top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

Image by Ampersand Studios
  • What is a Drum and Bugle Corps (Drum Corps)?
    Drum corps is a competitive musical marching activity that takes place during the summer season. Similar to marching band, it is composed of brass instruments, percussion and colorguard. While no woodwind instruments are used, woodwind players are encouraged to join and learn a new instrument. Drum Corps International (DCI) is the nonprofit governing organization for all drum and bugle corps. There are two divisions: World Class (highly competitive membership) and Open Class (generally smaller and easier to obtain membership). Competitions for DCI member organizations take place in the summer. Most drum corps begin training and rehearsing in late winter/early spring. More information about DCI can be obtained at
  • What is the age limitation to participate in a Drum Corps International (DCI) organization?
    Our age range is from 14-22, or freshman in high school to college age and membership is comprised from all areas of the country. You must be 22 or younger on or by June 1st this year in order to be eligible to march this season.
  • What is drum corps international (DCI)?
    Drum Corps International is a large organization that promotes the Drum Corps activity as a whole. Below is a link to a website that can give you an abundance of information regarding DCI.
  • Are the Guardians a DCI drum corps?
    The Guardians are a World Class organization competiting within the Open Class Circuit of Drum Corps International.
  • Are the Guardians a 501(c)(3) organization?
    The Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. As such, it has a Board of Directors, directors, and staff assigned to carry out the organization's mission.
  • What does it cost to join the Guardians?
    More information about the costs of the Guardians can be found at the following link.
  • How much time will I need to commit to Guardians? What if I have a conflict?
    You are required to attend every rehearsal and audition camp if offered a contract. Upon receiving a contract, you must include all conflicts in your rehearsal conflict form. If you do not include a conflict in this form, you will not be excused from camp. You can approach Guardians administration regarding unknown conflicts one month prior to said conflict. There is a per camp training fee that will need to be paid if you miss camp. IYour spot will be lost and contract voided if you miss camp, do not inform the administration, and do not pay the absence fee. Dates you should keep in mind: Prom Solo & Ensemble Band Trips Region Band Events We do our best to avoid dates that revolve around the above mentioned conflicts. You are allowed to arive to camp late or leave early to accomadate these conflicts while still meeting your duties as a Guardians member. We do time share with indoor drumlines and winterguard when need be.
  • What does it mean if I am offered a contract? What about callbacks?
    When you are offered a "contract" you are offered a position as a Guardians member for the given season. If you are offered a callback, we request that you come to our next camp so we can evaluate your improvement from camp to camp.
  • What if I have a conflict with an ACT/SAT test or college orientation?
    We ask that you focus first on dates that do not conflict with Guardians. We understand that there may be conflicts with taking the ACT or attending your college orientation and we will do everything we can to try and work through these scenarios. Planning accordingly and communicating is the key if no options exist.
  • Is there financial aid for Guardians tuition?
    There are opportunities to lower the tuition by successfully fundraising, parent involvement, and sponsorship from companies and friends. There are also scholarships for All-Region, All-Area and All-State students. We STRONGLY encourage your parents to volunteer at our camps and during the summer. There are scholarship opportunities for students of parents that volunteer their time to the organization. This ranges from truck driving, food service, souvie booth, prop building, truck outiffting, uniform alterations, and much more. They do NOT have to spend their entire summer with us either! They can find out more under Support in our main menu. Many of our members have had success in funding their corps experience through sponsorship. We do a workshop on sponsorships, and help you with putting together packages and letters to ask for sponsorships. Be advised that all members will be required to pay the full dues amount in order to participate in the 2021 Guardians. If you anticipate needing assistance with funds, it is best to get started as early as possible and discuss your situation with the corps director. In short, start saving in the fall and winter, and you'll be ready in June!
  • If I owe money to another DCI/DCA/WGI group, can I still join?"
    No, your outstanding debts must be paid before you can become eligible to join Guardians.
  • What are the requirements to join Guardians?
    You must: -be between ages of 14 to 22 years old -be able to fulfill financial requirements -be able to get to and from rehearsals and events safely. -be able to attend all camps, or communicate conflicts, and fulfill summer obligations -fulfill all Guardians obligations from previous summer if applicable.
  • I'm going to be a college freshman next year. What if the season conflicts with orientation at the school I decide to go to?
    With a quarter of our members being of college age, we deal with issues like this all the time. Most colleges have more than one set of dates for orientation. With our season ending in July, it is usually early enough that you would be at an orientation prior to school. We will do whatever we have to do to make it work, as long as we can avoid you missing a major DCI event. Typically, the orientation is only 2-3 days. We deal with it on a case-by-case basis. Attend the audition camp in November, go through the process, and when you decide on your school, or maybe you have already, let us know the dates in question, and we will look at the tour schedule, and see what can be worked out. Last year, a lot of membership was in the exact situation and we were able to work this out in every case. Please understand that the more notice we have, the easier it is to work these type of conflicts out.
  • Will you accept any 'alternates'?
    Yes. Just like previous years, we will bring a couple alternates on tour this summer. In the past, the majority of alternates have ended up performing with the corps by the end of the season.
  • Do you stay for DCI world class finals? Do I have to travel back with the corps to Texas?
    Everything depends on our season. As far as travel goes, we have been able to work out other options in the past.
  • How strict are you about attendance over the winter?
    Since we only see you once a month, it is critical that you be at all required camps for their entire duration. Unexcused absence can cause you to be moved to alternate status, or to be removed from the roster all together. Be sure to address all conflicts with your Caption Head and the Corps Director as soon as you are aware of them.
  • Do you offer payment plans?
    Yes we do. Of course, it depends on your situation, but your payment plan should end by June (when we move in).
  • What is the schedule for Guardians this year?
    You can read more about our schedule and purchase tickets here.
  • What should I bring to camp?
    The camps & events page on our main menu will have a list of things to bring as the date grows closer.
  • What if I can't make the preliminary audition camp dates?
    Attend the earliest camp available to you. To participate in the Guardians, you must attend all camps or submit a video audition to secure a spot as a member. Once we have gathered information about the members who have attended our initial camps, drill is written for the number of students we anticipate and for the talent level of the students we anticipate marching. By not attending camps, you drastically decrease your chance of obtaining a spot. Remember: Marching is a privelege, not a right. Communication is the key to success.
  • Am I required to stay at camps overnight?
    Yes. All participants will be required to stay on site during the duration of the camp unless a conflict is communicated to the administration.
  • Are meals provided?
    Guardians will provide all meals during the audition/rehearsal camps. You can find details in your registration. If you have any food allergies/specifications, please note these on your application and medical form.
  • What are benefits of auditioning for the corps?
    Even if you choose to not march with the Guardians, by auditioning, you will receive a form with precise feedback from some of the best educators in the state regarding your audition and how you can improve as a musician and marcher. You will improve as a musician and marcher whether or not you commit to the Guardians for the complete season.
  • Should I bring my instrument/equipment?
    YES! We do not have enough instruments for all auditioning members. Guard students should bring a flag, rifle and sabre if possible. This does not apply to front ensemble auditionees.
  • Where are these camps and move-ins?
    You can find more information about the camps on our camps & events page.
  • How can I register for a camp/audition?
    You can go to the event page here, or click the audition tab.
  • Are the Guardians going to DCI Indianapolis event in August?
  • Is housing provided at camps?
    We will provide housing for you for the entire time, as well as all meals. If you arrive earlier than our scheduled move in, you will be responsible.
  • What if I have band camp during move-ins?
    You will need to speak with your director regarding missing a portion of band camp. Most directors are okay with this, as you will come back better prepared for band.
  • What if I am in winter guard/winter drumline?
    This is not a problem. A majority of our color guard and drumline has marched in winter guard programs in past years. The guard is not required to attend the February or March camps. Percussion can miss March camp. We also do a time split. With the drumline, it's possible a conflict may arise. We stress the importance of keeping your commitment to your high school or college music program. Please keep in mind that the competition portion of your weekend will be very short and you should make every effort to attend as much of the camp as possible.
  • How many people try out each year?
    Each year our numbers have consistently increased. It's likely that several hundred will attend the first camps. If that excites you as much as it does us, great! If it intimidates you, please don't let it. The most important factors in making the corps are showing up to try and your desire to march.
  • What about my parent or guardians' involvement?
    We STRONGLY encourage your parents to volunteer at our camps and during the summer. There are scholarship opportunities for students of parents that volunteer their time to the organization. This ranges from truck driving, food service, souvie booth, prop building, truck outiffting, uniform alterations, and much more. They do NOT have to spend your entire summer with us either! You can find out how under Support on our main menu.
  • What should I expect at camp and during the audition?
    You will have the opportunity to experience and learn the skills necessary to perform at one of the highest levels of the drum & bugle corps activity. During the auditions, you will learn about what it takes to be a part of the Guardians and DCI: time commitment, costs, tour schedule, and our expectations for preparation will be discussed. You will also have time to ask any questions that you might have. Time will be spent with the instructional staff of your respective area (brass, percussion, guard). They will discuss and work with you on what is expected from you to be a Guardians. You will spend time in ensemble and sub section settings to work through the manuals and exercises. There will also be one on one time with your primary supervisor and/or respective instructors. You will be around a number of professional educators and volunteers who love the Guardians and drum corps. The atmosphere will be very relaxed and we are here to help you have an incredible drum corps experience. Positions will be awarded to the people whose strong desire is to be successful. Your talent and skills are given primary consideration in the selection process and our staff will place members accordingly. Also considered is your commitment level, communication, your personal and financial responsibility, your attitude, your growth, and your improvement. At the conclusion of camp, you will be informed of one of these results from your audition: A. You will be offered a contract for a position with the corps. B. You will be given a callback to see your improvement in certain areas. C. You will be given information on how you may improve for an audition next year.
  • Are veteran members automatically offered a spot?
    All positions for Guardians are open and any veteran members that are eligible to march are required to audition for a position before receiving a contract.
  • Can I audition for Drum Major as well as an instrument?
  • Can a non-veteran member audition for drum major?
  • Can I submit a video audition?
    All performers of the Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps are required to be in attendance at an audition camp before receiving a contract. Guardians will accept a video in the event that there is no way that you are able to attend the December or January Audition Camps. Submitting a video does not guarantee you a position with the corps. The video will give us a chance to assess your skills and if we like what we see, we will invite you to attend the January camp to audition in person. The process to submit a video is as follows: -Submit your application using the video audition form (not up yet.) -Once your member app and video assessment payment is received, you will receive information on what the audition etudes and exercises are via email. -Submit these via video to your caption head within a week.
  • What should I prepare for my audition?
    This information is supplied in the audition packet. You will receive this once you register and pay for camp. It is important to point out that the “playing audition” is not a deal breaker in the process in becoming a member of the Guardians brass section. There is also a visual component. Most important is the opportunity for the staff to interact with the auditionee, see how well information is taken and applied and to evaluate the “intangibles” that are required to be successful during a season of drum corps.
  • I am a non-brass player, can I do my playing audition on a non-brass horn?"
    Yes, but you will need to practice and improve on your brass instrument.
  • I don't play a brass instrument. Can I still audition?
    YES! It is our mission to turn you into the best performer you can be. Pick up a brass instrument, percussion instrument, or guard equipment and start learning! That will not effect your audition. It is your attitude and willingness to learn that will put you in a good position to earn a position as a marching member at Guardians.
  • Do you accept female members?
  • Do you accept trans students?
    Absolutely. We will schedule separate locker room access.
  • I am a mello auditionee, but I do not have access to an F mello. Is this a problem?
    No. You can also audition on a concert horn.
  • Will marching with a drum corps negatively affect my embouchure or "concert approach"?
    With more than 20 certified music educators on our faculty, we take great care to use the correct embouchure and performance techniques. You will find from both brass and percussion standpoints, we teach no different than a symphonic approach to the instruments. The only exception would be the actual marching percussion as there are some differences to the sticking on a marching instrument vs. concert percussion. There are quite a few of our members that are successful music education and music performance music majors.
  • I'm not good enough to audition...
    Every year hundreds of qualified members don't come to the audition because they're nervous about typically being 'cut.' We don't 'cut' anyone. We go to great lengths to make your audition experience rewarding, educational and worthwhile. We encourage every person interested in the corps to come to camp! Remember, talent and skills are important, but work ethic, tenacity, and communication skills are often more so. While some sections are more limited, there may be opportunities you haven't considered! If your first choice doesn't work out, perhaps a different instrument or section will need someone. We regularly hear from people who say "I'm not good enough for drum corps," or "I'm afraid to audition." If you are at the point where you are reading this... you need to come to camp. You have very little to lose and everything to gain! Everyone auditioning for the Guardians will have a great experience. You will meet some great people, you will learn great musical and guard skills, you will know more about the Guardians, and you will feel fabulous because you did something in pursuit of your dream. Do not stay home! Find out what this is all about. Come to camp!
  • Can I audition on more than one instrument? Do I have to pay for each multiple audition?
    Yes, you can audition on multiple instruments within a particular section. On the other hand, if the two instruments you have in mind are in different sections (brass/percussion/guard) you would have a very hard time making an impression on both staffs seeing as you'd have to choose one to work with during the course of the weekend. No, you wouldn't need to pay double.
  • What can I do to improve my chances of making the corps?
    Most importantly, show up and play! Each year many potential members who could have made the corps cut themselves by giving up after just one camp or even before the first camp. Work hard, practice, have a positive attitude, and have fun.
  • Is there anything I can do to prepare and raise my ability to the level you need?
    Practice, practice, practice! When you attend camp, soak up all of the information and feedback you are given. Apply what you learn, and come to the next camp better!
  • Is it possible to learn quickly enough even with no experience?
    Having no experience on brass is not a large problem, and you can still earn a spot in the corps. Having no experience marching is a lot harder to overcome, BUT with enough practice... anything is possible!
bottom of page