USNA Corps Seeks Assistant Director
The U.S. Naval Academy Drum & Bugle Corps is looking to increase its staff by one with the addition of an Assistant Director. The corps, based in Annapolis, MD, has recently undergone a comprehensive expansion plan. A major component of the expansion plan drawn up by corps director, Mr. Jeff Weir, was the addition of a full time assistant. "The creation of this new position sounds a tremendous institutional message, that musical units are important to the success of the Brigade of Midshipmen (USNA’s student body) and their training," said Mr. Weir. He added that the level of support received from the current administration towards all musical ensembles at the Academy has been unprecedented. "All of the midshipman ensembles have increased in numbers, including the recent creation of a Midshipman Symphony Orchestra and the near doubling in size of the chapel choirs."
The Drum & Bugle Corps greatly benefited from this support, which essentially doubled its roster from 85 midshipmen in 2003, to over 150 expected in the fall of 2006. The expansion plan included funds for part-time instructors, additional equipment, additional travel, and increased recognition for musicians within the Brigade of Midshipmen. Members of the corps, an activity designated as a "Brigade Support Activity", receive the same athletic credit as varsity athletes towards their class rank. "The capstone to the expansion plan is the hiring of a full time assistant director," said Mr. Weir. "With the increased size of the corps, there comes increased responsibilities for managing the unit. It will be a unique opportunity, and a unique challenge, for the right person."
The job description for the Assistant Director position includes assisting the corps director in the execution of day-to-day business, music arranging (preferably in pit and battery percussion), attendance at all corps functions (including daily rehearsals), significant amounts of travel required (both weekday and weekend), and assisting in inventory control and budget matters. Mr. Weir also added, "This is definitely unlike most director positions within bands and corps. The midshipmen take on a great deal of the workload as part of their officer training. The assistant director and myself are merely advisors to the corps, and we comprise the corporate memory of the unit, as the midshipmen turn over every four years." As to the amount of travel the corps undertakes, Mr. Weir commented, "It is considerable, because we are more like a college band than a DCI or DCA drum corps. We support Navy football throughout the fall semester, including field shows or pep bands at all games, home and away. During the spring semester, we provide pep bands for all home basketball games, for both the men’s and women’s teams. We also take on a number of ‘public relations’-type performances such as standstill concerts and parades around the country. All in all, the corps hops on planes or buses approximately 30 times per year, mostly on the weekends. When you add all of the ‘ceremonial’ functions of the corps within the four walls of the Naval Academy, the corps performs in whole or in part approximately 200 times a year."
The position also affords the corps with an opportunity to hire a full time instructor for percussion. Mr. Weir said, "While we have had some incredible percussion instructors over the last several years, they have all had to hold full time jobs elsewhere, and therefore could not commit to the entire rehearsal schedule. If we find someone with the right qualifications for an assistant director, and that person also happens to have percussion experience, that would certainly weigh into the decision. Obviously, we will consider all applications whether they show percussion background or not, but since I arrived in 1995, we have never had a full time drum instructor. That would certainly fill in a lot of blanks for us."
Applications will be accepted until June 21st, 2006. Mr. Weir hopes to have someone on board by Plebe Summer, the freshman indoctrination period for the Naval Academy, "We have a 100-piece corps of entirely freshmen active throughout the summer, and that time period would be a great training time for a new hire." Resumes can be emailed to Jeff Weir at "weir [at] usna [dot] edu", or can be mailed to the following address: Jeff Weir, Alumni Hall, 675 Decatur Rd., Annapolis, MD, 21402-5086.