Subject: Re: Suncoast Sound...what happened??
From: <A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ">email@example.com </A> (Slote4)
Date: Sat, 07 August 1999 01:31 PM EDT
Wow!!! a lot of stories and some are fact, some are people's bitter renditions
of what they think happened, and some are totally wrong!
The "Real" Suncoast Sound stopped after 1989. During the summer of 1989 Robert
Cotter Sr. who in 1979 initially was one of the founders of the drum corps and
by that time was retired manipulated his way back into the organization. Robert
Cotter Sr. in his two years as director (79 & 80) left the Suncoast Sound organization in great debt and ruin. In 1989, Mr. Cotter stated that he had time on his hands and he wanted to come back and help raise funds to pay off the debt that was incurred when he was the director. Robert Cotter Sr. is not
a bad person , but he did not manage the corps very well. In 1981, Suncoast Sound under the new leadership of Don Fisher handling the administrative duties
and Robert Smith handling the membership, were able to field a full size-quality drum corps for many years and either work on the debt or at least
raise enough funds to pay the interest on the debt.
Fortunately, it was amazing that Suncoast Sound was able to survive as long as
it did. When you are a non-profit organization and you begin thousands of dollars in debt and have the expenses that takes to field a drum corps, it was
rough to say the least. Some of the people who are accused of incurring the debt at Suncoast Sound are the very same people who spent their own money to keep it alive (second mortgages on homes). Thank God for those people and their
sacrifices for everyone who ever was affiliated with this organization. So many
memories, so many friendships , and so many great performances.
After returning home from tour in 1989 and very proud of what the corps was able accomplish, the staff was not congratulated by the newly formed Cotter Sr.
administration, but was asked to leave and send a resume. While that 1989 drum
corps and staff were giving it all they had on the road, Robert Cotter Sr. was
planning and implementing a take over. Remember, he intially said he was only
there to raise money for the corps, and nothing else. In reality, Cotter Sr. had already hired his 1990 staff, which included his son to write the music and others who were not qualified to teach a drum corps on that level. Most of
the people who were hired by Mr. Cotter in 1989 were the same people who taught
the drum corps back in the 70's. Nice people, under qualified!
The determination of the 1989 students and staff still to this day has been unmatched as far as a corps (top12) that came from nothing, a 48.05 in the beginning of tour and to break 90 in the end! Competition was never a motivating factor for Suncoast, but it felt very good to improve that much over
the summer. What a great group of people.
Back to the debt and what eventually ended this great drum corps existance. In
1986, The Circle K cooperation became Suncoast Sound's corporate sponsor. Circle K intended to sponsor the drum corps for many years to come. At the time we got the sponsorship, the drum corps was in dire need to replace the badly damaged bugles and had to replace the equipment, food, and souvie trucks
which were dead. The money in 1986 was
spent on things that the corps needed to operate and/or needed to replace. There was a plan since Circle K said they would sponsor the corps for several years to purchase major items - horns, food truck, pit equip, new pants, misc.
and the next year use the sponsorship money to pay off the debt completely. It
was a solid plan by a great corps director. Unfortunately, through changing financial status of the Circle K corp., the loss of a fla. lottery monopoly (which Circ. K lost out on), the firing of
the Circ. K VP that got the sponsorship for the corps (whom marched Drum Corps), and not showing up to the Coca Cola aniv. parade in Atlanta the sponsorship was lost and the debt was still there.
People that responded to this news posting that were involved with the org. after 1989--NO offense, but you are misinformed. Many of the people who came to the drum corps after 1989, have been carelessly outspoken and have made many negative comments about the past staff, administration, and membership. You have no idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look at the results of your efforts. I am sure you tried very hard and your heart was in the right place, but it is very
hard in today's society to run and succeed with any non-profit youth organization. I only wish you would of had the opportunity to have marched Suncoast Sound in the eighties when that organization was taught by great people, creative designers, and outstanding educators, which represented the epitome of "The Greatest Love of All."
Unfortunately, after 1989, anything that came out calling itself Suncoast Sound
was a mistaken identity. The uniform was the same , but the corps was not. Totally different!!! The philosophies were drastically different and the heart
and soul of the organization was not there!!! I am not saying that anyone who marched after1989 was a bad person, because I know there were many good hearted
people that were involved in the struggling 90's but it was not the Suncoast experience!!!!
In 1990 makings were in the works for a corps in Orlando.......Seeing we were
no longer welcome to teach at the organization we grew up in and we got into finals that year by strong teaching and kids determination and a some creativity. A majority of the staff was hired at Magic. Would magic still of existed if these events didnt happen??? Probably yes, but the unwelcome departure of the staff and kids that
wanted to be taught by these caring people -Magic came out in full force and placed 16th it's first year.
It was a little confusing at first........traditions were new and old ones from
suncoast...basically the philosophies were the same, but the group was totally
Staff members such as Robert Smith, Frank Williams, Jerry Kelsey, Greg Martin,
Larry Clark, Karl Lowe, Russell Stanton, Mike Raiford, Al Murray, Ken Brooks, Jed Davis, Don Fisher, Jack Starling, Paul Gansemer, Kevin Ford, John Fulton, Diaz Clarke,
John Campese, Adam Mason, Bob Barfield, Howard Weinstein, Art C., Mike Robinson, Alan
Clark, and many, many ,many more made up the unique and creative side of Suncoast
Sound. These people and many support staff, administrators, and thousands of the great members are the ones that made up the corps that was always ahead of
Funny, the creative and original things that Suncoast were famous for were sometimes frowned on heavily by the judging community in the 80's. Now everyone
thinks the corps created it or started it in the 90's - Original music, shows based on children, shows that made you think..... or displayed a historical portrait of contraversial times (ie-1984 and 88 suncoast).
Well sorry to ramble on,but I felt i wanted to tell my part of the record......did not mean to offend any one, and I probably did...very easy to do on the RAMD, but oh well.......Suncoast Sound still lives on in memories and
trends, styles, staff teaching other corps, members teaching other corps now....There is a little bit of Suncoast in half the top 12 and 17. It was really a great group of people that was involved in the corps during the 1980's
Stranger, is that everyone involved with the org. for the most part as staff and members has had a ton of success in their lives and went on to do greater things....Doctors, , attnys, college director of bands of large and small colleges , music ed. profsrs, corp. executives. , teachers, successful h.s. and
middle sch. band directors., extremely successful arrangers, composers, clinicians, brokers of stock and real estate, marriages to other members and staff, professional musicians- both at disney and the real world , nurses, architects, politicians, DCI, BOA, WGI judges & administrators, military band
conductors of high level groups, high tech comp. excs, school administrators,
photographers, designers, etc.......A truly unique group of people that came together at a truly remarkable time in drum corps to a corps we know as Suncoast Sound....... My best to all in D.C. land,and to all the former coasters no matter what the year involved.
"Teach them well and let them lead the way"
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