2021 Drum Corps FAQ

Why should I join the Columbus Saints?

Being a member of a drum corps is like being part of a family. However, the Saints go beyond that and build a community of members, alumni, parents, and local educators that are supportive, friendly, and challenges you as a person. Our program is perfect for age-outs & working adults who just love to march and want to grow their family of friends; college students who are seeking a competitive band experience; or students who want to gain skills to help them in college, DCI or WGI. We compete in Drum Corps Associates Class (DCA), Drum Corps International’s all-age class (DCI), allowing us to provide a competitive, affordable, weekend only, all-age drum corps experience.

What is Drum Corps Associates?

Drum Corps Associates was founded in 1967 as an all-age, formerly “senior” or over 22, drum & bugle corps circuit. Today DCA is the premier all-age circuit, drawing members from around the globe. While not as large as the under 22 circuit DCI; Drum Corps Associates, provides a unique experience that rewards crowd engagement, aids in developing life long friendships, and making drum corps a life-long performance experience for many! The unique factors of DCA are: weekend-only competition schedule; corps develop programs around weekend-only rehearsals; general effect has a higher weight in scoring. We’re fortunate to be able to participate in both major circuits which gives our members a unique experience!

When and where are audition and rehearsal camps?

Our evaluation and rehearsal camps are held at local schools, churches, and facilities across Ohio.  They are generally a one or two-day instructional camp, where new members are evaluated and the corps begins to set its lines for the season. Regular rehearsal camps are on weekends throughout the winter and spring, usually two weekends per month. Camps are almost always scheduled from 9am-6pm Saturdays.

What is the rehearsal and performance schedule like?

The Saints are primarily a “weekends-only” activity with rehearsals and events that are each very important to the organization.  From mid-June until Labor Day weekend almost every weekend is filled with rehearsal, travel and or competitions with at least two mid-seasons scheduled weeklong vacation blocks for family and friends to enjoy some off time. Prospective members should expect most every weekend from June through August to have a one day (Saturday) required event. At least two of our trips require we leave on Friday morning for travel. It’s a large time commitment but the rewards are great as you make friends and memories that will last a lifetime! The Drum Corps Associates season runs through Labor Day Weekend with most of the corps departing Friday morning; and Friday evening –  be aware of this when joining.

What if I have a school conflict during camps or summer performances?

Members are expected to attend all required rehearsal camps for their section. In the event of a conflict, members are expected to make an effort to attend at least part of the camp when possible. We realize school-related performances and academically required events are priorities; however, absence from all or part of a camp must be approved by the director and your caption head no later than one week prior to camp. To the member: as soon as you know of a conflict – let us know; school is the priority but be aware you’re making a commitment to the Saints as well.

How much does it cost to participate in the Columbus Saints?

Running a drum & bugle corps is an expensive proposition but the Saints work hard to keep costs low for everyone. When you take a detailed look at the value of education, out-of-state travel, lodging, food, and more for nearly 8-9 months – it’s an incredible value (and a fraction of the cost of other summer educational programs). All members are asked to pay a flat membership fee which covers out-of state travel, education, and associated costs, and also participate in fundraisers.  2021’s Fees and Costs are $400 Member Fee, $20 Credit Processing Fee, and $30 for 18+ Background Check (which members can keep). The complete financial cost will be outlined in detail during the open house. Currently with COVID-19 and the potential for a more adapted season with virtual learning, a combination of distanced rehearsals, and competitions.

What do the fees and tuition associated with membership cover?

  • Audition costs including Membership packets, application processing, online member account set up, t-shirt, facilities, and music.  This fee is non-refundable.
  • Out of state tour housing, instruction, some meals, music/drill, instruments, equipment, and uniforms for camps and performances
  • Member keepsakes (e.g., member shirts, etc.)
  • Travel OUT-OF-STATE to and from out of area summer competitions.

What are some miscellaneous costs assumed by members that I might incur?

  • Travel to/from camps
  • Some uniform components (shoes, makeup, undergarments, etc.)
  • Personal meals on rehearsal and some performance weekends
  • Special needs as prescribed by the caption heads (e.g., mouthpiece, gloves, sticks/mallets, rehearsal flags/weapons, etc.)
  • Personal items (e.g., sleeping bag, air mattress, etc.)
  • Rehearsal clothing
  • Souvenirs
  • Personal water jug (required of all members)

When are payments due and what payment options are available?

All fees required to be paid by certain deadlines during the winter season and on those dates are due at or before you arrive for camp. For the 2021 season, we’re moving to a weekly automatic payment program using Paypal. This allows families to spread the membership fee across 6 months, which makes it easier to manage for both member and the corps. This will require a deposit at time of plan setup, and will automatically run weekly till the end.

Do you offer scholarships?

For 2021 we are offering a special scholarship for alumni of DCI, DCA Open, WGI World, or those with two years of college marching band. this is a 100% sponsorship for 5 percussion and 5 brass, provided by two local partners who themselves marched drum corps. There are a limited number of scholarships to help members offset their tuition. Scholarships are awarded by the Executive Director and multiple factors are considered in awarding them – including attendance, need, personal fundraising efforts and other factors. We do advise you not to count on these funds to help cover regular tuition payments.

What do I wear for rehearsals?

The Saints required rehearsal attire is athletic shorts or pants, and plain t-shirt (or SAINTS SHIRT) on SUNDAYS ONLY. We usually consider our final block performance and at times will video record or live stream and want to represent the corps in an organized and uniform manner!

How are housing and meals accommodated at camps?

The Saints do not provide lodging for rehearsals or competitions in the state of Ohio. We can, however, assist members in obtaining hotel discounts or discussing with local members for lodging. At camps, we will not provide food for members. While on tour, we usually provide breakfast, lunch, and occasionally dinner or snack. At many competitions, we won’t provide dinner giving members an option to purchase concessions/restaurant/local food.

What do I need to bring to weekend camps?

  • A face mask, and hand sanitizer
  • Your own equipment (horn/mouthpiece, sticks/mallets, flag/rifle)
  • Your printed / tablet based exercise packet
  • Your Covid-19 Waiver For Turn-In
  • Athletic/workout clothing (no jeans) and running shoes (dance shoes for guard)
  • Water jug (minimum ½ gallon)
  • Pencil and 3-ring binder with inserts to hold music (for brass and percussion)
  • Personal music stand

What happened to the Saints Drumline Inc?

Marshall Cheatham; Executive Director and founder of The Saints Drumline Inc., grew up in urban Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s. One of the most formative experiences for him was marching for nearly a decade as a member of the St. Andrew’s Hornets’ Drum & Bugle Corps continuing the tradition of African-American Drum & Bugle Corps. In 2012  he desired to provide a broader entertainment and educational experience to the greater Columbus community and transitioned to the Saints Performing Arts.  The Saints Drumline is part of the organization but is one of the many ensembles under the Drum & Bugle Corps.