information on the Cadets go to and visit our official Facebook page. Auditions continue for the 2012 season with prospective members invited to come out in two weeks to be part of the 2012 Cadets.  Positions remain in the brass and percussion sections. For audition information write to Melissa Barlow at or contact her at 610.821.0345 ext 115.




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