For Immediate Release
HUTCHINSON, KANSAS – In 1955, H.D. “Prof” McCosh reorganized the three year old drum and bugle corps founded by the Lysle Rishel American Legion Post 68, and adopted the name “Sky Ryders.” After 35 years in Hutchinson, the corps relocated to DeSoto, Texas for financial reasons, and sadly, in 1994, folded.
Twenty-nine years later, Sky Ryder alumni led by Dr. Jay Smith have founded the Sky Ryders Performing Arts Foundation (SRPAF) in Hutchinson, with the intention of bringing the Sky Ryders back to the community where it began over seventy years ago. Men and women from California, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Wisconsin, and of course, Kansas, have come together in order to enable young adults to have the same sort of positive, character and skill building, and artistic experience that they had as young adults.
Today, there exists thousands of Sky Ryder alumni, spread out all over the world. Many are physicians, lawyers, professors, engineers, scientists and dentists. They are college band directors, musicians, administrators, architects, accountants, and school teachers. Many more have owned private businesses, but all are hardworking, dedicated men and women. Each of them credit their formative time with the Sky Ryders in Hutchinson or DeSoto, as a reason for their success and joy in life.
For those reasons, the SRPAF is committed to bringing the corps back to Hutchinson. To restart a corps today takes a large amount of capital, volunteers and community partnerships. The return of competitive drum corps to Kansas will be achieved thoughtfully one step at a time and the finished product will be an organization that Hutchinson, and all of Kansas, can be proud. The SRPAF is raising funds from around the state, nation and world to make this a reality. It is working within the drum corps community to secure the best instruments, equipment, and everything else needed for its operation. It is working with local schools to find instructors and rehearsal facilities.
On Monday, July 17, 2023, from 3pm-10pm, the SRPAF will kick off its campaign. That afternoon and evening at Gowans Stadium on the HCC campus, the 20-time Drum Corps International World Champion Blue Devils from Concord, California will be rehearsing their 2023 production, and at 8pm will be giving several performances for band students, alumni, and interested local community members from all over Kansas. There is no entry fee for the exhibition performances, though donations to the SRPAF will be accepted.