Memphis Sound Of Grand Prairie, Texas?
Yes! Over the course of the 2009 season, there will be lots of changes within the Mid-South Youth Performing Arts Association (umbrella organization for Memphis Sound Drum & Bugle Corps), one of which will be the organization’s move to the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. While the organization and drum corps will be moving, we will always be ‘from’ Memphis and our hearts will always ‘bleed purple’
So why a move to Texas? For the last several years a majority of the corps membership and staff have been coming from Texas, along with other states. It makes sense to bring the drum corps experience to the area with the greatest interest in our organization. With housing, logistics, recruiting, and fundraising being some of the biggest issues with keeping a drum corps on the road, it is important to ensure the success of the organization by putting the organization in a place to maximize the assistance available to us. Housing – Housing has become a challenge in the Memphis area for many years. The corps has been unable to obtain overnight housing in the city of Memphis and has held camps as far as 2 hours from the city center. This makes it difficult for the ever-increasing number of students from outside of Memphis to get to rehearsals. This also affects logistics as storage and housing facilities have been at great distances causing additional costs that could be avoided in a different area. Recruiting– The corps has always enjoyed having a large number of students from the University of Memphis, Collierville HS, and other schools in the Memphis area, but the largest number of members in the corps have been coming from other states, namely Texas and Mississippi. By relocating the corps to a larger Metropolitan area, we can increase our visibility to a larger number of students, as well as provide easy access for out-of-state members to march. The organization has been looking to relocate operations since the summer of 2006, we feel as though we have found our new home in the DFW area.
So are you leaving Memphis? No! We are not ‘leaving’ Memphis, but we will be refocusing our presence in the area. While the organization itself is moving to maximize sponsorships, grants, along with the items listed above. Several things will always happen in Memphis. We will always hold a banquet open to all alumni, fans, and supporters in Memphis. We will be present in community events in the summer by making sure there is always time available in our summer schedule to perform in parades, community events, and exhibitions in Tennessee. For students close or in Memphis, we will be providing affordable transportation to and from our DFW rehearsals on a monthly basis. We will also hold special audition camps for students who wish to see if they have what it takes to be a performer in that year’s corps.
So will you be Memphis Sound of Texas? For this year, we will be Memphis Sound of Memphis, TN and Grand Prairie, TX. Following the 2009 season, we will be changing the name, and will be known as from Grand Prairie, TX. If you want to be a part of the naming process, we are holding a contest in the month of March through our webpage, snail mail, paypal and facebook. If you would like to donate $5 you are able to submit a name for the corps. Each vote on a name is $1. The winner will be selected by the highest vote getter from all campaigns combined. Webpage – Click on the link on our front page to make a donation and submit your name suggestion or vote towards an already-submitted name. Snail Mail – Mail your donation to Mid-South Youth Performing Arts Association 1779 Kirby Parkway, Suite # 1-93; Memphis, Tennessee 38138 along with the name you would suggest. Facebook – Search for ‘Bring a DCI World Champion to TX’ under causes on Facebook. There is a campaign there where the money goes directly towards budget items targeted to bring the corps to TX. Updates to the campaign will be posted each Monday, so you can vote more to keep your favorite names at the top of our list. The new name will be announced in the DCI program for the summer tour. Alumni and current Members will be told at the April Camp.
So what about the histories and traditions of Memphis Sound? We are working hard to identify those items that are important to our alumni. While we may get new uniforms (for the 2010 season), Purple will always be featured (Look for a cool new design from Stanbury in the coming months). The corps song will always be ‘Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love with You’, which has been the corps song since the beginning in 2002, and was also the corps song of the other DCI corps from the area… Memphis Blues. We will be keeping mempho.org and memphisdrumcorps.org and they will point to the new corps webpage once it is launched (the new corps webpage will be launched this summer and will point to the current corps page). There will always be Marshmellow Cream and Peanut Butter at the lunch table (you alumni know exactly what we are talking about), as well as a slew of other traditions and important items that alumni are telling us are most important to them.
What does this do to the future of the corps? Memphis Sound will be able to provide a much stronger experience off the field for this year. Through partnerships with ISDs, Parks and Recreation Departments, local businesses, Arts Councils, etc, we are building a strong sense of pride in our new area. The city of Grand Prairie is excited that we are bringing a World Champion to their back yards and have opened up the doors of welcome. We are also getting incredible response from the surrounding communities of Arlington, Irving, Mansfield, and Cedar Hill. We are looking forward to being very visible in all these areas along with the rest of the DFW Metroplex, North Texas, and the surrounding region. We have also gathered new sponsors, working towards some exciting grant programs, developed some partnerships with local performing arts groups, and gathered our longest list of volunteers for this point of the season in many years. Over the next few years, you will see two very large ‘cash cow’ projects come up that will allow the corps to reduce dependence on other fundraising programs and membership dues. Through sponsorships going into effect in 2009, you’ll see many cool new changes both on the field and off.
How can I help? If you ‘believe’ that a corps can survive and thrive in North Texas, jump on board and lend a hand. Whether it is donating your time (volunteer), money (see webpage for all kinds of fundraising activities you can assist with… some from the comfort of your computer; buying a ticket to one of our sponsored events; help sponsor a member to march the corps), resources (assist in getting donations of food/gas/supplies; Help identify folks to join our expanding board; connecting us with local groups that should know about who we are and what we are doing); or your heart, we welcome all donations of any kind. The thanks you get from seeing your assistance directly impacting the lives of today’s youth can’t be matched.
For more information about Memphis Sound, Mid-South Youth Performing Arts, or the move to Texas, please contact us at director [at] memphisdrumcorps [dot] org by email or (901) 405-9476 by phone; or visit our webpage and forums at www.memphisdrumcorps.org