AAPA Suspends 2020 Summer Program Activities

Due to growing concerns for the health and safety of our participants, the Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts has made the difficult decision to suspend program activities for the summer of 2020.

In a letter to the members of The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps (March 26), Director Mark Richardson expressed some insights surrounding this decision.

An excerpt of that message is here below…


The Academy family,

It is my very sad duty now to deliver the news you have no doubt been dreading: the 2020 drum corps season cannot safely take place. As this message is going out to you, Drum Corps International is making its announcement that the season’s events have been cancelled.

Over the past several weeks, The Academy as well as DCI and its participating organizations have been trying to navigate the uncertainty of the times. One by one each of our upcoming camps and events were cancelled, with hope that the next event on our calendar could take place, and that things would soon return to normal.

For the past two decades, a great joy in my life has been to take these incredible journeys with you and with those that came before you. I have felt so fortunate to witness the incredible growth of individuals and our drum corps year after year. Each season is like a chapter in the life of our young organization and I will forever feel that this chapter was left incomplete. I share your anger, frustration, sadness, and shock at this turn of events.

The Academy is moving forward with great passion and confidence that we will come out on the other side of this challenge stronger than ever. We are drum corps, and we know something about challenges. We will be tested. We will be asked to try harder and do more than we ever thought possible. There will be anxiety and uncertainty along the way, but we will move forward to prepare for the 2021 season as if it is right around the corner. And we will make it to the other side stronger than ever.

The Academy is poised to handle this hiatus perhaps as well as any drum corps out there. We walk into this challenge with zero debt. We have incredible leadership and passion in our volunteer force, our Board of Directors is committed and savvy, and our educational and design staff is invested and ready to help in whatever way possible, looking forward to the time that we can restart this production for 2021.

I realize that assurance for a capable return in 2021 does little to assuage the disappointment in losing the current season. Nobody will know the personal sacrifice that each individual had to make to get to this point. There is no way to take that sting away. I can only hope that after this settles in, a fire will be lit inside you that will inspire you to move forward with an even greater passion for what is to come in your life.

To finish, let us not take the close of this season lightly and all do our part to assist in this global effort to slow and eventually stop the spread of this disease. Doing so will help us to get back to the lives and freedoms that we enjoy living in this incredible time. While I’m sure we will correspond many times in the coming months with more details, announcements, and plans, for now I wish you and your loved ones good health. Stay safe everyone.

Your biggest fan,


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