Arsenal Performing Arts (APA) was founded in the Spring of 2016 with the goal of enriching the performing arts in New Mexico and the surrounding states through alternative, supplemental programming. At a time when both performing arts and athletic programs in schools were being subject to budget cuts, the founders of Arsenal realized the potential of the marching arts to not only provide the benefits of traditional performing troupes, but also that of team-based sports. As members of a marching ensemble, students work to not only improve their abilities as individual performers but also to develop their capacity to work in unison with other dedicated young people. This combination of artistry and athleticism is unique to the marching arts, and Arsenal aims to provide programs that are stimulating in a physical, mental, and emotional capacity and that seek to expand upon -rather than replace- the programs already in existence in the area.
Understanding the importance of slow, sustainable growth, the governing board of APA opted to use the Drum Corps International SoundSport® program as a means to develop the organization locally and organically before attempting more ambitious goals. As a SoundSport Team, Arsenal was unique in that we tailored our experience to be as close as possible to that of Open and World Class Corps, housing and feeding members during training camps, embarking on an out-of-state tour, and accepting members not only from New Mexico, but from surrounding States as well.
In 2017, Arsenal fielded a corps for the first time. With only 33 brass and battery percussion members, Arsenal embarked on their first tour, traveling to San Antonio to compete in the Drum Corps International Southwestern Championship. The trip was a success, with Arsenal earning a performance rating of Gold and winning Best of Show Honors.
In 2018, Arsenal made the decision to add color guard and front ensemble, fielding a corps of 49 members. The 2018 season was significantly longer, consisting of three full weeks of all-days and a full week of touring, with shows in Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. The corps again returned to San Antonio to compete, this time defending their Best of Show title with a performance rating of Silver.
Beginning in the Spring of 2018, Arsenal has been undergoing evaluation to participate in Drum Corps International’s Open Class, and is anticipating to be approved for Open in the Spring of 2019. As we continue to develop Arsenal Performing Arts and increase our support capacity, we aim to not only grow Arsenal Drum and Bugle Corps but to add other programs as well. We look forward to this growth and to not only increasing the areas of instruction, but to increasing the number of students for whom we provide quality performing arts programs.
For more information about the Drum Corps activity, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.