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Suncoast Sound was a Junior Drum Corps based in Clearwater, Florida.


"Suncoast Sound was founded in 1979 and performed its first show in England for the Royal Court. Because of its European trip, the corps competed in only show before entering the DCI World Championships where it placed 40th.
The following year, the corps took a giant step by placing 30th.
In 1981, Suncoast broke into DCI's elite top 25 with a 21st place finish.
Suncoast captured fans' hearts in 1982 with a smooth flowing show and a brilliant brass sound. The corps was favored to elbow its way into the finals at DCI world championships, but fell just short, placing 13th.
By 1983, the corps began beating many of the powerhouses. They won the Drum Corps South Regional, and by championships night took a 6th place finish. After just four years, Suncoast took its place among DCI's elite top twelve drum corps earning a reputation as one of the most rapidly growing and improving drum corps in DCI history. Suncoast would remain a top 12 corps for the remainder of its Open Class existence.
In 1984, Suncoast stunned audiences with its tribute to the Vietnam era. Although the corps dropped to 7th place that year, it produced one of the most thought-provoking and moving shows ever witnessed on the marching field. Members of the 1984 corps each wore a memorial bracelet engraved with the name of a member of the armed forces who perished during the Vietnam War.
The corps made history again in 1985 with an all-original program written by Robert Smith, Al Murray and Ken Brooks entitled "Florida Suite." It was the first time in DCI history that a drum corps fielded a show based entirely on music composed expressly for a drum corps. The innovative show allowed the corps to move back up to a 6th place finish.
1986 saw Suncoast going back to their traditional jazz style, "sunjazz," with a musically demanding piece titled "Adventures in Time" by jazz musician Stan Kenton. The artistic expression of brass, percussion, and color guard moved the corps into 5th place - the highest spot in the top 12 it would ever hold.
In 1987, Suncoast took their "sunjazz" one step further by performing excerpts from another Stan Kenton book - an adaptation of the Broadway all-time favorite, "My Fair Lady." The field production, "My Fair Lady...Our Way!," was one of the year's real crowd-pleasers and earned the corps a 9th place finish at the DCI World Championships.
Pushing the envelope again in 1988, Suncoast produced another original show entitled "Symphonic Dances for the Contemporary Child - written for Bugles, Percussion and Visual Ensemble," composed by Robert Smith. It was a conceptual show, depicting how children imitate adults and later, as adults, play children's games. The musically and visually challenging show placed the corps in 10th place at finals.
"Florida Suite," the original show from 1985 got a face lift and made a re-appearance 1989. With several new selections, updated music, and a "jazz-modern barefoot" color guard, the corps moved to a 9th place finish at finals.
Unfortunately, the history of Suncoast Sound as an Open Class drum corp would end with the 1989 season. Due to financial and administrative difficulties, the corps was disbanded.
During the years of 1990 and 1991, efforts to revive the corps began. Two organizations were formed under the Suncoast "umbrella" to insure the Suncoast organization lived on: the Suncoast Sound Cadets and Suncoast Gold. Although these groups limited themselves to local performances, the kids that marched with the Suncoast Sound Cadets and age-outs who played with Suncoast Gold kept the name and spirit alive for two years and helped to raise funds to get Suncoast Sound back on the field in 1992.
In 1992, a core group of committed individuals; Bob Abben, Gary White, Scot Brownell, Dino Riccio, and Mike Long, revived the Corps back to a competitive level. Although the corps was smaller, it did well, placing 5th in the Division III rankings.
The Corps placed 6th in the Division III category in 1993.
Suncoast moved to Division II in 1994, and placed 5th at finals.
In 1995, the Staff and members of Suncoast fielded a corps of 42 dedicated individuals, but on July 6, in New Brunswick, NJ., five weeks before finals, the staff realized there was no money left to continue with the tour, the members took a vote, and sadly, returned home.
Despite the fact that Suncoast made its final appearance in 1995, the fact remains that the staff and members of Suncoast in the the post 1989 years tried desperately to resurrect something that we, as Suncoast Alumni, all cherished dearly. There was a generation of kids that marched and kept the Suncoast name alive and in front of the fans with much dignity, and they did it without the financial opportunities that were offered during the Corp's Open Class years. For that we thank them.
In '97 several staff members from the post 1989 years attempted to field a Division III corps under the assumed name "Synergy Sound." Their only performance was to be at the regional contest "Bugles on the Suncoast." The event was rained out and the corps never resurfaced." Suncoastsound.org


Corps Song: "The Greatest Love" by George Benson


In 1984 legend has it that the crowd response to "Requiem" (where the color guard held up flags repersenting the Vienam War Memorial Wall and a lone guard person found her father's name on it) was so long and loud that not only did the Drum Major try several times to start the closer, but failed because the corps could not hear him (presumably their heads were down), the timing and penalties judge chose to ignore the resulting overtime in show performance...after all, the DM DID try...which may explain why his "Resume, HUT!" on the finals recording is so strained...he was yelling it at the top of his lungs.

The truth on the above topic is that applause after "Requiem" was significantly longer than had ever occured at a show before. The drum major only gave one "Resume, Heh!" command, but had to do so considerably louder than usual. The hornline was kneeling with their heads down and the guard was behind the flag panels, but knew the show was close to the time limit and were straining to hear the command. However the crowd noise was still significantly loud enough that not all members heard it. The result was a very "staggered" beginning to the finale. I don't know about anything with the TP judge, but I was on the field and know what happened out there.

In 1984, sinced the show revolved around the anti-war sentiment of the 1960s, each corps member wore a bracelet with the name of a Viet Nam era MIA service member.

In 1985 Suncoast was the first drum corps to ever perform a show of completely original music.

In 1986, Suncoast was the only corps to beat Blue Devils at finals in any performance sub-caption (field brass)

Suncoast's show in 1988 (Symphonic Dances for the Contemporary Child) was not written in the traditional way of music first, visual later. The visual package was developed and written before the music. This was also only the 2nd time any corps had performed a show of completely orginal music. Suncoast being the first in 1985.

In 1995, Suncoast Sound fielded a corps of 46 members in Division III. These amazing kids left Tampa with little money, a small staff and alot of heart. They performed in Kingston, NY Lynn,MA and Beverly, MA in DCI competitions and Wakefield, MA and Bristol, RI in 4th of July parades. On July 6, 1995, the corps assembled at St. John's RC Church in New Brunswick, NJ and was officially folded by assistant director Bryan Jenner, ending the tour with the corps singing Greatest Love one last time.

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