Created to honor the contributions of Black American and African American participants in the marching arts, “Our Marching Counts” is a rapidly-growing group primarily made up of alumni spanning the entirety of Drum Corps International.
Currently comprised of more than 160 members, Our Marching Counts aims to work with the competitive marching arts community, including Drum Corps International, to positively add to the growth and diversity of all applicable organizations.
“We love DCI and the opportunities that have been presented to us,” said Errick Prince, Sr., a Spirit of Atlanta and Bluecoats alum who now works as the Fine Arts Department Chair at McCollum High School in San Antonio. “I’ve never met anyone who has said they haven’t learned anything from their drum corps experience. I’ve appreciated a lot of the relationships I’ve developed. I love what it provides, and that’s one of the main reasons this all came about.”
Including Prince, who has worked on the staffs of the Spirit of Atlanta, Bluecoats, Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard and Blue Devils, the group is guided by a number of notable names in the marching arts community; the likes of Ric Brown (Associate Director of Athletic Bands University of Connecticut, Bluecoats Brass Instructor), Alex Blue V (Thurgood Marshall Fellow in African and African American Studies Dartmouth College, Blue Devils Brass Instructor), Frank Williams (Coordinator of Jazz Education Ruth Eckerd Hall & Marcia P. Hoffman Fine Arts Institute, DCI Hall of Fame), Alfred Watkins (Cobb Wind Symphony, Retired Director Director of Bands Lassiter High School), Wayne Harris (Santa Clara Vanguard) and Ralph Hardimon (DCI Hall of Fame).
Since organizing, Our Marching Counts has focused on creating a framework to be shared with interested organizations that can be utilized to promote equality, participation and leadership for Black students and educators. Specific initiatives for 2021 will focus on increasing Black staff and leaders at all levels, better serving Black marching members, directly addressing racial discrimination issues in policies and documents, advancing and highlighting Black members and staff, and reaching out to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), minority, and socio-economically disadvantaged communities to increase participation.
Representatives from Our Marching Counts presented during a fall meeting of Drum Corps International corps directors and has already been working with several corps on a number of initiatives. In what is anticipated to be an ongoing and long-standing partnership, Our Marching Counts will meet with Drum Corps International executive leadership this March to talk more about ways the two organizations can work together for their mutual benefit in the coming months and years.
“DCI CEO Dan Acheson, Bluecoats CEO Mike Scott, and Bluecoats CFO/COO Genevieve Geisler have been huge advocates for the initiative,” Prince said. “The amount of support from numerous corps has been extremely inspirational.”
Those interested in learning more about Our Marching Counts or getting involved with the group can email email@example.com.