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
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.
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
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!
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
The corps finished 2003 in 7th
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
Sound completed the 2005 season with a 4th place
finish at the DCI World Championships Division
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.