The Cadets held its second Virtual Camp this past weekend with all sections in attendance. Every student received an abundance of education and training throughout the weekend, along with critical Health and Wellness information and guidance. “The participation and engagement by both members and staff certainly exceeded my expectations,” said Cadets Director, Denise Bonfiglio. “The planning and efforts by the Design Team, Caption Managers, Educational staff, and my management team were superior.”
Director Bonfiglio went on to say how proud she was of the members remarking, “They all gave their best efforts throughout the weekend. Their focus and work ethic as we experiment with this new normal of social distancing and virtual e-learning was simply amazing.”
Cadets Program Facilitator and Battery Arranger, Tom Aungst, was also satisfied with the camp saying, “The Cadets Virtual April camp was a huge success. To be able to connect with corps members and staff while doing some type of drum corps was very cool. I know we have to wait a bit for the real thing, but this at least gave us some hope and energy about the future of the 2021 Cadets.”
The Cadets Brass, led by Caption Manager Dr. Matt Stratton, was happy with the strong attendance. Members from across the world, including the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan, participated in what was the brass sections second virtual camp. The members were so engaged in the learning process that they commented on how they wished they had more time with the faculty. “I am so grateful to this amazing team for their investment in the performing members,” said Dr. Stratton. “The connections they have established have led to a 90 percent return rate for contracted brass positions.”
Being their second virtual camp, the brass refined their instructional process. It improved their product by targeting specific areas of technique to instill a sense of community and accomplishment within the CBrass family. Music arranger Jay Bocook had some new notes for the second production, and the members enjoyed working through that.
The Cadets color guard also had a successful virtual camp. Heading into the weekend, the staff, led by Caption Manager Andy Mroczek, did many hours of preparation and set up. Each technical staff member contributed videos of technique, combinations, and choreography totaling about 35 lessons in all. “Between video break-out sessions for the current contracted members to learn content and video themselves doing these lessons, coupled with live zoom classes and meetings, it was a full camp for sure!” said Andy. Each member of the color guard staff team also reviewed over 1,000 submitted videos from the members, and gave audio and written feedback to every member. With staff and members being in different time zones from coast-to-coast, and around the world, all involved stepped up to the challenge. “For a virtual camp being uncharted waters for many of us in the activity, we are beyond proud of these members, this staff, and this organization,” Andy went on to say. “Our first April camp was a major success, with more to come.”
The front ensemble and battery were also able to adapt to the virtual camp set up. Jake Gall, Caption Manager for the battery, led the members through technique exercises and some new music. They were even able to rehearse a virtual ensemble session and play through several parts of the show. The front ensemble is led this year by Caption Manager, Rick Stetson with longtime Cadets pit arranger, Neil Larrivee. Though many of the members do not have the keyboards or equipment they need at their home, they were still able to have an effective virtual rehearsal weekend.
The Cadets are excited to have Ron Lambert on the team as Assistant Director, and he will be leading the corps down the road next summer. During The Cadets Live broadcast on Sunday, Ron spoke about his experience as a band director and history as a drum corps tour manager. Ron spent four years with the Boston Crusaders, and he is excited about making sure The Cadets members have a positive experience in 2021. He was thrilled with the success of the virtual camp, saying, “Our April virtual camp was such a success. Not only were the members accountable through great attendance, but they also showed through their enthusiasm, contributions, and preparation. They took the format seriously and are looking to grow this organization by any means necessary.”
The Cadets Live broadcast on Sunday gave the staff a chance to share details about the camp and its success. Fans and alumni from across the country tuned in and, in the end, were treated to an exceptional performance by the brass faculty of a Jim Prime arrangement of Rocky Point Holiday. Corps Director Bonfiglio said, “I am truly humbled by the Brass faculty and Audio team who spent a significant amount of time putting this together. This gift was an exceptional performance by exceptional educators; I can’t thank them enough for their gift to the organization, our volunteers, parents, and our fans, bravo!!”
Don’t forget that this coming Tuesday is Maroon and Gold Day, and you can go to donate.cadets.org to give and support The Cadets.