Drum Corps International launches a scholarship opportunity for female participants and leaders in corps while continuing to expand career and networking events.
In 2019, Drum Corps International (DCI) celebrated the one-year anniversary of its IN STEP: Women of DCI initiative, which launched in March 2018. “We felt like [women were] a voice missing from the table,” says Genevieve Geisler, who was recently named chair of IN STEP.
In December, IN STEP hosted a networking event at The Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in partnership with Women Rising to the Podium, a similar group that supports women who are band directors.
This year, IN STEP is expanding its efforts to recruit women into membership and leadership positions in drum corps through media campaigns and a scholarship. “We’re doing a media campaign actively showing the different faces of drum corps,” says Geisler, who also works as chief financial officer and chief operations officer for the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.
IN STEP is encouraging DCI organizations to diversify their hiring processes. “We have to … make [sure] our platform for hiring is intentionally reaching out to find different kinds of people,” Geisler says. “Female students don’t see leaders who look like them and don’t think it’s a career path for them.”
DCI’s new IN STEP scholarship, which recently completed its application process, could help encourage more female participants. According to DCI’s website, “At least one $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a current DCI participating female performer, intern, or corps staff member who aspires to continue working within the drum corps activity into the future.”
A fundraiser will be held during the DCI World Championship Semifinals to help raise scholarship funds.
The program will keep expanding and evolving. “We’ll continue to bring speakers and educational materials to the group at large and keep these conversations going,” Geisler says.
Read about various influential female leaders in drum corps in Halftime Magazine’s feature article “A Shout-Out to Women in Corps,” in the July/August 2019 issue.