Texas: a division I corps in multiple uniforms

Revolution (San Antonio, TX)
Photo by Mark Prosperie

by Ray Barreras, DCW staff

Is Texas passing up the opportunity to be represented in the final 12? For two decades countless students and instructors from Texas have migrated to drum corps all over the country in a quest to participate in the activity. In 2002, there were close to 140 members and 15 instructors from Texas participating in finalist corps.

This year’s Texas numbers are approximately 150 members and 20 instructors associated with last year’s finalists. This does not take into account the Texas members and instructors associated with non-finalist units.

In the recent issue of DCI Today, DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson claimed every major drum corps last year fielded members from Texas. It appears Texas has the resources and unique opportunity to build, develop and promote its own talent, its own people, and its own identity by fielding a division I corps.

Of course, this article is not intended to discredit the admirable work accomplished by the only current division III corps from Texas. The division III world champion, Revolution from San Antonio, has made remarkable strides in a short time, culminating into a championship caliber unit in 2002. Unfortunately, without the promotion, recognition and magnitude afforded a finalist corps, Texas students find themselves reluctant to join a division III corps. Their question: Why participate in a unit that is one-third to one-half the size of their high school band?

Anyone associated with drum corps knows there are benefits no matter the division; however, human nature compels us to look for the best possible opportunity. In order to retain the best and brightest, Texas must compete in the big dance. The Bluecoats from Canton, OH, are proof positive of this fact. “Blue” considers Cedar Park, TX, a second home, claiming permanent residency since close to half of the corps comes from Texas.

So what will it take to make it happen? Obviously there is plenty of talent and instruction to go around in the “musical hotbed” called Texas. The school music programs are proof of this fact. The answer to the question is obvious: people, time and money.

Texas needs individuals willing to devote the time necessary to organize, implement and execute a long term strategy in order to create what Texas deserves — a drum and bugle corps that can successfully compete and contend for a division I world championship. Better yet, instead of reinventing the wheel more of these resources need to be donated to Revolution in order to boost this fine organization into division I status.

Not since the 12th place Sky Ryders in 1991 has Texas been recognized in finals. Texas is synonymous with the word champion in many competitive arenas. It is time Texas be recognized and credited for its superior musicianship as well. If we believe in this activity called drum corps then we must also do whatever we can not only to ensure its survival, but also to promote its expansion. So who’s game in Texas? The invitation is on the table, the clock is ticking, and all inquiries are invited to join the discussion!