First came the Jacksonville Suns, next the roar of the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by the fervor of the Lizard Kings. In 1999 the rumble of something big was heard in the distance as Jacksonville braced to be taken by storm again. With the full fury of thundering drums, screaming brass and musical intensity, the The Teal Sound Drum & Bugle Corps invaded Jacksonville. 

Rewind to 1983...

Fifteen years ago approximately 250 kids turned out in a Jacksonville, Florida park in hopes of forming a community based drum and bugle corps. The event was entirely orchestrated by three high school students with a burning desire to bring drum corps to their city. With fliers in hand the teenage corps founders took to the streets and put the word out. It took off like wildfire and on audition day over 200 young corps hopefuls filled a city park with band instruments, as they did not have bugles. After a couple of rehearsals the three students realized they lacked the needed funds and experience to make their dream a reality. They tucked their dream away, but it did not die.  

Fast forward to 1998...

In 1998, two of the original three, Michael Butler and Danny Clark, came back to pick up where they left off in 1983.

The ball started rolling for the North Florida corps, now known as the Teal Sound, in March of 1998. Support for Teal Sound was gained through the Jacksonville Housing Authority. Nations Bank was gracious in awarding Teal Sound with its very first grant, which resulted in enough funding for the corps to purchase percussion equipment for the battery along with some Contra Bass and Soprano horns. The Jacksonville Cultural Council and Jacksonville Community Foundation also came through with financial support. Jacksonville's own NFL franchise agreed to allow the Teal Sound to perform during halftime in the 1999 season and also offered financial assistance through the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation. The 21st Century Drum and Bugle Corps Foundation pulled through for Teal Sound by donating uniforms and by helping to supply the corps with bugles for its inaugural season. Even many of the area Band Directors jumped in to lend their support.  

The First Year

n late 1998 and early 1999, Michael Butler and Danny Clark gave presentations to high school students across North Florida and Southeast Georgia. These presentations served two purposes: to educate students about the activity in general and to recruit prospective members. A drum corps representative had never visited most of these schools and the visit alone made the dream of participation more realistic.

Teal Sound received an enormous response from interested participants. When open auditions were held on January 23, 1999 over 120 participants attended.

Initially Teal Sound did not even expect to tour in 1999, but intended only to go out for exhibition as a division III corps. Because things shined brightly for the new organization it was decided that a limited tour as a division II corps would be financially feasible and would be beneficial for its members.

On July 23rd 1999, after 6 months of weekend rehearsals, the members and staff of Teal Sound boarded busses and headed for Brunswick, Georgia for a final week of everyday rehearsals before embarking on a two week tour up the east coast, into Canada, and finally to Madison WI, where the corps placed 9th out of 12 units. An unbelievable feat for a first year corps that originally was not even planning to tour.


After the resounding success of its first year, Teal pushed into it's second year with a challenging Latin show featuring the music of Carlos Santana. As the corps geared up for its second touring season, decisions were made to insure the corps' longevity in the Drum Corps activity. One of those decisions was to reduce the number of marching members and compete as a Division III corps. This decision would allow the corps to remain financially stable as it moved towards its third year, while also allowing the organization to develop partnerships with the parents and schools by establishing minimum grade point average levels for participation. 

Sporting new uniforms and a new look for its guard, Teal hit the road again, this time expanding its competitive season to two separate tours. When all was said and done, the Teal Sound placed 8th out of 32 Division III corps, less than one point out of finals! Not bad for a two year old!


In its third year, Teal once again chose to tour with a show that was challenging to the members both musically and visually. They picked the music of Metallica as it's musical program. 

The concept for the show came from an unlikely collaboration between rock icons Metallica, renowned composer Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.  

The adaptation of the concept to the drum corps idiom was a success. The corps placed in finals at every focus show they attended, and after only three short years in existence, Teal Sound broke into finals at the DCI Division III World Championships with a 7th place finals finish.


In 2002, the organization remained focused on challenging its members and being crowd pleasers, while pushing the envelope in its creative program. The corps chose the music of the Dave Matthews band for it's musical repertoire. 

The corps experienced a challenging tour season, but managed to win top honors at the Summer Smiles Drum & Bugle Corps competition in Knox, PA and make finals at the Canadian Open. Teal Sound completed the 2002 season with an 11th place finish DCI Division III World Championships (13th internationally).


In 2003, Teal Sound took a slightly new direction, with a field show titled "ab aeterno."  Instead of contemporary popular music, the 2003 repertoire consisted of two contemporary symphonic pieces: 

  • Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky, and
  • Liturgical Dances by David Holsinger

The corps finished 2003 in 7th place.


In 2004, Teal's production of "Delusions: The music of Dream Theatre" allowed the corps to explore its new direction further. The corps underwent major staffing changes and also unveiled a new look with a professionally designed corps uniform. All of the changes paid off. Teal Sound completed the 2004 season with a 3rd place finish DCI Division III World Championships.


In 2005, the corps moved up to a Division II status with a larger corps then ever before.  The corps took 1st place in Division II in Oxford, Pascagoula, and West Monroe with an all original show titled "Firestorm." Teal Sound completed the 2005 season with a 4th place finish at the DCI  World Championships Division II/III Grand Finals.


Gonna have to be patient for those details. We are excited about our continued participation in Division II,  and by the looks of things at this point, it is building up to be one of our most successful seasons EVER!

Excerpts of the corps early history reprinted courtesy of Drum Corps World.