FAQs for Parents & Teachers
What is drumcorps anyway? Is it the same as marching band?
Drumcorps (or Drum & Bugle Corps) is an extracurricular activity that is similar to marching band with some key differences (for example, there are no woodwinds). Corps generally practice one weekend per month in the spring, and in the summer they practice almost daily (much like band camp) in preparation for summer competitions. You might think of drumcorps as a “club sport” version of marching band. Learn more here: http://www.dci.org/parents
Is my student the right age to participate? What are the requirements?
For Golden Empire, the student must at least be in high school to participate. Drum Corps International (the sanctioning body for the activity) establishes an age limit of 21 (with an exception for members that turn 22 on or after June 1). Many students choose to participate in drumcorps after a couple years of experience in marching band/drumline/guard, but some start earlier or later.
Will drumcorps conflict with school?
Golden Empire’s schedule has been created by local teachers and coaches to avoid as many school conflicts as possible. The spring semester camps are on weekends, and daily rehearsals don’t begin until school is out for the summer. With that said, we know that inevitably there will be conflicts with school events (competitions, concerts, etc.), and we believe a student’s school commitments should be their top priority.
Are there any academic eligibility considerations?
Because the corps is a class at Bakersfield College, there are some college requirements that must be met. Applicants that audition for and make a spot in the corps will be required to enroll as students at BC. HS students must meet with their HS counselor to complete an “Application for Concurrent Enrollment” that requires the signature of a parent/guardian and a school official.
Will my student’s participation in drumcorps distract them from their school music program?
This is a question we want address head-on because we know it’s a concern. We are schoolteachers and music/guard coaches ourselves. We also were once young students who marched drumcorps during our HS and college years. While there is no simple yes/no answer, our personal experience was that the drumcorps activity inspired us to return to our school music programs eager to share our experiences. It exposed us to new music/movement, strengthened our work ethic, and kept us focused on band/guard during the school year.
How much will this all cost?
A detailed financial policy will be available that breaks everything down, but essentially there are three obligations: The $40 audition fee, BC tuition/registration fees (currently about $100 per semester or $15 for HS students), and the member contribution (sometimes known in the activity as a “tour fee”), which for 2020 is $1,700. There will be various required and optional fundraising opportunities as well as discounts to help offset these obligations.
Where do the members stay during camps or when traveling to shows?
Most camps are held at Bakersfield College, and students will stay there overnight, sleep in the gym, and use the locker room facilities. They will need to bring their own sleeping bag/air mattress, pillow, and toiletries, shower gear, etc. During overnight camps, students are expected to remain on campus. Any exceptions must be approved in advance with the corps director. For non-camp rehearsals (including daily rehearsals in the summer), the schedule is designed so local students can stay at home each night. People from out of town will need to arrange for off-campus housing (relatives, host family, renting, etc.). When on the road in the summer, the corps will stay together at housing sites, and details of the tour and these sites will be available before each trip.
What’s the food situation? Are meals provided at camps? How about tour?
During the winter season, meals will be provided at camps. For non-camp rehearsals (including daily rehearsals in the summer), corps members are on their own for food during meal breaks. There are various food options within short driving distance of the college, and it’s always OK (in fact encouraged) to pack a lunch. When traveling on tour, the corps will provide food for the members.
Are there any health & safety issues I should be concerned about?
Drumcorps is a physically demanding activity. Corps members will be training throughout the season, and in the summer they will be working outside in the heat and sun. Handling these conditions is balance of preparation (conditioning, sun protection, full clean water jugs, etc.) and treatment if there are any issues. Details of health and safety issues will be available in the Member Handbook.
Do I need to carry health insurance? Does the corps provide anything?
Members must have their own health insurance coverage. The corps is a class at Bakersfield College, so we are covered under the Kern Community College District’s SISC liability insurance policy. However, medical expenses are the responsibility of the member (and/or their parent/guardian).
How does the corps travel? Will I need to provide transportation for my student to events?
During the camp season and summer rehearsals, corps members are on their own for transportation. When on tour, the corps will travel together by bus. Much like when traveling to band competitions, there will also be a fleet of support vehicles that travel with the corps, and parents are welcome to drive to the events to help support their student.
I still have more questions. How do I learn more?
Please contact the corps director, Tim Heasley, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions you may have. Please let us know if you’d prefer a return phone call. Also, please plan to attend the parent meeting at the first camp if possible.