A year of talking with band directors across the state, discussing what they needed for their programs, planning, dreaming, and then turning these ideas into action—the revamping of the IUP Drum Major, Leadership, and Guard Academy became a reality. The IUP DMLGA was held June 27–July 1, 2022, on IUP main campus. Seventy applicants, ranging from ninth graders to high school seniors, registered to be a part of the camp.

2022 Drum Major, Leadership, and Guard AcademyThe IUP DMLGA was structured to focus on the development of drum majors, student leadership, and guard members within the participants’ respective band programs. The camp addressed how to move forward from a COVID environment and equip participants with skill sets needed to assist and encourage other students in their band programs. IUP Director of Bands Tim Paul and Jerrod Cannistraci, director of bands at Richland High School, IUP alumnus and drum major, spent the 2021–22 academic year discussing how to celebrate our outstanding IUP marching traditions while fostering new traditions for the future of IUP and the DMLGA.

This year’s camp included students from 24 schools across Pennsylvania and Maryland and welcomed our new IUP Marching Band director, Zach Cheever. Drum majors were taught by Jerrod Cannistraci; current IUP drum majors Liz Muchesko, Kira Ackerman, and Alex Robbins; Tim Paul, Zach Cheever, and graduate conducting students Ben Wilcox and Kirsten Jenkins.

Leadership classes, which were also offered as an elective for the IUP Summer Music Camp, were taught in conjunction with the DMLGA and led by Cannistraci, Paul, and Cheever. The Guard portion of the camp was led by Elisa Hill (IUP alumna and orchestra director at the Ellis School), with assistance by IUP Guard members Victoria McFarland and Katharine Melcher. Music rehearsals were conducted by Zach Cheever, and field rehearsals were covered by everyone involved, as well as Emily Kaufman, commanding officer for the 2021 Legend and music teacher in the Grove City Area School District.

A special thanks goes out to Emily and Kirsten for all their work in the dorms, meals, and behind the scenes. Additional current IUP students who played a role in the success of the camp and the safety of our guests included Alex Detwiler, David Earnest, Cynthia Hayhurst, Kayla Holsopple, Laura Hopf, John Makara, Matthew Mantini, Ivy McComsey, Dylan Opalinski, Leo Prezioso, and Sam Shelenberger.

Dave Surtasky is the unsung hero of our camp (and many other events at IUP) for his assistance with Fisher Auditorium. When it appeared that bad weather would impact our final event on Friday evening, Dave was a terrific colleague in moving culminating events into Fisher. He gave of himself in partnering and planning the conclusion of the DMLGA camp and future traditions that further IUP. Thanks, Dave!

Planning for next year’s Drum Major, Leadership, and Guard Academy is already underway as we prepare to welcome drum lines to our academy. Stay tuned for more updates!