As part of its CrownCARES initiative, Carolina Crown launched its Music with a Mission 2017 Tour on July 7 in South Carolina.

The organization distributed shoes, socks, books and a message of hope to children in need in the Hyatt Park (Columbia), South Carolina community. In addition, through a partnership with Director's Showcase International, brand new marching shoes will be distributed to members of the entire Bethune-Bowman (South Carolina) Middle/High School Marching Band.

With two more CrownCARES events lined up this summer, the organization aims to benefit groups in need while simultaneously encouraging all individuals in the drum corps activity to help make the world a better place through more than just music.

“Our mission at Crown is developing lifelong excellence,” board member Jim Williams said. “Toward that end, CrownCARES was developed to engage and encourage our members to involve themselves in something bigger than themselves.”

Williams, who has been involved in the drum corps activity since the early 1980s, said for much of his career he had a vision of funneling the dedication and talent found among marching musicians into places beyond the music community.

“This activity attracts arguably the most talented, brightest and hardworking kids of their generation” he said. “The thought I always had in my mind was what would happen if we could take that firepower, if you will, and find ways to work outwards instead of inwards … and apply those talents and gifts and skills toward greater causes as well?”

This vision became reality in 2015 when Carolina Crown first relocated its annual NightBEAT DCI Tour event from Charlotte to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was at this point when Crown members and staff began brainstorming ways in which to benefit the community through more than just the economical impact of hosting a drum corps show.

That same year, CrownCARES took its first steps as it partnered with Winston-Salem Forsyth County Band Programs and Samaritan Ministries.

In 2016, CrownCARES and its key partners served 1,100 children by providing shoes, socks and a message of hope to those in need, according to CrownCARES' outreach impact report.

Today, the initiative continues to gain traction through further internal organization, Williams said.

“We've essentially developed a committee within the Carolina Crown board of directors,” he said. “Right now it's in the early stages of development. This committee of folks within Crown help set up the outreach and do all the logistics work to determine the sponsorships and the ‘wheres' and ‘hows.'”

One of the main missions of CrownCARES, Williams said, is to establish a sense of service within corps members that will stick with them beyond their seasons in the marching activity.

“We want to provide the kids within the corps service opportunities during the course of the summer so that they'll hopefully take a liking to giving back and start looking for ways they can serve within their own communities during the offseason,” Williams said.

CrownCARES has two more outreach events lined up during the summer of 2017, on July 16 in Ferguson, Missouri, and July 29-30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.