Soon after the 2015 drum corps season comes to an end, so will the tenure of Drum Corps Associates (DCA) President Gil Silva, whose involvement in the activity dates back to 1957.
“It’s been a long time, and it’s time to move on,” Silva says. “As my wife likes to say, the only thing I’ve done in my life more than drum corps is breathe.”
Silva held the office of vice president for 12 years before becoming president in 2003. During this time, DCA created the Class A division for smaller corps and grew beyond the Northeastern United States.
“Now we have the Southern division and the Central division, and that’s one of the biggest things I feel I’ve had a part in making happen,” Silva says.
In his 50+ years in the drum corps activity, Silva has seen times greatly change—from neighborhood junior corps and senior corps, from slide bugles to trumpets, and especially the advent of Drum Corps International (DCI) and the modern drum corps era. “One of the biggest things that I’m proud of also in DCA is the relationship that we have with DCI,” Silva says. “Dan Acheson and his team are absolutely tremendous to work with. We get the big picture. We’re all in drum corps.”
Silva hopes to one day see DCA take its championship event outside the Northeast region. His other biggest hope is for corps to survive the increasing financial difficulties.
“I think the biggest challenge that DCA corps face is the rising cost of keeping the thing afloat,” Silva says. “But we feel that it’s a valuable part of drum corps because we give the opportunity for anyone of all ages to participate.”
Silva got his start at Holy Rosary Caballeros in Providence, Rhode Island, and then marched and taught with the Rhode Island Matadors where he met Michael “Red” Corso, “the biggest influence in my drum corps life,” he says. Corso was director of the Matadors as well as DCA treasurer and died in 2014.
“The thing that I’ve taken out of drum corps is the friendships that you make and the family aspect of it,” Silva says. “You’ll be sitting in an airport waiting for your plane, and somebody comes over and says, “Are you with drum corps?” and you can do an hour of talking with this person like you knew them all your life.”—EG