By Michael Boo
A first-year SoundSport team named Storm Drum and Bugle Corps has formed in Terre Haute, Indiana, just over an hour west of Indianapolis.
The group started as an idea between Dr. Larry Tinnerman, a professor in the business school of Indiana State University, and assistant director Tony Connell, who marched as a member of the Garfield Cadets in the early 1980s.
Why start a new group in Terre Haute?
“The city was selected for a beginning drum corps due to the presence of strong music programs in the area, plus it’s a location easy to get to as ‘The Crossroads of America,’” Connel said.
There also hasn’t been a strong local drum corps presence in the state since Star of Indiana disbanded after the 1993 Drum Corps International Tour. “Storm was born to bring a quality drum corps experience back to Indiana,” Connell said.
Storm’s instructional staff is an eclectic mix of experience and youthful enthusiasm. Every member of the educational team either has a music degree or is on the way to obtaining one. The group’s board of directors includes local volunteers, and leaders both local and nationwide have been called upon to help advise and guide the program.
Storm staff members have been recruiting at various Indiana marching music events this year and are committed to promoting the marching arts in area schools. This has allowed them to befriend local band directors and assure those directors that the corps will be sure its members realize school programs will remain their highest priority. Connell says, “By promoting excellence we find excellence in ourselves.”
Storm’s goals, during its first year, are to build a solid foundation in membership, management, instruction, and volunteerism. It is expected the group will have between 50 and 70 members performing at SoundSport events.
The team has aligned with two sponsoring organizations, Terre Haute’s Berian Baptist Church and the Boy Scouts of America, the latter as BSA’s Venture Post #2018, appropriate for this being the unit’s first year. Connell says, “Many drum corps origins were either with churches or the Boy Scouts. We have both!”
Those with Storm aim to one day expand to compete as an Open or World Class drum corps as part of the annual Drum Corps International Tour but won’t consider that possibility until the corps is financially ready to do so.
Meanwhile, the SoundSport team will focus its performance opportunities to short one or two-day trips, giving performers a taste of what a drum corps experience is like, without the expenses involved in touring the country all summer long.
“We have no pie-in-the-sky dreams this year,” Connell said. “We are what we are, but we do have visions of what we someday want to become, and we have plans on how we can get there. This is going to be an awesome ride!”