Three SoundSport teams from in and around the state of Texas kicked off the DCI Southwestern Championship presented by Fred J. Miller, Inc., on the right note Saturday night at the Alamodome.
Saturday's opening performance came from a brand-new organization, Arsenal Drum and Bugle Corps, which took home Best in Show honors and a gold rating in the organization's first SoundSport performance.
With its performance of “Volver,” the Albuquerque, New Mexico ensemble was offered a new opportunity that executive director J. Spenser Lotz referred to as “incredibly exciting.”
“Most of these kids have never had an experience like this in their entire life,” he said. “It's a real privilege for us to be able to provide it. I honestly think I was more nervous than they were for this performance.”
This season, Arsenal has brought a drum corps presence back to the state of New Mexico that hasn't been felt for four decades, according to Lotz.
“It's been kind of an uphill battle in ways just because we have to refresh the drum corps culture in New Mexico and really bring people together,” Lotz said. “But it's exciting now that we have a product that people can experience and that they can see that we have something to show. It's really amazing the support we've been getting.”
Lotz also said the organization plans to stay in SoundSport through next season before potentially making a move to DCI's Open Class division in 2019.
Bayou City Blues
As for Bayou City Blues, a corps that entered the SoundSport realm in 2016, the Houston, Texas ensemble felt strongly about its return to the Alamodome in which it earned a silver rating.
“It was our best run of the year,” said Brian Wilt, the team's executive director. “When we perform it's all about entertainment. We don't really care about the judge aspect of things, we just want to entertain the crowd, and we achieved that.”
Originally founded in 2014 as Western Vanguard, the newly-named Horizon Drum and Bugle Corps also made its presence felt in San Antonio on Saturday night, earning a silver rating with its performance of “Homeward Bound.”
Emotions weren't held back for several members who view Horizon as a second home.
“Your focus is turned on until you're off the field completely then you just feel nothing but your body shaking from adrenaline,” Horizon drum line captain Matthew Baldizan said.
“The feeling is indescribable,” added trumpet player Julian Wiegand. “I've never felt so amazing coming off the field.”
SoundSport performances like these can be experienced live and in person a handful of times throughout the remainder of the 2017 DCI Tour, including events in Powder Springs, Georgia (July 29), Allentown, Pennsylvania (August 5), and the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival on August 12 in Indianapolis.
Contributing: Angel Mendoza