Memphis Sound, a Division II corps, is currently in its charter season. Corps director Trey Moore took the time to fill us in on how things are going so far. What inspired you to start a corps in Memphis? Is there any drum corps history down there?

Memphis Sound during a recent rehearsal.
Moore:The inspiration for starting a drum and bugle corps in Memphis, like many things in life, came from a combination of experiences. For the past 11 years, I have worked in the non-profit arena for a very large, national youth organization. I have spent many hours recruiting kids and adult volunteers, fund-raising, organizing programs, and working with committees and boards. Starting a program from scratch, though a little unnerving at times, was not necessarily uncharted territory for me. A friend once told me, "It's all about relationships." To a large extent, I agree. In working in a "volunteer" organization, you learn to develop dependence on others and help them develop trust in you.My interest in drum corps comes from my days in high school band and as a member of the University of Memphis marching band. In my youth, I was a member of the Memphis Blues Brass Band, the first and only other drum and bugle corps that has called Memphis "home." I was a tenor player in the Blues from 1980-82. The corps folded during the summer of 1983. George Lindstrom (now on the board of the Blue Knights) directed the first corps in Memphis. I consider George somewhat of a hero, because he dared to do what no one else had done before in Memphis. I try to learn from the Blues' successes and failures. My interest in youth and music, combined with my experience in the non-profit sector, has made this an exciting venture. I know my limitations; therefore, I try to surround myself with people a lot smarter than me. My faith has a lot to do with my comfort level right now. How is the corps coming along thus far? Moore: We are really excited about what we are seeing and hearing. Granted, we don't have a good frame of reference, so anything can look pretty good. But we are excited about the enthusiasm of our youth, parents and staff. We had 140 at our initial audition, and we've averaged about 100 youth at each of our last two camps. New kids are popping up all the time. We are just as excited about our board and volunteer resources. We have a board of directors who are committed to building a sound business operation that provides for our needs but keeps an eye on the balance sheet. They have also helped us establish standards for operations and expectations of membership that will benefit us for the long haul. Our parent and volunteer resources have just been incredible. It's amazing what people are willing to do in an organization they are excited about. How would you characterize the kids? Moore: The kids we've been able to attract are young. Most are in high school. But they have an incredible desire to march in a good drum and bugle corps. Some don't have the resources to travel very far to join a corps, so we are picking up youth who would never try out for a corps were in not within a couple of hours' drive. The attitude and enthusiasm of our members tell me that they are going to be around for a while and help build this program. How would you characterize your staff? Moore: "Eclectic" would be the one word I would use to describe our staff. The next word would be "incredible." Not incredible in the sense that they all have a two-page, drum corps resume, but they are all very talented in their own fields. We have a small instructional staff of 15, mainly because we have a small budget and we don't want too many trying to chart our course the first year. Eight of the 15 are full-time music educators. Several play in their local symphony orchestras. Only seven have served on staff of other drum corps -- but we consider that a plus for us. We have just enough experience to get us down the road, without having too much "my old corps did it THIS way" attitude. The funny thing is, a year ago, I did not know any of our current staff members -- now, I don't know what I ever did without them.Our caption heads include Barry Trobaugh – Program Director, Bobby Hullett – visual, Ryan Todd – brass, Kevin Tabb – percussion, and Sharon McCann – guard. What is your 2003 repertoire? Moore: In our first season, Memphis Sound will perform music from Michael Daugherty's "Metropolis Symphony." A very capable arranger, Terry Jolley, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., is arranging our music. It will be challenging for our kids, to say the least. Bobby Hullett, our visual designer and caption head, conceived the music and program. "Metropolis Symphony" is at the other end of the spectrum from what one may think would come out of a corps in Memphis. After all, the old Memphis Blues were known for just that -- the blues. We made a conscious decision not to get pigeonholed into any particular musical style until we have had time to decide that for ourselves. Who knows? One day we may be playing the best of Stax Records or the hits of Sun Studio. But for now, we are comfortable just being seen as a corps with great potential and serious intentions. other corps have you personally been involved with?Moore: Except for marching with the Memphis Blues for three years, none. What has been the biggest challenge so far? Moore: Our biggest challenge has been what most might expect -- how do you keep the activity affordable for the kids, while trying to build everything from scratch? We're faced with new uniforms, new instruments, the need for transportation and equipment storage, and on and on. Fortunately, I refer back to our board. They are very capable and are committed to helping us secure the needed resources. Anyone wishing to help can simply visit our web site at How has the Memphis community reacted to you guys? Moore: We are working hard to establish ourselves locally. We truly want to be an ambassador for Memphis and the Mid-South. We have great relations with our county schools. David Pickler, the president of the Shelby County School Board, is also our board president. The superintendent of schools is a former band director and is an honorary board member. We have a good relation with the University of Memphis, with Dr. Sidney McKay, Director of Bands, on our board. We had a tremendous article published in the local paper after our first camp. We are also forming partnerships with key businesses and organizations in our community. It will be slow, but we plan to make steady progress in marketing our program locally. Maybe one day, DCI will consider bringing the "big show" to Tennessee! Corps Contact Info: Memphis Sound Drum & Bugle Corps
A member of the Memphis Youth Performing Arts Association 295 Amelia Cove
Collierville, TN 38017
(901) 355-7369 Director – Trey Moore