In the summer of 2024, Jersey Surf is headed back to the 1970s.

Though founded in 1990, the Camden County, New Jersey corps has brought its fair share of groovy, upbeat productions to the football field over the course of its 30-year history. 2012’s “Bridgemania” and 2013’s “Soul Surfin’” are perhaps top of mind when looking back at Surf’s exploration of funk music — a category with deep roots in drum corps history as a whole.

This summer, the corps will revisit that ever-familiar genre with its production “Surfadelic.”

Surfadelic 2024

We're looking forward to putting some FUN in your FUNK this season! Get ready for a summer of #Surfadelic Surf-a-liciousness featuring music inspired by Tower of Power • Barry White • Earth, Wind & Fire and more! #SurfsUp #DCI2024

Posted by Jersey Surf World Class Drum Corps on Monday, February 19, 2024


“We are pulling from soul and funk music from the ‘70s, and trying to go back and reference some older drum corps programming,” program coordinator Alan Spaeth said. “In the Surf tradition, we’re trying to keep a show audience-friendly, performer-friendly, colorful, and just something to be able to dig into.”

According to Spaeth, while Jersey Surf’s 2024 program is not specifically inspired by 2013’s “Soul Surfin’,” it's not hard to see the similarities between the two. While the production will share many conceptual similarities with former iterations of the corps, it’s not a “throwback show.”

The corps plans to make use of the latest and greatest drum corps design tools — colorful costumes, electronics, set pieces and more — to reimagine a genre that has been pivotal to the history of drum corps.

“We're going to take some older music but present it in a very contemporary way,” Spaeth said. “(Visually), we're going to produce it in a very modern direction.”

Drawing visual inspiration from the brightly-colored, psychedelic works of American artist Peter Max, and musical inspiration from the likes of “Soul Train,” designers expect “Surfadelic” to be a vibrant and engaging program.

“We're going to try to bring a full, psychedelic, funky experience to the audience and give our members a chance to really have fun performing the show,” Spaeth said.

Jersey Surf 2024 February Rehearsal Camp
Members of the Jersey Surf rehearse in Delran, New Jersey, February 17.


Musically speaking, Jersey Surf had a stocked library to pick from when considering the repertoire for its 2024 production. The corps is certainly familiar with how many hits exist within the funk and soul catalogs; it utilized 11 different titles for its 2013 production. Not to mention the prevalence of the genre in Drum Corps International’s early years.

As for 2024, Surf’s selections were intended to provide a full sampler platter.

“There's an embarrassment of riches when it comes to this era of music,” brass arranger Donald Hill said. “We wanted to give a variety of well-known tunes, and then also find some that aren't quite as well known.”

“I think we can take this genre of music and bring it to 2024 drum corps in a way that is old, but new,” he added.

Among other selections to be announced, Jersey Surf’s 2024 production will feature Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland,” Tower of Power’s “What is Hip?,” and Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.”

“I think it shows a wide range and variety within a specific style,” Hill said. “We're trying to find a balance, conveying the style, conveying the period, but not having it be a sort of jukebox show.”

And in terms of the corps’ visual package, drill designer Mitch Rogers is excited by the possibilities that the art of Peter Max will afford.

Jersey Surf 2024 February Rehearsal Camp
Members of the Jersey Surf are introduced to the theme of the corps' 2024 production, "Surfadelic."


“I hope to take Peter Max's art and use it as inspiration for things that can be charted onto the field with clarity, perhaps stars or the rainbows, which are two that are very prevalent in his work,” Rogers said.

“It's a whole different animal in terms of the production value,” brass arranger Donald Hill added.

For Jersey Surf’s 2024 corps members, excitement is brimming regarding “Surfadelic.”

The show was revealed to performers as part of Jersey Surf’s February rehearsal weekend in Delran, New Jersey, and it was immediately clear to drum major Hannah Miller that her fellow corps members were all in on the concept.

“When I first heard about ‘Surfadelic,’ my mind started racing; I immediately started beaming at the design team,” drum major Hannah Miller said. “I can really tell from the veteran members that are returning that this is going to be something they're really interested in, as well as the new members.”

Jersey Surf February Rehearsal Camp
Jersey Surf members participate in a visual rehearsal block during the corps' February rehearsal camp in New Jersey.


As Miller noted, based on turnout at recent rehearsal camps, Jersey Surf is looking to field a sizeable corps in 2024 compared to recent seasons.

She mentioned, for example, a horn line that has nearly doubled in size from 2023, thanks to an uptick in auditionees and an encouraging number of returning veteran members.

In addition, Miller said the rehearsal process is well ahead of schedule.

“Last season, we didn't get (a show reveal) until April,” she said. “It's just really exciting that we're going to have more time this offseason to learn all the show music and get really hyped for the season.”

Ultimately, with an exciting production that sticks to the corps’ roots, intriguing plans to provide modern flair, and a wealth of optimism surrounding its membership, Jersey Surf’s outlook for 2024 is in full groove.

“I think the group is going to be able to be taken seriously,” Hill said, “While still being very, very entertaining.”

See Jersey Surf on the 2024 DCI Tour

Related Content