A note from the director
For those of you who have followed our journey from the beginning, you know that Northern Lights was started as something of a selfish endeavor. For my husband and our two oldest children, the nearest drum corps opportunity was 6 hours away... one way... every weekend.... it was, to put it mildly, a lot for our family - but we did it because the passion we have for the activity demanded it.
With one successful season in the books, husband and kids were ramped up to continue. Mom, not so much... below is an actual picture of me after finals ---
Don't get me wrong - the corps and the season was incredible - but the logistics of hauling our family 12 hours round trip every single Friday through Sunday from November-August was just not sustainable. So, we started looking at local options for an all-age opportunity in the area and it wasn't that we just came up short - there were none. But the desire and the passion for the activity was there, so we began to rally our musician friends to put a small SoundSport ensemble together. We sealed the deal with promises of a fun Summer of making music together, a friends trip to Indy to perform at SoundSport and then sneak away to watch DCI Finals. It would be small, but it would be something - and mom would get to keep her sanity intact.
But something unexpected happened. Our friends talked to their friends, who talked to their friends, who told THEIR friends, and the next thing we knew - we had nearly 50 members contracted for the inaugural season of Northern Lights Drum & Bugle Corps. And these weren't just people we knew showing up to do band with us - it was strangers. People just like us looking for an accessible drum corps opportunity that sadly did not exist in Michigan before now. With that came the need to fund the corps - and still hit our mission of removing barriers whether they be logistical, social, or financial. Northern Lights became a grass roots operation seeking to provide the maximum drum corps experience at a minimum cost. Because of our support system and generous donor/sponsorship partners we were able to provide a summer of Drum Corps at a cost of $150 per member in tuition. When I tell you that's unheard of, I'm not just patting ourselves on the back, but it really is *unheard of*. Although we were able to offer such a minimal tuition last year, the truth of the matter is that for some - even that amount presented a financial burden. We did our best to work with those who needed help and ensured that no one was turned away. If you wanted to march, and you were willing to put in the hard work and dedication to the corps, the corps was going to put that work right back into your experience.
Fast forward and even those joining us new knows what came next - an incredible season of growth, learning opportunities, hard work, and a GOLD rating at SoundSport Finals (way to go 'Lights!) and now we are looking at a significant increase in membership for next year. Transparently, I am both ecstatic and terrified, because now is when the real work (and fun) begins - and our mission doesn't stop. As our membership numbers rise, so will the cost of running our corps, and so will the need for financial support to cover the cost of tuition for our members that need it most. While I wish I was independently wealthy and had the ability to fund this all on my own the truth is that I cannot - and I need your help.
We have developed the Northern Lights Scholarship Fund that aims to break down financial barriers, ensuring that passionate individuals from all walks of life can participate in the enriching and life-changing drum corps experience. With your support and contributions to the scholarship fund, we can provide our members with the resources they need to be a part of our vibrant and inclusive community.
If anyone reading this has had the opportunity to meet our members, see the dedication and passion they have for this activity and our corps, and see the pure exhilarated joy on their faces when they received standing ovations from every crowd they performed for - you would see why this initiative is so important. Why I care so much. They deserve the opportunity to have this experience with us - and a financial need should be the LAST thing keeping them from it.
So, I turn to you and ask for you to join us in our commitment to making the world of drum corps accessible to all. Your donation will directly impact the lives of passionate young musicians and guard members, empowering them to pursue their musical aspirations and create lasting memories through the universal language of music.
To learn more about how you can help make the drum corps dream a reality for our members, or to make YOUR drum corps dream a reality, click here.
Thank you for your continued support - I really mean it. Every day I am moved and humbled by the outpouring of love and support from our community for Northern Lights. Wherever we are, you are.
Be Where The Northern Lights Are,