INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Drum Corps International (DCI) stressed its commitment to participant safety today with an announcement of a national collaboration to expand safety training initiatives for all marching music performing arts programs. The action came on the second day of Drum Corps International’s 2019 Annual Meetings and Activity-Wide Health, Wellness & Safety Summit involving more than 350 participants from across the country.

Varsity University and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) have partnered to offer comprehensive educational programming to schools and athletic programs nationwide including Varsity Spirit’s maltreatment of athletes curriculum and compliance courses based on their experience with screening 4,000 seasonal employees through background checks and compliance training each year. The new marching music certification course developed in 2017-18 is now available as well.

In addition to implementing the certification program for participating organizations throughout the DCI community, DCI will work with Varsity University and NFHS to continue identifying ways to incorporate even more best practices into the training curriculum as the new coursework expands its coverage on ensuring protection for participants in all marching music organizations nationwide.

Ben Schroeder, manager of the Varsity Athletic Band Division, was on hand at DCI’s annual meetings on Friday for the formal announcement.

Schroeder said, “We’re excited to be able lend our expertise in partnership with DCI as well as in affiliation with Bands of America and Winter Guard International. This incredible collaboration among industry leaders will help to enhance marching activities across the country.”

NHFS Performing Arts Division Director James Weaver commented, “This is a tremendous partnership between these three organizations to produce and enhance training courses that put participant safety at the forefront of all performing arts activities. We look forward to continued activities with DCI and Varsity Spirit to provide even greater resources for all performing arts and marching music programs.”

DCI CEO Dan Acheson said, “Varsity Spirit is widely respected for their approach to putting the safety and well-being of the athlete at the forefront of everything they do. We share those values for all involved in the marching music activity and look forward to formalizing our compliance practices and sharing them with secondary and post-secondary music programs.”

As the drum corps prepare for spring training and the 2019 DCI Summer Tour, the entire DCI community will continue to focus on health, wellness, and safety initiatives to provide the best possible environment for all participants.

Varsity University offers comprehensive educational programming to schools and athletic programs nationwide through a combination of specialized online courses and in-person seminars for educators to enhance the student experience.


The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives.