Ocean of Soul

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The Ocean of Soul Marching Band
School Texas Southern University
Location Houston, Texas
Conference SWAC
Founded 1969
Director Professor Clarence K. Gibson
Members 180+
Website Ocean of Soul official website

The Ocean of Soul, also known as the The Ocean, is the marching band representing Texas Southern University, and is currently under the direction of Clarence K. Gibson.


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 rich sound, heavy beat, precision drills, and intricate dance routines.

Notable performances[edit]

Besides TSU's televised football and select home basketball games, The Ocean has been featured in other events.

Several Pro Football Games for the Houston Oilers and the Houston Texans. Also the band has performed for the Dallas Maverick fans in Dallas, Texas.

In 2004, the Ocean of Soul was featured in Super Bowl XXXVIII's halftime show along with the Spirit of Houston.[1][2]

In 2005, The Ocean performed on the Stellar Awards with Kirk Franklin.[3]

In 2008, The Ocean performed at their first Honda Battle of the Bands in the Georgia Dome. The Ocean was the only band to receive a standing ovation after performing that year.[4]

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. Hart donated $50,000 to the band.[5]

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 support.[6]

In 2016, The Ocean Of Soul performed the opening sequence for Fox Sports NFL Sunday in Houston, live from Discovery Green


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 five drum majors and is anchored by the Band Hall 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 noted for its attractive and talented majorettes, the self-proclaimed "Class Act of The SWAC" better known as the Motion of the Ocean. Members of the Motion squad won a bid to compete on Season 5 of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew.[7] The Motion of the Ocean coach/choreographer is Jermani Justice, a TSU alumna and former Motion member and Houston Texans and Houston Rockets professional cheerleader.[8]

The flashy color guard (The Ocean Waves) and baton twirlers (The Platinum Girls) comprise related sections.

Leadership camp[edit]

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.
  • 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.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]