On August 4, 2012, Gulf Coast Sound Drum & Bugle Corps was decommissioned as a competitive unit by the Gulf Coast Drum Corps Associates. After 20 years of drum corps in Houston, GCDCA was then dissolved by BoD decision. No founding member of GCS played a part in these events. The following is a bit of insight as to why this happened and what may happen next.

 

In 2005, GCS played “Dust in the Wind” (from the band Kansas) as the ballad in our competitive program. Several times that season, I mentioned to the members how well the lyrics reflected the tenuous nature of the Corps. And not just our Corps, but any Drum & Bugle Corps. Take for instance the Syracuse Brigadiers. They won 4 DCA Championships in a row. A few years later they were gone from the field. If a Corps of that caliber can disappear so abruptly after such an amazing achievement, how could a Corps like GCS hope to survive over a long period?

 

In hindsight, my time as a leader of GCS taught me that for a Corps to function properly and have longevity you need two key ingredients:

 

1) The primary element is a core group that is highly motivated and highly focused on doing anything and everything to make the organization work. They don’t necessarily need to be staff members. In fact, it works better when most are just members and leading from the ranks. The Corps should push the leadership, never the other way around.

 

2) There must be a culture in the Corps such that qualified new members are groomed for eventual inclusion in the core group. I say “qualified” because not everyone is well-suited for that role, and that’s OK. Transient members are needed as much as core members, but they’re far easier to replace. Sooner or later, your key members will burn out, get promoted at work, get married, have kids, etc. Replacements for the core need to be sought, found, and groomed by the core on a constant basis. It is absolutely essential that the core group be self-perpetuating in order for the Corps to survive over the long haul.

 

GCS was blessed with the first. We had a close-knit group of friends in that core group that brought the Corps into being and made it flourish. We weren’t so fortunate with the latter and I take full responsibility for that shortsightedness. The core group grew from 2002 to 2007 and then abruptly began to disintegrate as real life effected those members in various ways, some simply burned out from the rigors imposed by a nationally touring competitive Corps. With membership numbers down due to a sluggish economy, there was no way to correct the loss with people that truly belonged in the core group. Very few of the original core could continue at the level needed. So when I hit my point-of-exhaustion in 2010, I was forced to hand the Corps over to a new staff that didn’t have a functioning core.

 

No core = no Corps.

 

To make matters worse, in desperation to rebuild the core, some highly toxic individuals worked their way into leadership positions and effectively destroyed what was left of GCS and GCDCA. I don't believe this was intentional. It was the result of extreme negligence and inexperience combined with equally extreme egos and an unwillingness to seek help and accept advice when it was given. The end came slowly, painfully, and bitterly. The final performance was on July 26, 2012; 11 years and 5 months after the first performance of the Corps.

 

A Drum & Bugle Corps is an intensely fragile organization, fully dependent upon the often fickle nature and personalities of its members. A Corps isn’t defined by its horns, drums, flags, uniforms or even its past accomplishments and achievements. A Corps is defined by its PEOPLE. And the core group, the nucleus, of those people is what truly makes it work. Without the right people in the right places doing the right things, you’ve got nothing more than “dust in the wind...”

 

I don't believe GCS is truly dead. Mostly dead, yes. But, not truly dead. (Does anyone have the number for Miracle Max?) I believe GCS lives in the hearts of those few that made it work, that gave so selflessly doing all that was asked of them and so much more. It is entirely possible that the Corps will someday rise from our hearts and return to performing... but that day can only come when the members of the CORE miss the CORPS enough to make it happen.

 

Until that day comes, this website will serve as a historical database featuring past performances. I truly hope the final chapter of GCS hasn't yet been written. But if it has, I am enormously proud of what a small group of friends accomplished by working together.

 

- Jason Rose

  GCS Founder

  Jason @ GulfCoastSound . org

 

I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind

Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind