Spirit of Atlanta

Other Names:Spirit; Spirit of Georgia; Spirit, from Jacksonville State University; Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps from Jacksonville, AL

Atlanta, GA United States
Founded: 1976

Active Junior
World Class
1977 22 76.350 Carnival Overture * Music * Woman in the Moon * Love the Feeling  
1978 6 86.500 Walk Him Up the Stairs (from Purlie) * Geodesic Dance * (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher * Let It Be Me  
1979 4 89.900 Georgia on My Mind * Nutville * Geodesic Dance * Sweet Georgia Brown * Let It Be Me  
1980 4 89.800 Georgia on My Mind * Old Man River (from Show Boat) * Devil Went Down to Georgia * Sweet Georgia Brown * Let It Be Me  
1981 9 83.850 Georgia on My Mind * Old Man River (from Show Boat) * Devil Went Down to Georgia * You Are the Sunshine of My Life * Let It Be Me  
1982 12 81.650 You are My Sunshine * Oh Happy Day * You Are the Sunshine of My Life * Blue Rondo A La Turk * We Are the Reason  
1983 7 83.600 Los Hermanos De Bop * Blues in the Night * No One Together * We Are the Reason  
1984 6 93.100 Porgy and Bess Overture - There's a Boat That's Leavin' Soon for New York (from Porgy and Bess) * It Ain't Necessarily So (from Porgy and Bess) * Blues in the Night * No One Together * I Loves You, Porgy (from Porgy and Bess) * Bess, You Is My Woman Now (from Porgy and Bess)  
1985 7 91.000 Concerto in F  
1986 6 94.100 Dixie * That Cat is High * Sweet Georgia Brown * High on a Hill * Precious Lord, Take My Hand * God Must Be Tryin' To Tell You Something (from The Color Purple)  
1987 10 87.600 Are You From Dixie ('Cause I'm From Dixie Too) * Southern Medley * Basin Street Blues * Ragtime * Amazing Grace  
1988 9 89.300 Petrouchka - Petrouchka  
1989 14 82.200 Interstellar Suite  
1990 11 83.400 Selections from Gone with the Wind * Motherless Child Blues * African Drum Solo (from The Color Purple) * Precious Lord, Take My Hand * God Must Be Tryin' To Tell You Something (from The Color Purple)  
1991 15 82.350 Call to Arms (from Glory) * Variations on Dixie * Antietam (from Glory) * Glory (from Glory) * American Salute * Closing Credits (from Glory)  
1992 16 78.800 Songs of the New South - Old Man River (from Show Boat) * Can't Help Lovin' That Man (from Show Boat) * Miss Otis Regrets * For the Beauty of the Earth  
1993 17 77.900 A Soulful Celebration - Why do the Nations so Furiously Rage? * David and Goliath * Do Not Pass Me By * So Much 2 Say * Let the Words * Better Watch Your Behavior  
1995 20 72.100 All on a Southern Afternoon - Ghost Train (from Fried Green Tomatoes) * XMas in Hooverville (from Fried Green Tomatoes) * Didn't it Rain? * Georgia on My Mind  
1996 23 68.000 Bye George ... It's Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue  
1997 17 76.500 Southern Jazz - Spirit Style - Georgia on My Mind * Old Man River (from Show Boat) * Amazing Grace * Walk Him Up the Stairs (from Purlie) * Let It Be Me  
1998 14 83.100 My Friend (from The Life) * Swanee River * Precious Lord, Take My Hand * Sweet Georgia Brown * God Must Be Tryin' To Tell You Something (from The Color Purple)  
1999 16 76.900 Jump, Jive, Jazz and Wail - Since I Don't Have You * Nutville * Hollywood Nocturne * Jump Jive an' Wail  
2000 15 80.650 Southern Harmonies... Music for the New South - Jubilee * Movement 5 from Spiritual * Wonderous Love (from Southern Harmony) * The Glory and The Grandeur  
2001 13 84.050 Ghost Train - The Ride (from Ghost Train Triptych) * At the Station (from Ghost Train Triptych) * The Motive Revolution (from Ghost Train Triptych)  
2002 10 85.450 Darkness Into Light - Symphonia Resurrectus (from The Easter Symphony)  
2003 12 84.400 TIME - Time After Time * Time in a Bottle * Auld Lang Syne * Somewhere in Time * Whirr, Whirr, Whirr * October * Let It Be Me * Nutville * No Jive * Appalachian Morning  
2004 13 86.300 The Architecture of Life - Mindscape * Dreamscape: Sonoran Desert Holiday * Soundscape * Urbanscape: On the Town * Urbanscape: Bizarro  
2005 12 86.075 The Spirit of Broadway - Give My Regards to Broadway * New York, New York (from On the Town) * On Broadway * They're Playing Our Song * Entr'acte (from Sweeney Todd) * Not While I'm Around (from Sweeney Todd) * Pie Jesu (from Requiem) * Luck Be A Lady (from Guys and Dolls) * No One Mourns the Wicked (from Wicked) * Defying Gravity (from Wicked)  
2006 12 84.825 Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue - Old Man River (from Show Boat) * That Old Black Magic * The Notebook * Waltz of the Mushroom Hunters * Blues in the Night * Blue Shades  
2007 12 84.500 Genesis - Fluttering Maple Leaves * Hide and Seek * New Century Dawn  
2008 15 83.175 Per-if-4-ry - Equus * Corynorhinus (from Batman Begins) * Myotis (from Batman Begins) * Piano Concerto  
2009 17 80.450 Live…In Concert! - Song for America * Carry On Wayward Son * Dust In The Wind * Journey from Mariabronn  
2010 16 81.450 Forging an Icon - Piano Concerto No. 1 * Symphony No. 5 in Bb Major * Prelude (from Psycho) * Brooklyn Bridge * Serenada Schizophrana  
2011 12 85.350 ATL Confidential: A Tribute to Film Noir - Death at the Olympic (from The Black Dahlia) * Love Theme (from Chinatown) * Harlem Nocturne * Prelude (from On Dangerous Ground)  
2012 11 84.400 Sin City - Music from the film Bullitt * Luck Be A Lady (from Guys and Dolls) * Harvest:Concerto for Trombone * Poker Face * Music from the film Mr and Mrs Smith  
2013 11 86.400 Speakeasy - Concerto in F * Crazy World * Overture from Chicago * Solace * Songs for Simon * Sweet Georgia Brown * Symphony #2  
2014 17 81.550 Magnolia - Down to the River to Pray * Leaving For the Promised Land (from Porgy and Bess) * Jubal Step * Willow Weep for Me * I Need Thee Every Hour  
2015 18 78.125 Out of the Ashes - Tara's Theme (from Gone with the Wind) * Southern Harmony * Full Pull and Cage Match * Wild Nights (from Harmonium) * Original Music  
2016 21 76.675 Georgia - Rusty Air in Carolina * Brooklyn Babylon * Georgia on My Mind * Can't Help Falling in Love * Georgia * Sweet Georgia Brown  
2017 18 80.075 CROSSROADS: We Are Here - Where Am I Going? * Wine-Dark Sea – MVT I – Hubris * Eric’s Song * Liquid Dance * Shofukan  
2018 13 85.588 Knock - LIT * Freak Flag * Hurt * Rattletrap * Break on Through (To the Other Side)  
2019 13 85.587 Neon Underground - Intro * Krump * You and Me * Attraction * Color Wheel  
2020 Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.  
2021 Legend of the Bottle Tree - Proverb * Lilac Wine * Mother Earth * Djinn * Wall-E * Remember Me  
2022 The corps will be inactive for the 2022 season.  
2023 15 83.625 Up, Down and All Around - Route 12 * What Goes Up * Metroliner * Stuff We Did * My Human Heart  
2024 Creatures - Reborn (from Hereditary) * Smoke on the Water * Frolic (from Rabbit and Rogue) * Feste Romane * A Close Friend (from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) * Night Creature * What Could Have Been (from Arcane: League of Legends)  
Position 200+ indicates Division II, Position 300+ indicates Division III, Position 400+ indicates Mini Corps.

The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class competitive junior drum and bugle corps based in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1976, Freddy and Linda Martin and Bob Hoehn met with the management of WXIA, an Atlanta area television station to discuss starting an Atlanta-area drum and bugle corps. After a series of successful meetings, a corps originally named "Concourse" was founded. After a contest was held to find a new, more appropriate name, the corps was renamed, "Spirit of Atlanta."

With Freddy Martin as corps director, members were recruited, and a program with no particular musical style was worked up. In its inaugural season, Spirit of Atlanta was in contests in nine states in the South and Midwest. At the 1977 Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships in Denver, Spirit finished a respectable twenty-third out of forty-five corps.

Spirit of Atlanta wanted to be more than just another also-ran corps. An all-out effort was made to secure the finest instructional staff possible. Two new caption heads were hired; brass head Jim Ott from the DCI Champion Blue Devils and percussion head Tom Float from Toronto's Oakland Crusaders, a corps renowned for their drumming. With these two hires and a group of top-flight specialist instructors, Spirit had put together an instructional staff which would take the corps to the upper tier of the drum corps activity. Adopting a style of "Southern Jazz," Spirit stunned the drum corps world in 1978 by vaulting into eighth place at DCI Prelims in Denver. Then at Finals, the corps rose even higher, finishing in sixth place and losing the High Brass title to the Phantom Regiment by 0.05 of a point.

With the brass and percussion among the best in the drum corps activity, Spirit moved up into a fourth-place finish at DCI in Birmingham, Alabama in 1979. The corps opened the program with the song that would become the corps' trademark tune, "Georgia on my Mind."

Two weeks into the 1980 season, Spirit was traveling from a show in New Orleans to another in Memphis. One of the corps' vans was in a traffic accident on Interstate 55 near Grenada, Mississippi. Brass arranger and caption head Jim Ott was killed. Spirit of Atlanta's emotional DCI Finals performance of "Georgia on My Mind," "Ol' Man River," "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and "Let It Be Me" has often been called the corps’ best show ever. It only placed fourth, but it was only 0.8 points behind the champion Blue Devils.

WXIA dropped the first corporate-sponsorship of a drum corps in DCI just before the 1981 season. With that, on top of Ott's loss, and then Float departing after 1981, Spirit remained a power but spent the next several years in the lower half of the Top 12.

Atlanta and Spirit hosted the 1984 DCI World Championships.The hometown favorites took sixth place with their program of music from "Porgy and Bess." Along with another 6th in '86, it was their best finish in the Eighties.

The 1987 edition of Spirit set an interesting record as the lowest ranked corps to defeat a DCI champion during the championship year. Three times, the Spirit of Atlanta beat the Garfield Cadets in head-to-head competition - in West Chester, Pennsylvania; Cary, North Carolina; and Orlando, Florida. But, it was three wins in ten meetings early in the season; in DCI Finals,Spirit was tenth, as Garfield won its fourth DCI title in five years.

In 1988, the decision was made to leave Spirit of Atlanta's' trademark "Southern jazz" theme behind. Although the program of Stravinsky's "Petrouska" was well-performed and finished in 9th at DCI, the corps' fan base felt that they had also been left behind. The following year's "Interstellar Suite" was met with equal fan apathy, and the corps was further plagued with new uniforms that used a non-colorfast dye that ran in the rain. 1989 was the first time Spirit of Atlanta missed DCI Finals since its inaugural season of 1977.

Music from "Gone With the Wind" and "The Color Purple" got Spitrit back into DCI Finals in 1990, but for only one season. Spirit was beset with management and financial problems in the early Nineties. After falling to 15th in 1982 and 16th in '82, the corps relocated to suburban Peachtree City in 1983 and was renamed the Spirit of Georgia. The change of locale did not help; the corps placed 17th. Financial woes continued, and before the start of the next season, it was announced that Spirit would be inactive in 1984.

The Spirit of Atlanta was returned in 1995. The "All on a Southern Afternoon" show placed 20th at DCI. The next year's "Rhapsopdy in Blue" placed 23rd.

In 1997 through 2001, Spirit qualified for DCI semifinals and had finishes of 17th, 14th, 16th, 15th, and 13th. The corps changed uniforms along the way, abandoning the traditional baby blue for a navy blue top with cream pants.

Spirit and Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Jacksonvlle, Alabama have had a long relationship. Seventy-five miles from Atlanta down the Central of Georgia Railroad track, Jacksonville State has had many students marching in the corps from day one. Spirit has had camps at JSU and has hosted shows at JSU Stadium.

In 2000, Spirit was in camp at JSU just before the start of tour, when the corps director tried to fold the drum corps. The move was strongly opposed by corps members and alumni, parents, staff, and other members of the drum corps community. Spirit of Atlanta got through the season and finished in fifteenth place at DCI Finals.

In the reorganizing from the chaos of the spring of 2000, Spirit moved west and became Spirit, from Jacksonville State University. Official sponsorship by the university gave the corps the stability it had lacked for more than a decade. With members receiving college credit for marching, the corps' talent level rose. In 2001, the music of Eric Whitacre's "The Ghost Train Triptych" celebrated the move to Jacksonville, and Spirit was once more wearing baby blue. At DCI, Spirit was 14th in quarterfinals, and they passed Blue Knights for 13th in semis, the corps' best finish since 1990.

In 2002, Spirit returned to DCI Finals for the first time in a dozen years, placing 10th. In seven years of JSU sponsorship, the corps was a DCI Top 12 Finalist five times. One tenth place finish, four 12ths and two 13ths seeminglly was not enough for the school to continue paying the bills, and the association was essentially dissolved. Once more independent, the corps became the Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps from Jacksonville, Alabama, when the corps continued to operate out of Jacksonville for the 2009 season..

Spirit surprised the drum corps community in 2010 by announcing that the corps was returning home to Atlanta. Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps marched a show called, "Forging a Icon" which resulted in the presentation of the corps' "Delta" logo to the crowd.

Spirit of Atlanta reclaimed its given name in 2011 and began a three year run in DCI Finals,

The corps has since been a solid performer, advancing to semifinals every year through 2017. Only the recent overall growth in the strength of nearly every other corps has prevented Spirit from being more successful.

The 2020 season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The corps returned to the field for the non-competitive 2021 season but again went inactive for 2022 to try to bolster its resources.

[Friends of Spirit Inc.; A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vickers, 2002-03; Drum Corps World, multiple issues; Drum Corps International]

Members (117)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Abney, Jeff tenors 1980 to 1981
Akey, Josh Snare 1999
Anderson, Jim baritone 1978
Andujar, Colleen Colorguard 2007
Armstrong, Alan Soprano 1982 to 1985
Armstrong, Alan Member/Staff 1986
Armstrong, Alan Staff 1987 to 1997; 2000 to 2001
Armstrong, Craig Visual Tech 1999
Bailey, Derek Baritone 2002
Bailey, Derek Euphonium 2003
Bailey, Susan Cymbals 1977 to 1980
Bertram, Mark Visual Staff 1992
Bierce, Hal Percussion/Tenors 1977 to 1981
Blair, Patrick Contra Line 1993
Bornstein, Jack Roadie 1982
Bornstein, Jack Bass Drum 1983; 1985
Bornstein, Niel flugel horn 1982; 1984
Bough, Roland Front Ensemble 1999
Bough, Roland Contra Bass 2000
Coggin, Greg Soprano 2009 to 2010
Cook, Drogheda PIT 2002 to 2005
Coppola, Matt Mellophone 2008
Davidson, Brandon Mellophone 1995
Dawson, James Soprano Bugle 1983
Dawson, Willard Flugelhorn 1983
DeJournett, Bill French Horn 1986; 1988
Drouillard, Nicholas Soprano 1998 to 1999
Duncan, Kelly Contrabass 1992
Eden, Martha Contra 1999 to 2001
Ellender, Cindy Color Guard 1982 to 1985
Elrod, Brian French Horn 1984
Frederick, Benjamin Soprano 2004
Geraci, Billy Soprano 2002 to 2003
Golus, Gary Snare 1992
Greer, Brian Euphonium 1993
Greybill, David Euphonium 2001 to 2003
Guest, Michelle Mellophone 2006 to 2007
Hearn, Patrick Mellophone 1997 to 1998
Henshaw, Jen Guard/Flag 2001
Hill, Paul Bass Line 1997
Hopkins, Gary mellophone/drum major 1977 to 1979
Hopkins, Gary Color Guard Caption Head 1980
Hopkins, Gary Brass Staff 1991 to 1992
Howard, Julian Tuba 2001
Hughes, Jim Bass Drum 1998
James, Marquilla Color Guard 1999
Jenner, Bryan Management Team 1995 to 1997
Jenner, Bryan Management Team 1995 to 1997
Jones, Scott Soprano 1989 to 1990
Judice, Jesse Euphonium 2002
Kearney, Jimmy Contra 1979
Knapp, Vicki Color Guard 1997
Kunkel, Matthew Baritone 1995 to 1996
Lamb, Jason Soprano 2003
Lary, Ben pit 2000 to 2001
Lasley, Caryn Color Guard 2005
Leonard, Christian Baritone 1987
Litzsinger, Matt Euphonium 2015 to 2016
Long, Christopher Soprano 1993
Marshman, Scott Color Guard 1986 to 1987
Matthews, Josh Baritone 1999
McBrayer, John Contra Bass 1989 to 1992
McIntosh, Jason colorguard staff 1993
McLendon, Richard Pit Arranger 1985
Mercado, Cristian Trumpet 2023
Mercer, Amanda Guard 2000; 2002
Milano, Paul Corps Manager 1978 to 1980
Milano, Paul Vice Chairman of the Board 2001 to 2003
Morgan, Joey Soprano, GA Soloist 1986; 1988 to 1989
Morgan, Joey Staff 1990; 1995
Morton, Drew Baritone 2005
Muncher, Mike Front Ensemble 1999
Muncher, Mike Percussion 1999
Nayman, Josh tenors 1999
Nelson, Jeff snare 1979 to 1981
Newman, James DIRECTOR 1994 to 1999
Nichols, David Soprano 2001 to 2002
Palmer, Steven contrabass 2002 to 2003
Poulan, Key Brass Arranger 1992 to 1993
Poulan, Key Brass Arranger 1992 to 1993
Propes, Mark Drumline 1979
Quiram, Lea Trumpet 2004
Reed, Jim Snare 1996
Reichardt, Debbie Colorguard / Rifle 1978 to 1979
Ritchie, Andy Snare 1982
Roberts, Micky Soprano 1980
Robichaux, Josh Percussion/ Front Ensemble 2001 to 2002
Robichaux, Josh Pit tech 2003 to 2007
Ruiz, Maricelie Drumline 1997
Schmidt, Michael contra, soprano 1981 to 1982
Shreffler, Bob Snare 1980
Skinner, Jason Contra 1998 to 1999; 2001
Smelser, David Percussion 1989 to 1992
Smith, Jared Contra 2001 to 2003
Smith, Michael Mellophones 1998
Snell-Wisner, Deanna Front ensemble 1997
Stepson, Steven Baritone (soloist) 1993 to 1994
Stevens, Jesse Front Ensemble 2010 to 2012
Story, Scott Mellophone 1993
Taylor, Mario Cymbals 2003
Taylor, Sean bass/tenors 1994 to 1995
Thomas, Craig Tenors 1991 to 1992
Tilley, Timothy Soprano 1988
Vasquez, Ramon Brass Staff 2006
Vasquez, Ramon Brass Caption Head 2008
Weidenthal, Weedy Soprano 2007
Weyer, Christopher Baritone/Drum Major 2000 to 2001
Weyer, Christopher Baritone/Drum Major 2000 to 2001
White, Matthew Trumpet 2008; 2010
Wolfford, Bryan Soprano 2002
gulliford, kassi euphonium 2001 to 2007
krempasky, matt caption head/music arranger 1997 to 2000
lopez, ryan colorguard 2010 to 2012
mckenzie, teresa color guard 1983
murphy, molly mellophone 2004
outz, jeff lead sop. 1978
wise, chip Soprano 1989

CORPS 74 items

Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta Bumper Sticker from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta Hat from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritOfAtlanta Atlanta GA-10 from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritOfAtlanta Atlanta GA-11 from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritOfAtlanta Atlanta GA-3 from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritOfAtlanta Atlanta GA-4 from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritOfAtlanta Atlanta GA-5 from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritOfAtlanta Atlanta GA-7 from the Bill Ives Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta Bobblehead from the Chris Maher Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta Key Chain from the Chris Maher Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

SpiritofAtlanta,Atlanta,GA,LP1-Jacksonville,AL(RE-1.0x1.0)J_U_S from the Richard Elmquist Collection Contributed by Richard Elmquist
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit Of Atlanta -July 8, 1980 "Blues In The Night" Memphis from the Roy Perez Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

1979 Spirit of Atlanta - JIM OTT Brass Rehearsal part 1 from the Roy Perez Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta 1979 JIM OTT Brass Rehearsal part 2 from the Roy Perez Collection
Spirit of Atlanta
PDF Document

362-363, Spirit of Atlanta from the Steve Vickers Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta 1 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta 2 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta 3 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta 4 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
Spirit of Atlanta

Spirit of Atlanta 5 from the Wayne Hiller Collection