Drum and bugle corps to hold campEvent starts Saturday at the Wagner Noel

The Horizon Drum and Bugle Corps has a big few days ahead with a percussion camp set for Saturday and Sunday and a determination on whether it made an open class designation coming up next week.

Registration for the camp will start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, 1310 N. Farm to Market Road 1788. The first block of instruction will begin at 9 a.m., Executive Director Jasper Miranda said.

About 30 participants are expected. Jasper Miranda said the camp is free to new applicants as a way of celebrating #March4th and the Marching Arts.

Horizon applied for an open-class designation from Drum Corps International in 2016, but didn’t make it. Drum Corps International is a leader in producing and sanctioning competitive events for marching music ensembles for student musicians and performers.

Open class is mainly made up of drum corps that revolve around regional circuits and they get their membership from those regions.

 “We should get our results on the 21st (of March),” Jasper Miranda said.

Horizon Drum and Bugle has approximately 35 members, which doesn’t include full color guard. Miranda said auditions have not yet been conducted.

Summer training starts June 26 and it’s tentatively scheduled for Odessa, pending confirmation of facilities, and will run for 21 days, Jasper Miranda said. The training will include instruction to prepare students physically and musically for upcoming shows.

The group will leave for its tour July 19 and its first show is scheduled for Belton and they plan to take part in the Southwestern Championships at the Alamodome in San Antonio July 22, Jasper Miranda said.  

Jasper Miranda said the group is also tentatively scheduled to perform at Firecracker Fandango and will apply to participate in the July 4 parade.

He said Horizon plans to conduct a one-day mini-camp this summer. The date and location are pending confirmation. Middle and high school students who are going into marching bands or who are already in marching bands will be invited to learn from the corps’ instructional staff. At the end of the day, youngsters will perform with the staff, Jasper Miranda said.

Corps Director Paul Garza Jr., 25, was arrested in January on a charge of theft from a nonprofit organization, a third-degree felony, Odessa Police Department Spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said.  

According to CBS 7, while Garza worked for Horizon, he fraudulently spent approximately $9,274 from the company’s Wells Fargo account. District Attorney Bobby Bland said Thursday that the case is still pending.

“It was disappointing. At the same time, it is what it is. We do what we have to do to move forward,” Jasper Miranda said.

Jasper Miranda said a lot of personnel restructuring was done after that. He said the experience has strengthened his resolve to make sure Horizon is around for years to come. He credited the drum corps community, staff members and his family for helping him keep Horizon going.

“We refocused,” Jasper Miranda said. “We did the things that we had to. … I would actually say we’re probably, in terms of the way our board is sitting right now, the way our administrative processes are sitting right now, and the way we’ve restructured is, I would actually say that it’s sitting a whole lot better and a whole lot stronger than we have previously, mainly because we’ve learned from a lot of these experiences.”

Jasper Miranda, who is a senior at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin studying music education and in the UTPB band, said Horizon has strengthened its corporate structure and make sure there is “a lot of oversight.”

Michael Miranda, recently elected board president for Horizon, said he has been involved with the drum corps off and on since its founding. He said the restructuring was actually beneficial.

“All the pieces that were missing from last year came back into our tool box,” Michael Miranda said. He added that they were able to create an atmosphere that musicians look forward to when they attend camp.

Jasper Miranda said he had a lot of support from people in the community and the drum corps community outside of Texas. He said he was encouraged not to close up shop because he was making the drum corps available to students and he didn’t want to let them or the community down. 

“Speaking just for me, I don’t do this for me. I do this as a means to give back to a community that has given so much to me as a student, as well as a veteran. Now I feel like we’ve been strengthened a lot and things are going good into (the) summer,” Jasper Miranda said. Jasper was in the U.S. Army for 12 years.

Michael Miranda said he mainly helps Jasper with social media, news releases and community relations. He helps his grandfather run A-1 Roofing and Framing, so he helps with the business aspect of Horizon, as well.

“It’s a continuously growing family and it’s awesome to see that,” Michael Miranda said.  

Jasper Miranda said Horizon has gained a lot of momentum, and although its focus is West Texas and the Panhandle, it has received applications from Dallas, San Antonio and the Corpus Christi area. He said there is a large contingent of applicants coming from Harlingen and Brownsville and Horizon has had some out-of-state interest.

One of the satisfying things about running Horizon is watching the students change.

“Some of them are timid and shy and you watch all of them develop into leaders,” Miranda said. “That’s the payout. It’s not the bank account or whatever it may be. The payoff is watching them grow into these young leaders, into these musicians going back to their programs and becoming the cornerstones, the section leaders for their band programs. …”

Miranda said Horizon is always looking for contributions and volunteers. His brother, Michael, wife, Janice, and mother Martha have all supported the group.