“We’re done talking; we just want to make it happen - we want to make sure thousands of more kids don’t go through their elementary school programs without having any music education.”

The aforementioned words were stated by Sacramento Mandarins Drum & Bugle Corps Executive Director Jim Tabuchi who agrees that offering music education to children in their early grade school years is highly significant.

The Mandarins will be hosting the 7th annual Drum Corps International (DCI) Capital Classic on July 6 at the Monterey Trail High School’s Macres Memorial Stadium in Elk Grove.

The family friendly evening event that attracts over 1,200 attendees each year showcases precision marching and choreography, colorful pageantry, and complex music by several drum corps from across the state.

The Mandarins recently completed a landmark year having set a record in score (85.55) and placement (13th) at the Drum Corps International Finals in Indianapolis, and expanding their music programs to offer the gift of music education to students in seven local elementary schools.

Now in its 55th year, Tabuchi took some time to chat with the Citizen about the Mandarins’ recent accomplishments, its programs, and this year’s DCI Capital Classic.

“We’re so anxious to get the program moving and get these kids involved in music,” said Tabuchi, regarding the Mandarins Music Academy that was created for local elementary schools in 2017. “Last year, we had one school and 11 students at (John) Ehrhardt Elementary School.  This year, we’ve expanded the academy to include seven schools and about 120 students. That’s a tenfold increase. We’ve already signed up more schools for this fall and my feeling is that we’re going to total well over 200 students.”

Tabuchi said that since the state no longer supports music in elementary schools he and the organization began lobbying for the cause and working with the Elk Grove and Sacramento school districts to put band programs in place.

“There’s this continuing lobbying and advocating to get the arts back in elementary schools in California,” he said. “But our thought was that if we continued waiting for it to happen, for rain to fall and the heavens to open up - it’ll take forever. We’re now making it happen.”

The Mandarins Music Academy brings in college students who are part of the drum and bugle corps to teach the elementary school programs.

“These are students who are very proficient in music and are geared to becoming future music educators,” Tabuchi said. “They’re coming in and getting that real in- class experience teaching kids and passing down their gift of music.”

Cosumnes River College student Jesus Alberto Muniz is now the music director for Florin Elementary School as well as the head drum major for the drum and bugle corps.

“Jesus grew up in the Mandarins organization and through what we’ve instilled in him in terms of the values, hard work and music education, he’s now able to teach the next generation,” Tabuchi said.

All Mandarins Music Academy students are invited to attend the DCI Capital Classic at no charge, which Tabuchi said encourages inspiration among them.

“The ‘gift of music’ is about inspiration as well - you can’t be in the arts unless you’re inspired to be an artist; you have to have that inspiration from somewhere,” he said. “So these students we’ll get the chance to see their music director who has been with them for a full-year perform for them in full uniform in this big huge stadium.”

This is the second year the Mandarins received a grant from the city to help them continue the event that generally costs over $10,000 a year to run.  

The DCI Capital Classic will bear the theme, “Life Rite After” this year, which is in reference to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s famous ballet, The Rite of Spring - specifically, the end of the ballet when the lead dancer dances herself to death.

The show will explore what happens in the dancer’s afterlife.

“We really will take the audience on a journey,” Tabuchi said. “The ending of the story is bombastic and will include this incredible wall of sound that we think will have the audience on their feet.”

The DCI Capital Classic will begin at 7 p.m. at 8661 Power Inn Road, Elk Grove. For tickets, visit http://www.mandarins.org.