The Cadets: A Walk through 2013

This Year in Review


To celebrate and remember the 2013 season, we put together "A Walk through 2013."

From the first camp of the year, to the third-place DCI finish and high percussion award, to preparations for 2014, we invite you to look back with us over this great year in Cadets history:


January 18-20: Rehearsal Weekend

Barry Manilow's drummer, Russ McKinnon (also a 27th Lancers alumnus), came out to rehearsal to give the drummers some tips.

"You guys inspire me," Russ told the drumline in a closing talk on Sunday afternoon. "You make me want to go home and practice."

In record time, the hornline finished the music book, but the talk of the weekend was the ballad. The brass learned the music for the first time, and when Percussion Caption Supervisor Colin McNutt happened to walk in and hear them play it on Saturday, he quickly gathered the entire drumline and pit, put them in front of the brass, and asked the hornline to play it again.

"I think you all can feel the excitement in the air about the show," Brass Caption Supervisor Gino Cipriani told the brass players in their final meeting on Sunday afternoon. "It's going to be a special year."



In addition to all the excitement over the show music, the members were fitted for their uniforms this weekend -- a very memorable experience for first-year Cadets. Among them was Shayne O'Brien (right) who traveled all the way from Ireland for the chance to become a Cadet.

The corps returned to their traditional maroon and gold uniform this year -- a uniform only a few members of The 2013 Cadets have ever worn, since the corps wore cream uniforms for 2012's 12.25, and the uniforms colors were mixed between the angels and demons in 2011.

“To be honest, it still hasn't hit me that I'm a part of this amazing organization,” he said. “I thought of this as, ‘The Impossible,’ and now here I am.”

Plus, here's January's rehearsal from a mellophone player's perspective:

April 26-28: Rehearsal Weekend


It was a gorgeous weekend for drum corps. The Cadets learned the visual beginning of the Side by Side on Saturday, and sunny skies on Sunday allowed for a livestream of the standstill ensemble outside.


Here's a video of The 2013 Cadets' first experience on the field:

May 4: Many generous Maroon and Gold donors unlocked a preview of the Side by Side colorguard uniform design.


In addition, we proudly announced that nearly twice as many Cadets alumni joined the Maroon & Gold Club in 2013 compared to 2012, and we reached a record goal of 1,000 members this year. Thanks so much to everyone who financially supported the corps this year!

May 31: Drumline participated in Allentown press conference


Allentown city officials and local business executives unveiled a $30-million downtown construction plan in a local press conference held just a block from the YEA! office headquarters. The Cadets Drumline proudly represented Youth Education in the Arts, standing behind the speakers during their addresses and playing at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The crowd then followed the drumline down the street, led by 2013 Cadets2 Drum Major (and 2014 Cadets Field Conductor) Katy Boggs, to the city's Arts Park for another performance by the drumline.


May 12 - June 12: Spring Training

The 2013 Cadets moved in for the summer on May 12:

Amidst the expected rainy days and glimpses of summer weather, The Cadets gradually put Side by Side on the field. Spring Training 2013 was held at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA and Richland High School's facilities across the street from the college campus.


Our summer journalist, Travis Cornejo, wrote:

"All those seemingly random exercises that sections perform over and over again day after day suddenly make sense when put into the context of the show. It’s very much an 'Aha! moment.'

"It's interesting to watch The Cadets work so seamlessly with the Johnstown community. While the corps runs reps of the show in full ensemble, high school athletes play soccer in the endzones and joggers make laps around the track. And, of course, there’s the small audience up in the bleachers, feeling the stands vibrate after every hit. It’s definitely a quaint sight to see, as it won’t be long before the corps is performing in front of thousands."

On Memorial Day, the corps woke up early and headed off for a day of parades:

June 9 brought the first in-uniform performance for the Johnstown community. It's our way of saying "Thank you" to the people of Johnstown for putting up with the same music and the sound of a metronome day after day for a month!

Once 7:30 p.m. rolled around, the audience was treated to The Cadets’ 2013 production: Side by Side. After the corps performed “Medea” in an arc on the field, they followed up with classics such as “Swing, Swing, Swing” and Ron Nelson’s “Rocky Point Holiday.”


Nealene Tyger, a Johnstown resident, has come to see The Cadets perform for the past four years. “I thought it was great,” she said about Sunday night’s performance. “Fabulous. Very entertaining.”

Finally, on June 12, The Cadets ended their final rehearsal in Johnstown and packed up to begin their Kick-off Weekend at the corps' home in Allentown, PA.


June 13-15: Kick-off Weekend

As always, this approximately 15,000-mile journey began with Kick-off Weekend. The Cadets' convoy traveled four hours east to Allentown, home of YEA!.

The weekend began with YEAllentown!, a concert showcasing the wide array of young talent at Youth Education in the Arts. The evening concert featured video presentations, a Cadets low-brass small ensemble; moving dances by Xcape Dance Company; a Cadets colorguard duet; humorous interviews with three Cadets from England, Ireland and Japan; Cadets2's musical production, Les Mis; and a colorful combined performance of Katy Perry's "Firework" featuring The Cadets' front ensemble, the Xcape dancers and The Cadets' colorguard.

The Cadets brass and percussion closed out the show, where they easily had their best musical run-through to date. Then they relaxed into their fun, jazzy encore tune, "Swing, Swing, Swing," as the colorguard and Xcape dancers danced down the aisles. Albeit an extremely loud event, the night truly showed off the talent in each of YEA!'s performing ensembles.

The next day, the corps headed to the first-annual Beefsteak Dinner, an event attended by alumni and supporters who gathered to enjoy a night of eating, socializing and raising money for the corps.


The Cadets closed out the evening with a standstill of their full show, plus some encore tunes, in front of the Russian Orthodox Church of Three Saints' Cultural Center in the corps' original home of Garfield, NJ.


The final day of Kick-off Weekend was held at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ, where The Cadets performed another in-uniform run-through of Side by Side, this time for an audience of alumni and friends. The evening concluded with a pizza and ice cream party with the alumni and the singing of O Holy Name.


June 22: First Show, First Day of Summer

Drum Major Zack Travis said it was an awesome experience to finally perform for a contest audience after spending so much time preparing their 2013 production, Side By Side.

"It's incredible to just get in front of a crowd that really enjoys what we're doing," he said. "And we enjoy what we're doing for them."

June 24: DCI Came to Theaters Nationwide, Laudry Day for The Cadets

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Drum corps fans from California to New Jersey and everywhere in between traveled to local movie theaters to watch the first weekend of drum corps broadcast on the big screen.

But while America was watching the previous night of competition, The Cadets took the evening to clean their clothes.

After three successful nights of competition, The Cadets finally had a day dedicated to cleaning drill and cleaning laundry.

After dinner, many corps members changed into their nicer street clothes as they prepared to load the buses and head out to their respective destinations.


Unfortunately, their destinations were a bit of a mixed bag. Some got all dressed up for a Wash ‘N Dry and a Foodmart.

It was a bit sad to see the locals who showed up after we did, hoping to get their laundry done on a Monday night. They were met with a completely packed Laundromat and a line for every machine in the place. Not only that, but the few who decided to wait it out were met with the endless beating of drumsticks on practice pads. The drummers were sure not to waste their downtime, critiquing each other’s performance as they waited for their clothes to dry. 

Thankfully, the nice staff at Wash ‘N Dry stayed open an hour later for us. The only hitch of the night was when some members mixed up their Glad-style laundry bags.

June 28: First home show in Jackson, NJ


whitestripe.pngPoor weather couldn't keep our New Jersey-area fans away, expecially since 17 Cadets called New Jersey home in 2013, many from the Jackson area.

Mellophone player Jenna Alchevsky’s whole family also came out to see her perform. She said it's really cool to see her loved ones for the first time over a month: "I saw my mom this morning, and I just ran up to her and gave her a big hug," she said. "It's weird because you don't realize how much you miss them until you actually see them."

Jenna credited the corps' high-energy performance to the crowd's enthusiasm that night. Sadly, no amount of applause could keep the rain away. While the weather held steady for the first half of The Cadets' performance, the skies opened up during the ballad. But the corps kept the energy up, even while performing on a wet grass field.

After the performance, many members rushed to pack their things in order to maximize their time with their family and friends. But it wasn't long before we were back on the road, heading toward Quincy, Mass.

July 3-4: Breaking 80 and Celebrating Independence Day

The corps pulled into Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. early in the morning, where the members, staff and volunteers were treated to dorm rooms -- a big change from previous years and a welcome sight after weeks of gym floors and air mattresses.

And soon enough, it was morning, and the corps made the hike over to the day's rehearsal site. All things considered, it was worth the trek.


That night, with the addition of several new changes to Side by Side, The Cadets finally did it. They performed at a show without giant mosquitos. Oh, and they also broke the 80-point barrier with a comfortable margin.

After some much deserved ice cream, the members were back in bed in the dorms, ready for a busy Fourth of July.



The celebrations started early, as the food truck played patriotic music on a loop. It was certainly a new experience for a few of our members, as this year's corps is home to eight international members, from Japan to Ireland to Great Britain.

For some of our international members, taking part in Fourth of July celebrations isn't anything new. Veteran baritone player Ryan Gledhill has already marched in his fair share of Fourth of July parades. He said it can be a weird experience, since it's more or less celebrating his home country being on the wrong side of history. Still, he was sure to start the day dressed in clothes adorned with the Union Jack. And as the food truck pumped out patriotic music, his phone was playing "God Save the Queen."

And so, The Cadets headed off to march in two parades, one in Bristol, R.I. and another in Norwood, Mass.

As the corps made their way down Bristol’s historic parade route, trainers, volunteers and members of the front ensemble walked alongside, handing out water bottles. Keeping the corps hydrated was the number-one concern throughout the day.

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When all was said and done, the very tired Cadets were back in Burlington, Mass., tucked away in bed, "happy to live under the blanket of the freedom America provides."

July 6: Home Show #2 at PPL Park

With the Fourth of July behind them, the summer was heating up on the field:



On July 6, beautiful, 2-year-old PPL Park, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, hosted its first marching music event on the same soccer pitch that recently hosted the 2012 MLS All-Star Game and several NCAA Championships. The Cadets headlined the evening, which also included performances by Phantom Regiment, the Bluecoats, the Boston Crusaders, Jersey Surf, the Raiders and 7th Regiment.

In addition, the evening included a popular DCI alumni party as well as the first-ever "Cadet for a Day" winners who got to experience the entire show with The Cadets, from warm-up all the way through the post-show talk with George Hopkins.




July 7: Home Show #3 in Chambersburg, PA

Chambersburg brought the unusual opportunity for The Cadets and Cadets2 to share a housing site and perform on the same night in the same place. Since C2's founding in 2012, the two corps have only actually met a couple of times due to The Cadets' heavy touring schedule and Cadets2's weekend-only DCA routine.

While some heavy rain threatened ensemble rehearsal in the mid-afternoon, the second home show was a big success.


July 9-10: Rehearsal Days & Clinic @ WCU

The Cadets hosted a large clinic at Western Carolina University.

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The university also provided a fantastic vantage point for cleaning drill, as well as videography:

July 11: East Met West in First Tour of Champions Show

After the afternoon run-through, George Hopkins called in the best performance he'd seen from a Cadets corps on July 11. On his blog, he wrote, "In 90 degrees and sun in their eyes, hours before The 2013 Cadets perform on the same field as a few other great drum corps; 6 others to be exact, I was just brought to tears. A fabulous effort and a fabulous performance. WOW!!! A long, long time ago, we had a shirt that said, 'It looks like art because it is.' At the time I think it was viewed as pretentious. Well, I am bringing it back for this corps, and these kids are indeed artists. They are called to perform a fabulously demanding show that is simple in its form and transparent in its delivery. The artists are the act. Not the program, not the vehicle but indeed, the performers. This 80th edition of The Cadets bring you to tears… just because."

July 13: First Regional in Minneapolis, MN

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After what started out as a dark and rainy morning, The Cadets went right into rehearsal mode, sure not to waste any precious time. It was a bit of an odd day, because our early performance time meant the corps had to leave the rehearsal site at Chanhassen High School a bit earlier than they were used to.

The drumline warmed up in a deserted parking lot, which made for some pretty cool footage:



Even after about 20 or so corps, the crowd response was great when The Cadets were on the field.

And for some, the highlight of the night wasn't even the performance, but simply stopping by 34Store and getting the chance to wear a shako while posing with members of the corps.


July 19-22: Texas Week

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The Cadets hit the ground running in Texas, taking the field in Denton not long after arriving from Oklahoma. But no matter how the heat radiated off the turf, you couldn’t see it in the corps' performance during ensemble. “The corps and team are just unbelievable today," Bruno Zuccala said in a message to the staff that day.

The next day was spent in Frisco, where some rain forced them inside for a bit:

The following day in Manor was quick, as the corps prepared for regional #2: The DCI Southwestern Championship in San Antonio. The Cadets rolled into Mustang Stadium for breakfast, and in a blink of an eye, they were on the road to the Alamodome.

From the press box, Michael Boo wrote, "I'm sitting here shaking my head because I'm having trouble believing what I'm seeing, which is pure magnificence."

July 22: Side by Side Unveiled

George Hopkins released this insight into The Cadets' 2013 production.


July 27: TOC Murfreesboro


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July 29: The Cadets Went Down to Georgia

August 2-4: DCI East & TOC East


The Cadets enjoyed a home crowd and a fabulous performance on Friday night of DCI East, just blocks from the corps' office headquarters downtown. With a day in between to clean and breathe a little, they came back to historic J. Birney Crum Stadium strong two nights later for another spectacular Tour of Champions match-up.

August 5: TOC Grand Finale

The following night, The Cadets traveled to Buffalo for the Tour of Champions Grand Finale:

August 6: Last Regular-Season Show

After the last performance of the regular season in Massillon, Ohio, our journalist wrote, "After watching Side by Side a few dozen times, you start to forget about all the surprises in the show. I suppose it has been a long time since we were in Ohio, since the crowd was literally "Oohing" and "Ahhing" after every hit and visual. Best of all, the crowd was already on their feet before the epilogue. Of course, most decided to stand throughout the end of the show. It was a really great springboard into Indianapolis."


August 7-10: Finals Week


As always, Finals Week flew by in a wonderful blur of tedius rehearsal and bittersweet lasts.

The Cadets rehearsed at Knightstown High School in Knightstown, IN and performed brilliantly at the 2013 DCI World Championships Prelims, Semifinals and Finals.

Saturday started off with the Breakfast of Champions, thanks to several generous donors. There was a ton of great food out for both the members and their family and friends who showed up. After a bit of socializing, the crowd moved over to the field, for some words from George and the Age-out Ceremony. 

George had a lot to say about what the day meant, or at least, what it should mean to everyone. It’s not about what 10 green shirts say about the show at the end of the night. Nothing that insignificant should take away from what was accomplished in the season.

There were a lot more speeches with a lot of great stuff said, but we’d be here for a while if I recapped everyone. Finally, after the age outs ran their victory lap and sang the corps song, rehearsal started for the day.

As the corps rolled up to Lucas Oil Stadium for the third day in a row, it was starting to feel like second nature to the members and staff. And it wasn’t long before they were waiting in the tunnel listening to the end of Santa Clara Vanguard's rendition of Les Mis.

Needless to say, it was a great Finals run. The Cadets took home the bronze medal and the Fred Sanford Award for best percussion performance. If you haven't heard it already, don't miss the Finals Night judge tape.


August 11: Banquet 2013

On Sunday, The 2013 Cadets awoke as a corps for the very last time. But instead of donning tank tops, T-shirts, athletic shorts and worn-out tennis shoes and heading out to the food truck to fill their water coolers and unload the equipment truck, the girls were in the locker room straighening their hair and putting on dresses, while the guys' wardrobe ranged from polos and jeans to full-out suits, ties and dress shoes.

Soon they were aboard their final bus ride to Indianapolis, but instead of Lucas Oil Stadium, their destination was the Westin Hotel just next-door.

Purple, red, orange and yellow centerpieces decorated the 40 or so tables in one of the hotel's large banquet halls, and a delicious brunch awaited the corps, complete with glass dishes and silverware.

Banquet is always a special time of reminiscing and recognition, and this one was no exception. Tears were shed, but there was much laughter as well, as the staff, volunteers and family members celebrated and honored The 2013 Cadets and their magnificent achievments as an ensemble in Side by Side.

In addition to many speeches and well-deserved awards, The Cadets got to watch their DCI Finals performance. Then the 2013 ageouts were called up one by one to receive their certificates, and the rest of the corps gathered around them to sing "O Holy Name" as The 2013 Cadets one last, bittersweet time.


Summer Fundraising: Power The Cadets

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After concluding The Cadets' best-ever annual campaign, our donors came through to help "Power The Cadets" through the last month of the 2013 drum corps season.

Over 185 fans, friends, family members and alumni pitched in to provide balanced meals for the corps each day. A record $55,000 was contributed for meals, cereal, peanut butter and Gatorade. Several generous donors also sponsored some special meals and snacks during the last few weeks of the season.  Thank you so much to all those who helped to make sure The Cadets finished the summer strong.

September 27: Cadets Announce Indoor Percussion Ensemble for 2014


"You know, YEA!'s mission statement is to support the development of young people into magnificent human beings through the performing arts, and we're always looking for new ways to do more things for more people," said CWP Director Rich Hammond. "Through the USBands Indoor circuit, we've learned the world of indoor guard and percussion, and this is a great way to expand our involvement in that side of the marching arts. The Cadets have a long-standing history of great percussion sections, and even after two years, Cadets2 percussion is thriving as well. We're thrilled to now provide an ensemble that creates more educational performance opportunities for young people, and brings The Cadets' tradition of excellence inside," he said.

Cadets Winter Percussion is already scheduled to compete at a winter line-up of shows including USBands, WGI and MAPS competitions, and the ensemble will be making the trip to the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio in April to compete in the Independent Open Class.

Auditions were held on October 13:

November 22-24: Cadets & Cadets2 Combined Audition

The Cadets and Cadets2 launched their 2014 drum corps season Nov. 22-24 with a successful first audition weekend at Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, NJ.

While the caption supervisors were busy auditioning hundreds of Cadets hopefuls, the brass, percussion and colorguard learned quite a bit of Cadets technique, music and work. By Sunday afternoon's Show and Tell, the brass section was able to perform a a fanfare, a moving ballad from the corps' history, a parade tune with the battery, and a minute and a half of potential Cadets show music. The CPit played through two of their artfully arranged warm-up pieces, and the battery played through several technique exercises, rotating drummers with each succeeding exercise to give all 60+ auditionees a chance to perform.

"I love seeing the joy of folks achieving what they work for in life, though I still hurt watching the disappointment when young people are not awarded their dreams," said Director George Hopkins. "The students who come to The Cadets are some of the great young people in the world. It is an honor and privilege to serve as their director."


Since the Combined Audition, The Cadets have held two additional rehearsal/audition weekends for the brass and percussion sections. Look for more 2014 news in the New Year!

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The 2013 Cadets Holiday Ornament commemorates this year of victory and the tradition of excellence for which The Cadets Percussion Section is known.

Without the generous support of our friends, family and fans, The Cadets simply cannot exist. We thank you for walking through this year with us, and ask you to please make a tax-deductible donation to help keep the tradition alive.

To own a piece of history, please visit and donate to The Cadets' 2013 End-of-Year Appeal. For a donation of $100 or more, we will send you the 2013 ornament as a thank-you for supporting our future.

Thank you, and happy holidays!


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