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The mission of Youth Education in the Arts is to support the development of young people into magnificent human beings through participation in the performing arts.
YEA! provides programs to thousands of talented young musicians and performers around the country. The organization was founded in 1934 under the name of the Holy Name Cadets. The name Youth Education in the Arts replaced The Cadets as a singular identification in 1990.
The organization moved from Bergen County, NJ to Allentown, PA late 2004 to become part of the city's developing arts district. Important to location selection was a community in which local programming could have an impact, as well as support and balance out that national programming already in place. YEA's main music performing and touring programs are The Cadets, Cadets2 and USBands.
Within the programs of YEA!, young people gain an edge through hard work and dedication. They learn to cooperate, to set goals and to be a success in whatever they endeavor to do. Young people learn that they are responsible and indeed, that they have the ability to make a difference. Throughout everything it does, YEA! stresses the importance of music and the arts in the lives of the young people they serve.
The Cadets are one of the most elite marching music units in the world, consisting of 150 young performers under the age of 22. Performers are proficient in one of three disciplines: brass, percussion or colorguard. Drum corps are a nearly year-long commitment with try-outs occurring in late November and weekend-long practice camps running from December through late spring. But the fun is just beginning as members leave home in May to intensely rehearse and perform a twelve-minute production from sunup and sundown each and every day. Before the tour season is over in August, each corps will have participated in up to 50 events in 25 states. They will have marched in football stadiums across the United States and have traveled approximately 12,000 miles by bus to perform in front of thousands of fans. In addition to performing their original show, corps members also march in various parades, offer one day music workshops to high school students called Music is Cool and learn additional music for stage shows and special appearances. Being a member of a drum and bugle corps is an intensive, life-changing experience as members learn the importance of self-discipline, time management, patience, team work and perseverance.
YEA! created its second avenue of programming in 1988 to meet the needs of high school marching bands for a competitive circuit in which to perform and receive constructive feedback from top educators in the field. Today, over 500 high school marching bands participate in USBands 150 festival opportunities, as well as the offering of great venues to compete in major Regional Championships and the US Scholastic Band Championship. Bands can participate in thirteen different classes from Class I A to Class VI Open, performing and competing with groups of like size, talent and experience. Students have the opportunity to perform in front large, energetic audiences in venues like Giants Stadium. For most of these young students, it's an experience of a life time. The philosophy of the USSBA is to support each and every band educationally, and there are competitive as well as non-competitive opportunities for every program.
In addition to the marching band competitions, USSBA also hosts concert and jazz festivals. These non-competitive events focus on reinforcing the curricular components of today's instrumental music education programs. Bands perform prepared music on stage for adjudicators before participating in a clinic with one of the judges. In each of these concert and jazz events, each ensemble has the opportunity to watch and learn from other like ensembles, and work directly with an outstanding clinician.