Cadets Arts and Entertainment, Inc., has announced that The Cadets Drum Corps and all of the organization’s operations have found a new home in Erie, Pa.
In 2022, The Cadets entered into a partnership with the Erie Sports Center as the new spring training site for the corps’ May-June rehearsals. Since then, the City of Erie has welcomed The Cadets with open arms, offering access to local business relationships, services, volunteers, and new opportunities for funding and partnerships.
The experience has been very positive — so positive, in fact, that it led to discussions about relocating the corps to Erie permanently. Those talks have now come to fruition, resulting in a decision to move The Cadets and all operations of its parent, 501(c)(3) organization, Cadets Arts & Entertainment, Inc., (CAE), to Erie, Pa. The CAE Board of Directors approved this decision on Monday evening, February 13, 2023, and CAE has signed an agreement to make the Erie Sports Center The Cadets’ year-round home.
Situated on 60 acres, the Erie Sports Center has nine sports clubs, just over 100 dorm rooms, numerous sports fields, and a domed turf field with lights, all within a short walking distance. Also on-site are a small theme park with miniature golf, beach volleyball, go carts, and live entertainment; a small restaurant; and an outside food stand. The new agreement includes office space, storage space and parking for year-round operations, as well as rehearsal facilities for The Cadets’ audition and rehearsal weekends, spring training, community performances, and housing for the early-August Erie Fanfare drum corps show.
Troy Bingham, Owner of the Erie Sports Center, commented, “We are so excited to bring The Cadets to the Erie community. I was in awe of the dedication, discipline, and attention to detail when I visited The Cadets’ rehearsals last year. It motivated me to bring these athletes to Erie long-term and to showcase what world-class performers look like. This partnership has a positive economic impact on the city and an amazing opportunity for our local arts community to interact with the oldest drum corps in the country. I am thrilled to welcome The Cadets to Erie.”
In addition to reliable, well-equipped facilities, the partnership also offers The Cadets a home and a network of people excited to help create a stable foundation for the corps for years to come. In the months leading up to this momentous decision, CAE management and Board members have held meetings with representatives from the City of Erie Mayor’s Office, the Erie Bureau of Police, the Erie Community Foundation, VisitErie and the Erie Sports Commission, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, the local drum corps community including the Erie Thunderbirds and Lake Erie Fanfare organizations, local businesses, and several school districts and educational institutions in the greater Erie area.
“We’re thrilled that The Cadets are moving to Erie and making a permanent home at the Erie Sports Center,” Erie Mayor Joe Schember said on Monday. “In the near future, we look forward to partnering with The Cadets on many events and initiatives that will benefit City residents and our community overall. We’re excited about this incredible opportunity.”
Brenton Davis, Erie County Executive, has also spoken positively about the partnership: “We welcome the opportunity to continue to expand youth activities, tourism, and local business in Erie County,” he said. “We are thankful for the work of Troy Bingham and the Erie Sports Center and look forward to their continued success.”
“We have received such a warm welcome from the Erie Sports Center, city and county government officials, the drum corps and pageantry arts communities, and local businesses,” said Vicki Ferrence Ray, Interim Executive Director of CAE. “As a Pennsylvania native, I am pleased that the state has served as a good home for The Cadets since our move to Allentown in 2004. We may be changing cities, but the identity of The Cadets will remain, just as it has in the past. Making Erie our home simply gives us the added benefit of a vibrant community that will support and celebrate The Cadets and help us sustain our legacy of excellence on and off the field,” she said.
Every summer, Cadets alumni and fans eagerly await the DCI Eastern Classic (DCI East), which has long been a favorite show for the East-Coast corps. Held annually the first weekend in August at Allentown’s historic J. Birney Crum Stadium, DCI East will undoubtedly continue to be a sentimental homecoming for the corps for decades to come. Allentown, Pa. has served as a wonderful home to The Cadets since 2004. The Cadets Administration, Staff and Board of Directors express heartfelt gratitude to the Lehigh Valley community for their support these last 18 years.
CAE Board Chairperson John Broschak commented, “As a culmination of multi-year strategic planning initiatives, The Cadets have found a new home in Erie that the Board is confident will support CAE’s long-term sustainability through 2034 and beyond. This major step forward should allow the organization to grow and diversify our funding sources, create thriving partnerships with new support networks, and pursue year-round program offerings supporting the local performing arts community and expanding the outreach of CAE. I couldn’t be more excited about the potential benefits of this strategic decision.”
Garfield, N.J., will always be The Cadets’ original hometown and birthplace. According to garfieldnj.org, “Garfield earned the nickname ‘City of Champions’ because… the Holy Name/Garfield Cadets were frequently winning DCI/National Drum and Bugle Corps Championships… and because of the exploits of other Garfield heroes.” As The Cadets begin their 89th season and build towards the centennial anniversary, the Erie community will become a new home base and network of support for this time-honored drum corps. Fittingly, the Erie agreement has a term of 11 years until December 31, 2034 — after The Cadets’ 100th season of performance.
“As a founding member of DCI and the oldest drum corps in the nation, it’s wonderful to see this next chapter open up for The Cadets, as they set a course for success and stability for the next 100 years,” said Dan Acheson, Executive Director of DCI.
The Cadets’ relocation will begin this month with the expectation of completing the move prior to the corps’ first full-corps rehearsal weekend, April 28-30. Stay tuned for upcoming news about performances during spring training and on tour.
Erie is Pennsylvania’s fifth-largest city and its only port on the great lakes. To find out more about the City of Erie, visit visiterie.com. For more information about the Erie Sports Center, visit eriesportscenter.com.