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."

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 12/3, with plans again to perform at a Kings game.

Tap/Click here for a FAQ and to register.


Big Loud Live

The DCI World Championship Prelims will return to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this August, and for the 14th year in a row, that kickoff event can be watched live in hundreds of movie theaters nationwide. “Big, Loud and Live 14” will bring the performances of the top-15 scoring corps (from a field of 39) competing at the DCI World Championship Prelims on Thursday, August 10, to more than 600 select movie theaters across the United States.

Get your front-row seats and catch all the action live on the big screen as 15 of DCI’s top performing corps, including the Sacramento Mandarins battle it out for the chance to be named the 2017 DCI World Champion! Find your theatre and order tickets here.

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.

Mandarins Leadership Camp ~ Register Today

leadership camp

There are only a few remaining spots open in our first ever Mandarins Leadership Camp – a three-day, two-night summer camp July 6-8, housed on the same campus where the DCI World Class Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps will be rehearsing and competing, where students have an opportunity to "meet, greet, and eat" with the Mandarins members, get a behind the scenes view of rehearsals, and may have an opportunity to conduct the Mandarins brass line! Mandarins Leadership Camp provides high school student leaders with the tools, tips, and techniques to become an effective leader, accomplished through demonstration and experiential learning in small group settings so that the student will be equipped to effectively support their band director’s vision and goals. Educators and clinicians will be led by Director Santiago Sabado, Assistant Director Marvin Reed, and Camp Counselors Jeremy Parlin and Becky Stewart. Jim Tabuchi will serve as Leadership Consultant. The camp includes a ticket to the July 8 DCI Capital Classic drum corps show that the Mandarins host. Registration is under way, including an opportunity for parent volunteers. Tap/Click Here, for more information and to register.

DCI Capital Classic Volunteers Needed


Our 6th annual DCI Capital Classic drum and bugle corps competition will be held on Saturday, July 8 at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove, CA. This event has been an outstanding success every year, thanks to the many volunteers helping with ticket booth sales, food prep, gate control, and more.

Want to help? We'd love to have you! Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:

1. Go to our signup page at SignUp.com (an online signup and reminder tool).
2. Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3. Sign up! It's easy; you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.

SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, contact Michael Downs at 916-765-0000 or volunteers@mandarins.org so that he can sign you up manually.

The NorCal Classics

norcal classics

See the Mandarins at TWO Sacramento-area shows. First, we have the Moonlight Classic on June 24 at Hughes Stadium/Sacramento City College. Then on July 8, come to the DCI Capital Classic at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove, after which the Mandarins begin their summer tour. This will be your opportunity to see the corps perform live, if you won't be traveling out of the Sacramento area. You can get tickets for either or both shows here.

Mandarins Mobile Kitchen

Mobile Kitchen

Coming soon -- Our Mandarins Mobile Kitchen will be a 53-foot trailer with walk-in refrigerator/freezer, generator, commercial appliances, storage, and more to feed the corps comprised of 150 performers and 40 instructors and support staff, while traveling over 12,000 miles per summer. Now under construction, the kitchen will enable our volunteers to cook over 800 meals daily. Check out the progress here!

Over its life, the Mobile Kitchen will provide over 2 million meals for the corps! In order to complete construction and launch the kitchen at our May Memorial Weekend camp, our goal is to raise $110,000 in committed funds by May 4, 2017. You can help us reach this goal by donating at bigdayofgiving.org on Thursday May 4, starting at midnight through 11:59 pm. We thank you for your support!

Mandarins Leadership Camp

Mandarins Leadership Camp

The Mandarins Leadership Camp provides students with the tools, tips, and techniques to become effective leaders in their school bands and to support their band director’s vision and goals. Led by educators and clinicians with strong academic and hands-on experience in band leadership, students will learn how to conduct, run an effective rehearsal, team-build, and more. What makes this camp unique is that students will be on the same campus as the Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps, where they will be able to view the rehearsals and may have an opportunity to conduct the Mandarins brass line, and the camp includes a ticket to the DCI Capital Classic drum corps show. The Mandarins Leadership Camp is open to all who are aspiring to be student leaders in their high school bands. Obtain more information, and register here.

2017 Mandarins Drum Major Team

Drum Majors

We are pleased to introduce our fantastic Drum Major Team leading the corps for 2017.
Kelley Ho
was Monterey Trail High School's drum major for two years and was also part of their marching band staff. She has been a baritone player and drum major with the Sacramento State Hornet Marching Band. Kelley will be marching her fourth and age-out year in 2017, where her goal is to set the standard for high-quality practice and performance with her Mandarins family, and to make this her best season ever. Marching his fourth year, Jesusalberto Muniz aims to push himself to the next level of leadership and to help those around him to reach the next level of excellence. With the other leadership team members, he hopes to achieve feats never before reached by the Mandarins. Logan Weekly-Wilson begins his second year on the drum major team. He's a saxophonist and enjoys jazz and composing. Logan's a freshman at CSU Fullerton, studing music. Marcus Holifield-Helm is marching his first year in drum corps. He has been his high school drum major for two years and is very excited to march this season with the Mandarins. A goal is to get to know and understand the drum corps experience. Most of all, Marcus is excited for the new season with 149 other awesome individuals!

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!"

Mandarins Notes ~ Voice of the Sacramento Mandarins


The December 2016 issue of Mandarins Notes is available here. Among other news, Executive Director Jim Tabuchi reflects back and looks forward, and Corps Director JW Koester provides an update on the 2017 Mandarins.

Percussion Staff Announced

Percussion Staff

Corps Director JW Koester and Percussion Caption Head Darren VanDerpoel have announced the Mandarins' 2017 percussion and front ensemble techs. This excellent team of educators bring a wealth of experience to the Mandarins and look forward to the new season. Read more about the staff in their bios here.

Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps Experience Events

Mandarins Experience

Thank you for your interest in attending the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps Experience Event!

The Mandarins Experience Event is an opportunity for you to see what it is like to be in a World Class Drum Corps. We have assembled some of the best music and performance educators in the world. They will be on-hand to provide you with advanced techniques in brass, percussion and color guard performance. As part of this experience you will have the opportunity to audition for the 2017 Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps.

You will also be surrounded by musicians and performers who are motivated to excel in their art form. Many of those attending are veteran members of the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps. They will perform along side of you to share their experience with you.

This is your opportunity to take that first step in what could be an amazing year for you in world class drum corps. We are making preparations for a summer of drum corps competition that will take us to over 25 states, traveling over 12,000 miles and performing for huge crowds in some of the world's largest stadiums.

Ready to take that first step?! Sign up for a Mandarins Experience Camp here.

Need more info? See our Sacramento Mandarins facebook page, or our Mandarins 2017 Interest Group facebook page.

Caption Heads Chris Tomsa, Mark Trulson, and Michael Samson


Mandarins Announce Chris Tomsa and Mark Trulson as Brass Co-Caption Heads, and Michael Samson as Visual Caption Head for 2017.

The Mandarins are pleased to announce that Chris Tomsa will return to the corps taking on a larger role as brass co-caption head along with returning co-caption head Mark Trulson while Michael Samson is joining the corps as visual caption head for the 2017 season.

The pageantry arts have been Chris Tomsa's passion for four decades as a performer, instructor, arranger and adjudicator. Chris has instructed and arranged for many of the world's finest drum and bugle corps including the Madison Scouts, Phantom Regiment, Glassmen, Colts, Capital Regiment and 27th Lancers. In his years at Madison, Chris mentored with DCI Hall of Fame brass instructor James Elvord where they won three DCI High Brass titles together, as well as the Drum Corps International World Championships.

While at Madison, Chris also had the unique opportunity to mentor with two of the activity’s legendary marching band and drum corps arrangers, Ray Baumgardt and Jim Ott. He put this experience to good use in the marching band activity over the past 30 years, having composed and arranged wind music for some of the nation's top high school and college marching bands from around the country.

In addition to composing and arranging, Chris has been active as an instructional and design consultant to various drum corps and marching bands around the United States and Canada, and is a judge for marching band and indoor pageantry arts competitions.

Chris studied music education and arranging at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Mark Trulson was born and raised in Massachusetts. After learning to play the tuba at 15, he ventured to Amherst, MA to play in the UMASS Minuteman Marching band. Shortly thereafter he decided to pursue a career in music education under the tutelage of George N. Parks. With a BA in MusEd with a concentration in Tuba in hand, Mark worked as a General Music Teacher at the Nixon Elementary School in Sudbury, MA and as the Low Brass Instructor at Boston College. After nine years, he moved to Los Angeles where he is now the Instrumental Music Director and Department Chair for Visual and Performing Arts at Alhambra High School, as well as a father of two amazing kids!

Mark’s performance career includes two years with the Melrose Explorers Drum and Bugle Corps and two years with the Blue Knights of Denver, Colorado joining a corps making finals for the first time in their history in 1991. On stage he has performed with Kim Richmond, Bob Mintzer and Max Roach. As an educator, he was on the brass staff for the Royal Columbians Drum and Bugle Corps in the early 90’s and East Coast Jazz from 2000-2003. Mark is excited to be back with the Mandarins for a sixth year to work with such an incredible staff and equally amazing members.

Michael Samson marched in the Blue Devils for four seasons (2010, 2012-14). In 2013-14 he served as Mellophone section leader, and in 2014 was awarded with the Brass Member of the Year and Outstanding Mover awards. In 2015 he toured Europe as a performer in the Blue Devils International Corps.

As a teacher, Samson currently leads the visual caption at Amador Valley High School, and has taught music and visual performance with the Blue Devils B corps, Ayala High School, Fountain Valley High School, Downey High School, California High School, De La Salle High School, Rosemead High School, and Broken City Percussion. He is also a music teacher at Alisal Elementary School and Hart Middle School. Samson graduated from Ithaca College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition, with an emphasis in Piano Performance. 

The Mandarins are excited to have Chris and Mark return to the corps to continue development of the hornline so they are able to perform at higher levels of excellence, while Michael brings a new perspective to our visual program. JW Koester, Corps Director stated, “Chris is a proven educator and has an excellent feel for the right ensemble sound while Mark brings the drum corps intensity required to be successful in this activity. I also look forward to watching Michael bring his passion and desire for high-end achievement to our drum corps."

Technical staff member announcements are forthcoming.

Darren VanDerpoel and Mario Ramirez Added to 2017 Staff


The Mandarins are pleased to announce new Design Team members Darren VanDerpoel as Percussion Arranger / Caption Head, and Mario Ramirez as Color Guard designer / Caption Head for the 2017 season.

Darren VanDerpoel resides in Diamond Bar, CA and works throughout Southern California as a music educator. After graduating from Vista HS in 2005, he went on to perform with Esperanza Drum and Bugle Corps, Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, Black Knights Indoor Percussion, Riverside Community College Marching Band, and RCC Indoor.  

Darren earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Management from Cal Poly Pomona in 2013.  He currently serves as the co-director and performing member of the Los Angeles Clipper’s Drumline “Clippercussion” who perform at Clippers home games and other special events throughout the year. 

Darren has been an active percussion instructor in Southern California since 2005, working with several high schools and independent groups.  He currently teaches at Diamond Bar HS, Nogales HS, El Dorado HS, and Ayala HS.  Darren proudly uses Remo Drumheads and Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets.

Mario Ramirez has a true passion for the performing arts. While still in high school, he began his instructional career as a choreographer for multiple groups in Southern California. Soon after, his passion for creating led him to directing groups in Southern California as well as designing, choreographing, and consulting for groups in Texas, Indiana, and Northern California.

In 2006, he founded Diamante Winterguard. In 2008, Diamante won the WGI Independent Open Class silver medal. They have since been a five-time Independent World Class finalist. In 2016, Diamante had two competitive units and placed seventh in both the Independent World and Independent Open classifications. He is currently the director, choreographer, and a designer for Diamante World and director and designer for Diamante Open.

Performance credits include: Nogales High School percussion and color guard , Mt. Sac Dance Program, Solution Performance Ensemble, Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, Pacific Crest World Guard, Yamato Drum and Bugle Corps, RCC Marching Tigers, Fantasia Winterguard and Diamante Winterguard. He currently instructs, designs, choreographs, and consults for multiple programs in California and Texas.

The Mandarins are excited to have Darren and Mario join our design team. JW Koester, Corps Director stated, “The passion and teamwork skills that these gentlemen bring to the Mandarins will be an asset to our drum corps members and fellow designers."

Additional staff announcements are forthcoming.

Mandarins Academy Begins 9th Year

Mandarins Academy

Mandarins Academy successfully began its 9th year on September 11 with over 100 students from nearly 40 Northern California schools attending its Brass Academy, Guard Academy, Percussion Academy, Drum Major Academy, and new for 2016: Woodwind Academy.

The goal of the Mandarins Academy is to provide educational sessions for students 14-21 to enhance their performance and leadership skills and to complement their school music programs. Mandarins Academy also exposes students to the instruction and material of the Sacramento Mandarins, for those interested in attending the Sacramento Mandarins Experience Camp on November 26-27.

Mandarins Academy is led by:
Milt Gee, Mandarins Academy Director
Marvin Reed, Mandarins Academy Assistant Director
Dan Fong, Brass Academy Director
Amanda Van Spronsen and Dana Heuer, Guard Academy Co-Directors
Josh Luedtke, Percussion Academy Director
Marvin Reed, Drum Major Academy Director
Kevin Bowlson, Woodwind Academy Director

Mandarins Academy is made possible by the partnership between the Sacramento Mandarins and the Sacramento State University School of Music. Remaining sessions are October 9, October 30, and December 4, with a performance at a Sacramento Kings game on December 31. See our FAQs for more info, and register online here for the remaining sessions.

Mandarins Announce Key Poulan and Peter Beckhart on Staff

The Mandarins announce Key Poulan as Brass Arranger, and Peter Beckhart as Drill Writer for 2017.

The Mandarins are pleased to announce that Key Poulan will return for his seventh season as Brass Arranger/Music Designer and we welcome to the Design Team Peter Beckhart in the capacity of Drill Writer/Designer for the 2017 season.

Key Poulan is a composer and arranger primarily for the marching arts and has written for the world's most famous drum corps including the Santa Clara Vanguard, Mandarins, Glassmen, Spirit of Atlanta, Vanguard Cadets, Spartans, Caballeros, Bushwackers, Renegades, Juliana, Millennium and the Star United Mini Corps. As the owner of Key Poulan Music, he has been recognized as one of the country's top arrangers and composers in the area of contemporary marching band and has several concert band works to his credit.  His marching band arrangements have won several national titles at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Championships. His works have won many state titles throughout the United States and have been performed around the world. His transcription of "The Promise of Living" from Copland's "Tender Land" was extremely well received at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival and his original works "Carnegie Fanfare and Dance" and "A Fortune in Steel" were both premiered at New York City's Carnegie Hall.

Peter Beckhart has performed, instructed, and designed many competitive shows in the marching arts. His performing experience includes six years of DCI, aging out with the Concord Blue Devils. Peter also performed with the Riverside Community College winter drum line in 2011 and 2012.

As a drill designer for fall marching bands and spring productions, Peter has had the opportunity to work with many groups since 2009. He currently teaches at Upland High School and is the visual caption head of Ayala High School and Savanna High School. Peter is also a sought after choreographer for fall marching bands and winter drumlines including Ayala H.S., James Logan H.S., Mt. Carmel H.S., RCC Winter Percussion, Dark Sky Percussion, Valley Independent Percussion, and many other programs throughout California.

In the drum corps world, Peter taught the Blue Devils 'B' in 2012 and has been on visual staff of the 17-time World Champion Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps since 2013.

Peter is humbled to have opportunities to work with some of the best programs and students in the world and is always striving to be a better instructor, choreographer and designer. He currently lives in Fullerton, CA.

The Mandarins are excited to have Peter to join our talented team of designers. JW Koester, Corps Director stated, “I am looking forward to working with Peter and I know he will bring a tremendous amount of creativity to our program. His dedication and commitment are well-known within the activity." Koester noted that “Key has been an integral part of the Mandarins design team and organization for many years. His insight and attention to detail have been a major part of the Mandarins' continued competitive development."

Additional staff announcements are forthcoming.

Ike Jackson, Program Coordinator & Percussion Consultant

Ike Jackson

The Mandarins announce Ike Jackson as the Program Coordinator and Percussion Consultant for the 2017 season.

Ike Jackson has been working with Ayala High School since 1991. In his twenty-six years as a percussion instructor, he has worked with more than 50 different percussion programs at the high school, college, and drum corps levels. A prolific percussion arranger, judge and drill designer, Ike has worked with various percussion ensembles all across the US. His competitive marching career started as a teenager as a member of the Sound Machine Youth Organization. He then performed as tenor player for the Riverside Community College Marching Tigers from 1992 to 1994. Finally, he finished his marching career as a member of the 1994 Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, going on to win the title of World Champion. Ike is currently Vice President of the Southern California Percussion Alliance and a founding member of SCPA. He is also a member of the Winter Guard International Percussion Advisory Board and has worked on the Steering Committee as well. In 2006, Ike created Pulse Independent World Percussion Ensemble and POW Percussion in 2010, and is currently working with Strike Independent World Percussion.

Ike is a Mapex and Majestic Featured Artist; as well as, endorsed by Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, Zildjian cymbals, and Remo Drumheads. Ike has recently worked on research and development projects with many major drum and cymbal companies to make many of the products used by today's percussionists.

Ike has helped his percussion ensembles win 15 WGI World Championship medals, 30 WGI World Championship Finalist placements, 47 Regional Finalist placements, 14 Regional Championship titles, and a Bands of America Grand National Finalist appearance in 2004 and 2014. He was the Corps Director of the 2006 division III World Champion Impulse Drum and Bugle Corps and from 2012 to 2016 as the Percussion Caption head at The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. Locally, his ensembles have won numerous SCPA Championship medals and over 100 first place awards. Ike currently lives in Ontario, California with his wife and four children.

The Mandarins are proud and excited to have Ike to lead our talented team of designers and caption heads. JW Koester, Corps Director stated, “Ike brings a new level of excellence and expectation to the drum corps, I know the Mandarins organization will benefit having Ike on board."

Additional staff announcements are forthcoming.

Mandarins 2017 Interest Group

Interest Group

The Mandarins have created a 2017 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 2016 drum corps season and are excited to begin our 2017 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 2017 season!

High Scores at DCI Championships

2016 DCI

At the DCI Prelims and Semifinals competitions in Indianapolis, the Mandarins finished in 17th place with a score of 81.00 and 81.20 respectively, marking the highest score in its history of competition as a World Class drum corps. Not since its inaugural World Class season in 2003 has the Mandarins scored above 80 points. Corps Director JW Koester is extremely proud of thei 2016 season -- his first as the Sacramento Mandarins Corps Director -- and notes the amazing efforts given by corps members, staff, drivers, parents, and other facets of the Mandarins. JW is already looking forward to 2017 and our continued success on and off the competition field.

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.

J.W. Koester Named Mandarins Corps Director

JW Koester

The Sacramento Mandarins has named J.W. Koester as Corps Director. Jim Tabuchi will continue as Executive Director.

Koester has served as director or manager with several top-tier corps such as: Phantom Regiment during the 2008 DCI World Championship season, Santa Clara Vanguard during the 1999 DCI World Championship season, Vanguard Cadets during the 1991 and 1993 Division II finalist seasons, and most recently as the Corps Director for Spirit of Atlanta. He also worked with Drum Corps International (DCI) as the national coordinator for Division II & III corps.

“I am excited to return to the Mandarins, this time as Corps Director, and continue to grow the organization as an elite drum corps both on and off the field,” said Koester. “I look forward to working alongside the exceptional staff, volunteers and performers as the 2016 season begins.”

In his 30 years as a designer, instructor and consultant, Koester has worked with performing ensembles throughout eight states. A percussionist since 1967, he has performed with groups including the Santa Clara Vanguard (winning three DCI World Championships and five Best Percussion Section Awards), the San Jose State University Marching Band, the West Valley College Wind and Percussion Ensembles, and numerous community theater musical productions. Koester is currently Lead Instructor for the Price Charter School Winter Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Coordinator for Oak Grove High School Marching Band and Winter Percussion Ensemble, and also a Project Engineer with a semi-conductor capital equipment company.

"We are pleased to welcome JW onto the Mandarins management team. We have known JW for many years through his work with the Mandarins and many other drum corps. His extensive experience and shared values are the perfect combination to help our Mandarins Drum Corps excel both on and off the field, " said Jim Tabuchi, Executive Director.

Tabuchi will continue to be the Mandarins Executive Director, focusing his time and energy on growing the corps as a long-term, sustainable nonprofit organization with strong ties and contributions to the community.

Download the Press Release here.

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.

Mandarins Introduce New Uniforms

2013 Uniforms

Continuing the surprises for it's 50th Anniversary, the Mandarins debuted new uniforms this month. The purple and gold colors are striking, along with the red and golden dragon sash. The new uniforms are symbolic of past uniforms having Mandarin collars and frog buttons, worn during the Ye Wah Drum and Bugle Corps days. The golden dragon represents our 50th anniversary and our wildly-popular dragon t-shirt from the 1970s. We've redesigned this t-shirt to commemorate our 50th anniversary, and you can buy one here.Thanks to our partner Stanbury Uniforms, and our designers for producing our new generation of uniforms; we've received many compliments!

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.

Attention Sacramento Area Band Directors and Students

If you wish to have a visit at your school by our Mandarins Recruitment Team, contact Dan Fong at dkfongod@yahoo.com. A short video presentation followed by a question and answer period is available to all students in your performing arts program. Arrangements can be made to best suit your school schedule.