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It makes me sad that the Cadets have fallen this far. I have "The Championship Years" cd's which is comprised of BD and Cadets...

It seems like so long ago.

I do not know what the answer is to bring the Cadets back to top form. I just know that I want to see it happen. 

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Cadets ARE in top form! But, that "top" keeps getting higher in demand. More sophisticated designs, soaring talent levels, bigger financial investments, etc. And for some reason, this season is loaded with major changes to the essence of our product. What to make of all this, and how to fairly score it, is becoming a great challenge.

Rapid change brings tensions upon everyone to keep up. We don't need to complete this noteworthy season beating each other over the head. Yet, with so many close placement calls up and down the list, 2017 has become a real scorcher.




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16 hours ago, cadet93 said:

I know I am reaching out to the board members I know and trust.  Luckily I marched with one.

I suggest others do the same.  As has been said, organizational change is required.

It would be nice if it was that simple. I assume that all the Board members are on the Board for the right reasons, but they in most cases are too far away from the day to day operations to grasp the problem. As long as they make their periodic contributions and leave other matters pertaining to the corps to George, no one complains...and if they do they are more likely to resign from the Board, rather than take on the unpleasant responsibility of cleaning house. In the past month I have been contacted by two recent board members who told me they had recently resigned from the board because they had become increasingly uncomfortable with the way the corps was being run. I have also been contacted by two parents, one of whom has a son marching Cadets2. She feels that the three day mini-tour that Cadets2 were scheduled to take, but was subsequently cancelled, constituted a breach of contract. A second parent who is himself an alumnus and long-term supporter of the corps has withdrawn his support and permitted his son to switch corps after the 2016 season. I don't know how many of our best and most talented Cadets moved on to other corps at the end of the 2016 season. The numbers were considerable, and that is something that has never before happened to The Cadets, other than a Cadet or two moving on in hopes of getting a ring, or having a love interest or close friends in another corps.

None of this is a reflection on our 2017 marching Cadets and Cadets2 who, though in most cases were somewhat younger and inexperienced than those who left, have turned themselves into Cadets in every sense of the word. None of this growing dissatisfaction with George's leadership  should be any of their concern. Their focus is on the weeks ahead, and they have turned this season into something that makes most of our alumni very, very proud. In most cases their parents who so generously give of their time and love and resources, really have no conception of the struggle between George and many of our Alumni about the increasing number of red flags we see popping up all over the place. The marching Cadets are focused on the year at hand of course, and that is the way it should be. Many of them view alumni concerns from a competitive aspect, rather than a survival of the corps imperative. The alumni are concerned about the long term survival of The Cadets if George continues to believe that The Cadets are HIS drum corps to do with whatever he pleases, regardless of the growing negative effects his insular mentality is doing in destroying our great and universally respected drum corps. Our marching Cadets are concerned exclusively with the here and now, and we support them and have always supported them in their goals of the year. It is up to the alumni, however, to think about the generation after generation of brand new Cadets hoping for their chance to be a part of something so beloved and widely respected. It is almost our sacred obligation to ensure that our door is always open for The Cadets yet to come, and our reputation as an experience apart will always be secure.  

The Cadets have thousands of alumni, most of whom have no idea of the dead-end road that George has us traveling. Many others have personal lives that do not permit them the the luxury of keeping in touch with their fellow alumni on a regular basis. Fortunately we also have a large number of alumni for whom the well-being of The Cadets is a rapidly expanding concern; and their numbers seem to be increasing on a weekly basis, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of posts, and letters and messages received by me and others, centered around these concerns that are growing in scope, and appearing more and more frequently.

We can never underestimate George and the impenetrable wall he has build around our corps. It is a bizarre, world of his own making, fed by a mental process that is mystifying and beyond the grasp of most of us. For years now we have been asking why there have been no checks on his personalization of The Cadets under the umbrella of George's Youth Education in The Arts. George is a genius, but increasingly over the years his genius more often than not has increasingly been used destructively. It has been sad to watch it happen.

Most disturbing at all is that he has developed a "cult of personality" that a good number of our Cadets, during their marching years, have bought into. We probably would as well if all our needs were bring met during the course of a season, and a fascade of individual caring has been indoctrinated into a large number of Cadets. I used to think that George was a natural teacher with a special talent for communication with young people. I wish I could say the same thing now. Observing George very closely over many years I have come to realize that George's primary talent is mind manipulation over the young people he indoctrinates to view only the George that he presents to them at his daily "Hop Talks," and in the many personal conversations he has both with individual Cadets and each year's marching Cadets as a group. The "Cadet Experience" is real, and many, many Cadets have benefitted from it. For many years George, to his credit, expanded upon it and refined it. Then, year by year, it evolved into the "The George Experience;" and that was not a good thing.


I don't know how many of you, like myself, during this transition period, were approached by people outside The Cadet family, but emotionally predisposed to support The Cadets, with one question, "Why doesn't your alumni bring him under control? Don't you realize how much his personal pursuit of self gratification is hurting your corps?  My response was always the same; "because he's great with kids." I sincerely believed that as well, and like many other alumni, I stuck my head in the sand as George's darker side began to emerge. Over the years he became by far the most disliked person in drum corps, with good reason; and he dragged The Cadets down that dark path with him. OUR corps went from being the most admired and respected corps in the activity, to being what arguably is now the most disliked and criticized. It is not competitive placement that has finally fired up more and more alumni. That comes and goes year by year.  It is our revered history, and traditions, and values and image that is of so little consequence to George that he nonchalantly tramples on them, only because he can. That is what is beginning to awaken an alumni sleeping giant. Do I speak for the alumni, hell no! I can speak only for myself and my growing fears that if things keep on going in the same direction under George's ever-growing psychological need for absolute control in every area of Cadet operations, we might wake up at any time to find that we no longer have a corps after 83 years of hard-earned accomplishment and history.

This conversation has been running for several years, without any progress whatsoever. A couple of weeks ago I posted a very innocuous post related to this issue. I immediately received two very irate replies from 2017 Cadets. Which opened with the same sentence. "George is The Cadets." One was from a Cadet marching his very first year. He related how George ran with them, rehearsed with them, was out in the sun and rain with them, made sure they have good quality meals to eat, and personally cared about each and every one of them. Therefore, in his mind, George was The Cadets, and he was very outspoken about "alumni who only cared about themselves." I wondered if that was the way I felt under my Corps Director at the time, Bill "The Chief" Kemmerer. I decided it probably was, but much like The Cadets of Today my thinking and feelings were focused totally on myself. When you're young life is all about you. It takes a certain amount of maturity to reach the point when you start to think more about "the big picture," and the future yet to come for both yourself and for the corps we all love. OUR Cadets.




Edited by onceuponatime
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One design consideration that became obvious to me when viewing BD last night. Their voiceovers seldom (if ever) layer concurrently with the brass....nothing to get in the way of that beast of a horn line. IMHO, that would be a worthy objective for Cadets. 

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19 hours ago, 87cadet said:


Going backwards, yet again. 

Blame falls squarely on one person, yet again. 

Sad to say, but I no longer expect to see a championship contending Cadets corps unless and until Hop courageously decides that the Corps is more important than his ego. 

But I'm not holding my breath.

It's a tragic story repeated in business, sports, and the non profit world: overstaying your welcome, overestimating your ability, overplaying your cards, and stacking the deck (and Board) with yes-people who fail to see the obvious that any insider or outsider has seen for years.  

The current management model is too broken to tweak, fix, or reshuffle.  It's been that way for over a decade. Longer really, but changes in DCI and the wider culture (yes, there is a world out there that is not drum corps) has also changed enough to expose the Hop model as not just passé, but parasitic upon past success and gravely imperiling the future. 

Cadets are not a middle of the pack corps. They are contenders or they are not Cadets.  It's not about the medals.  It's about the art, innovation, emotion, and most of all education.  

Hop's publicly throwing the MMs under the bus on FB a couple weeks ago was the very last straw for me. That was ugly.  Worse, it was pathetic, even unhinged. Not everything must be social media "content". Not everything must be shown and showboated.  Let the kids, let the innovation, let the work, let the culture, let the performance, let the Art speak for itself. And I submit that all the Hop "content" on social media over the last ten years has been a sure sign and symptom of increasing discontent, another immature overcompensation for underlying lack of confidence, a clumsy attempt to cover a lack of faith in leadership by offering a pseudo transparency, a pseudo bottom up empowering and involving community, and too often, exasperating and utter ineptitude. Simple psychology: start with excuses, manage expectations, CYA, Doctor the spin, project blame, rinse, repeat. 

You can attempt to flush the failures down, and when the process and results are posted ad nauseam on social media, and it looks all white and clean and new, almost like fine China, it's somehow easy to delude yourself into forgiving and hoping against hope for next year, and the next year, and the next year, and thus forgetting that you need to stand on your two feet and back away to see you're still just looking at a toilet. 

This is a top down problem.  The many thousands of alumni and friends and current team members must step up to fix it.  


It's done broke. We gotta get woke. 

I'm not gonna get stoned to be satisfied with the spurious "progress" of sixth or seventh. I'm stone cold sober. 

I am dismayed by those who see this year as a step forward. From what? 

Remember.....First as tragedy, or many of them, then a Stoned farce.  

I don't measure progress from a series of ineptitudes and chronic mismanagement that resulted in the open festering weeping boil of a show design like Stoned.  Hell, I even came out almost immediately after the show concept was announced a few years back and said to Cadets leadership and on this forum that "10" was doomed because it missed the entire point of the music, and sadly, I was right.  The design and executive team of any of half a dozen or more dci corps would have won with that monster corps of MMs, because they had better design across the board, and they consistently have better design because they have better management and better execs who leave ego at the door when they go to work.  

Nothing more important to a team than the leader. Any design or fundraising or morale or recruitment/retention issues are just symptoms of a kind of management that just doesn't work anymore.  

Tyrants and egomaniacs like Toscanini are dead, though today we have another similarly famous (though much less talented) leader whose name begins with a "T" that I wish were dead, or never had been spawned. So it goes. The new and usually very successful leadership and organizational culture model is much more egalitarian, empowering, non-hierarchical, nurturing, creative.  That is what millennials and GenZ love and have come to expect, and it's why Cadets have been passed by the Coats, Crown, Cavies, SCV, etc.  (And you think I'm talking about friggin scores, don't you?)

All those corps have better and more talented and creative and education-focused and empowering teams top to bottom. Or as I should say, better all around.  ;)

Hop must retire.  (He won't likely be fired with all his BFFs on the board though.)

So much talent out there to find better exec and board leadership, staff, etc.  Alumni and supporters would come out of woodwork to help and improve and reform and reload.  So many people have been sitting on their hands waiting until this leadership era ends and a new great era begins. 

Every year the cadets discussion threads generate more interest than anyone's.  So many people care.  So deeply.  So many people are so frustrated.  So many people need to come home and help. 

Thank you Hop.  I love you, but it's time to transition to another role in another organization.  

It's bigger than drum corps.  So let's aim higher, unafraid of the perilous skies, welcoming the springtime when kings go out through the Door, which, with our undying and renewed support, soon will reopen and surprise with a new entrance, not of another, but many hundreds, the family reunited and regenerated and once again revolutionary. 

That's my rocky point, my simple song, my simple gift, my demons and my better angels, my somewhere, somehow, someday. 




I'm sure the financial officer will support him.


but the recent Facebook rant speaking not well of the guard created discomfort on multiple levels.


maybe Michael Lentz could help

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8 hours ago, George Dixon said:

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  • Your Favorite Corps
    Boston Crusaders

Oh come on, you're better than this George

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I never thought I'd see a great coup against "General George." Safe to say that the days of the activity being intimidated by him are over? :thumbup:

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Not a great panel for Cadets tonight. Some guys that have always butchered them. We'll see if they've "forgiven" Cadets.

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