New Year Update from JW

Greetings all,
Yes, it IS the new year in case you hadn’t noticed! California has water, lots of water, I mean really, a LOT of water! And, in spite of all that water, 127 young people traveled to Sacramento for our first 2023 season camp, January 13-15, at Foothill Ranch Middle School.
The brass and percussion sections had an excellent weekend of additional auditions, working on show music, contracting members, and getting to know each other. Most of the percussion section is now contracted and over two-thirds of the brass section is now contracted.
Many thanks to Marcus Holifield-Helm for being able to secure his school on extremely short notice after our original facility had to be cancelled due to rain damage. This facility worked out very well and the school staff were easy to work with. Some of the teachers commented that they couldn’t tell that we had been there. And those types of comments are music to corps directors’ ears!! 
Tyler Allin and the Mushu crew did an excellent job of preparing and serving meals under exciting conditions including heavy rain, extraordinarily strong winds, darn cold temperatures, and dark of night (and morning). Many thanks to everyone who cooked, served, and cleaned. Alice “Geema” and her shuttle crew got everyone where they needed to be and when they needed to be there. We were able to use one of our staff buses to shuttle people, which beats the heck out of twenty Uber cars! Many thanks to Lorene Hines for driving the bus Friday and Sunday afternoon. And a huge shout-out to William Mullins, who moved Mushu and the Dragon to/from our storage facility and the school in some very nasty weather.
So, yes, the camp was very successful because so many people helped make it happen. I received some very positive feedback from the auditionees that, even though they weren’t contracted, were impressed by the welcoming environment, the excellent instruction, and the good food. With that feedback I continue to believe that you can be competitive and “nice”. It is not an either-or situation.
In case you didn’t catch it earlier in the article, I did say that the brass & percussion played some of the show music at the camp and, WOW! It is very exciting stuff. Vince Oliver, our brass arranger, was on-site to work with the music ensemble and hear what the music sounded like live and in person vs. the mp4 recordings that the design team is always listening to. I think that he was pleasantly impressed with how well the corps played the music. I know I was!
The design team continues to develop the rest of the show musically and visually and the corps uniform design is already on paper. That’s another “wow” in my opinion!
If you weren’t around to help out in January, you will get another opportunity to do so in February at our brass-only camp February 17-19 in Sacramento. Check on the Fandarins page for the exact school location, which we will post next week. Reach out to our new Volunteer Coordinator, Mr. Jesus Muniz, and let him know you would like to help. A couple of hours or the entire weekend – it all helps! Jesus’ email is: and his cell # is: 209-327-8991. You can also contact Jesus for summertime volunteering to cook, drive, help with uniforms, assist with our Health & Wellness team, and other fun activities!
Until next time, remember – It’s Live, It’s Real, It’s Mandarins 2023!  

Corps Director

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