There is a certain post bouncing around on tumblr about the Jersey Surf’s 2012 production of Bridgemania. It is a post many of us are finding hurtful and saddening.
This is my response:
I am really sorry that you felt this way about the Jersey Surf. While what we did connected with thousands and thousands of fans around the world, we failed to connect with you, while we certainly did try our best to, with all the technicality, precision, and effort of any other elite drum and bugle corps.
There is a lot that you have found fault in with in our production. I cannot help you if you did not think Party Rock Anthem should have been played in a drum corps show. Despite it’s months-long #1 status on the charts and the obvious joy it brought our audiences time and time again, there will always be those who will believe that we were wrong.
And that’s ok, because you are entitled to feel how you wish.
There is one thing that I agree with you about. Sort of.
Bridgemania was not a tribute show. It was never a tribute show. Not really.
Bridgemania was about us, the Jersey Surf, all along.
In 2012, we returned, in full honest dedication, to the ideals and promises that our organization was founded on in 1990. Surf’s mission, from day one, has been to share the love we have for what we do with every soul that brushes our lives.
Our founding staff based their visions of Sharing the Love on the roots of a corps who chose to be different.
Who rocked it out without a glance backwards at the judges, only forward and up to the crowd.
A corps who was still as badass and elite as anything. The Bayonne Bridgemen.
The Bridgemen Alumni, in the summer of 2011, adopted us as their junior corps one dreamlike night in July. I will never forget the way they surrounded us and serenaded us like a great mythical beast.
To our parent corps, our inspiration, yes, we did pay them homage. Our first three tunes: In the Stone, Land of Make Believe, Tell William; these tunes were our way of tipping our hats in their direction.
They were Bridgemen tunes; we performed them, as one would tear their beating heart open for all to see, to show that our inspirations, our passion, our missions were bound as one
Then we slip into the ballad, something all our very own.
Something that represents what we, the Jersey Surf, have always have been and will always be.
This was not a tribute to anyone…but ourselves.
Pure Imagination is our corps song. To perform that beautiful arrangement as part of our show….to be able to perform a show that was honestly and truly about what was in our hearts…….
It showed that this activity is more powerful than we can find the words to measure.
It’s our belief that the only true obstacle you face in chasing your dreams is yourself.
It’s our belief that your life can’t be confined if you can imagine being free.
We turn around, knock our hats to our backs, and leap towards the crowd. Because this is Party Rock. This is where the drum corps show ends…and the party begins.
This was where we whooped and hollered and waved and smiled at the crowd.
And because we reached out to our crowd with such raw abandon, they reached back.
Because when you let even one person know what they mean to you—
You change their life forever. They will never forget how loved you made them feel.
And our audiences left our shows every night knowing—
That they had the power to make others feel the same way.
We certainly got points from the judges for what we did on that field, despite our unique approach. Our score at semis was the highest that the corps had ever gotten in world class.
But in competitive drum corps, there is no box value for staying true to what you believe in. For helping turn the world in a better way.
I don’t think there needs to be. Because no score could ever reward us as richly as the standing ovations, the letters of appreciation, the unyielding support of our Bridgemen family—
The change in our own lives—
The way we touch the glass of our mirrors and see someone braver, smarter, stronger, more loving—
Someone who stays true to their own identity no matter if it is different. No matter if we are told it is wrong—