Here is a list of our frequently asked questions. If you have more, ask them in the comments section and we’ll answer them!
Q – Just what IS Drum Corps??
A – To the uninitiated, drum corps may appear like a marching band – but it isn’t. For millennia, there has been the drum to encourage workers and warriors, which eventually evolved into fife and drum corps units and military bands as we know them. However, the “sport” of drum corps has taken this to a whole new level. It is Extreme Performing Arts….on a football field! The most elite musicians and guard up to the age of 21 from all over the country audition to be a part of the modern World Class Corps. Members practice 18 or more hours per day in the summer perfecting their shows and competing, which leads to the World Championships in August where the very best of the best wins the coveted title. While Arbella IS a drum corps, we will not be organized for the purpose of competition. Our mission is to bring drum corps back to this area, where once there were hundreds of corps. It will serve as an introduction for those who have never experienced it, and feel like old times for those who have.
Q – I have never marched drum corps…and I’m over 21.
A – No drum corps experience is necessary as we will be a standstill/parade unit in our first years. We will teach you what you need to know. What you do have to have is desire to learn and to perform at your very best so we are a sharp unit in all divisions. We are an all-age group, not necessarily just for d.c. alumni, but younger musicians should have intermediate musical experience.
Q – What will the rehearsal schedule be like?
A – Brass is currently rehearsing every Sunday all year long. Brass musicians are required to make as many rehearsals as they can and memorize music and come prepared. Color guard does not have organized practice until May 1st but video of choreography is available already on our youtube channel for practice. Percussion division is still forming.
Q – Arbella was once an All-Girl corps, is this going to be an all-girl group?
A – No, while the corps will be nautically themed after the original all-girl Corps of the 70s and 80s and to reflect our local area, the corps is open to everyone, and most ages.
Q – Will there be auditions?
A – At this early juncture, auditioning will be for part assignment, not necessarily for entry. We want to make sure we have people where they should be so that the sound and talent is balanced.
Q – I haven’t picked up my instrument in, hmmm….30 years, can I still join?
A – Yes! It is amazing how fast you will “get it back”, especially if you make the extra effort to practice at home. It may take a bit of practice to get performance ready!
Q – What kind of commitment is necessary?
A – Generally, you should be able to make 75% of scheduled rehearsals 100% of exhibitions, performances and parades. You should also be able to practice at home so you are prepared for rehearsal. Music must be memorized as soon as possible once you get a new piece. Depending upon your experience level, you may require more or less than others. Generally, we suggest at least 30 minutes of practice, 3 days a week.
Q – What kind of shows do you expect to do? Will there be alot of travel?
A – We anticipate that we will be initially performing standstill concerts for local cities and towns during their heritage day festivals, as well as maritime festivals and parades at first. As word gets around, we may go further afield, but that is not expected in these formative years. In winter we will have a Holiday Brass ensemble and we are aiming to fielding an Independent Guard for the winter 2014-15 season.
Q – Do I need to bring my own equipment?
A – At the moment, our focus is on sourcing equipment for lower brass and percussion because these are instruments one doesn’t normally just have on their own, especially the marching versions. If you have equipment, we will ask you to bring it along! If you happen to know of any music program at your school/town that is offloading some older gear, please let them know we are looking! We are hoping that in the next year or so we will have full instrumentation, by the same manufacturer, perhaps even a sponsor.
Q – How is communication handled, for example, what if a practice is cancelled due to snow?
A – All communications will be handled through this website and our facebook page and twitter/arbellacorps. Be sure to “like” the Arbella group online for updates. Distribution of music, schedules, show information, directions, blogs from the instructors – everything will be handled here on this website. We will make use of technology whenever possible!
Q – Speaking of family friendly, can I bring my kids? will older adults be drinking at practices or performances?? Can I bring my kids?
A – We will consider younger members with parent membership (how great would it be to have a few generations together in the ranks!) However, they must be committed, have intermediate musical experience and be mature enough to handle rehearsals. Drinking will not be permitted at rehearsals or whenever in uniform. Children may come to rehearsals if you are able to perform and not be distracted.
Q – Will I have to participate in fundraising?
A – Yes, everyone will have to do their part to help keep our ship afloat. We will try to choose fundraisers that are unique, fun, profitable – and EASY. Fundraising will help keep individual costs down. We have done everything possible to keep costs to a minimum, but instruments, insurance, operations, etc does require money and we need everyone to help. If you have any ideas about interesting fundraising ideas, let us know. You are always welcome to forgo fundraising and pay cash.
Q – I want to participate beyond just performing. What can I do?
A – By all means let us know if you are available to help. I’m SURE there will be SOMETHING for you to do, heh heh heh… Seriously, it takes a village, and we would appreciate any and all assistance you can offer.
Q – Are there plans for the corps to compete?
A – We do not have plans for Arbella to be a competitive unit in the first several years. Funding a competitive drum corps is extremely expensive, particularly the travel and size aspects. In fact, that is the main reason so many drum corps were forced to disband. This is not to say we would never field a World Class competitive corps, but it will take a huge commitment from members to help create an infrastructure to raise the funds to make this happen.
Q – What are the uniform requirements?
A – We are trying to keep uniforms comfortable, easy and affordable in our first few years. We are looking to recreate a unisex version of our nautical uniforms of the 1970s and 1980s. The uniforms will be a navy blue and white striped t-shirt, white shorts/capris/pants, white sneakers/comfortable shoes to march a parade in and a red neckerchief. We will provide the shirts and neckerchiefs, the Member will be responsible for sourcing shoes and white shorts.
Q – Will there be member dues?
A – If everyone participates in fundraising, we should not have to charge dues!
Post more questions below in the comments section!