Show Content Statement

June 29, 2020

Since its inaugural 1977 season, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps has proudly displayed its southern origin. Spirit has fielded shows presenting uniquely southern musical styles from jazz, big band, Dixieland, gospel, southern rock, English language opera, and African musical influences. These musically and visually entertaining shows have been performed by some of the most talented musicians in Drum Corps International (DCI). They have led the Corps to many DCI finals and obtained high caption awards across our history. Additionally, the designers and educators who developed these beloved shows have been recognized throughout the drum corps activity as groundbreaking creatives.

However, as we pause to review our southern history in the light of the present day, we acknowledge that in the past some of the content that was presented competitively, and some of the “Corps traditions” portray ethnic and racial prejudices that do not align with our values, nor with our desire to be an inclusive and accepting community and Corps. This content depicts themes that were unfortunately common in America, particularly in the south, and perpetuated social and racial injustice, and inequality. While these decisions were made without an intent to cause harm, our intent is not our focus, or an excuse. These themes are inconsistent with our mission and focus today.

Spirit of Atlanta leadership feels it is important to celebrate our alumni members and staff, while also acknowledging that certain musical and visual symbolism presented in previous years need to be left in the past. While we cannot erase our history by burying productions in the archives, we can and will move forward with more awareness, and the intent of embracing and representing our diverse Corps family and community. We are committed to ensuring that the decisions we make in the future are inclusive and respect the well-being of the entire community. The choices we make, the songs we choose, the way we behave, must recognize equality and enable the Corps to initiate change. Our commitment to moving Spirit of Atlanta forward will be achieved by being an active and conscious participant of our society and committing to diversity and inclusion within every area of the organization.