The Corps Director's Corner


Fall 2014


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




The Plan for 2012

September 2011


As we end the summer of 2011 and move into the 2012 drum corps year, reflecting on events of the past season highlight the frustrations of developing an all-age drum corps in Texas and gives us a sense of how we need to develop moving forward. Facing the realities of a continually evolving musical idiom and local culture teaches hard lessons. Finding solutions in presenting a valuable and rewarding pastime for everyone involved remains the greatest challenge. Nonetheless, we at GCS still feel that drum corps has a place for those who wish to participate and are committed to its success in whatever form it takes.

First, congratulations to Minnesota Brass for their first Drum Corps Associates World Championship. Their accomplishment makes them the first non-Northeastern DCA champion ever crowned. DCA itself will be changing as now half of its voting members will be from disparate regions of the country, it continues to collaborate with DCI, and for the first time starting next year championships will be held outside of the Northeast in Annapolis, MD.

In Texas, not only GCS but all four all-age drum corps organizations failed to produce field corps in 2011. There are many reasons for this occurrence, some global such as the state of the economy, and others due to the culture of the marching arts in Texas as well as those unique to each organization.

As far as GCS is concerned, despite our inability to field we have had our share of successes to build momentum for the coming year. We were thrilled as two in the GCS family marched in DCI World Class corps this past summer. A handful of students are continuing their musical educations in part because of their experiences with GCS. We continued to solidify our relationship with Lone Star College-North Harris by successfully completing a full year of drum corps continuing education classes with growing numbers of students. And we as a corps have maintained a solid core of performing members which is growing with renewed interest from many of our veterans who are making time to participate despite the constraints of raising families and working demanding jobs. The passion never dies for those who know drum corps.

So, where are we headed in 2012 and beyond? We have decided to take a path of measured growth in the coming years, focusing on building on our current strengths as a performance organization with an eye always on eventual return to the competitive field. You will see us as a brass and percussion ensemble bringing the flavor of drum corps to new and varied venues locally, and as a mini-corps in competition regionally and at DCA World Championships. We will be actively exploring and defining what we call “indoor drum corps” as a logical expansion of artistic growth to reach a wider audience and incrementally improve on field corps alternatives.

We will get there with a management team that includes the same Corps Director, Tom Huntley continuing as Performance Director, Michele Rose as Operations Director, and Dr. Brack May newly announced as Director of Music. Our Chief Music Arranger will also remain in the capable hands of Jason Rose.

We are excited in taking this path and encourage other organizations to follow in this vision for the future of the drum corps idiom. We would also like to encourage anyone with the passion to perform and the dedication that it takes to help support us along the way. The first meeting of the drum corps class for the fall semester will be Thursday, September 15, from 7:00pm until 10:00pm at Lone Star College-North Harris. Please let us know if you’d like more information on how to participate.

Stay tuned for developments as we continue to make plans for our future.


Corey Mark
GCS Corps Director



GCS Plans for the Future

June 2011


To All GCS Members and Alumni,

We began the year with high hopes of again fielding a competitive drum corps for the summer of 2011. With changes in corps management, our announced partnership with Lone Star College-North Harris, and beginning with a nucleus of dedicated veteran members and supportive alumni, we felt that we had a solid chance of making our hopes a reality. Unfortunately, we did not reach our goal for the year largely due to our inability to achieve minimum membership numbers to be a sanctioned competitive field corps. There are many reasons for this, some known and some we can only speculate on. All drum corps rely on a myriad of factors both within and without to be successful. Certainly, many other programs in the all-ages drum corps movement across the country have suffered this year as well.

However, Gulf Coast Sound will continue to be an active organization moving into the future. Our infrastructure and financial well being remain intact. We will finish our summer as a brass and percussion ensemble performing locally. We will reassess and retool our organization for the coming years based on our current assets, relationships, and what we feel is achievable. We will actively pursue any opportunity to improve our organization. We remain fervent supporters of all entities offering life-long performance opportunities, which is the tacit purpose of all music education endeavors.

My gratitude goes out to those who have actively engaged themselves in our efforts. You all have my undying friendship and support. I hope that together we can continue to build GCS with a shared vision with which we all will remain proud to be associated.

In the near future we will announce plans for moving forward. In the meantime, we encourage you all to contact us with your thoughts, ideas, and constructive criticisms. The corps is its members.


Corey Mark
GCS Corps Director




GCS Announces Dues-free Membership for the 2011 Season

February 21, 2011 


The Gulf Coast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps of Houston, Texas, is pleased to announce that membership for 2011 will be dues-free.  As a result of its partnership with Lone Star College-North Harris and a series of operational improvements that include additional revenue streams, GCS will be able to support its operations while enhancing the quality of its performance capabilities under the dues-free plan.  This will also be accomplished without a significant shift of financial burden to the personal costs of its members.


GCS Director Corey Mark comments, “Our operational model addresses the continuing challenge of retaining current and prospective members experiencing financial hardships during the current economic climate.  It is our continuing belief that drum corps must remain an accessible and rewarding pastime for all who wish to participate.”


Additional information can be found at and membership inquiries can be directed to info @       




December 2010

For those of you that missed our Open House on December 11th, here is a copy of our information sheet to give you an idea of what we will be accomplishing next year starting in January.  The excitement level and momentum moving into the New Year is very high.  We’ll hit the ground running to get ourselves back on the field.  Our first rehearsal in January is Saturday the 8th.  We hope to see you there!  


GCS wishes you all Happy Holidays and success in 2011.


 Welcome to the GCS Winter Open House 


Gulf Coast Sound will be entering its tenth year of operation in 2011.  GCS is an all-age drum and bugle corps that performs locally and competes nationally as a member of Drum Corps Associates (DCA).  This is different from the junior corps of Drum Corps International (DCI) that you may be familiar with.  The difference is that there is no age limit for membership in this and other corps in the DCA competitive circuit. This allows its members to enjoy participation and competition in drum corps as a hobby well into their adult years.  Members under the age of 18 participate with the permission of their parents.  In addition, GCS operates year-round as a weekend-only corps.  This means that while participating with us, you’ll also have plenty of time to devote to family, career, or school.


The membership of GCS has typically comprised a wide range of individuals.  This coming year, it will include a majority of high school and college aged students.  There are also several teachers, technology professionals, music professionals, and others involved with various careers in the local area.  In the past, GCS has had members from as far away as San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and New Orleans.  We have married couples and adults with their children as members, making this a true family-oriented activity.


Rehearsals in 2011 will commence on Saturday, January 8, at the Lone Star College-North Harris campus and will continue on an every-other-week basis through the year.  Rehearsals will initially be from 10am until 4pm.  In late spring as the competition season approaches, rehearsals will be expanded to an 8pm conclusion and selected Sunday afternoon rehearsals will be added.


Performances run the range of year-round parades and standstill concerts, and field competitions during the summer months.  Since GCS is primarily a competitive field corps, all efforts from January onward will be devoted to producing a field show.  Next summer, we tentatively plan to showcase our corps at the Texas Drum Corps Preview in Austin in mid-June, hold our DCA/DCI open class home show Brass on the Bayou in mid-July, travel to Dallas and an out-of-state location for DCA regional shows in August, and then attend DCA World Championships in Rochester, NY during the Labor Day weekend.  In addition to the Brass on the Bayou field show, we will be hosting an Individuals & Ensembles Competition in the spring. 


We will perform in Galveston Mardi Gras Parade and a weekend of parades at New Orleans Mardi Gras in early March.  In partnership with the Lone Star College-North Harris music department, we will also perform in conjunction with their symphonic and jazz bands.


Dues and expenses for the year are designed to be as affordable as possible.  All operational costs, travel and housing, instructional fees, and tuition for enrollment in the LSC-NH drum corps continuing education classes are covered by the annual membership dues.  The corps provides all instruments and equipment.  Members will only be responsible for minor uniform parts (Guard members may be responsible for additional uniform parts that cannot be returned to the corps), food and personal costs during trips, and travel to local events. 


We are pleased to announce that member dues for 2011 will be $600, an amount that has not changed since 2004.  This compares very favorably with other all-age corps that assess fees at a minimum of several hundred dollars more and junior corps that may charge up to $3000 plus personal expenses.


We will continue our practice of offering family member discounts and giving following-year dues credits for recruiting of new members.  Dues will be collected in installments starting in January, with the balance collected by the start of our show season in June.  Beside fundraising events for the corps, we will make every effort to provide additional fundraising opportunities for members to direct toward their dues obligations.  Please remember that this is an independent organization that exists solely on member dues, fundraising, and performance fees. 


What does it take to become a member of the only competitive drum corps in the entire Southeast Texas?  GCS values commitment, hard work, and a strong desire to entertain above all else.  There will be no formal auditions, as each member’s ability and progress will be continually assessed as the year progresses.  We realize that everyone’s proficiency and performance goals for the year will be different.  The directors will determine final section placements to produce the most competitive and entertaining production possible with the existing membership.


For more information about membership, contact us at anytime at  We’d be happy to work with you to assure that your participation in Gulf Coast Sound is productive and rewarding beyond your expectations.




WINTER 2010/2011

Open House

Our winter season will be kicked off by our Winter Open House rescheduled for Saturday, December 11, from 2 pm until 5 pm.  Drop by our rehearsal facilities at the Lone Star College – North Harris campus that day for lunch on us and to get all the information you need to get started as a member of the only competitive all-age drum and bugle corps in Southeast Texas.  We think you’ll be pleased with our affordable dues structure, our weekends-only camp and touring schedules, and the relaxed but focused atmosphere that we offer.  We’ll also announce details of the show concept and music that we have chosen for our 2011 field production, a radical change from past years.  So, come on out to meet our members and staff, and hear more about what we have planned for 2011.  For more information, contact us at


What’s Happening…

The fall has been a busy time for the GCS members and staff.  During our traditional off-season, we made appearances at The Woodlands Market Street, the Sam Houston Area Council 100 Year Celebration of Scouting, the Lone Star College – North Harris Halloween Festival, and set up recruiting booths at local high school band shows.  To round out the year, we will be performing for the American Legion Post 490 and veterans from the VA Hospital, at the LSC-NH Holiday Concert in conjunction with the North Star Wind Symphony, and in Old Town Spring.  Check our schedule for additional upcoming performances.


We’ll be hitting the ground running in 2011 with every other weekend rehearsals starting on January 8.  At that time we will begin work on our 2011 show music.  The spring semester of the LSC-NH drum and bugle corps continuing education class will commence in mid-January, so you can also join us for a taste of drum corps while you decide on optional membership in GCS.  Please contact Dr. Brack May, Director of Bands, for more information on joining the class.  We’ll also be gearing up for more local performances and our annual trip to New Orleans Mardi Gras in March.


Wow.  I’m extremely excited about our progress and can’t wait to tell you more about what’s in store for drum corps in Houston in 2011.  What about you?  All it takes is that first step and we guarantee you’ll be hooked!


Corey Mark
GCS Corps Director



FALL 2010

Thanks for dropping by the GCS website.  It has been just two months since I took the reigns as Director, and already we’ve made tremendous headway moving into 2011.  To reiterate, Gulf Coast Sound’s primary goal for the next year is to again field a competitive Class A DCA all-age drum corps.  We will also be seeking status as a DCI Senior Class corps which would make us eligible to appear at selected DCI shows in exhibition.  To those ends, we have already made historic changes in our operating model for the corps.


As you have seen in the Latest News section of our homepage and on Drum Corps Planet, we have announced a partnership with the Lone Star College-North Harris campus to offer a drum corps continuing education class with optional membership in GCS.  This allows greater visibility of GCS to the public, solidifies the GCS home base with our access to the LSC-NH facilities on a long-term basis, the course will be taught by Dr. Brack May, Director of Bands, and GCS Brass Caption Head, and increases accessibility of participation to anyone at any age who wishes to choose drum corps as a hobby.  However, there should be no doubt that hard work, excellence, and dedication will remain as a foundation for the corps. 


We’ve enhanced our off-season performance capabilities to include concert and flash-mob-style appearances in the local community.  Be on the lookout for what we have named the GCS FlashCorps.  In addition to various local appearances, we plan to be at the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Galveston Mardi Gras Parade, and we’re planning a fun-filled New Orleans Mardi Gras weekend early next year.  Please keep an eye on our calendar and the GCS Forum for performance details as they emerge.


As we move forward, all we will be missing is you.  If you are a drum corps veteran who finally has time to return to an activity that you love, if you are a high school graduate who either cannot afford the high cost of junior corps participation or would like a year or two of prior basic experience, or if drum corps has always been something that you have wanted to do, we’d love to have you join the GCS family. 


Just drop us a note at and we’ll work with you to accomplish your goals.  New members are accepted year round.  Remember, the fall 2010 drum corps class starts on September 25.  Our next GCS Open House is slated for November 20.    We will announce our 2011 field show presentation and begin work on the first movements at that time. 


Please keep in touch with us! 


Corey Mark
GCS Corps Director




July 13, 2010

It has been a pleasure for me to be a member of The Gulf Coast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps for these past seven years. Jason, and more recently Tom, have done an amazing job of leading the corps through some very tough times. I am glad that they have given me their full support in taking the reigns as Corps Director.

As with any organization that experiences a leadership change, there may be some confusion and apprehension about how such a change may affect the direction of the corps or its members, alumni and friends. To be perfectly clear, I fully intend as my highest priority to field a competitive drum corps in 2011. Thankfully, the groundwork and infrastructure to do this have already been set up by Jason and Tom. However, I must also be clear that the tools and methods that we employ to get us where we want to go will also change. As with any sports team that operates with a given mindset for an extended period, a change in management is sometimes needed to refresh the commitments of its members, and to view the team’s strengths and weaknesses in a different light. We’ve done a lot of things right, but we can also improve them and make fresh attempts to change what hasn’t worked so well in the past. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to effect positive changes that will strengthen the corps for the coming years.

How will this be accomplished? I am not so naïve to think that I alone can come up with a formula for success. We cannot succeed without the help of every current and former member of GCS putting their energies toward helping us move forward. As has been the true mantra of this corps from its inception, “The corps is its members”. So, I’d like to start by inviting you as the most important stakeholders in the corps to participate in a positive dialog with me on how we can make what we do better than ever. Help me set a course for change within the corps, and I will do my best to make it happen.

I will be contacting many of you to get an idea of your thoughts and impressions about the corps. You can contact me at any time to discuss your ideas and concerns. You know that I’ll give serious consideration to any ideas that you have. But, you should also know that your greatest argument for effecting positive changes for the corps is your willingness to work toward the success of the corps and to commit fully to whatever path is chosen for the good of the corps.

I remember all too well the swell of pride that I felt when I first pinned the GCS star on my chest and stood in front of thousands of fans being introduced as Gulf Coast Sound. Please do what you can to see that this opportunity continues for yourselves as well as others.


Corey Mark
GCS Corps Director


July 12, 2010

It is my honor and pleasure to announce that Corey Mark is assuming the position of Corps Director of the Gulf Coast Sound Drum & Bugle Corps. In effect, he is taking over my duties and those of Corps Director Tom Huntley. Corey has my complete support as he takes on this daunting challenge.

Corey joined GCS in 2004 as a Percussionist. In 2007 he moved to the hornline, taking a Baritone spot and forever disproving that adage about senior canines. The 2008 season saw Corey make yet another move, this time to Euphonium where he has excelled. Corey assumed the position of Finance Director late in 2008 and has proven to be an excellent administrator with a clear and refreshing view of what GCS can be and where we can go.

In March of this year I tenured my resignation as Executive Director to the Gulf Coast Drum Corps Associates Board of Directors. It was supposed to take effect at the end of the season in October. However, our season didn’t progress as planned, and the Board and I agree that since our 2011 season has essentially begun, now is the appropriate time to make this change. Doing this now has the added benefit of giving Corey a few extra months to prepare before the official kick-off of GCS 2011 in January.

Tom Huntley has likewise resigned the Corps Director position and will be taking on the newly created position of Field Director. In essence, Tom will assist Corey in managing the Corps during rehearsals and at performances. Tom has my sincerest gratitude for his service over the past two seasons. His tireless efforts in procuring our instructional staff have paid off with the addition of several new and highly effective instructors. The quality of our brass line has never been higher.

Michele and I are not leaving the Corps, of course. I have been voted into one of the open seats on the Board of Directors and will continue to assist with music arranging and show design. I’m very much looking forward to serving Corey and his management team in any way he needs me. Please join me in welcoming him into this position and let’s give him the support and encouragement he needs to take GCS into the future.


Jason Rose

Corps Director 2001-2007

Executive Director 2008-2009