March On! ...the history of the
Toronto Optimists Drum & Bugle Corps
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto Optimists Feeder Corps
Links to the Feeder Corps for the Toronto Optimists
Back in the day drum corps members were usually just kids off the street, with no training. Age limits for Junior corps meant that there was a constant outflow of trained members coupled with a struggle to replace those who left. On occasion a corps might lose over half it’s membership. Even the top corps experienced difficulty recruiting new members. In an attempt to deal with this attrition, many junior corps started “Feeder Corps”.
Feeder Corps usually were parade corps or, if they competed, they were in a lower class. For example, a Junior “A” corps might have a feeder corps that competed in the Junior “C” category. The purpose of a feeder corps was to give younger people training in the drum corps activity and, hopefully, to supply a steady stream of members to the main corps. The Feeder Corps gave young people the opportunity to learn to march and play an instrument. The plan was to train members of the feeder corps so that, when needed, they would be ready to join the competitive corps. The hope was that they would actually join the competitive corps. Of course, our hopes are not always realized and some members of a feeder corps might join a competitor. Such are the vagaries of life!
During its existence the Toronto Optimists had four feeder corps: the Bantam Optimists, The Optimist Cadets, the Optimist Lancers and the Cadet Lancers (a merger of the Cadets and Lancers).