Announcing the “Great Wisconsin Cheesehead Challenge” Fundraising Campaign

The Blue Stars and the Madison Scouts are pleased to announce the “Great Wisconsin Cheesehead Challenge” a 6-day fundraising campaign that pairs two historic Wisconsin drum corps in a head-to-head battle for bragging rights in the Cheesehead state.


Starting at 12:01 a.m., Sunday July 20th, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. Friday the 25th, the two corps will compete against each other in raising funds as they trek across the South from San Antonio to Atlanta. For every $20 collected, the corps advances 1 mile closer on the 1000 mile trip to Atlanta. The first corps to collect $20,000 and reach Atlanta will be crowned “The Big Cheese”. The corps that collects the most donations by midnight Friday (July 25th) wins the overall “Cheesehead Challenge” and requisite bragging rights. At the conclusion of the campaign, the two corps will come together for a joint meal of brats, cheese burgers, and cheese curds in celebration of their Wisconsin heritage.

“We are excited to take on the Madison Scouts in this fundraising campaign,” said Brad Furlano, Executive Director of the Blue Stars. “Both corps are great ambassadors for our Wisconsin communities, now it is time to see which group reigns supreme in the great state of Wisconsin.”

“This is a great way to develop the relationship between our two organizations,” commented Chris Komnick, Executive Director for the Scouts. “We share important histories in the State of Wisconsin and the Cheesehead Challenge is a great way to support our organization by engaging our alumni and fans in this fundraising campaign.”

Donations through the “Great Wisconsin Cheesehead Challenge” and to the respective organizations are tax deductible. Both the Madison Scouts and Blue Stars are non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations. Each corps will promote the challenge to their alumni and fan base while keeping the latest tally of donations on their respective web pages.

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Madison Scouts Spring Training

The Madison Scouts begin their 2014 season by entering the spring training portion of their summer on Friday, May 23rd. This year the corps is training at a new facility in Trafalgar, Indiana. The Indiana FFA Leadership Center will host the Scouts from their early percussion move-ins up through Friday, June 13th. At that time, the Scouts will relocate to East Troy High School in East Troy, WI for the last week of training. The first show of the DCI Tour will be on Friday, June 20th in Rockford, Illinois.


May 17 (Sat) – May 22 (Thu)
Early Percussion Move-Ins in Trafalgar, IN

May 23 (Fri) – June 13 (Fri)
Full Corps Spring Training in Trafalgar, IN

June 14 (Sat) – June 20 (Fri)
Final Week of Spring Training in East Troy, WI (East Troy HS)

June 18 (Wed)
Dress Rehearsal at East Troy High School, 8 p.m.

June 20 (Fri)
First DCI Tour Show in Rockford, IL


Indiana FFA Leadership Center
6595 South 125 West
Trafalgar, IN 46181
Download Map to Trafalgar & FFA Camp

East Troy High School
3128 Graydon Ave
East Troy, WI 53120


Members planning on flying into the Indianapolis Airport (IND) for Spring Training will be picked up via a shuttle at the Indianapolis airport and taken to the FFA Camp in Trafalgar. The time for the shuttle pick up at the Indianapolis airport is 5:00 p.m. ET at the Ground Transportation Center (GTC) across the street from baggage claim. It will arrive in Zone 1 outside the back doors of the GTC around 4:45pm and will leave at 5:00pm sharp. Please allow yourself enough time to get off your flight, get your luggage, and find the GTC before 4:45.

If you need to make alternate arrangements coming to or from Spring Training outside of the shuttle transportation on the 23rd, please contact Kimberly at as soon as possible! You’ll need to give her your flight information (airline, arrival/departure dates and times, etc) so that we may arrange to pick you up.

If you get lost, or your flight gets delayed, or you experience other travel-related trouble, please CALL Kimberly at (304) 638-8950 as soon as the issue arises so we may assist you in your travel endeavors.


The Scouts have volunteer needs in food service and sewing operations throughout spring training. Volunteers will be provided food and lodging with the corps during their service. If you are interested and have availability, please contact us at


Delivery by June 12th
Indiana FFA Leadership Center
MEMBER NAME c/o Madison Scouts
6595 South 125 West
Trafalgar, IN 46181

June 13th through June 18th
MEMBER NAME c/o Madison Scouts
East Troy, WI 53120


Kimberly Pullen, Member Coordinator- (304) 683-8950 –

Corey Jahlas, Assistant Corps Director- (248) 891-2266 –

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Volunteer for the Scouts this Summer

The start of the 2014 DCI season is less than 6 weeks away and the Madison Scouts have several opportunities for you to work with the corps this summer.

Trafalgar, IN – May 23 through June 13
East Troy, WI – June 14 – 20

The corps is needing spring training volunteers to assist with food service and sewing.

June 20 through August 9

We are needing volunteers to assist with food service, sewing, and merchandise sales.


“On-site” volunteers assist when the corps comes to their town (1-2 days). This often includes trips to/from the airport, helping source groceries, making medical runs, washing uniforms, and serving a meal or two. This is a great way to assist the corps with a minimal time committment.

Touring volunteers are provided meals on tour, passes to the shows, and travel on a “sleeper bunk” bus. No specific skills are required, but you need to bring a positive attitude and strong work ethic. The work is hard, but very rewarding as you help 150 young men take the field each day!

You will be working under the direction of the Food Service Manager and be provided basic training that will allow you to assist in the preparation and service of our meal schedule. You need to follow our standards for food preparation and hygiene, prepare meals, and clean up afterwards. A positive attitude is a must as you will be interacting with each member of the corps and staff several times a day.

This team is responsible for making the corps look great. Sewing skills are preferred, but not required. The sewing team will make adjustments and basic repairs to the uniform, guard costume, and flags. As well, this team routinely launders the uniforms on a rotation basis.

Meet firsthand the fans of the Madison Scouts as you help the corps raise money through our retail operations. This job entails a “customer service” focus as we want our retail operations to be professional in presentation and a great experience. Retail experience is a plus. This group travels separately from the corps and their work begins several hours before the show starts. Each location requires that our storefront be assembled, optimized, and taken down afterwards. You need to keep track of inventory, accurately manage cash and credit card transactions, and engage customers during their visit to our store. You need to have an outgoing personality and a knack for retail sales.

We are in need of a driver for our merchandise operations which includes a 26′ box truck towing a 15′ trailer. A CDL is not required, but you do need to be experienced in driving larger size vehicles and towing trailers. The driver is required to drive overnight, meaning you will need to adjust your sleep schedule appropriately. The driver needs to assure the vehicle is fueled and maintained properly, assist with the hookup of the trailer, and follow all of our safety protocals.

To explore opportunities and dates, contact volunteer coordinator Kimberly Pullen at

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Yamaha Establishes Two Music Education Scholarships to Celebrate 30 Years With the Madison Scouts

Yamaha Corporation of America today announced the establishment of two new scholarships to honor the 30-year relationship between the company and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps.

Beginning this season, Yamaha will award one $500 scholarship to a corps member of the brass section and another $500 scholarship to a member of the corps’ percussion section. Recipients, who will be chosen by Madison Scouts staff members and announced during the end-of-season corps banquet, must be enrolled in a college or university and be majoring in music education, music performance, music business, or other applicable area of music study. Candidates must also demonstrate the qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

“Yamaha and the Scouts share a deep commitment to music education and the relationship has enabled us to provide our student performers with the best percussion and brass instruments on which to play,” said Chris Komnick, executive director, Madison Scouts. “The new scholarship program is another example of Yamaha’s commitment to the marching arts and to the Madison Scouts and provides another great opportunity for young musicians to develop their talents in the fields of music education and performance.”

The Madison Scouts, a non-profit drum and bugle corps consisting of young men ages 16 to 22, are founding members of Drum Corps International (DCI). The team is rooted in integrity and honesty, with a dedication to personal development and the pursuit of excellence through music and performance arts. Stellar showcases of their tireless drilling can be seen at parades, sporting events and music festivals.

The Scouts became the first DCI corps to use Yamaha instruments and the relationship thrived due to a shared passion for music education. In the last three decades, nearly 5,000 Scouts have benefited from premium, durable instruments and unwavering support from the proficient technicians who designed them. The partnership between the Madison Scouts and Yamaha is the longest standing between any drum corps and instrument manufacturer.

“With everyone’s constant support and nurturing of this revered relationship between Yamaha and the Scouts, we have helped further the advancement of music education,” said Roger Eaton, director of marketing, Band & Orchestral Division, Yamaha Corporation of America. “The Madison Scouts have carried the Yamaha banner with great honor and have lent their expertise to the testing of Yamaha products in the rigors of an outdoor setting and contributed to the development of many landmark instruments.”

About Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement and home entertainment products to the U. S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and Nexo commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, Blu-ray/CD players, iPod docking systems, home-theater-in-a-box systems, earphones, headphones, sound bars, and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music, installation and consumer markets.

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MADISON MADNESS Bracket Challenge

The Madison Scouts are giving you the chance to win tickets to 2014 DCI World Championships, Drums on Parade Tickets, DVDs, Scouts Tees, and more through their NCAA basketball tourney bracket challenge called MADISON MADNESS.

Between now and March 20th (11 a.m. ET) you can enter the MADISON MADNESS bracket challenge and compete with Scouts alumni and drum corps fans for your chance to reign as the supreme bracketologist.

The winner of MADISON MADNESS will receive four (4) tickets to the DCI World Championships. The “Elite 8″ finishers will all receive prizes including Madison Scouts t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, performance DVDs, and tickets to the Merrillville Music Festival, Drums on Parade, & The Whitewater Classic.

Each bracket entry is a $10 donation to benefit the Madison Scouts. Or triple your chances with three brackets for $25.

Purchase your bracket entry at where you will receive an email confirmation receipt. In that email you will be provided a link to download a PDF with the complete instructions for playing MADISON MADNESS.

The MADISON MADNESS bracket challenged is being managed at the CBSSports web site where you will need to register your profile, create your brackets, and enter our bracket pool. Players can track their progress daily and the tournament winners will be announced the day after the NCAA title game.

Make the picks and win the tix!


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Scouts Seek Qualified Semi Drivers for Summer Tour

The Madison Scouts are seeking qualified semi drivers to join our team for the 2014 summer tour which runs from Friday, June 13th through Sunday, August 10th. Positions are available to drive tractor for either the equipment or food trailer.

Drivers are expected to drive each day on tour, usually overnight, as the corps travels from show-to-show across North America. You will be provided a sleeper tractor for your living quarters and meals will be provided via the corps’ food service program.

Requirements include:

  • Valid Class A Driver’s License or Greater
  • Minimum of 2 years of driving experience required
  • Clean driving record
  • Ability to maintain accurate and current “Hours of Service” records
  • Responsible for securing the trailer for travel to assure safe transport
  • A working knowledge of tractor/truck mechanics and maintenance
  • Ability to drive through the night
  • Comfortable working with a team
  • Comfortable driving to unfamiliar destinations
  • Must pass DOT drug test
  • May be subject to background check
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Pay: $700/week
Applicants will be asked to provide a 3-year driving history, DOT documentation, and be willing to take a drug test as required. Transportation to and from the corps’ location on tour can be provided.
Interested candidates should contact:

Jeff Manion
(608) 234-7675

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“Rockin’ for a Cure” Live Music Benefit for ALS – April 12, 2014

Alumni and Friends of the Madison Scouts present Rockin’ For A Cure 2014, a Live Music Benefit for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Sheraton Madison Hotel starting at 6:00 p.m.

This year’s event features a fantastic music line-up including the Madison Scouts Alumni Performance Group, the Jim Ott Brass Ensemble Third Coast, The Black Star Drum Line, and the powerful rhythm & blues band The Soul Brothers.

The $25 admission provides you live music, appetizers, silent auction, and an opportunity to reunite with other Madison Scouts Alumni while supporting the ALS cause started by Scouts Alum, Steve Weekes, who marched in the Scouts in ‘81-‘83 and instructed ‘84-‘88.

In ‘99, Weekes was diagnosed with ALS and quickly founded the Live Music Benefit – Rockin’ for A Cure, which debuted in 2000. Sadly, Steve died in 2005, but his spirit and efforts to cure ALS live on through the success of the benefit  which last year helped raise over $10,000 for research and patient services in Wisconsin. All proceeds benefit The ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter.

Madison Scouts Alumni Performance Group

The first stop on the march to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Arrive early as you don’t want to miss Madison Alumni taking the stage. The Scouts Alumni will be joined later by the Jim Ott Brass Ensemble Third Coast to deliver an unforgettable live music experience.

Jim Ott Brass Ensemble Third Coast

Don’t miss the inaugural performance of the Jim Ott Brass Ensemble Third Coast, a Wisconsin-based tribute group celebrating the music of famous drum corps brass arranger Jim Ott. Songs will include Georgia on My Mind and Legend of the One Eyed Sailor. Guest Performers include Jim’s daughter Bonnie Ott, famed Blue Devils soloist from the 1970s.

The Black Star Drum Line

Come hear the famous groove & street beats of this precision drum line, formed at the Madison Boys & Girls Club by Scouts Alumnus, Joey Banks. The Madison youth group’s cadre of talent features intricate percussion, singers, and choreography.

The Soul Brothers

A powerful and soulful rhythm & blues band with an emphasis on driving brass and gritty vocals. Members include Scouts alumni Morgan Larson, Matt Larson, Brian Parker, Chris Martingilio, David Tappa, Jeff Peterson, and Chris Harris.

Sheraton Madison Hotel
706 John Nolen Drive
Madison, WI 53713
(608) 251-2300

For more information on Rockin’ For A Cure and to buy tickets, go to or email

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Scouts VIP BLOCK Tickets Now on Sale

The Madison Scouts VIP tickets are now on sale for all major DCI events including the regionals in San Antonio, Atlanta, and Allentown; and the DCI World Championships.

This fundraising program is a must for Scouts fans, family, and alumni. By purchasing your event tickets through the Madison Scouts you gain access to premium select seating while supporting the corps.

The corps has purchased premium seating blocks at all the major DCI regional competitions, including:

By purchasing your tickets through the Scouts, you are:

  • getting access to premium seating locations,
  • paying the face ticket price but without the pesky surcharges,
  • supporting the Scouts who earn a commission on each ticket sold,
  • gaining access to the SCOUTS VIP benefits!

When you purchase your tickets through the Scouts, you are automatically enrolled as a SCOUTS VIP which gets you the following premiums:

  1. VIP schedule lanyard and bumper sticker (pick up at Merchandise Booth)
  2. 10% discount in the merchandise booth during your first visit
  3. 2014 show audio download via email
  4. 2014 show video stream via email
  5. Complimentary access to pre-show tailgates at Drums on Parade and Finals!


Seating in the SCOUTS VIP ticket block are limited, so orders yours as soon as possible!

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Join the Scouts 2014 Tour Management Team

The Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps is looking to supplement their summer-tour management team for the 2014 season. If you are looking to get experience working with a World Class touring music organization, this could be a great opportunity for you!

The Madison Scouts will tour and perform throughout North America from June 20th through the Drum Corps International World Championships on August 9th. Members of the management team are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the corps as it travels and performs throughout the 2014 summer tour.

The positions include:

Equipment Manager
The equipment manager oversees the care, maintenance, and storage of all the instruments in our inventory including various brass instruments, battery percussion, and front ensemble percussion. This person also oversees the configuration, maintenance, and loading of our 53’ equipment trailer. A qualified candidate needs to have basic construction skills, knowledge of instruments & basic instrument repair, and a proactive problem solving approach. The candidate must be physically fit and be able to assist in the loading of heavy equipment and transportation of equipment to and from the field. A modest compensation package is available for this position.

Media Specialist
The media specialist will assist in the creation of photographic and video content for use in the promotion of the corps throughout the summer tour. This person will assist the marketing team in the development of the corps brand, event promotion, and social media presence. The ideal candidate will have a strong working knowledge of the photo editing and video editing tools necessary to complete the job objectives. A modest compensation package is available for this position.

Athletic Trainer
The candidate must be a certified athletic trainer who can oversee the development and implementation of an athletic training program required of a drum and bugle corps. The candidate will serve as a first responder and diagnose various injuries and medicalailments. He or she will be involved in ongoing therapeutic measures to keep the members performing at their highest level. The candidate will need to manage the daily workload of 150 athletes and will be teamed with a supporting intern. In addition to the care provided, the candidate will log and document all medical interactions and advise the corps director on the status and recommendations for member health. This position requires an all-day attention to their job duties throughout the entire tour. A compensation package is available for this position.

Athletic Trainer Intern
The candidate will be in the academic process of obtaining their certification and should be within one year of receiving it. Under the supervision of the Athletic Trainer, the intern will assist in managing medical and orthopedic issues with the corps membership. This will include physical treatments, triage, and assisting in medical runs. This position requires an all-day attention to their job duties throughout the entire tour. A modest compensation package is available for this position.

Marketing Intern
The marketing intern will assist in the development of the corps brand, event promotion, and social media strategy in addition to exposure in public relations and non-profit fundraising. The ideal candidate will be working towards a business, marketing, or music marketing degree and have a high-level of interest in the music industry and non-profit development. This is an unpaid internship position.

Administrative Intern
The administrative intern will be exposed to a wide-variety of activities as directed by the corps director and will assist in the day-to-day administration tasks for the corps. This can include helping manage tour details, working with facility managers, booking flights for staff, sourcing groceries, working with various vendors, addressing member concerns and more. The ideal candidate will have great disposition, a problem solving approach, and a willingness to tackle almost any situation thrown at them. This is an unpaid internship position.

All the positions are full time from May 24 – August 9. We will interview candidates who may have different schedule requirements but could still be available for the majority of the dates listed. The ideal candidate will be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, and may be required to drive a corps vehicle from time-to-time. The candidates must provide their own mobile phone with a data plan and ideally would have their own laptop as well.

All of the aforementioned positions will travel on the management team bus and will be provided a horizontal bunk as their primary sleeping area and can eat their meals with the corps. Reimbursement for travel to/from the corps may be available for select positions.

We will be interviewing candidates at the upcoming rehearsal camps in Indianapolis, IN on February 21-23 or via video conferencing. Interested candidates should send an email of interest along with a resume to

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“Lone Survivor” Inspires Madison Scouts Show

This Friday, January 10th, the movie “Lone Survivor” goes into wide release in theaters across North America. Based on The New York Times best-selling true story of heroism, courage and survival, “Lone Survivor” tells the incredible story of four Navy SEALs on a covert mission to neutralize a high-level al-Qaeda operative in the mountains of Afghanistan. The book was a first-person account as told by Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of the mission.

This past summer, drum corps audiences across the U.S. were presented with the Madison Scouts show “Corps of Brothers – 75 Years of Survival”. What many did not know was that the inspiration for the show was based, in part, on the “Lone Survivor” story. James Mason, creative director of the corps, recently shared some of his thoughts on the show with Steve Vickers of Drum Corps World. Following are some excerpts from the interview:

SV: Since you marched in the 1975 Madison Scouts, I understand you had a particular reason for offering to get involved with the corps again after a 17-year time away from the drum corps activity.  How did that come about and what led up to the production you chose to present for the corps’ 75th anniversary?

JM: I think the turning point for me to get re-involved in the activity was going to watch my son graduate from Marine boot camp.  Seeing all these young people striving to improve themselves reminded me of the quest for excellence that we have in our activity.  I felt it was time to give back to an organization [the Madison Scouts] that gave me so much and the timing in my life seemed correct.  Things just lined up.

SV: The book you refer to has a specific meaning to you.  Can you tell me about what prompted you to make a direct connection with Marcus Luttrell and how you arranged him to speak to the corps in person after their performance at DCI Quarter-finals?

JM: When I decided to come back to the corps, I had just read a book by Marcus Luttrell called “Lone Survivor.”  With my son going into Special Forces, I wanted to learn as much as I could about his chosen path.  The book touched me on so many levels and I knew then that I wanted to do a show based on Marcus’s experience for the 75th anniversary program.  It just seemed to have all the things that I was looking for that conveyed the ideals of the brotherhood.

JM: Wherever I have been teaching in drum corps, I have always tried to make the experience special by doing things or connecting people to come and talk to the group.  This was just an extension of that philosophy.  Who would be more perfect to address the membership than the person that inspired our 75th anniversary production. Marcus talking to the group was an experience that these young men will remember for the rest of their lives.


The Madison Scouts exited the field after quarter-finals to be addressed by none other than Marcus Luttrell himself. Marcus talked about achieving excellence in life, determination, and never giving up. His words provided the corps a new perspective to the story they were telling as well as a first-hand lesson in leadership and the importance of unity.

The Madison Scouts organization is extremely grateful to Marcus Luttrell for taking the time from his extremely business schedule to share his experience and viewpoint with the young men of the corps. The story of “Lone Survivor” is gripping and devastating, but an important message of perseverance in the presence of life-threatening adversity.

We hope you take the opportunity to see this movie.

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