Forward Performing Arts FAQ

The Forward Performing Arts board of directors and staff are committed to serving our current students and staff and to keeping supporters and alumni engaged and informed. Across our numerous social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube, we share content with thousands who care deeply about the organization.

While we are always here to take your calls and emails, we want to ensure we don’t miss any questions you may have. Further, since many of you have the same question, we felt it would be helpful to maintain a space where questions and answers can be accessed by anyone at any time.

Click “ASK YOUR QUESTION” to get started. While we may not be able to get to all questions, know that they are all important to us and we will make every effort to provide a thorough and clear response.

On behalf of the entire board of directors and staff, thank you for your support of Forward Performing Arts!


What is the NAIL program and how can I become one?

The NAIL program is a tangible way to welcome new Madison Scouts into the ranks of our alumni. The word itself is an acronym – Never Alone In Life, consistent with the corps motto “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

Near the conclusion of each performance season, first year students are presented a physical nail during a ceremony that celebrates the beginning of their journey as a Madison Scout.

While not the original intent of the program, in recent years, first year students have been paired with active alumni in an effort to connect different generations of Scouts and help each learn and grow from each other.

This relationship, being established and validated by Forward Performing Arts inherently becomes the responsibility of the organization. The risk of that relationship resulting in harm to one of our students is miniscule, but cannot be overlooked. Moving forward the NAIL program will retain its right of passage significance and connection to our history without a one to one relationship. Although this potentially means letting go of some special personal connections, we feel it ensures a higher level of safety and security for those we exist to serve.

What is the plan to bridge all generations of alumni and encourage further and increased development for the current organization?

The first step in bridging together all generations is to have and maintain a complete database of all Madison Scouts alumni. This is a massive project and one that has been attempted numerous times with partial but incomplete success.

One challenge is that, for the bulk of our history, members did not have email addresses or mobile numbers. Mailing addresses that may exist in paper records are most often those of parents or no longer in use and many years have no paper records whatsoever. We have complete records for every year from 2008 to the present, but previous records are largely incomplete.

Gathering and maintaining a reliable and complete database requires tremendous amounts of time. A project of this magnitude is severely taxing on a limited staff with limited resources. Nonetheless, it is of high importance to be able to engage alumni from all decades. The best means to accomplishing this task is to leverage the capacity of our existing alumni base. If you would be willing and able to help with this ongoing project, please contact Alumni Coordinator Jon Shaw JShaw@madisonscouts.org

What was the process behind designing a show for the Madison Scouts?

Developing a competitive DCI program begans long before auditions. Our team of designers set out to create a program that would resonate with judges, connect with fans and push our corps members beyond their current skills. Importantly, we also had to learn from the lessons provided to us in our very recent past, and bring to life a program that delivered on all fronts.

What is the competitive philosophy of the Madison Scouts?

The Madison Scouts are members of DCI, and DCI is a competitive endeavor. As such, we recognize that competition is an important element of what we do. Accordingly, there’s not a single person affiliated with the Madison Scouts – students, staff and board members – who does not want to win or who believes that competition is unimportant. Additionally, we are keenly aware that competitiveness directly impacts this organization and, as such, we all want to see the very best results every year.

Those who spend time with the corps are intimately aware that the members and staff are working incredibly hard and pushing each other every single day. We expect today to be better than yesterday, and we are wholeheartedly focused on what we can control: perfection of skills and responsibilities on and off the field. We are the Madison Scouts, and we are never done fighting to improve. Ever.

Why the organizational name change and new programs?

In 2017 the Madison Drum & Bugle Corps Association became Forward Performing Arts, a change consistent with the organization’s long-term vision and goals. FPA is committed to expanding its mission of serving more students, promoting and support the marching arts in the state of Wisconsin. Through expansion, we intend to create new revenue sources and generate growth opportunities that do not currently exist.

FPA has expanded its student impact by adopting an existing performance group (Black Star Drum Line) and launching two completely new groups (Fleurish Winds and Mad Brass Sound Sport team). We have launched Forward Leadership, which has impacted nearly 400 students since June 2018 and has several additional opportunities to impact students in the coming months. These groups are independent of the Madison Scouts and are overseen by Programs Director Dann Petersen. The Madison Scouts are led by Director David Lofy, and the entire organization is under CEO Chris Komnick’s oversight.

FPA supports marching arts in Wisconsin through clinics at each of our three Summer Series Events and through a fourth show in East Troy in August. FPA works with the Wisconsin Schools Music Association (WSMA) on various projects in order to expand our reach with Wisconsin music educators and students. In development is a network of music educators throughout the state to serve as resources for further development of programs and students.

What is the Forward Performing Arts Mission and what does it mean?

Our mission is to provide programs for youth in music and performance training through a positive environment that emphasizes character and social development, leadership, self-discipline, and the pursuit of excellence.

The mission statement of a non-profit organization serves as its guiding star. It prompts strategy and guides decisions on big picture items. It motivates board members, staff and supporters and focuses attention on core values.

Forward Performing Arts is committed first and foremost to those we exist to serve. We thrive with the support of volunteers, alumni and fans. Organizational success is contingent upon the achievement of each and every one of the values contained within the mission statement. Failure to meet one means a redirection of energy and resources to get it right.

As is common in all non-profit organizations, a mission statement is nothing without strategic planning to identify, both broadly and in detail, how the mission will be achieved. The board of directors and administration are revisiting the strategic planning process to improve upon what we do well and redirect what we do not.

As an 80-year-old organization, we do many things very well. We have a board and staff that are highly engaged and committed to the continued growth of an organization we all love. We also have areas that need improvement. There is work to be done, and there are dedicated and highly qualified and knowledgeable people committed to getting it done. There is a place for you should you want to be involved. We welcome your time and energy whenever it aligns with current goals. Thank you to the thousands who support Forward Performing Arts. We could not do any of this without you.