By: Jeff Griffith
Two SoundSport teams made their 2017 debuts in their shared hometown, as part of Saturday night’s DCI Orlando presented by Lone Star Percussion event.
Performing in front of a full crowd at the recently rennovated Camping World Stadium while utilizing SoundSport’s adapted 30-yard by 20-yard stage, the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard and IMPACT Drum and Bugle Corps opened up the night’s festivities on the right note.
“Having the hometown crowd is huge,” IMPACT director Sayre Kulp said. “One of our biggest problems is we’re small because people don’t know who we are, and they don’t realize we’re right here in their hometown. Being able to play in a venue like this with a crowd like this, it sends a message. It lets them know that we’re right here.”
Although both performing SoundSport teams had to brave a steady rainfall during their performances, it didn’t phase either group — Then again, they’re both from Florida, and therefore all too familiar with such weather.
“This is Florida weather, we’re used to this,” Kulp said. “You can almost set your watch by it in the summertime. We were prepared for it, we knew it was coming, we rehearsed in it, we were ready to hit the ground running.”
The Sounds of Freedom — a performance ensemble that has existed for years — experienced its very first SoundSport performance Saturday night, presenting selections from the group’s recent concert repertoire, “We. Are. Americans.”
According to the team’s director Chris Green, who is an alum of Carolina Crown, the team’s performance on Saturday was not only a great introduction to SoundSport but also to the DCI drum corps who performed later that evening. The ensemble earned a bronze rating from SoundSport’s three-judge adjudication panel.
“I pitched the idea (of joining SoundSport) to the band a couple of months ago, having a DCI background myself,” he said. “It’s great exposure for us, it’s a great crowd. Honestly, outside of about three members, they’ve never seen a DCI show, so tonight’s a great chance to see another activity that they’ll enjoy.”
This year’s program, which centers on a theme of culture and diversity, parallels with a portion of Sounds of Freedom’s overall mission which is “to promote LGBT awareness, acceptance and equality in a positive way through performances ranging from parades and concerts to visual arts.”
“We’re open to everybody, and we’re quite a diverse group,” Green said. “We do outreach all the time, just to show that everyone who wants to be part of a musical organization can be. That’s why we exist.”
Where Saturday marked the first performance under the SoundSport heading for the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom, IMPACT Drum and Bugle Corps made a return to the SoundSport stage, back from its inaugural appearance in 2016. The corps earned a silver rating, as well as the night’s “Best of Show” honors.
Having only performed at local SoundSport events in their first season, IMPACT plans to make its way to Indianapolis for the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival held in conjunction with the DCI World Championships this August.
“It’s another step for us,” Kulp said of the additional performance in Indianapolis. “There are a lot of musicians in our group who marched DCI maybe five years ago, 10 years ago or even 30 or 40 years ago — we have members who marched with 27th Lancers.”
IMPACT’s 2017 production, “Que Diablo Dices?” which translates as “The Hell You Say?” is described by Kulp as “a drum corps show for a drum corps audience,” with several well-known drum corps standards including “Malagueña.”
According to Kulp, Saturday’s strong performance can be attributed to a well-rehearsed ensemble.
“This corps has never been so prepared in its five-year history,” he said. “They came out tonight ready to play. They’ve had a number of performances all around the state leading up to this one, and they came out ready to throw down tonight, and they really did.”
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 San Antonio, Texas (July 22), Powder Springs, Georgia (July 29), Allentown, Pennsylvania (August 5), and the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival on August 12 in Indianapolis.