Marching Band Design Workshop

Learn from some of the great minds of the marching music world

The indoor season is upon us, and many directors and design teams will soon embark on the journey of creating their 2014 fall marching band productions.

USBands is pleased to offer a fall programming clinic entitled “The Dos and Don’ts of Marching Band Design,” hosted by staff members and friends of the 10-time World Champion Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps. Currently scheduled for Feb. 22 in New Milford, CT, George Hopkins and members of The Cadets’ design team will provide guidance for your fall planning sessions and focus on growing your program in 2014.

Important Note: The Edison, N.J. clinic originally scheduled for Feb. 15 has been cancelled due to Winter Storm Pax. Please stay tuned for an announcement regarding a new N.J. date and location!


USBands Director Justin Heimbecker expanded on the thought process behind this winter clinic offering: “Throughout the fall, band directors often tell me that they wish they could have heard the adjudicators’ feedback during the design process, rather than after the performance. This year, we're seeking to better serve our member bands by proactively providing guidance and direction, in addition to the reactive feedback we provide at USBands events.”

Heimbecker added, “As the only marching band circuit in the nation affiliated with performing ensembles (The Cadets, Cadets2 and Cadets Winter Percussion), most everything we do within the framework of USBands is driven by our experience with The Cadets' programs. We truly feel that we can use both the success and the missteps from those experiences to assist band directors and designers in refining their craft, and offer the best possible product to the participating students. If pulling back The Cadets' curtain will assist in the growth of these programs, we are glad to go behind-the-scenes with our USBands staffers.”



1 p.m. – Welcome, Melissa Reese
1:15 p.m. – Session #1
Tips from the Voice of Experience – Larry Markiewicz
2:30 p.m. – Break
2:45 p.m. – Session #2 – Breakout: Directors can choose to focus on visual or music
                                          Visual Design Components –
Joe Roche
Musical Design Components – Rich Guillen
4 p.m. – Break
4:15 p.m. – Session #3
How Does This Work in Real Life? – George Hopkins
5:45 p.m. – Thank you & questions
6 p.m. – Final wrap-up
6:30 p.m.
– Enjoy the indoor show!

About the Speakers

Larry Markiewicz, a former Cadets staff member and brass caption supervisor and a N.J. band director and member of USBands for many years, will give relatable advice, reviewing marching band design elements in a fast but easy-to-comprehend program certain to entertain and educate. Larry will share his quick list of programming “no-brainers” as well as some rehearsal fail-safes to guide you through your season.

Joe Roche, a Cadets alum and visual staff member for 20 years, will discuss a visual technique program that works for bands of all sizes and provide a lot of inspiration!

Rich Guillen will arranging music for winds within the context of marching band show design. He will also discuss how to work around weak sections in your band program, the use of percussion and solos, and other tricks of the trade.

George Hopkins, The Cadets' director and program coordinator and USBands' founder, CEO and adjudicator, will lead a panel of designers and technicians in a review of real-life examples of marching bands and decisions that can be quickly improved. In this final session, we will take a look at what works and what is a definite challenge by reviewing real clips and real bands. Points of discussion will include poor placement, poor guard usage, design that hinders success, balance, visual design, ensemble music design, and tips and tricks that will help you to track your program's progress.

Register Now!

This clinic will be FREE of charge, with drinks and light refreshments provided. We invite all directors to stay and enjoy the USBands Indoor event which will begin at the conclusion of the workshop.

New England attendees can RSVP here for the New Milford, CT workshop on Feb. 22. 

Please RSVP here for the N.J. workshop so that Team USBands can appropriately prepare for the event.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Larry Markiewicz at


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