George Hopkins
CEO, Youth Education in the Arts
Director, The Cadets

GeorgeHopkins Cadets director 2014

George Hopkins is the Director of The Cadets, Cadets2 and CEO and Executive Director of Youth Education in the Arts, a not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Allentown, Pa. The year 2017 marks Mr. Hopkins' 50th year as a member of the drum corps community.

Hopkins began his Cadets history as a Garfield Cadets' percussion instructor in 1979 after one year of teaching social studies in Pennsylvania. After being named corps director in 1982, Hopkins led the Cadets to four world championships from 1983 to 1987 and launched the Cadets Marching Band Cooperative (now USBands) in 1988. Hopkins has since led The Cadets to an additional six world titles, the most recent in 2011.

In 1990, he was integral to establishing Youth Education in the Arts (YEA!), an organization committed to supporting the development of young people to magnificent human beings through their participation in the performing arts. More than 70,000 young people across the country are involved in programs supported by YEA! with annual festivals, performances and clinics nationwide.

GeorgeHopkins tunnel DCIFinals bw 2014


In 2004, with the lead of Bill Speakman, YEA! relocated to Allentown, PA where they have grown to be a leading not-for-profit within the ever growing city. XCAPE is a dance program for area youth that serves up to 250 young people a year, and in past years YEA! has launched an indoor percussion program and indoor guard, a local drumline for the local baseball Triple A team and much more. currently staff for YEA! is now thirty, with a part time teaching staff of 100 or more.

George Hopkins is a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame, the Drum Corps Hall of Fame, and the Cadets Hall of Fame. He was a member of the DCI Board of Directors from 1982 to 2015, the DCI executive committee from 1983 to 1999, and 2005 to 2015, the N.J. Music Educators Board of Directors from 2000-2003 and the president of the N.J. Coalition for Music Educators from 2001 to 2003. 

Hopkins holds a BA in secondary education and an MA in non-profit management. He also holds certificates in Negotiation and Decisionmaking from Columbia University. He has a daughter, Katie, 29, who holds a BA in dance from Columbia College Chicago, performs with ARCOS Dance nationally and internationally, teaches and choreographs for various high school colorguard programs nationwide, and is a four-year veteran of The Cadets and an eight-year instructor/choreographer for the corps.

Hopkins loves his Philadelphia Sports Teams, Broadway, the Philly Orchestra, live music concerts, reading, running and learning.