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Hosting a corps this summer!

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I help instruct the drum line of a local high school and got a phone call from the band director this evening. He informed me we were selected to host a corps for a DCI show this summer!!!!!! We weren't told which corps it would be yet and even though I really really really want to be a certain one, I am happy and pumped about hosting any corps. We want to get DCI promoted more in our community as well as with kids in our area and think this is a great way to do it. I am hoping the corps that we host will let individuals watch rehearsals and such so the kids I help instruct can see what is possible for them if they work hard enough. That and see how easy they have it at our practices :blink:

But the main reason for my post is I am wanting to make the stay for the corps as comfortable, enjoyable, and pleasant as possible and was wondering if anyone had advice or tips on the best way to do this in hopes we will be able to continue to be hosts in future years. The band director at the high school as well as myself are huge DCI fans and will probably be there before they arrive to make sure everything is in order (school gym is open, ample places for buses/equipment trucks/food trucks/etc) and just generally make sure they have everything they need. I am even willing to stay the whole night or at least arrive very early in the morning to volunteer with anything the corps may need (even....gasp...the food truck!!) just to show how much this means to us. I know how hard the volunteers that travel with the corps work as well as the marching members and staff and they deserve help and a break sometimes too. Anything anyone can tell me to help these folks out and make them enjoy their tour even more would be greatly appreciated!!!!

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The first tip I can think of:

Don't let the kids from your school go anywhere near the sleeping areas for the corps, drivers, or volunteers. I can't tell you how many times I've seen band kids come into the band room, flip on the lights, and start beating on drums while corps drivers are trying to sleep. If any of the people from the corps will be sleeping in the school's weight room, talk to the athletic director and make sure the room will be off limits to the football team for that day. If not, find another room. I've had football players literally step right over me in my sleeping bag to start throwing weights around. Also, lots of thefts happen when the host school doesn't keep their kids away from the sleeping areas.

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Coming from food truck experience be ready to answer questions of where can we get ice, milk, bread, etc. Is there a Sam's or Costco nearby? Is there a washer/dryer we could use? Oh check with your school to see if there will be hot water in the showers and do the shower heads actually work.

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I've been hosting drum corps for over twenty years. You are about to have a real good time!

The main thing you need to do as a host is (for lack of a better way to put it) stay out of the way of the corps operations. They are trained to do what they need to do on the road, and more often than not a host with the best intentions in the world will get in the way.

Your best asset to the corps is be a resource for information - know the distance to the show site, know where the day old bread store is, know where the closest WalMart is, stuff like that.

I agree with what was said in the last post - be a good security system for the corps sleeping areas. That's their home for a while, and if you have any children you know what their bedroom probably looks like. The corps personal stuff is usually out in the open, and there is usually a habit of leaving doors open and/or unlocked.

Your kids are always welcome at rehearsal (everyone likes an audience), but make sure they understand they cannot interfere with rehearsal. Don't ask questions to the staff unless it's a free time situation, for example. The corps has rehearsal objectives and every minute is spoken for.

My goal every time a corps comes to my place remains the same as its always been - to see to it all the corps needs to concern themselves with is coming in and doing their thing. I'll handle all the peripheral stuff.

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They all love a hot shower! They get lots of cold showers. I guess schools turn the hot water heaters off during the summer to save $ and perhaps hosting band directors don't realize they are turned off. I have hosted a Div I corps for a major show the past two summers. Feel free to pm me for insider tips and any questions you have. You have the right ideas. It is getting more and more difficult for these corps to find housing for many reasons including school budget cuts and liability concerns. I tried unsuccessfully to get other local schools to host corps. It seems school administrators are very hesitant to open their doors in the summer for corps. Anyone out there that knows more about this please comment.

I found the corps I hosted was hesitant to ask for anything more than their most basic needs and I had to anticipate a lot. Of course it was easier the second time around. Anything we did to make their stay more comfortable was greatly appreciated by the staff, members and volunteers. I got my insider tips from my member daughter and her friends. It is a very rewarding experience and the local kids were definitely inspired. If we could only make the administrators understand how good it is for their band programs and how well administrated these corps are I think more doors would open. You are very lucky, enjoy!

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Great thread, and congratulations! Which town?

Here are some things that come to mind that haven't already been mentioned:

1. Get maps and directions to the local Costco/Walmart/Supertarget, etc. ready for them. Even highlight the route if you can.

2. List locations of a local pharmacy or 2, an emergency care clinic and hospital.

3. If the school has a laundry facility, get permission to let the corps use it to launder uniforms.

4. You'll probably need to prime your students about spectator etiquette. It's just like concert etiquette: they aren't there to chat with their friends or text people. If they need to use their phone they need to leave the spectator site.

5. Here's a longshot, but worth it: if you have a strong parent booster club, try to arrange for a home cooked meal for the corps. It can be as easy as breakfast taco bar or something like that. If not that big, aim for a fresh fruit snack break. If you do wind up doing something like this, check with the corps ahead of time about the timing of meals as well as dietary restrictions and special needs. All corps will have something for those on special diets, but giving the food truck a complete break is absolutely worth it. (I did a fundraiser to provide a bbq dinner for Troopers last year and I also made sure I got something for the vegetarians as well as a gluten-free member. It was great to see Mom Gilbert sitting in a chair reading a book during dinner!)

6. Have a fuel fund drive. Prime the spectators before the corps arrives and let them know you'll be passing around a collection bucket to give money to the corps for fuel. Remind them of how many thousands of gallons a corps needs every week. (you can maybe find out the stats by calling the corps office. If they have a development director, they will probaby know an estimated gallon count because that's one of those things you can put on a "wish list" for your donors.)

That's about all I can think of for now.

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Awesome! Thanks for the advice so far everyone. I hope people keep replying here and maybe this can serve as a small guide for others that are new to hosting a corps. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to post and giving me some good tips. I will start mapping out the best routes/locations for any groceries or supplies they may need, how long it takes to get there, etc. Unfortunately, we are a small AA high school in WV and there aren't a lot of things near it. We have a few Walmarts that aren't too far away but it would still take about 15-30 minutes to get there depending on traffic. I would even go there myself to pick up what they need to maybe make it a little easier on them so they aren't spending all of their time doing the little things. But as you said, I will try to remain as transparent yet helpful as possible. I will also check with the band director and school officials as soon as possible (as soon as I know which corps, when they will be arriving, how long they are staying, etc) to make sure they are aware of what is going on and give them a heads up on what to expect. Unfortunately there was a situation a few years ago where a corps showed up to a different local high school only to find no school officials waiting for them and the place locked up tight. Me and the other drum line instructor will probably personally sit down with drum line and explain to them to not be idiots like they usually are and set the rules if they wanna come watch rehearsals and explain to them that if they do not follow the rules then *WE* will ask them to leave.

Anyways, thanks again everyone and I look forward to hopefully keeping everyone updated as to who we will host and how everything goes. Maybe a small running blog type thing with news as I get it. Take care!!!!

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Oh, one more thing: You might experience that the corps is kind of insular and not quick to come out of their mode of operations and interact with you or your students. It's normal. They are used to functioning as a well-oiled unit on their own and they do have major objectives to accomplish. It's not snobbery or anything like that - they do appreciate anything that is done for them. It's just hard to change social gears quickly, so just being there with information and support is useful and appreciated.

Most corps have a tour director/manager who will be your best line of communication before the corps arrives as well as when they are at your school. Usually the educational staff is just as insular as the membership. They won't know the answers to most any operational question you might have. (that is a good thing - a good tour director/manager keeps that stuff as far away from instructional staff as possible. Tour details are stressful and staff doesn't need more stress!)

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Beer for the volunteers!

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Great thread, and congratulations! Which town?

We are in a small town called (no laughing because we have heard every joke possible) Poca, WV! Home of the Poca Dots!!!!! Yes......that really is the school name and mascot. A giant "Dot".....

(Insert shameless plug for the band: Poca High School Marching Dots)

5. Here's a longshot, but worth it: if you have a strong parent booster club, try to arrange for a home cooked meal for the corps. It can be as easy as breakfast taco bar or something like that. If not that big, aim for a fresh fruit snack break. If you do wind up doing something like this, check with the corps ahead of time about the timing of meals as well as dietary restrictions and special needs. All corps will have something for those on special diets, but giving the food truck a complete break is absolutely worth it. (I did a fundraiser to provide a bbq dinner for Troopers last year and I also made sure I got something for the vegetarians as well as a gluten-free member. It was great to see Mom Gilbert sitting in a chair reading a book during dinner!)

Awesome idea!!!! We have a *great* new band booster president who is very active with the kids and what we are trying to accomplish at the high school so I am sure he will help us get some stuff together. If you have any idea approximately how much it would cost to do this (even if it is just sandwiches or fruit trays) please feel free to reply or PM with the details. Until we know which corps we get, I won't be able to get specifics from the corps yet but when I do I will contact them ASAP.

6. Have a fuel fund drive. Prime the spectators before the corps arrives and let them know you'll be passing around a collection bucket to give money to the corps for fuel. Remind them of how many thousands of gallons a corps needs every week. (you can maybe find out the stats by calling the corps office. If they have a development director, they will probaby know an estimated gallon count because that's one of those things you can put on a "wish list" for your donors.)

I would love to do this, but unfortunately with the economy and area we live in, it is very difficult for us to come with the funds for our own band more or less something this ambitious. Don't get me wrong, that is not going to stop me from doing it!!!! I just have to not get my hopes up too high and expect more than I should :blink:

Keep em coming folks and I will keep checking back and updating as much as possible letting everyone know how everything is going!!!!!!

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