I attended a drum corps show and was surprised when the first group entered the field with only 13 members. Most organizations have more than that number on each instrument and have a total of 150-200 performers in their corps. What was going on?
Then I learned that the first group was in a special category designed for corps who are trying to get started. Called SoundSport, it is sanctioned by the official Drum Corps International (DCI) and strives to help build new drum corps by allowing them to perform exhibitions at DCI competitive events and participate in other SoundSport shows.
DCI realized that it is a monumental task to recruit a full ensemble of musicians and a color guard, but also a necessary endeavor for the future of the organization. To cultivate new corps, they have provided a forum that allows for performances against other corps in a similar stage to keep up the motivation of the initial members while the organization grows. The group that performed for us received a rousing round of applause, for their dedication if not for their musicianship.
What does your organization do to stimulate interest in its next phase of participants? It may not need to be as elaborate as creating a new performance division but encouraging those who will be your future is a tune you should be playing.