Well, it has been a while since we last corresponded and oh, so much has happened in that time. As you are most probably aware, the drum corps season has been cancelled for 2020 and let me tell you, yes, it hurts! And while I am so happy that Drum Corps International (DCI) extended the opportunity for the 2020 age-outs to march in 2021 there are those who, unfortunately, won’t be able to do so because of other commitments they made long before our current status became unattainable. Military service, school commitments, and real-life job opportunities are some of the reasons that some of our members won’t be able to come back and finish their marching careers with the Mandarins. Those are the members that I feel for the most. And yet we must move forward because that is who we are and what we must do in order to make our organization and our drum corps community stronger than before.
The Mandarins Board of Directors has been extremely supportive of the decisions that I have made on behalf of the drum corps within the DCI world as we continue navigating our way through the impact of our cancelled season. The DCI voting membership has been meeting weekly to touch base, see how each organization is doing, and to attempt to look into the future to see what the 2021 drum corps season might look like. Yes, that’s right, what the 2021 season might look like. Because we don’t know just yet what we will and will not be able to do once we come out of our organizational hibernation and restart the drum corps. We are expecting that everything will be back to
our pre-COVID normal but that may not be the reality that we face. We are looking at different scenarios to ensure that whatever our 2021 season looks like we will be able to provide our drum corps with the best experience possible.
So, having said all that, the drum corps is still active – just not in the manner that we had expected to be. The design team still meets on a regular basis, all remotely of course, to discuss how much of the 2020 show will be rolled into 2021, how to finish the musical book, what new design features we might want to incorporate, and a multitude of other design considerations. The caption managers continue to meet with their sections on a regular basis to hand out homework assignments as we have had approximately 75% of the drum corps membership confirm that they are staying with the Mandarins for the 2021 season. So in that regard we are just in the middle of a very long winter season as we pace ourselves to ramp up the 2021 season. The corps members themselves meet regularly via Zoom to stay in touch and continue to get to know each other. I think that it is great to see all three sections working together on various activities in a manner that they would not necessarily do if we were in our regular drum corps world.
The administration, Health & Wellness team, and other support teams continue to meet regularly via Zoom and conference calls to plan for 2021 and, more importantly, to support the organization as we work through the reality of the 2020 season cancellation. Many of our members and staff have now had two seasons cancelled (WGI & DCI) and that can be a huge challenge for them.
So, as you can see that while the organization is officially “hibernating”, we are really very active doing many activities on many different levels because that IS who we are. We will continue to develop, to evolve, and to work to make ourselves bigger, better and stronger for when we are able to step onto the competitive football field ready to present our next exciting program that will wow our audiences and judges alike.
Trust you me, while we may be down don’t even think of counting us out because that would be a very bad thing to do! You have seen what we have done and know that we will continue to be exciting, creative, caring, and powerful for many years to come. Not just as a drum corps but as an entire organization.
Til’ the next time, be safe, be sane, wash your hand, and take care.