Post-Season Update from JW

Greetings to all!

Well, we made it! The 2021 season is done – the members are back home or at school, staff is back at work, support team is recuperating, and the fleet is back and resting. What can I say? It was an amazing year. Throughout all the challenges we encountered everyone maintained a positive outlook and worked together to make it happen. When the corps arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday, August 11th to prepare for three days of season-ending celebration performances, they were ready.

After hundreds and hundreds of COVID-19 tests (not a single positive), thousands of miles traveled, 20,000 plus meals served, lots of hand sanitizer and suntan lotion, and 12 performances in front of thousands of appreciative fans, they were ready to pull out all the stops at Lucas Oil Stadium. And wow, what a set of performances they were.  I felt that each night the corps turned up the heat a little more and made each run a little better. Saturday night was the culmination of the season as the last run of “Beyond the Canvas” was just a little more emotional, a little more intense, and a little more final.

Many thanks need to go out to the design team and instructional staff, to the Health & Wellness team, to the administrative team, to the kitchen crew, to the support team, to the drivers, to the Board of Directors, to the parents, to the fans, and to the corps members. It truly took everyone working their hardest to make Saturday night and the rest of the season happen. 

Saturday night, after the final performance, the corps circled up and we talked about many things, one being that within an hour or so this edition of the Mandarins would be gone as we will never again be back together as a full group. So, I asked everyone to take a moment to lock in their happiest feelings and special moments and to savor one last time the opportunity to be together. Yes, there were tears but, there were smiles as well, lots of hugs, and pictures taken because everyone knew it was the end of something very special.

In that regard, every season ends a little bittersweet for me as I watch the interactions of the new friendships, the new working relationships, the camaraderie and, knowing that it’s now gone with only memories to remember each other. Of course, from those endings forms the basis of the new season and the excitement that those thoughts bring. We had an amazing season and I am already looking forward to what 2022 will bring to the corps and the Mandarins organization!  New corps members, some new staff, new parents, and the opportunity to generate new fans. Now, if that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.  Again, thank you to everyone who helped bring the 2021 season to life – we couldn’t have done it without you.

Stay tuned for news regarding 2022 because it is just around the corner. Potential members are invited to join our Facebook page, “2022 Mandarins Interest Group“. Audition/Experience camps are being planned, the design team is getting ready to work on the new show, tours plans are being made and, we are ready to welcome back our veteran corps members, and our new corps members as well. Mandarins 2022, It’s Live – It’s Real (once again).

JW Koester
Corps Director

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