Introducing Cadets2

Beginning in 2012, a new face will arrive on the DCA tour.

Youth Education in the Arts is proud to announce the formation of Cadets2, a drum corps for young men and women ages 16- to 22 that will operate and compete within the Drum Corps Associates circuit beginning in the summer of 2012.

Based in the Lehigh County of Pennsylvania, Cadets2 will include 128 brass, percussion and colorguard performers who will function as a ‘weekend-only’ corps while gaining the same life-changing skills and experiences that are a benefit of participating in The Cadets, a world class corps participating within Drum Corps International.

“Cadets2 is a program we are thrilled be able to provide,” said George Hopkins, director of The Cadets and CEO of Youth Education in the Arts. “This DCA participating corps will be part of the YEA! curriculum that assists in supporting young people along their personal road towards greatness. It is a different approach than The Cadets, due to the level of time commitment, but the corps will be managed very much the same as The Cadets. There will be an expectation of excellence, the clear intention that the image of The Cadets is maintained, and there is a promise from the organization that Cadets2 will operate with the same degree of quality expected of all YEA! programs.”

Cadets Assistant Director Justin Heimbecker attended last weekend’s DCA meeting in Scranton, Pa., to present to the membership the plans of Cadets2 that will enable more young men and women to participate in the marching arts.

“For so many, the time commitment and cost of a World Class drum corps just isn’t possible,” said Heimbecker. “Cadets2 will allow brass, percussion and colorguard performers a place to experience being part of The Cadets, but in a different capacity. They will still learn from some of the best teachers in the activity, they will have the infrastructure of YEA!’s team to provide much needed support, but of course, there are less financial pressures and less time concerns. A DCI presence was considered but touring costs drew YEA! to request of DCA that Cadets2 be allowed to participate in their arena. And yes, there is the possibility we will loosen the age restrictions to 23 or 24, depending on demand.”

Youth Education in the Arts will manage Cadets2 as they do The Cadets through the Performing Ensembles Department headed by Justin Heimbecker and Melissa Babalonis. However, the two corps will operate independently, each with its own director. A Cadets2 director will be named shortly.

A member of Cadets2 can move up into The Cadets but that transition is certainly not mandatory. Teachers will be able to contribute to both corps, equipment can be used by both, and instruments, vehicles and even uniforms will be passed between the two corps. Of note, Cadets2 will NOT wear the official Maroon and Gold uniforms of The Cadets, said Hopkins. A different uniform, similar in style but not in color, will be discussed in mid to late May.

Auditions for Cadets2 will be held this coming November with monthly weekend rehearsals to be held from December 2011 through April 2012. The rehearsal pace will pick up in May 2012, according to Hopkins, as the corps heads into its summer performance schedule ending at DCA World Championships in September 2012 in Annapolis, Md. Students can audition for The Cadets and Cadets2 but at different times. Cadets2 is created primarily for young folks along the East Coast. Because of the later starting dates and no “move-in,” this is a perfect program for area high school students.

“This news is exciting for the organization as for years we have given thought to finding ways to provide the drum corps experience to more youth but through an avenue that was affordable and perhaps not so time consuming. After a few months of discussions and planning, it was realized the time for version two of The Cadets could be now, as we lay out the foundation to Cadets2, you can be assured this corps will have the best we can offer its membership in uniforms, equipment, staffing and of course, a creative edge,” said Hopkins.

In the coming weeks, YEA! will launch the Cadets2 Web page that will provide details on schedules, auditions, staffing, membership and more.

Those interested in learning more about Cadets2 should email Justin Heimbecker at, or reach him by telephone at (610) 821-0345, Ext. 112. Full brochures including pricing and other details will be available soon.

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Mary Karen Clardy

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