Cadets Director George Hopkins Interview
George Hopkins has been one of the most influential leaders in corpsdom for decades as the leader of The Cadets. I had the fortune to tour with their phenomenal Western show in 1996 for the last four weeks, experiencing the Olympics Closer in Atlanta, watched by over 1-1/2 billion viewers, and "The Tie" in Orlando, involving Phantom Regiment and the Blue Devils. Hopkins patiently talked about The Cadets at the DCInternational meeting in Atlanta in late January before the Rules Congress voting.
Cozy Baker: How would you describe last year's "Alice in Wonderland" show?
George Hopkins: There were some controversial areas that people didn't like, like the singers. I loved it. I liked taking a shot with it. We're not going to do it this year, but we might some other time if it's appropriate to the show.
CB: What do you have planned for 2007?
GH: We're basing it around values, probably three or four values that are critical to our society and drum corps. Work ethic — There's a narrative that works through the show. Probably because Marc (Sylvester) is not there and I am, then it will be more about the performers and have more of a musical tilt to it.
Marc "Sully" Sylvester goes to Xmen
CB: Readers would like to know why Marc Sylvester will not be with The Cadets this year.
GH: The two of us just decided that it was time for a break after 25 years together. Maybe we could be friends better apart for a while. With YEA! (Youth Education for the Arts!) and the Crossmen, it just worked for Marc to go to the Crossmen (Hopkins' own corps in his performing days). Never say never. We could be together again.
CB: Tell us about the proposal to increase the maximum corps size to 150. (Passed, taking effect in 2008.)
GH: Buses are 55 (seats) now. We can fit 150 in (several buses). Not everyone needs 150. We'd end up with 72 horns, 40 guard and 35 percussion; so, it would be natural to expand. Only a few like Blue Knights and Colts have their own buses. Most just charter.
CB: You want the props proposal. Tell readers why. (Failed to get out of the Instructors' Caucus.)
GH: It's not going to fly yet. Even the drum guys say no. They have issues with it.
CB: Everyone wants to know about electronics. (Lost due to 10-10 tie.)
GH: I just keep trying to bring it forward. Amplification worked. Any-key worked. We as an entity are afraid. I think tradition is good, but we need to move ahead.
Tom Aungst wins 6 drum titles
CB: Tom Aungst is being inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame, and you submitted him.
GH: He and I have worked together for 22 years — Six drum championships and second 11 times, and each of those 11 times, we won drums at least one night (quarters or semifinals). We were second '94 through 2000, first '01 through '03, '05, and '87 and '90 before that.
CB: Please add what you'd like.
GH: On the local show level, 60% of the fans attend only one show (in a season).