Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Drum & Bugle Corps?

Why is a Drum & Bugle Corps NOT a marching band?

Gulf Coast Sound 2010 Member Guide & Contract

What is Gulf Coast Sound?

      Gulf Coast Sound is the only competitive all-age drum and bugle corps in South Texas. This will be our tenth year serving the people of Houston and the surrounding areas.   During that time we have competed regionally and nationally on the Drum Corps Associates circuit, the Texas Color Guard Circuit, the Drum Corps Midwest Circuit, the Drum Corps International circuit, and the Drum Corps Associates South circuit. The Corps earned first place honors in the Texas Color Guard Circuit in 2002 and second place in its division in 2003. From 2004-2008, the Corps competed against rivals from all over the world at the DCA Championships in Scranton, PA, and Rochester, NY. In 2011 the Corps plans to travel to the DCA World Championships, again in Rochester, NY. In addition to summer performance activities, Gulf Coast Sound has appeared at numerous local events and is the only drum corps chosen to participate in the Galveston Island celebration of Mardi Gras and the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade in Downtown Houston each year.

What do we do?

      Gulf Coast Sound provides a valuable learning experience for people of all ages, giving them the opportunity to learn and develop musical and performance skills, to travel across the country performing in many different arenas and to learn the disciplines necessary to function as a contributing member of a highly motivated team. The drum corps activity is not a marching band. While similar in nature, drum corps is so much more. We work hard and develop family-like relationships with the members of our corps. Friendships and memories made while part of a drum corps last a lifetime!

What exactly does "all-age" mean?

      Anyone 18 years old and older can join. We have members who are also in their 40s and 50s who routinely participate and are an integral part of our organization.

What if I'm under 18?

      We also encourage membership for those who are under 18. These members, however, must have a parent or other responsible adult actively involved in the corps as a performer or booster. In fact, we have had whole families perform with us.

How can I maintain a busy schedule and still participate?

      We understand the importance of career, school, and family in everyone's life. We have crafted our schedule of rehearsals, performances, and tours to be almost exclusively "weekends only". Our rehearsals are held on Saturdays once or twice a month during the winter months, twice a month during the spring, and may be held on consecutive weekends immediately prior to a tour. Our tours usually involve holiday weekends such as the July 4th and Labor Day weekends, with a day extra to accommodate travel time.

When can I join?

      The sooner you join, the easier it will be. The Corps begins the year with our Open House which is usually in November. Regular "Winter Camps" begin shortly after that. The sooner you come on board the more time you'll have to learn the music and the drill. We typically "close" the Corps to new members for the remainder of the season by mid-Spring. However, only very proficient musicians and marchers will be allowed to join at that late date. New members are highly encouraged to begin the season at the Open House or as soon as possible after that time. Drum Corps is a VERY complex sport and it takes the average person months to adjust to the rigorous demands.

All you have to do is to start regularly attending rehearsals, and to enroll in the current drum corps continuing education class at Lone Star College-North Harris and pay the modest tuition for the class ($55 for the spring semester).  There are no auditions.  Your playing proficiency and work habits will be assessed as an in-line performer from your first day.

Can I participate even if I have not performed for many years?

      Many of our members have gone several years (and decades) without actively performing or marching before joining us. In fact, some have had no prior experience. All we ask is that our members have a good attitude about working hard, attendance, and practice. We'll do everything that we can to find a place for you to participate.

What if my school's semester starts before Labor Day weekend?

      School administrators, band directors, parents, and students realize the rewarding educational value of performing with a summer program: experience and education that can be applied to their current school career. Because this is true, with good communication between all parties, allowances have almost always been made. Our students miss approximately 3 days of school.

What do I need to bring?

      The Corps will provide the instruments that you will need for the season. We have a full "battery" of percussion and front ensemble equipment. The hornline uses 3 valve G bugles which are played just like most concert instruments. In fact, the music is even written the same way. So, there's very little adjustment needed to perform on a bugle. The color guard has an array of flags, sabers, and rifles available.

      Percussionists need to bring sticks. Hornline members need to bring a standard shank trumpet, trombone, or tuba mouthpiece. Guard members need to bring gloves.

      Everyone is highly encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and tennis shoes. The Corps will provide water for you, but for personal convenience it's always better to have your own close at hand. During the spring and summer you will need a small notebook, pencil, and lanyard to keep track of your "dots" when the Corps is learning the drill.

What does it cost?

      Gulf Coast Sound will not be charging an annual membership fee in 2011.  Members will be asked to participate in a minimum number of fundraising projects.  Personal costs for each member will include drum corps class tuition at our rehearsal facility, Lone Star College-North Harris, housing costs for our trip to DCA Championships, and certain uniform parts not returnable to the corps.  The estimated total for personal costs in 2011 is approximately $200 per member, not including food and personal expenses during our trips.

There is no charge to audition, and no camp, instrument, uniform, instruction, or travel fees, making membership with GCS by far the best value for a drum corps experience that you will find in Texas.

What is the next step?

      RSVP to our next rehearsal using the email address below. You can meet our leadership and members and get all the answers to your questions. Our schedule and maps to the rehearsal site can be found on our website.

What if I have other questions?

Feel free to ask us at info @