On the otherwise vacant campus of Mary Hardin-Baylor, sounds of Drum Corps fill the streets of Belton, Texas. While school is out for summer, the 2017 Drum Corps International tour is in full swing.
With the Boston Crusaders hard at work preparing for the San Antonio Regional, a team of parents and volunteers are hard at work preparing an annual tradition for the corps: A Texas Barbecue.
Chas and Laurie Winckel, parents of veteran member and Drum Major Nicholas Winckel, have been hosting this even for the last 4 years. "Nick was always very musical growing up. He was in High School Band, and when he found out about DCI it was all over. "I gotta do it" he told us" explained Chas. "That was 5 or 6 years ago. Next year will be his age out."
Away from Drum Corps, Chaz and Laurie host a homeless outreach meal in Round Rock ISD every weekend. Chaz Winckel explains how they began putting on meals of this capacity: "We got started through a desire to help families affected by the fires in Bastrop, Texas in 2011. That led us to ask ourselves what we could do to serve in our own community."
"Eventually, we went to the school district and they allowed us to serve homeless families using their facilities on the weekend. That started 241 Saturday's ago, and we've never missed a week."
The Winckel's have a small trailer equipped with cooking and serving equipment, all which they use to host an annual BBQ for the Boston Crusaders when they travel through Texas. "It costs well over $7,000 to feed the drum corps" Winckel says "with over 330 pounds of meat, but its so worth it. When you see the line, and the smiles on the kids faces...we get a lot of joy out of it!"
Boston went on to perform in San Antonio the following day, finishing with a score of 85.625, narrowly edging out The Cadets for the 6th place spot. Their season will finish Saturday, August 12th in Indianapolis Indiana, assuming they secure a spot in the Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium.