By Michael Boo
One of the fascinating elements of Drum Corps International’s SoundSport program is that there is no age limit. Few if any SoundSport teams have taken this to heart as much as IMPACT from Orlando, Florida, whose members range in age from 17 to 74.
IMPACT is one of the ensembles under the aegis of Florida Marching Arts, Inc., which also sponsors a WGI Winds ensemble, PHOENIX Winds. The SoundSport team was founded in 2012 by Curtis Johnson, a former Florida state snare drum champion and former director of the Florida Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, which was founded in 1959 and eventually became the Florida Wave.
The bulk of the team’s members are in their 30s, with a small handful of the 30 members aged 21 or younger. According to Sayre Kulp, IMPACT’s director, arranger, and drum major, the younger and older members are inspired by each other.
“Our elder members have a wealth of experience they can convey to the younger members. The younger members bring a youthful exuberance and energy-They drive the older members.”
The members of IMPACT enjoy performing for a wide variety of community events. Last October, the ensemble performed for IMMERSE Orlando, a festival that takes a wide variety of performing ensembles and locates them in venues the public would typically not expect.
IMPACT’s horn line was situated on an outdoor stage and the percussion was located on a balcony above a bar. The combined lines performed their 2017 Latin-themed show for those walking past their location during the festival, which was music heard when the ensemble performed this past summer at SoundSport events in Orlando, Powder Springs, Georgia, and Indianapolis.
At the end of December, IMPACT combined with the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom SoundSport team to march in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl Parade. Kulp said that the older members gave tips to the younger members about what it’s like to perform in front of the large Citrus Bowl Parade audience.
But the younger members have mentored the older members as well, helping convince their elders to give new things a try, such as when the team began utilizing all-key brass instruments in 2015 and when they added trombones a year later. Consequently, according to Kulp, “The take-away is largely the same for both age groups.”
And because both age groups receive something of value from performing in IMPACT, Kulp adds, “We’re happy and content with where we’re at in SoundSport and will always be an all-age SoundSport team.”