The Cadets of New York City is a competitive and parade drum and bugle corps. Its membership consists of marchers of African-American, Caribbean, and Latino descent living at or below the poverty line. Members live in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City, where the brilliance and potential of youth is shrouded by the common ills of low-income inner-city neighborhoods: poverty, crime, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy/parenting.
All members join the corps with no prior performing or music theory experience. Interest and commitment to hard work are the sole requirements to join the corps. The cornerstone of the Cadets' success is the leadership, vision and enthusiasm of Mr. George Hicks Sr. (Executive Director), Mr. Harold Wright (Operations Director), Mrs. Veronica Brown (Operations Director), Mr. Jose Velazquez (Operations Director), Mr. Al Gilford (Assistant Director), and Mr. Charles Jordan (Assistant Director). All are highly experienced in the field and have formidable musical aptitude and ability compounded by a commitment to nurturing the positive development of young people.
The current Cadets of New York City were formed out of a merger of the Cadets of Brooklyn and the Kips Bay Knight Club Drum Corps in 2000. This merger raised the skill level of the existing programs, making possible the dream of having the best minority corps in the upper echelon of the Drum Corps International Circuit. In 2001, the Cadets of New York City placed tenth in DCI Division III Prelims, and in 2003 they finished 15th in combined Division II/III Prelims, performing the music of Jack Stamp.
Sponsors in 2002 include Bronx Borough President Aldolfo Carrion Jr., The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, The City Parks Foundation, The Music for Youth Foundation, The First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, The New York City Safe Horizons Program, and The Lion's Club of Crown Heights.
The corps maintains a positive outlet for young people to meet their basic needs for safety, and a sense of belonging, contribution, and mastery. The corps provides a legitimate opportunity for youth to cultivate skills, self confidence, and discipline. The Cadets of New York is an opportunity for youth to benefit from the positive influence of caring adult role models committed to helping youth learn about themselves, learn to solve problems creatively, and develop the skills needed to manage their lives, cultivate performing arts skills, and influence the environment around them.