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Published: Sunday, 1/6/2013

Glassmen short on funds, will take hiatus from travel

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps fields a group of about 150 ranging in age from 14 to 22. They travel to parades and drum-and-bugle competitions throughout the country. The Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps fields a group of about 150 ranging in age from 14 to 22. They travel to parades and drum-and-bugle competitions throughout the country.
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A group that has taught life skills and built character in young people since 1961 has hit a financial wall and will be unable to take its world-renowned act on the road this year.

Unable to raise enough revenue to erase a $300,000 deficit, the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps will take a hiatus in 2013, dropping plans to participate in the annual summer-long tour.

Brad Bell, vice president of the nonprofit Glassmen group, said this means it is suspending the international tour, which last year covered more than 14,000 miles over 90 days to perform approximately 40 shows.

“I am still hurting about the whole thing,” said Mr. Bell, who performed with the corps in 1994 and 1995. “This was the responsible decision, but a tough one to make.”

Mr. Bell said the members will continue to practice and do some performing during the hiatus, but extra efforts will be made to bring revenue into the group through fund-raisers and donations.

“We are going to try to work very hard on fund-raising. We are also going to get a lot more people involved,” he said.

The Glassmen, who range in age from 14 to 22, annually field a corps of about 150 people. They travel to events such as parades and to drum-and-bugle-corps competitions throughout the country.

A decision on touring and competitions beyond 2013 will be made later in the year after directors get a better handle on its financial situation, he said.

“This was an excruciatingly difficult thing to do because we know how many lives this touches,” board President Tom Sink said in a statement. “We are confident that this decision is what is right for not only the Glassmen family, but for the drum corps activity as a whole. We look forward to fielding a corps in the near future.”

According to a statement by Mr. Sink on the Glassmen Web site, operating costs for 2012 are expected to run about $850,000, leaving the organization with a $300,000 deficit. In making a plea for donations, he said the group needed to erase the deficit by Thanksgiving before it could begin auditions for the tour.

“Part of our mission is to teach young people life skills and character. It would be contrary to that mission and irresponsible to continue to amass additional debt,” Mr. Sink said.

The group’s federal income statement for fiscal year 2010, the most recent record available, shows the deficit was $354,648, an increase of more than $50,000 from 2009.

Expenses for 2010 totaled $848,909 and revenue was $770,750, with dues and fees paid by members accounting for nearly 75 percent of money coming into the organization.

For many years a bingo operation generated the bulk of the Glassmen revenue, but the organization discontinued the twice-a-week fund-raiser several years ago after attendance dwindled, directors said.

“We have done just about everything we can to both cut costs and find other revenue streams over the past two years and have been unable to keep providing a great experience for our members, volunteers, and fans,” Mr. Sink said.

The Glassmen still plan to be the host for the All-Star Review, a gathering of precision marching groups, in Doyt Perry Stadium at Bowling Green State University. The event is held annually in July.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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