2018 Instructional Staff

Mandarins Caption Heads Tim Snyder (Brass), Darren VanDerpoel (Percussion), Michael Samson (Visual), and Mario Ramirez (Color Guard) have finalized their educational and professional staff for the 2018 season. All are excited to continue the momentum generated by last season's show and are looking forward to our 2018 production described in the Facebook Live video here. Meet the Caption Heads and their respective staff in their bios.

New Year Update from Corps Director JW Koester

Hi Everyone,

Whew! Has it been a busy start to 2018 or what ? So just in case you were wondering, the answer is a resounding yes!

The annual Drum Corps International meetings and bi-annual Rules Congress meeting were held in Indianapolis the first weekend of January and in attendance from the Mandarins were: Jim Tabuchi - Executive Director, JW Koester - Corps Director, Ike Jackson - Corps Program Director, Darren Van Derpoel - Percussion Caption Head & Battery Arranger, Tim Snyder - Brass Caption Head and Michael Samson - Visual Caption Head. And yes, I think our organization was represented in the finest manner. The annual meetings were fairly normal with lots of business/budget items discussed.

The most exciting part of the meetings was the passage of a proposal, a proposal made by the Mandarins, to change the order of performance of the corps in shows during the second half of the season being based on each corps placement at the San Antonio Regional competition. This is a pretty big change as corps will be seeded according to the current year's standings about midway into drum corps season rather than being based on the previous year's finals placement.

The Rules Congress was a bit more lively with several proposals debated and voted upon, first by the institutional community and then by the corps directors.

• Passed: Increase corps membership from 150 to 154 individuals. Effective 2018
• Passed: Use new music analysis 1 & 2 sheets. Effective 2018.
• Failed: Increase Saturday night finals from 12 to 15 corps.

Regarding Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps, the third camp of the season was held at Rosemont High School Jan 12 - 14 in Sacramento and it was quite successful from multiple aspects.

• Many more contracts were issued and the corps is now approximately 90% contracted with many alternates in line to step up if/when a contracted member isn’t able to continue.

• The horn line and the front ensemble each played though several sections of the 2018 show music.

• Brass and battery percussion continued their visual training.

• The color guard continued their equipment and dance training with Manny & Chris.

• The drum major candidates spent quality time with Marvin honing their skills.

• The Health & Wellness Team (Dr. Dan & Kim) engaged with members and staff to further coordinate their efforts to support the corps activities.

• Our AWESOME Volunteer Kitchen Crew prepared approximately 1,500 meals throughout the weekend.

Like I said, Whew!

The design team continues development of the 2018 show design and we expect to announce the show title/music in the near future. We are still working on securing some of the music licenses so that we can use the music in our performances. Tour planning is well under way to ensure that we have excellent facilities throughout the summer.

And yes, we are already looking for volunteers to support the kitchen and driving aspects of the corps throughout the summer (move in’s and tour) and YES, WE WANT YOU to join us. Please contact Cathy Sackett cmsackett@comcast.net for volunteer kitchen crew and Jerry Sackett sackettj@mycci.net for volunteer driving opportunities.

Next corps camp is February 2 - 4, 2018 with the tentative location once again being Rosemont High School. This camp is brass only. NO color guard or percussion at this camp. Take care and come out to see the corps sometime soon.

Corps Director

Outstanding Corps Member of 2017

Kelley Ho

Mandarins corps members voted Kelley Ho as their Outstanding Corps Member for the second year in a row. Never before in Mandarins history has a corps member received this honor more than one time. Kelley remains one of the most popular drum majors in the drum and bugle corps activity; her passion and conducting skills were displayed at each and every performance, dazzling audiences and judges alike.

Kelley is a graduate of Monterey Trail High School where she played saxophone and was a drum major for two years. She also played baritone for a year and was drum major the year after for the Sacramento State Marching Band. In the spring of 2017, Kelley graduated from Cosumnes River College with an Associate of Arts degree in Theatre Arts and is currently studying Drama at University of California, Irvine. She hopes to receive her Honors in Directing upon graduation. While attending school, Kelley is a novice stage manager for student projects and is also working as a private drum major instructor for students all over California and Hawaii.

Kelley said, "Thinking back on the past four seasons, I can’t help but to think how much I will miss everyone in the Mandarins. I was extremely blessed to be around such beautiful and compassionate people who worked to be better at their craft every single day. My time with the Mandarins was magical and I am proud to be an alumnus of an organization that will be even stronger in 2018."

Mandarins Health and Wellness Team

We are excited to announce the implementation of the Mandarins Health and Wellness Team. Co-directors Kimberly Wong, PT, and Daniel Fong, O.D. will be assembling a team of professionals and interns to ensure the health and well-being of the Mandarins members and staff.

"The members' physical health and well-being is the most important aspect of the Mandarins Health and Wellness Team. We aim to focus on the total being - including a complete medical history, training protocols for injury prevention, staff education, and on-site care for members as needed. Some guidelines for Physical Training protocol for all sections will be developed," states co-director Kim Wong.

Professionals and interns can contact Dan at 916-956-0948 or dkfongod@yahoo.com to get more information and to volunteer their services.

Autumn Update from Corps Director JW Koester

As we move deeper into Fall, preparations for the 2018 Mandarins audition/ experience camps are in full swing. We have confirmed our facilities for both camps: NorCal will be held at Rosemont High School and SoCal will be held at Arcadia High School. Both locations have excellent facilities and will be perfect for our requirements. We will also have our equipment trailer (Dragon) and our mobile kitchen (Mushu) at both camps to provide equipment and meals.

On the staffing side of the corps, we have completed all of our hiring and I am pleased to advise that our entire design team has returned and they are hard at work developing on the 2018 production. And no, we are NOT ready to announce the title or theme of the show just yet. The majority of the technical staff is also returning with only the brass caption experiencing a major change. Mr. Tim Snyder is our new brass caption head and we are pleased to have Tim and his staff join the Mandarins family.

Mandarins executive director, Jim Tabuchi, and I attended the DCI Fall meeting in late September and we reviewed the tentative 2018 summer tour. And no, we are NOT ready to announce the tour schedule until DCI has confirmed all of the show dates with the show sponsors. However, we expect that task to be done in early November and we will announce our tour schedule shortly thereafter.

Interest in the 2018 Mandarins is the highest ever based on our Facebook interest group sign ups (Join the Mandarins 2018 Interest Group). To date we have over 800 people who have joined our page with more joining every week.

Our recruiting campaign is in full swing as we have already mailed out our posters and we have a full slate of Fall high school band shows that we attend with our recruiting booth. What does all of this mean? Great question, it means that the organization is operating on all 8 cylinders which is always an exciting thing! As always, please reach out to lend a helping hand - whether it is cooking a few meals, driving a support vehicle, washing & mending uniforms, or becoming a sponsor of a 2018 member in need. Stop by at any of our camps, I am sure you will be glad you did.


Tim Snyder Named Brass Caption Head for 2018

The Sacramento Mandarins are pleased to announce that the percussion, color guard and visual caption heads—as well as the program director—will be returning for the 2018 season, with Tim Snyder joining staff as the new Brass Caption Head.

Darren VanDerpoel will be leading percussion, Mario Ramirez with color guard, Michael Samson as the visual caption head, and Ike Jackson returning as Program Director.

“Last year was a monumental step for the Mandarins organization, with the staff, the administration and the design team coming together for the very first time in 2017,” said Ike. “As the organization grows and the team gets stronger, there are always some small modifications that happen along the way. In 2018, Mandarins will continue to move forward, and we ensure that we will bring a positive life-changing experience to not only the members, but to the fans and DCI alike.”

Snyder, the new brass caption head, is a freelance arranger, composer, educator and adjudicator, and is in-demand as a clinician throughout the country in brass pedagogy. His music has been performed on concert stages and football fields all across America and he has an extensive background in drum corps—teaching some of the most prestigious tuba lines in DCI including Carolina Crown and overseeing a 20-person tuba line with Madison Scouts. Most recently, Snyder was the brass caption manager for Oregon Crusaders, and he also worked with the Casper Troopers in 2014 and 2015.

“I am very excited to be part of this fantastic group of people and organization. I want to help build upon the excellence and tradition that make up the Mandarins organization,” said Snyder.

Download a copy of the Press Release here.

Reflections on this Summer

JW Koester

Hi Everyone! Well, the dust has settled from the marching shoes and the fleet has all made it home safely. There are no more rehearsals to schedule and plan for. It sure is quiet.... As I reflect on the recent season I can’t help but smile every time I think of all the good things that we, as an organization, accomplished this past season:

• A new food trailer (Mushu) built and operational
• Design and build of some huge ink pen quill props
• Multiple new design team and technical staff members
• 110 first time members in the drum corps
• Our highest ever placement and score at the DCI World Championships and
• Some amazing support from many, many parents & other volunteers.

I think that is why we do this crazy thing we call drum corps.

The total immersion and dedication to make things happen - where else do we get the same level of thrill and exhaustion all at the same time? I am so proud of the 2017 Mandarins drum corps - the design and instructional teams developed and taught an amazing show and the corps members gave it their all to perform at their highest level. And that’s all we can ever ask for - give it your all, don’t leave anything on the field, just be amazing. And, this drum corps was all that and more. The family that we created will always be special and the memories are already being shared with others.

To all the fans who enjoyed the show and cheered for us - thank you. To the board members and boosters - thank you for your total support. To the drivers, cooks, admin staff and friends - thank you even though words are not enough. To the parents - many, many thanks for allowing us to take your sons & daughters on a very special journey! Take care and we’ll see you down the road because 2018 is just around the corner!

Corps Director

Jim Tabuchi DCI Director of the Year

Jim Tabuchi

At the 2017 DCI Championships, Mandarins Executive Director Jim Tabuchi was presented the Dr. Bernard Baggs Award for Outstanding Leadership. This award is voted on by all World Class directors and recognizes Mr. Tabuchi as a DCI Director of 2017. He was elected to the DCI Board of Directors in early 2017; the Board is responsible for overseeing DCI's business and strategic initiatives.

Mr. Tabuchi states, "I was proud to accept this leadership award from DCI because it was an exclamation point on an incredible season. But this is not a personal award. It should be awarded to the entire Mandarins organization. I did not prepare the 80,000 meals, nor did I design the fan favorite corps show, or recruit and educate the 150 members or perform an incredible show or drive vehicles 12,000 miles or plan and execute a nation wide tour or sell souvies across the country or create and sew uniforms. What just happened was the culmination of countless hours of work over 54 years by people who lead from their hearts. Most of us as volunteers receive our "pay" in thank you's and smiles. And if we do a good job we will get a raise next year. It is an honor to be able to serve as a leader for so many incredible people."

Mandarins 2018 Interest Group

2018 Interest Group

The Mandarins have created a 2018 Sacramento Mandarins Interest Group on Facebook. We like to think of the Mandarins as the most welcoming drum corps in all of DCI. We celebrate diversity, respect the individuality of all of our members AND all unite within the Mandarins Family.

On the field, our shows are entertaining, exciting, creative and unique. Our belief is that the more you enjoy performing the show, the more the audience will enjoy experiencing the show.

We just completed a very successful 2017 drum corps season and are excited to begin our 2018 season. This Interest Group is intended to be a place for all of you interested candidates for the upcoming season. We will begin auditions shortly and this is where you can ask questions and get to know others who will be auditioning with you. This group will be moderated by veteran members of the Mandarins who will share their experience with you. This year we will have in-person auditions in multiple locations and will accept video auditions. Stay tuned for more information soon! Thanks for your interest in the Mandarins and we are excited to begin an awesome 2018 season!

The 2017 Mandarins Academy Begins September 10

Mandarins Academy

Mandarins Academy had a successful 2016 season that began with 131 registered students and ended with a performance for the parents and a performance at a Kings game in the new Golden 1 Center. New in 2016 were the Woodwind Academy (flutes, clarinets, saxes) as well as Leadership Development for the student leaders in their school music program. Additionally, over 40 Mandarins Academy students auditioned for the 2017 drum corps, so the impact to students’ development, school music programs, and the Mandarins drum corps grows as Mandarins Academy grows.

Plans are underway for an even bigger 2017 season, the 10th year of Mandarins Academy. Directors for the Brass, Guard, Percussion, Drum Major, and Woodwind Academy have been finalized, the sessions have been expanded by 1/2 hour (12:30-4pm), and the location remains at the Sac State Capistrano Hall under the partnership between the Sacramento Mandarins and the Sac State School of Music. The 2017 Mandarins Academy flyer was mailed to 158 high school music programs, most within 100 miles of CSUS, as we aim to educate, and influence the lives, of even more students. Reserve these dates in your calendar: Sundays 9/10, 10/1, 10/29, and 11/26, with plans again to perform at a Kings game.

Tap/Click here for a FAQ and to register.

Igniting Sacramento's Arts & Culture Scene


In June, Mandarins Entertainment helped kick off Mayor Darrell Steinberg's quest to ignite Sacramento's arts and culture scene. Among other things, the art of busking (street performing is encouraged. And, the city will increase its contribution to the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission to $500,000 to support, promote, and advance the arts in the Sacramento region. There will also be a heavy focus on arts education in city schools, and the city and its partners will work on strategic investments in arts and culture in Sacramento, Mayor Steinberg and other dignitaries celebrated this great news by busking with Mandarins Entertainment. See the video here.

Joe Fong Appointed Director of Mandarins Entertainment

Joe Fong

Joe Fong has accepted the position of Director of Mandarins Entertainment. For the past several years, Joe has been managing Mandarins Entertainment aspects of talent, equipment, costuming, booking, and more. Past performances include gigs at the Crocker Art Museum, Bayside Church Christmas, Oakland Raiders, NASCAR, and of course as the Sacramento Kings Drumline. Thanks to Joe for volunteering his time and management expertise!

Mandarins Parents Facebook Group


Parents of corps members marching with the Mandarins have their own Facebook Group to network, answer questions, sign up to help at corps camps, and more. There's even pictures of corps members and some of the great meals they enjoy, and they definitely appreciate all that you do. If you're a parent and use Facebook, submit a request to join the group here, and get involved. As one parent said, "It's wonderful working with so many great people. The spirit of volunteering is contagious when we see how much the kids get out of it!"

Saluting our Student Leaders

Drum Majors

Our Drum Majors and Field Conductors Kelley Ho, Emalyn Atkins, Jesusalberto Muniz, and Logan Weekly-Wilson do an excellent job in leading practice runs, helping rehearsals run smoothly, setting standards for discipline and conduct, and many other tasks. Color Guard Captains Jeremiah Wade, Donna Cruz, and Tori Lew round out our Student Leader staff. It's not easy being a Student Leader, and we thank them for their efforts. Recently, the DCI Office hosted an evening event of appreciation for all of the Student Leaders participating in this summer's national tour.

Point West Rotary Club Grants Mandarins

Point West Rotary Club

The Point West Rotary Club awarded the Mandarins a $7,500 grant for new uniform bibs for the growing corps which expects to march 150 members again this year. Mandarins Executive Director Jim Tabuchi and the Rotary Club had several meetings to discuss the need and benefits the grant would provide. We thank the Rotary Club for their generosity.

Mandarins an SVP Fast Pitch Winner

Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners of Sacramento awarded the Mandarins a Fast Pitch "Random Act of Kindness" check, after Mandarins Executive Director Jim Tabuchi made a 3-minute Fast Pitch in front of CEOs, Vice Presidents, and other judges. Jim spoke about the transformational effect that music has on children, and asked donors to give the gift of music.

The Sacramento Mandarins Choose Innovative Percussion

Innovative Percussion
Innovative Percussion is proud to announce the addition of the Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps, from Sacramento, California, to its family of world class drum corps. The Mandarins will use Innovative Percussion products exclusively during the 2016 season. Entering their 53rd season, the Mandarins organization has a rich heritage that embodies the blending of Asian traditions with drum & bugle corps, creating values for youth with a true sense of purpose. Innovative Percussion is happy to welcome this dynamic organization to their artist family.

Founding Member Frank Lim Passes

Frank Lim

Founding Member Frank Lim passed away this month, at the age of 99. He was the last living founder of the Sacramento Mandarins, formerly known as the Ye Wah Drums & Lyras Corps. In 1963 Mr. Lim, president of the Sacramento Chinese Benevolent Association, coordinated the first meeting of children and parents interested in forming the corps. He also rallied the ten Chinese family associations to contribute funds to the cause. Four months after that first meeting on a rainy day in March, the Ye Wah marched its first parade. At the Mandarins' 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2013, Mr. Lim was our guest of honor and enjoyed our production, "Destination America ~ Journey of the Paper Sons." He was pleased to see the corps thriving and beginning its next 50 years. In 1963 we started with 11 marching members, and today we are fielding 150. Thank you to Mr. Lim and the other founders for creating the Mandarins. Our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

1978-81 Mandarins Color Guard Reunites After 33 Years

1978-81 guard
33 years after their epic performance which brought the house down at the 1981 California Color Guard Circuit Championships, the Mandarins Color Guard reunited to renew friendships, reminisce, and share photos. Thanks to Laurie Moy, Shirley Fujii, Cathy Lee, and Michele Samonte for planning and presenting the reunion. And to Color Guard Director Joyce Yee for the pink satin roses. And a big shout-out to Rob Jong's Slightly Skewed food truck for catering a delicious feast. Everyone had a great time, and decided not to wait 33 years for the next reunion.

Bingo Manager Janet Wong Passes

Janet Wong

The Sacramento Mandarins' beloved Bingo Manager, Janet Wong passed away on Mother's Day, May 11, 2014. Janet joined the Mandarins in 1983 when her son Rod joined the drumline. Janet became Booster Club Manager and along with her husband Bucky, kept the corps well-fed with the legendary food service the Mandarins became known for. Janet volunteered for Bingo Manager in 1988, and since then has continually served in this position, long after Rod aged-out of the corps. Janet said that being Bingo Manager was something she enjoyed doing, by raising money for the kids. Her dedication enabled the Mandarins to become an internationally-recognized DCI Champion. Throughout her 31 years with the Mandarins, Janet always had a smile and volunteer ethic second to none. We will miss her tremendously.

Christmas Services at Bayside Church


Mandarins Entertainment performed at multiple Christmas Services at Bayside Church Granite Bay campus, this holiday season. Sharing the stage with acclaimed contemporary Christian musician and worship leader Lincoln Brewster, the Mandarins delighted several thousand people attending one or more services. Earlier in the week, the Mandarins and Bayside's worship team were featured on Good Day Sacramento, performing Little Drummer Boy.

Mandarins Partner with Jupiter, Mapex, and Majestic


The Mandarins have partnered with Jupiter Brass instruments, Mapex Marching Drums, and Majestic Percussion for their 2014 season. “We are very excited to partner with the Jupiter, Mapex, and Majestic team at KHS America”, said Jim Tabuchi, Executive Director of the Mandarins. “At the Mandarins, our focus is to have a profoundly positive influence on our youth members and to use performance excellence as the vehicle to do so. KHS America’s clear commitment to the marching arts as well as music education is a commitment that we share. The support of the KHS America team has been truly outstanding and the instruments we’ve tested are of the quality and sound that our instructional staff and students expect. I know our audiences will be very impressed with our new sound.”

Got E-Waste? Save the Earth and Help the Mandarins!


Got E-Waste? Schedule a free pickup and benefit the Mandarins! We’re part of the eWaste4good fundraiser in the Sacramento Area. Call 800-317-3112, or click here to schedule an e-waste pickup from your home of office. Recycle your TV, monitor, computer, stereo, and more (see the list) without having to haul it to a recycler. Simply follow the steps below:

1. Select “Sacramento Area” as the approximate region of the organization you’re donating to.

2. Select “Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps” from the organization drop-down list.

3. Fill out the remaining items and click Submit.

4. Save the Earth while helping the Mandarins!

A Magical 50th Anniversary Celebration


The Mandarins celebrated their Golden Anniversary on September 21, commemorating 50 years of success. Over 360 alumni corps members, instructors, and family members joined us for a delicious dinner at the Hong Kong Islander Restaurant. Jimmie Yee of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors presented directors Ray Mar and Jim Tabuchi with resolutions recognizing individual and collective achievements for the Mandarins.


It was great to see representation from the very first Ye Wah members (including the remaining living founder, Frank Lim) -- to present-day Mandarins members who performed in the Destination America show, which everyone watched with amazement after dinner.

The evening concluded with photo ops and the renewing of friendships. Thanks to the 50th Anniversary Committee of Christine Thorntona, Steve Wong, Marilyn Chin, Diana Gin, Al Chinn, Kim Wong, Roxie Tom, Karen Wu, Jim Tabuchi, Jennie Fong, Jillene Sturgess-DaPrato, and Scott Jow for coordinating such a fabulous event.

Director Tabuchi recalled the lyrics to the Earth, Wind, and Fire song, "September." Do you remember the 21st night of September? The celebration was a magical evening that will be long-remembered.

Destination America - Journey of the Paper Sons

Angel Island

Our 2013 production, "Destination America - Journey of the Paper Sons" is based on a true story which began in 1899. The show has opened to wide acclaim, and it brings to the drum corps field an important part of Chinese and American history that many people are unaware of. Recently, the Sacramento Bee newspaper published an article, titled "Angel Island: Haunting History in the Middle of San Franciso Bay." You can also view a movie about the Angel Island Immigration Station.

Rob on the Road Features Mandarins

Rob on the RoadRob Stewart, of KVIE Public Television, produces "Rob on the Road", which discovers stories that capture the unique spirit of Northern California. Rob visited the Mandarins at one of their last rehearsals before DCI tour, and interviewed Brass instructor and Mandarins Brass Academy head Jim Tabuchi. See Rob's video here.

Mandarins Voted the Best of Sacramento Best of Sacramento Concert Best Bang for Your Buck Award

Sacramento Magazine hosted the Best of Sacramento Party in November at the Sacramento Convention Center, showcasing subscribers' picks for best local restaurants, entertainment, personalities, specialty shops, service providers, and more. The Mandarins won the Best Bang for Your Buck award. Over 7,400 attendees sampled various foods, drinks, and the Mandarins' performance. The corps was featured as one of the evening's highlights and were pleased to participate in this event, where $235,000 was raised for the March of Dimes.