Ocean of Soul
|The Ocean of Soul Marching Band|
|School||Texas Southern University|
|Website||Ocean of Soul official website|
The marching band at Texas Southern University (TSU) was founded in 1969 by Benjamin J. Butler II. Under the direction of Clarence K. Gibson, Ocean of Soul performs at all university home football, SWAC home basketball games, various parades and university sponsored events, on national television, and before crowds at professional athletic games. The Ocean gained a reputation for its soulful sound, heavy beat, precision drills, and intricate dance routines.
Besides TSU's televised football and select home basketball games, The Ocean has been featured in other events.
In 2012, The Ocean of Soul's drumline, "The Funk Train", became the first black collegiate showstyle drumline in history to compete in the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC)'s Marching Festival. The drumline placed 3rd and gained an award for "Best Cymbal Line".
In 2014, The Ocean of Soul performed at the premiere of The Wedding Ringer in Houston. Co-star Kevin Hart accepted his invitation to become an honorary lifetime "Ocean" member at the event and donated $50,000 to the band.
Also in 2014, The Ocean of Soul performed at TSU alumnus Michael Strahan Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio. Strahan donated $100,000 to the band for their outstanding support.
In 2017, several members of The Ocean of Soul performed live with Solange for her performance of her hit single "Don't Touch My Hair" on campus. Also the band was invited to lead the celebration parade for the Houston Astros 2017 World Series Championship through downtown Houston that had 750,000 in attendance.
With more than 200 members, The Ocean is the largest student organization on campus and a centerpiece of the university. The "Ocean" is led by three drum majors and is based in the Rollins-Stewart Music building on campus.
The percussion section, known as The Funk Train Drumline, is the largest and most highly visible section of Ocean of Soul, followed by trumpets and trombones. The band also includes piccolos, clarinets, baritones, saxophones, mellophones, and high powered sousaphone section, known as Platinum Funk.
The band is also noted for its attractive and talented dancers, the self-proclaimed "Class Act of The SWAC" better known as the Motion of the Ocean (also shortened to Motion). Motion has been in existence since 1969. Members of the Motion dance team received national publicity when they won a bid to compete on Season 5 of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. The Motion of the Ocean creative director is TSU and Motion alumna Jasmine Davis.
The flashy color guard (The Ocean Waves) and baton twirlers (The Platinum Girls) comprise related sections.
Each summer, students attend the Band Leadership Camp, an intensive introduction to choreographed dance routines and flag drills, training in corps and show style marching techniques, music theory and leadership skills.
Many former members of Ocean of Soul have achieved success in the music industry including
- Grammy award-winning jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum.
- Platinum Producer by June James. (Key to the Streets by YFN Lucci)
- Nationally known mixtape DJ and KQBT on-air personality, DJ hollygrove.
Also a noticeable number of high school band directors are alumni of TSU’s marching band.
- "Houston Bands March at Super Bowl XXXVIII". CHRON. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- "TSU Ocean Of Soul to March at Super Bowl XXXVIII". TSPN. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
- "RECAP:Stellar Award 20th Anniversary Taping 2005". Gospel Flava. Retrieved 2009-05-19.