Immediately following their performance today in the Georgia Dome, the Jersey Surf departed the stadium parking lot for its longest drive of the season. Following a rehearsal day on Monday in Virginia, the Jersey Surf will leave the 2013 Drum Corps International Tour Tuesday to honor a pledge it made last fall in the wake of what has now become known as “Superstorm Sandy.”
“When the storm hit our area last fall, we worked quickly with local corps members and volunteers to prepare our food truck to be deployed to areas most affected by the disaster,” said Bob Jacobs, Executive Director and CEO of The Jersey Surf. “After soliciting a mountain of donations of clothing, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food items, our truck was forced to sit idle due to what we call ‘the politics of disaster.’ We learned that, although fully equipped and located in a prime location for rapid deployment, our truck was not pressed into service because other charities involved with coordinating relief efforts seemed concerned about who would get credit for assisting if the Jersey Surf’s mobile commercial kitchen was involved in the process.”
After assisting another group of charities with the donations it acquired, the corps regrouped.
“The member-leadership council of the corps spoke with corps administration at the end of last summer about creating one or two ‘service blocks’ per season… ways in which we could deliver on our ‘Share the Love’ philosophy beyond the boundaries of the performance field by giving up a few hours of rehearsal time while on the road. Of course we wanted to support our members and encourage their desire to stand tall as leaders and socially conscious young adults in addition to being great musicians and performers. Thus, the ‘service block’ was born.”
Originally, the Surf’s tour planners assumed that the corps would be getting engaged in some sort of project in one or two of the communities visited during the tour. When so many of the organization’s members, alumni, staff, neighbors and supporters were affected by the tremendous disaster of the historic hurricane, it was obvious that the corps had an opportunity, and perhaps even an obligation, to assist folks right in its own backyard.
The Surf caravan will make a long overnight drive from Atlanta to southern Virginia where it will set up shop for a rehearsal day while the drivers get caught up on their sleep. From there, the corps will complete the trip Monday night to the New Jersey coast in Ocean County, where it will perform its service block on Tuesday.
“We’re looking forward to exposing our members to the spectacular Jersey shore,” said Stephanie Dutcher, assistant corps director. “On Tuesday morning, we will move our operations to Long Beach Island, NJ, where we will participate in a project to remove some of the remaining storm debris from streets which run along the ocean dunes. For some of our corps members, it will be the first time they’ve ever seen the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful beaches of Long Beach Island. We’re looking forward to sharing this with our team and to assisting with this project.”
Upon completing the service block, the Surf will travel down the coast to Wildwood, NJ, where it will perform that evening in a special parade performance on the fabled boardwalk.
“It’s rare that we have the opportunity to visit the Jersey shore at peak season during the summer tour,” said Dutcher. “With our long trip home from Atlanta and in the midst of our preparations for the final two weeks of the 2013 DCI Tour, we’re pleased that we’ll be able to perform for thousands of vacationers in Wildwood this week.”
For additional information on how you can assist in the ongoing Sandy Relief effort, visit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund . To learn more about how you can assist the programs of the Jersey Surf, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.