In the Spring of 2016 a group of music educators and arts advocates began a dialogue involving the creation of a competitive drum and bugle corps in the state of New Mexico. As time passed this dialogue gradually grew into a more solid movement which became known as the Arsenal Initiative. Under the leadership of project director J. Spenser Lotz an instructional staff and a board of directors were gradually assembled, paving the way for Arsenal Performing Arts to incorporate just as the 2016 summer tour was beginning. Acknowledging the need for caution in order to provide financial security for the new organization, the decision was made to wait until the 2017 season to field a corps. Following a series of successful clinics to increase interest in the fledgling corps, Arsenal joined Drum Corps International’s SoundSport program, with plans to use the SoundSport model to grow and solidify the organization before moving to Open Class in 2019.
If you are a student under 21 who would like the opportunity to be a part of the only active drum and bugle corps in New Mexico, we invite you to audition for the Arsenal. Our season starts in the Fall with a series of educational clinics that ramp up to our auditions in the Winter. Although we primarily award membership contracts during the Winter and Spring, we consistently have openings for new, dedicated students, and so we encourage anyone interested in marching to reach out to us to find out if spots are still available. We recommend that anyone interested in marching Drum Corps, either with Arsenal or elsewhere, attend our clinics or audition camp.
Every Fall, Arsenal holds a series of day clinics throughout New Mexico to give students the chance to work with our staff and experience the corps culture. These clinics serve as open house sessions for the corps and lead up to our auditions over the Winter. All prospective members are encouraged to attend the clinics as clinic attendees will receive audition materials before they are released publicly on our website. Additionally, attending the clinics will give prospective members the chance to learn what is expected of Arsenal students and become associated with our technique before the auditions.
Our auditions are structured just like a normal rehearsal camp for the corps. Auditionees will be expected to prepare materials in advance and then travel to wherever the camp is located, spending the night and eating meals provided by the corps over the course of the weekend. Following the audition camp we will have a callback camp where we will further evaluate potential members and offer them contracts based on their improvement between the two camps.
If offered a position with Arsenal, members will be asked to attend monthly camps leading up to more than a week of all-day rehearsals immediately before our first show. For monthly camps, members spend the weekend with the corps, sleeping at the housing site and eating meals provided by the corps. Between these camps our staff will often give ‘homework’ in the form of video assignments to help the corps continue to improve between camps.
Spring training (or All-Days) is a period of all-day rehearsals in which members of the corps relocate to Albuquerque and spend each day working to perfect the show before leaving on tour. During these days members house will local host families and rehearse from 8 in the morning to 10 at night, working to perfect the show before leaving on tour.
The schedule for Spring Training and Monthly Rehearsal Camps is finalized in the Fall and dates are provided to students auditioning for the corps.
Arsenal aims to continuously expand our tour with more travel and shows every year. In 2017 we performed locally in Albuquerque and Las Cruces before traveling to San Antonio to compete in the Southwestern Championship. In 2018 we hope to expand the tour further, with more information to be announced as we get closer to the season.
If accepted as a performing member of Arsenal, students will be expected to pay what is commonly referred to as tour fees. It is our goal to keep these as low as possible for our first season, and while we can’t give you an exact amount yet, we are aiming at keeping these fees within the ballpark of 700 dollars. These dues cover the cost of everything associated with the summer experience, including the entrance fees for competitions, transportation and housing costs for the Southwestern Championship and the uniforms for our first season, which members will keep following the completion of tour. A minimum monthly payment schedule will be required from every member accepted into the corps, and more details concerning tuition will be made available as we get closer to auditions.
Parents, have questions about Drum Corps? Wondering what it is exactly your child is interested in? Please visit this link to read more about the activity.
If you’re interested in auditioning, please visit us on Facebook to get information more directly!