One band, one sound: Ocean of Soul ready to rock Texas Southern's homecoming

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you ask any member of Texas Southern's Ocean of Soul, there is one word that you'll hear repeated over and over: family.

With every beat and sound beaming through the music building, the sense of comradery becomes more apparent for everyone.

"Ocean of Soul is something you can't get from any other school. There is no experience like being in the Ocean of Soul," senior Kenya Clay said. "From the band director, down to the dancers, down to the flags and the twirlers."

In a band with as rich of a history as the Ocean of Soul, you'll find generations of Tigers who now have children and grandchildren in the band.

"Band members, we spend more time with each other than any other group on campus," Interim Director of Bands Clarence Gibson said. "During those times, people get to know each other, we'll know our ups and downs and people can help you out through struggles. They become so close and even when they graduate from Texas Southern, they are still close and get together, and help the new family members."

Some of the Ocean of Soul's notable performances include a feature in Super Bowl XXXVIII's halftime show, a performance at the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony for TSU alumnus Michael Strahan and recently a performance for Fox NFL Sunday.

Devin Cash, a second-year drum major from New Orleans, said the Ocean of Soul has been a leadership building experience for him.

"It has been the ultimate tutor to how to become an adult in life," Cash said. "It teaches you responsibility, how to be a leader and social in the normal student life."

When asked to describe the Ocean of Soul, he responded with something that alumni would appreciate.

"High on energy and always ready to compete," Cash added.


If you drive through Houston's Third Ward this weekend, you'll notice the aroma of food, the sound of music and a scene that would remind you of a family reunion. For those who bleed maroon and gray, homecoming is a chance to rekindle undergraduate stories, hop and stroll with your fraternity/sorority, or simply enjoy the festivities.

Take a trip down Emancipation Avenue from campus to BBVA Compass Stadium and you'll find hundreds of fans watching TSU's football team take on Alabama State.

For the Ocean of Soul, homecoming is also a time for members -- both current and former -- to take time for fellowship.

"Homecoming is a big example of family," Gibson said. "You're going to see so many generations who marched in this band come back to check out the band, see how the band is doing, help some members with scholarships because they struggled just like some of our students are struggling. They want to be able to help them achieve that goal of getting that academic degree from Texas Southern."

When the clock hits zero at the end of the second quarter, all eyes will be on the field and the Ocean of Soul.

"It's going to be a lot of pressure for us, but we're going to have to pull through," Clay said.

Need a drink or some food at halftime? That'll have to wait.

"At an HBCU, everybody stays seated because they are excited to see both bands," Gibson said.

What can you expect at halftime?

"It's going to be a life-changing experience. It's going to be something you've never seen," Cash added. "We're going to give you a show like you can't believe."

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