An Update From Corps Director JW Koester

Well, another month, another Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps camp and another good one. Actually two camps! The brass section met in Northern California over Presidents’ weekend to work on fundamentals for both music and visual, to work on show music (Oh yeah!), and to work on blending their team of veterans and new members into a cohesive team while the percussion section met in Southern California on Monday, Presidents’ Day to drum on exercises and show music (Did I already say oh yeah?). Yes, the 2019 production continues to develop as music, drill, choreography, uniforms, costumes, flags and props all continue to progress forward towards our first performance in June. That performance is the Mandarins Family Day which will be held on Saturday, June 15th, location is TBD. We expect to have the full show on the field for our friends and family to view and to cheer on the home team! In addition, we continue the work to lock in our spring training housing locations.

Our Health & Wellness team continues to push forward with their work with the corps. They are also working behind the scenes in preparation of their summertime support of the corps. Yep, we are working to have professional medical-level coverage for all of spring training and tour – and that is quite the daunting task. Dr. Dan, Kim, and their team of professionals are absolutely up to making it happen.

Our next camp for the brass section is March 15-17 in the Sacramento area and after that, once WGI (Winter Guard International) is done, our full corps will once again be together for the April 26-28 camp, also in the Sacramento area. Drum corps spring training move-in day is Friday, May 24th!

Other news – some of you may have heard that our transportation provider of the past several years (Silverado Coach Lines) recently filed for bankruptcy and is no longer in operation. So, I am extremely pleased to announce that we have entered into a relationship with Village Tours from Wichita, KS. Last year (2018) Village provided the instructional staff’s entertainer bus and the experience was quite successful for both partners. I reached out to them regarding 2019 and after working with their Operations Manager, Mr. Ivan Moore, we were able to complete an agreement that is equally positive for both parties. So, we will have the same black entertainer bus for the instructional staff plus three “sister” silver charter buses for the corps members to travel in all summer long.

And yes, all four buses will be in California prior to the first competition in Clovis, CA on June 21st! Our entertainer driver will be “El” who rejoins us from 2018 and our members just might see another familiar face behind the wheel of one of their buses.

Speaking of transportation – this year we will operate three semi-tractor trailer vehicles: 1) Mushu, our mobile kitchen 2) The Dragon, our equipment trailer 3) Our new, yet-to-be-named prop trailer. As our props and other equipment needs have grown we believe that the most economical and safest way to transport all of our “extra” equipment and props is to lease a trailer so we aren’t placing undue strain on our existing fleet. We are also revisiting our lead vehicle and support staff transportation requirements as well as our souvenir transportation needs. So, once again we have many, many tasks going on every single day as we push towards summertime. If you have some free time this summer and you want to spend some of it on the road with the corps we still have multiple non-commercial driving spots available.

So please contact Keith Sanpei, or me to get more information about this very exciting aspect of the drum corps tour!

Corps Director

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