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The State of Florida Drum Corps and What You Need to Know

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First, a brief history lesson:


On December 1, 1996, paperwork was filed in the State of Florida to create Heat Wave of Orlando Drum & Bugle Corps, Inc., the first DCA corps to come out of the Sunshine State. Heat Wave would go on to win or share the DCA Class A Championship twice.


Skip ahead to 2009, when a change of direction led to a NEW name, Sun Devils, Inc. The Sun Devils took a more “serious” approach to programming than their fun-loving Florida-themed predecessors. Through a series of ups and downs, the Sun Devils would ultimately go on to become DCA Class A Finalists twice amid numerous DCA South Class A titles.


Following the 2014 DCA season, there were philosophical differences that led to a split between the Sun Devils’ staff and administration. On October 1, 2014, the Board of Sun Devils, Inc. voted to change the name to Florida Marching Arts, Inc. The name change was part of a marketing decision based on the fact that we support more than one performing unit. On October 7, 2014, a group of former Sun Devils staff members founded Solaris Performing Arts, Inc. as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of Florida. You can read more about them here: http://www.solarisdrumcorps.org.


To be clear, these are two separate groups operated by two separate organizations.


So then you may be asking yourself, “well what happens to the Sun Devils?” That’s a very important question. There was much discussion on this topic and it was decided that, given recent events, it would be wise to forego competition in 2015 in order to firm up the corps’ infrastructure and ensure its long-term success. That said, the group is not experiencing financial woes (as is often the case in drum corps today). Additionally, the team in place has already made huge strides in repairing and/or replacing aging equipment and resources. And to be clear, the group is FAR from “inactive.” In fact, the group will be rehearsing in coming months in order to prepare for summer performances as well as solidify the nucleus that will help bring the corps BACK to competition in 2016 and beyond. Our new website is being developed at this time, but you can look for updates periodically athttp://sundevilspag.org.


Moving forward, Florida Marching Arts, Inc. endeavors to create and foster more performance opportunities in the State of Florida. Our mission is first and foremost, to give back to the community by providing a positive atmosphere in which our young people receive an education in the performing arts and develop life-enriching character traits such as discipline, teamwork, integrity, leadership, dedication, and good citizenship.


Our newest program offering is called PHOENIX. PHOENIX is a mixed ensemble that will perform in WGI’s Winter Winds circuit and possibly DCI’s new SoundSport division.


By now you may be asking yourself, “so what is WGI Winds?” Glad you asked!


“Continuing the Sport of the Arts tradition of performance and competition, WGI Winds is a unique form of the marching music activity. In fact, winds doesn’t mean “winds only.” Groups can include anything found in a concert band or orchestra as well as color guard and percussion performers. Winds is a natural extension of the WGI organization and will complete WGI’s support of the total band program.”


What this means, is a unique and exciting performance opportunity that is open to literally EVERYONE! PHOENIX is open to all ages, ability levels, and instrumentation. Anyone with a great attitude and a desire to participate is welcome. The first organizational meeting for PHOENIX is scheduled for January 17th. More information will be available at their website: http://www.phoenixcorps.org/


PHOENIX is currently looking for staff and member applicants for their 2015 campaign. This first exploration of a new circuit(s) will start small – staying primarily local – with minimal fees and expenses. This is an excellent opportunity for those who have always wanted to check out the activity to “get their feet wet” so-to-speak without the exorbitant financial commitment normally associated with drum corps today. Please go to our website for more information on how you can become a performer or staff member today!


We would be remiss if we did not offer a mention of our sister organization – Impact Drum & Bugle Corps. Impact has been performing at DCA’s mini corps championships and entertaining audiences all over for the past three seasons. The corps has shifted gears a bit this year with regards to programming and has taken on a very challenging but extremely fun and modern book. Impact welcomes all players ages 18 and up.


You can find out more about Impact here: http://www.impactoforlando.org.


In addition to the groups mentioned above, there are many more WGI Winds, DCI SoundSport, and other groups in development all over the state – probably the most exciting of which is the return of junior corps to the Sunshine State! Our friends at Heat Wave of Florida are bringing DCI-aged drum corps back to Florida. You can check them out here:http://www.heatwaveofflorida.com.


In summary, drum corps/the marching arts are not dead in Florida. In fact, they’re very much alive AND GROWING! If you’ve read this far, we want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read and understand what has been going on. We appreciate your patience while we went “silent.” During any transition period emotions and tensions understandably tend to run high. It was our intent to stay quiet until emotions calmed and details were worked out and ready to share.


We invite you to follow ALL the goings on at Florida Marching Arts, Inc. by visiting our website at http://www.fmainc.org. From there you can find information on all of our performing units, make a donation, learn more about joining, volunteer, or inquire about joining our staff.


From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your continued support. We’ll see you on the 50.


Florida Marching Arts, Inc. is the longest running active drum corps organization in the State of Florida. Florida Marching Arts, Inc. is incorporated in the State of Florida and is registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service as a 501©3 not-for-profit corporation, governed by a board of directors.


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uuuugh,,, I think I got it, So good luck to all these groups...or the one group that spawned off the other groups .. or the splitting off of two groups which was originally started by one group... I think. In any case, good luck Florida drum corps, especially since I will be retiring there in a couple years and could lend a hand. :smile:

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Are the Sun Devils planning on coming out as an all-age (DCA) corps again, or as a DCI corps?

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Correction - Sun Devils began in 2008

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Still confused as to who has all the stuff that Sun Devils had last year?

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Still confused as to who has all the stuff that Sun Devils had last year?

All assets of Sun Devils, Inc. stayed with the company. Quite simply, Florida Marching Arts, Inc. is the same company with a new name indicative of the multiple marching arts groups in Florida that it supports.

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The correct link for Heat Wave Of Florida's website is www.heatwavedrumcorps.com

The reason for the name was to honor the history of Drum Corps In Florida. Heat Wave Of Florida is preparing for its 3rd season of DCI open class competition (2017) and has grown dramatically since its inception. I was the founder, but had wonderful support from many DCI and DCA veterans, as well as band directors who supported how & why this was happening. Florida needed a DCI/Junior Corps. They were all a very big part of the growth of this organization. This year, Jon Otero has taken the reins as President and Executive Director, while I remain in a supporting role as a Vice President of the Board. He's doing a GREAT job, along with the wonderful administrative and instructional staff we have, growing and sustaining the momentum.

Edited by BennyBassDrum

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I would love to see Sun Devils back on the field in DCA ,They are missed by there many fans.

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Lord knows I would love for that to happen.  It means a lot to me when I read these types of comments.

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