The Mandarins Experience

Join Mandarins for 2025.

1. Join our Discord Interest Group

Interested in learning more about the Mandarins? Join our Discord Interest group to communicate with staff/experience members, and stay up to date on our latest announcements!

2. Join our Email List!

Get notifications right in your email inbox once audition information is live!

3. Sign up for auditions!

Attend our in-person Audition Camps, or submit a video audition, and audition for your chance to join us for 2025!

Educational Experience Clinics

Sign up for an educational performer clinic!

Leadership Camps

June 20-22 | Sacramento
July 6 | San Ramon


July 4th Parade Performance Experience!
July 4 | Rancho Cordova

Frequently Asked Questions

Specific Audition camps will offer auditions for specific sections within the drum corps!

NOTE: In order to audition for Drum Major, you must first submit a video audition pre-screening and be invited to our Sacramento Camp.

Northern California: Brass, Color Guard, Percussion, and DRUM MAJOR.

Southern California: Brass, Color Guard, and Percussion.

Texas: Brass, Color Guard, and Percussion

Atlanta: Percussion Only

Indiana: Color Guard Only

We do not have a required minimum age, but we do recommend at least 15 years old for auditions. DCI has an age limit for participating members, Drum Corps International’s age limit is 21 years of age with one exception. Corps members who turn 22 on or after June 1 are eligible to march during that year. 

Step 1: Join our Discord Interest Group.

Step 1: Submit a video pre-screening by our deadline: TBD.

Step 2: Selected applicants will be invited based on their pre-screening to register for our Northern California Audition Camp.

Step 3. Attend our Northern California camp in December to audition in person to join our drum major team.

NOTE: Only invited applicants can audition in person for Drum Major. PLEASE only register for camp after you have been invited by our staff.

Yes! We take video auditions for Brass and Color Guard.

For Drum Majors, a video pre-screening is required before an in-person audition at our Northern California Camp.

We will have more information on our video audition process coming soon.

For Percussion: Contact for Video Audition inquiries.

  • A positive attitude and willingness to learn.
  • All musicians: three ring binder with plastic sleeves and a pencil.
  • Change of clothes for the weekend. Plan to dress in layers. It will be warm in the gym. Since we are in California, where the climate is good, we will also likely be outside, so you will need to have warm clothes for that as well.
  • Comfortable marching shoes.
  • Your own instrument / guard equipment (in particular brass) if possible, to ensure you have something to use throughout the audition weekends.
  • Block Items:
    – Backpack
    – Binder – WITH ALL MUSIC
    – Pencil (bring multiple)
    – Gloves for Brass and Color Guard
    – Mouthpiece and horn
    – Water jug
    – Tennis shoes (be checking the weather, you may want to bring 2 pairs in case one gets soaked)
    – Baseball hat!!! (Don’t be afraid to bring extras)
    – Sunscreen
    – Hair ties (for guys too, it’s for the horn)
    – Rain Jacket
    – Black towel (to put horn on)
    – Fold-up music stand
    – Tuner
    – Metronome
    Non-block Items:
    – Air mattress
    – Sleeping bag/blanket
    – Pillow
    – 2-3 outfits (shorts/pants/leggings, shirts for block. pro tip: sleep in your block clothes for the next day, not pajamas)
    – Extra socks! 4-5 pairs
    – Underwear
    – Sports bras
    – Flip-flops/shower shoes
    – Toothbrush
    – Toothpaste
    – Hair brush/comb
    – Deodorant
    – Chapstick
    – Advil
    – Feminine products
    – Shampoo and conditioner
    – Body wash
    – Loofa
    – Towel
    – Phone charger
    – Pro tip* bring a small bag to carry your shower stuff in so that you don’t drop anything on the way there. Also, it’s easier to carry especially if showers are a bit of a walk.
  • A positive attitude and willingness to learn.
  • Three ring binder with plastic sleeves and a pencil.
  • Plan to dress in layers. If the weather is good we may spend part of the day outside.
  • Comfortable marching shoes.
  • Your own brass instrument as the corps will not provide instruments.  Percussion equipment will be provided.
  • Food is not provided.

Yes! Overnight housing is provided for our California camps so you can stay at our housing site with the corps. 

Also, please note that if you wanted to stay offsite (with parents at a hotel, with other auditionee’s, etc.) you are able to do so! 

For one day camps;

We will not be providing meals, so please be sure to bring your own snacks.

For three day weekend camps;

We will provide a snack after rehearsal Friday night, all meals on Saturday (breakfast, lunch, dinner & snack) and breakfast Sunday morning.

For those with dietary restrictions, please email

Yes, there is a shuttle available for our Northern California camp!

The Mandarins Shuttle Request form is available here, if you need shuttle service between the Sacramento airport (SMF) and camp. 

The cost is $20. Please contact our Transportation Coordinator, Alice Swift (aka Geema) at 619-400-9992 if your have questions about the shuttle. 

As soon as you book your flight, fill out the form if applicable.


We currently do not have shuttles available for other camps.

Three-Day California Camps:

  • Friday
    • 6PM – Check-in
    • 7PM – Rehearsal Begins
    • 10PM – Rehearsal ends
      • Snack and Shower
      • Overnight housing is provided
  • Saturday
    • Rehearsal All-day
  • Sunday
    • Rehearsal ends at 3PM

One-Day Satellite Camps:

  • 9:30AM – Registration begins
  • 10AM – Camp begins
  • 5PM – Camp Ends

Auditions will give the staff an idea of your music, marching, movement, and equipment handling skills.

Think of your first rehearsal as a chair placement for an honor band rather than an “audition”.

We will also be looking at several other factors, including:

  • Positive attitude.
  • Work ethic.
  • Commitment to effort.
  • Ability to focus and follow directions.
  • Ability to learn exercises.
  • Ability to process information and instruction and apply it to exercises.
  • Ability to handle constructive criticism in a positive manner.
  • Interaction with other audionees.
  • Ability to attend all camps and move into Spring Training in the Sacramento area (some flexibility is allowed due to school commitments but this IS our expectation).

In addition to an audition in a rehearsal setting, each prospective member will also be interviewed by the appropriate caption head.

Our marching member Code of Conduct can be found here. This will give you an idea of our organization’s expectation for its members.

Oh yes, in case you think we forgot to mention this: enjoy yourself! Stay positive and don’t lose sight of your goals and objectives. You are here because you enjoy doing this, and the staff does recognize your effort in coming to be here with us.

Commitment, dedication, and teamwork are the cornerstones of our organization. The Mandarins are rich with 55 years of tradition and pride. We encourage your participation, and look forward to seeing you soon.

“This is long overdue, but I just wanted to share my gratitude towards Mandarins and everyone that’s involved in it. I feel blessed to have been part of something so special. I never thought that I’d be able to feel the way I did after quarterfinals/semifinals because I couldn’t stop smiling after those shows. When you feel like giving up, just remember to hold your head up high and be proud of what you do. We’ve all literally poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this show. I’ve met the most amazing, talented, and kind hearted young adults. Although we’ve gone our separate ways, I’m constantly reminded that Mandarins will always be my home. I’m glad that I chose to age out with Mandarins, and I feel honored to be an alumni. I hope to see everyone again in the future. Until then, just remember………..GET IT! – Van Anh Tran”

The Audition materials are included when registering for an Experience Camp.  You will receive a confirmation email, after completing the registration process, with a link to download the materials.

If you are not planning on auditioning, you can purchase audition materials at the Mandarins Marketplace here for an additional cost.
Navigate to the Audition Materials and select the materials you’re interested in purchasing. After your purchase is complete, you will receive an email with a download link to the materials. Make sure your email address is correct when completing the checkout process.

If you are offered membership, you will be required to attend our monthly rehearsal camps, which are held one weekend each month. 

You will be invited to attend future camps.  Make sure you check your email and your CorpsData Account for camp registration information.

Housing, shuttles to/from the airport, and food are all provided, and attendance at all rehearsal camps is mandatory unless you have a previously-approved school conflict. 

If you receive a callback/membership for the color guard, you are only required to attend April Camp.

February camp is Brass only.

NOTE: Percussion and Color Guard members may be required to submit video assignments during the winter months that they are not attending camps.

  • Our 2025 Schedule is still being finalized!

Tour fees for 2025 are still being finalized, but for reference, 2024 tour fees were $5,950.

The initial tour fee deposit must be made within 10 days of receiving your contract in order to secure your spot within the corps.

Tour fees must be paid in full before Spring Training move-ins. We recommend paying approximately $1000 a month starting in January in order to be fully paid off by the end of May. 

Returning members receive a discount for each year they have marched with the Mandarins.

Please refer to the Member Handbook for an updated payment schedule and refund policy.

If you have any questions about the application process or fees, contact our director, JW Koester.

There are many ways to raise money for tour fees! 

We host a crowdfunding campaign where each member can start their own page where friends and family can directly see how much you have raised, and help contribute to and share the campaign.

We also offer a season sponsorship program in which you can have friends, family, and local businesses donate directly to your fees on the Mandarins website

Mandarins offers many scholarships leading up to the season. In 2022, we awarded scholarships to FORTY members of the drum corps. These scholarships are funded through our donors and our many fundraising programs, such as Club 63, and the Big Day of Giving, so it is important our members help us share these campaigns, so we can raise as much as possible to give back.

DCI also offers scholarships for marching members that you can apply for at

Unfortunately, we can not offer refund for experience camp auditions, but we can transfer the funds to a video audition, so you can still audition!

Feel free to join our Interest Group on Discord and post your question! You can also email and we will get back to you with an answer.

Scroll to Top

20% off

discount code: FANDARINS20

We would like your feedback on our new website!

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.