Sky Ryders Drum and Bugle Corps

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Sky Ryders Drum and Bugle Corps
Sky-Ryders-Logo.png
Type Drum and Bugle Corps
Location Hutchinson, Kansas
DeSoto, Texas
Founded 1955 (1955)
Disbanded 1994 (1994)
Website Official website

The Sky Ryders Drum and Bugle Corps was an Open Class (since renamed "World Class") competitive junior drum and bugle corps from 1955 to 1994. Based in Hutchinson, Kansas and later in DeSoto, Texas, the Sky Ryders was a member corps of Drum Corps International and a six time DCI World Championship Finalist.[1]

History[edit]

The organization was first established as a junior corps in 1952 called the Lysle Rishel Post 68 Drum & Bugle Corps and led by director Ken Fairbrother, a former member of the Hawthorne Caballeros. In 1955, under the direction of H.D. "Prof" McCosh, the corps was reorganized and adopted the name Sky Ryders. In 1957, they began winning competitions in Kansas, and in 1959 they started competing in American Legion national competitions. They won their first American Legion Kansas state Championship in 1959, repeated in 1960-62, and won another in 1964. In 1959, the corps also attended its first American Legion National championship, placing tenth of 24 junior corps. This was followed by American Legion Nationals finishes of 6th, 5th, and 4th the following three seasons and 3rd in 1964.[2]

The corps experienced financial and membership issues in 1966, taking the season off after nearly disbanding. When it returned in 1967, it was largely with members of their feeder corps, the Jets, and with girls allowed into the brass and percussion sections rather than being restricted to the color guard.[2]

In 1969, brass instructor John Simpson recruited Larry Kerchner to collaborate on the corps' music. The corps had a successful year, again winning the Kansas American Legion title and placing 7th at the American Legion Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1967 through 1971, the corps mostly confined its travel to Kansas and the surrounding states. At around that same time, the Sky Ryders were one of the first corps to make the switch from French horns to mellophones for mid-range voices.[2]

In 1972, the Sky Ryders traveled to Whitewater, Wisconsin for the inaugural Drum Corps International World Championship, placing 20th of the 39 corps from across the USA and Canada. The corps would not return to the DCI Championships until competing as a Class A corps at Boulder and Denver in 1977, where they finished in 3rd place. Up until that time, the Sky Ryders had always been a hometown corps, drawing its members exclusively from the Hutchinson area, but in 1977, the corps began to recruit from a wider area. In 1978, the corps switched from Class A to Open Class and had increasing success, placing 31st in Denver that year and to 22nd and 17th in Birmingham, Alabama the next two years. During that time, corps director George Tuthill and brass instructor John Simpson attracted many members from Oklahoma and Texas, and Kerchner's unique and melodic arrangements were popular with fans and judges.[2]

In the early 1980s, Tuthill set out to get the Sky Ryders into DCI's elite Top 12. In 1981, they placed 14th in Montreal, Quebec at the first DCI Championships held outside the United States. In 1982, Tuthill's goal was accomplished with a 10th-place finish in Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The corps' huge rainbow flag, unfolded behind the corps during their show and displayed in the stands afterwards, and their closing number of "Over the Rainbow" quickly became Sky Ryders traditions. In 1983, the Sky Ryders received particular attention performing Kerchner's Grammy-nominated jazz arrangement of "Home on the Range," and for the second year in a row, the corps placed in DCI's Top 12 with a 12th-place finish in Miami, Florida.[2]

The corps dropped out of DCI Finals in 1984, placing 17th in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1985, the corps had a stronger year with a 15th-place finish at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, performing the first of two successive productions of "The Wizard of Oz." Starting in 1986, under the direction of alumnus Dale Antoine and a design team led by Tommy Keenum, the Sky Ryders returned to DCI's Top 12. Over the next three years, they entertained audiences with dramatized productions of the popular musicals "The Wizard of Oz," "West Side Story," and "The Sound of Music" and gained a reputation as "The Great Story Tellers." Their "Wizard of Oz" show in 1986 included elements such as a Wicked Witch riding a bicycle, gold lamé "yellow brick road" flags, and colorful guard costumes for the various characters in the film. They finished the year with the corps' highest placement of 9th in Madison.1987's "West Side Story" placed 12th as did 1988's "The Sound of Music", with both of those programs also containing costuming and actions that helped to tell the story.[2]

After achieving popularity, the corps suddenly switched directions in 1989 with cadet-style uniforms and a more darkly themed show, including "March (from Symphonic Metamorphosis)" and selections from "Carmina Burana." The corps finished the season out of DCI Finals with a Semifinals tie for 14th place. The stylistic change and the fall from Finals were elements in the financial difficulties the corps faced in 1990. From its roots as a hometown corps, the Sky Ryders had evolved into a corps with mostly out-of-state members, with the bulk of those members coming from Texas, so, in order to survive, the corps' leadership relocated the organization to De Soto, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. After the challenges of the move to Texas, the corps finished the 1990 season in 19th place during DCI Semifinals in Buffalo, New York.[2]

In 1991, the Sky Ryders once again regained DCI Top 12 status with a return to the corps' tradition of popular musicals, this time with Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot." The corps placed 12th in DCI Finals held in their new hometown of Dallas. The corps performed another popular Lerner and Loewe musical in 1992 with the Scottish-themed "Brigadoon," but during DCI's 20th Anniversary Championships in Madison, the corps only placed 15th in Semifinals.[2]

In 1993, the Sky Ryders once more abandoned their successful formula for a "more contemporary show", including "Connotations" by Edward Gregson and "Symphony No. 2" by David Diamond, and the corps finished their last full season of competition with a placement of 20th in Jackson, Mississippi. Despite plans for a 1994 season, the corps' continuing financial difficulties resulted in bankruptcy and the disbanding of the corps. Although the corps had departed the scene, the efforts of the unit's director during its Texas tenure, Paul Proctor, saw that all of the corps' substantial debt was eventually paid off.[2]

Show summary (1960–1993)[edit]

The following is a list of Sky Ryders shows from 1960 to 1993.[3]

Gold background indicates DCI Championship; pale blue background indicates DCI Class Finalist; pale green background indicates DCI semifinalist.

Year Theme Repertoire Score Placement
1960 Blue Skies (from Alexander's Ragtime Band) by Irving Berlin / Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder by Robert MacArthur Crawford /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg / My Country, 'Tis of Thee by Samuel Francis Smith /
Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa / Battle Hymn of the Republic by William Steffe / Shangri-La by Charles Bernstein /
National Emblem March by Edwin Eugene Bagley / Bye Bye Blues by Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown, and Chauncey Gray
1962 Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin / National Emblem March by Edwin Eugene Bagley /
Where or When by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers / Temptation by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed / Exodus by Ernest Gold /
I Didn't Know What Time It Was by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers / Maria (from West Side Story) by Leonard Bernstein
1963 Dear Friends (Traditional) / This Is a Great Country by Irving Berlin / I Am an American by Ira Schuster, Paul Cunningham, and Leonard Whiteup /
The Doxology by Loys Bourgeois / Temptation by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed / Land of Milk and Honey (Unknown) /
That Was Yesterday by Charlie Shavers / Young and Foolish by Albert Hague and Arnold B. Horwitt
1971 Opening Fanfare by Larry Kerchner / Spanish Rogue by Bob Bunce / Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland /
Battle Hymn of the Republic by William Steffe / Walk On By by Burt Bacharach and Hal David /
The Yard Went on Forever by Jimmy Webb / Freak Out - A Musical Trip (Unknown) / Shenandoah (Traditional)
1972 Repertoire unavailable 67.10 20th
1973-78 Repertoire unavailable
1977 Repertoire unavailable 66.35 3rd
Class A
1978 Repertoire unavailable 66.80 31st
1979 Threshold by Patrick Williams / Here's That Rainy Day by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke /
Echano (from Children of Sanchez) by Chuck Mangione / Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
70.850 22nd
1980 Enough is Enough by Laura Branigan / Night Streets by Chick Corea / Here's That Rainy Day by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke /
Ritual Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla / The Storm (Unknown) / Rainbow Connection by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
69.700 17th
1981 Faces by Larry Dunn, Verdine White, Maurice White, and Philip Bailey / Night Streets by Chick Corea /
Ritual Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla / Storm / Here's That Rainy Day by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
77.550 14th
1982 Faces by Larry Dunn, Verdine White, Maurice White, and Philip Bailey / Quien Sabe (from Cuban Fire Suite) by Johnny Richards /
Dr. Macumba by Earl Klugh / La Virgen de la Macarena by Bernardino Bautista Monterde /
Come in from the Rain by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
83.100 10th
1983 Home on the Range by Daniel E. Kelley and Brewster M. Higley / Quien Sabe (from Cuban Fire Suite) by Johnny Richards /
La Virgen de la Macarena by Bernardino Bautista Monterde / Roadrunner by Bo Diddley /
Here's That Rainy Day by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke /
Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
73.750 12th
1984 Over the Rainbow (from The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg /
Home on the Range by Daniel E. Kelley and Brewster M. Higley / Journey from Mariabronn by Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh /
La Virgen de la Macarena by Bernardino Bautista Monterde / Claire's Song by Russell Ferrante
80.700 17th
1985 The Wizard of Oz Overture, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Follow the Yellow Brick Road,
If I Only Had a Brain, We're Off to See the Wizard, The Merry Old Land of Oz, Over the Rainbow
All songs by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
83.400 15th
1986 The Wizard of Oz Overture, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Follow the Yellow Brick Road,
If I Only Had a Brain, We're Off to See the Wizard, The Merry Old Land of Oz, Over the Rainbow
All songs by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
87.000 9th
1987 West Side Story Prologue; Overture; Gee, Officer Krupke; One Hand, One Heart; The Rumble; Somewhere
All songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim
81.900 12th
1988 The Sound of Music Prelude and The Sound of Music, Overture, Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, The Lonely Goatherd, Edelweiss, Climb Ev'ry Mountain
All songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
85.100 12th
1989 March (from Symphonic Metamorphosis) by Paul Hindemith / Carmina Burana by Carl Orff 82.200 14th
1990 Savannah River Holiday by Ron Nelson / Wonderful Town & Divertimento for Orchestra by Leonard Bernstein /
Liberty Fanfare by John Williams
75.900 19th
1991 Camelot Fanfare Theme, Overture, If Ever I Could Leave You, I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight, Parade,
How to Handle a Woman, If Ever I Could Leave You Reprise
All songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
82.900 12th
1992 Brigadoon Once in the Highlands, Down on MacConnachy Square, Almost Like Being in Love, Come to Me,
The Chase, Brigadoon, Heather on the Hill
All songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
82.100 15th
1993 Connotations by Edward Gregson / Symphony No. 2, Mvt. 4 by David Diamond 74.300 20th

Sky Ryders Alumni Scholarship[edit]

In 2011, the Sky Ryders Alumni established an annual scholarship campaign which benefits members of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. The Blue Stars were selected because their organization exhibits similar qualities to the way the Sky Ryders operated—they highlight and encourage the idea of everyone in the organization as family.[4][5]

Notable alumni[edit]

Former members of the Sky Ryders have gone on to make significant contributions within the Drum and Bugle Corps and Winter Guard activities. Some alumni have attained international recognition for their achievements outside the marching arts.

  • Wes Cartwright: designer for Santa Clara Vanguard; costume designer for Dance Sophisticates; program designer for Broken Arrow HS; program coordinator for Hillgrove HS, Prosper HS; visual designer and instructor for Union HS; visual designer for L.D. Bell HS[6][7]
  • Tommy Keenum: Nashville singer/songwriter; designer for The Band Hall; designer for The Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown, Blue Knights, and Sky Ryders; designer for Lassiter HS, Carmel HS, Center Grove HS, and Pride of Cincinnati Marching Bands; designer for Forté, Aimachi, and Final Analysis Winter Guards; designer for Music City Mystique[8]
  • Karl Lowe: WGI Hall of Fame member 2003; designer for Odyssey and Fantasia Winter Guards; designer for Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Suncoast Sound, and Magic of Orlando[9]
  • Roman Montoya: director for Black Gold Winter Guard; choreographer for Waxahachie Color Guard and Winter Guard; movement instructor for Santa Clara Vanguard, The Glassmen, Sky Ryders, and Bluecoats; director of bands at Donna Shepard Intermediate School[10]
  • Alan Mueggenborg: owner of FLASH Visual Media; drill designer for The Glassmen; visual coordinator and designer for The Woodlands HS; visual designer for Owasso HS; executive director for Black Gold Youth Foundation; director and visual designer for Black Gold Drum and Bugle Corps; instructor and visual designer for Union HS; guard instructor for Catoosa HS; guard instructor for Oklahoma State University[11][12]
  • Chad Sexton: drummer for 311; owner of Chad Sexton's Drum City; "rhythmatic" visual artist[13]
  • J.D. Shaw: international horn soloist and recording artist; brass arranger/composer for Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, Boston Crusaders, and The Academy; former French hornist, arranger, and co-owner for Boston Brass; Associate Professor of Horn at the University of South Carolina[14]
  • John Simpson: DCI Hall of Fame member 2014; brass instructor for Sky Ryders[15]
  • Jason Sutter: drummer for Marilyn Manson, Smash Mouth, New York Dolls, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Foreigner, and others
  • Steve Vickers: DCI Hall of Fame member 2007; publisher of Drum Corps World magazine[15]

Thomas Stubbs, St Louis Symphony Percussionist since 1970.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Drum Corps Repertoire Database - Sky Ryders History
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vickers, Steve (2003). A History of Drum & Bugle Corps. Vol. 2. Drum Corps World. 
  3. ^ The Drum Corps Repertoire Database - Song History for Sky Ryders
  4. ^ "Sky Ryders Alumni Scholarship Campaign". Drum Corps Planet Forums. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Sky Ryders Alumni Scholarship". Facebook. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Wes Cartwright - Broken Arrow High School - ZoomInfo.com". ZoomInfo. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Wes Cartwright". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ "About Us". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Hall Of Fame - WGI". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ North Texas Performing Arts Association - Staff
  11. ^ "DCI.org News: Giving back and participating: A Profile of Alan Mueggenborg, Glassmen drill designer". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ "FLASH Visual Media - Home". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Essential Features: Chad Sexton's Drum City (LA Places)". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  14. ^ Santa Clara Vanguard - J.D. Shaw Joins Vanguard Design Team Archived December 28, 2014, at Archive.is
  15. ^ a b "Drum Corps International :: Marching Music's Major League™". Retrieved February 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]