The Sound Machine of the Inland Empire was a self-supporting non-profit youth
marching band, Explorer Post 629 (of the Old Baldy Council of the Boy Scouts of America).
Membership was open to young people ages 13 through 21, that have a desire to learn and improve
their music and pageantry skills. We offered instruction in brass, woodwinds, percussion,
color guard, movement, and marching techniques. The band functioned from the beginning of
October through the first week of August, but membership could be earned at any time of the year.
We served the local four county area of western San Bernardino, eastern Los
Angeles, northwestern Riverside, and northern Orange counties, but we had members from San Diego
to Santa Clara. Founded in March of 1984, The Sound Machine had developed into the premier
youth band of California, competing in parades, field shows, and performing in exhibitions, from San
Diego to British Columbia, Canada.
The organization's main function was to develop the talent of its members, by
providing a positive atmosphere, the best possible instruction and quality performance opportunities.
Late on a Saturday night in October 1983, after enjoying a local Southern
California high school field show competition, Dave Schaafsma and Ron Barbee
sat in a Denny's Restaurant and started formulating the plans for a new and
different youth band. Their dreams and ideas had been floating around for
two years already, but now, it was time. Before the night was over, the
location, the Upland-Ontario-Chino area, was finalized. The name came from
the desire to place music above all else, and the fact that both Dave and
Ron played in Long Beach State's "Big Brown Music Machine" Marching Band in
the mid 1970's. The uniform was to be variation on the 1980 "Sky Riders"
Drum and Bugle Corps cowboy gambler look, because it would be easy and
inexpensive to make for a first year band. For the next four months, they
used their more than twelve years of experience in the youth band realm, to
set their plans into motion.
On Thursday night, February 22, 1984, an Open House was held in the Upland
Public Library to introduce The Sound Machine to the Inland Empire area.
Guest speakers included Harvey Berish of The World of Pageantry, Dennis
Wortham of the Southern California Judges Association and Director of the
Royal Knights Youth Band, and Bob Ward represented the Pacific Coast Youth
Band Association(now called Summer Bands International) and the Santa Ana
Winds Youth Band. More than seventy-five interested people came, and the
first cash donation to The Sound Machine was made by the Gibson Family of
John North High School in Riverside.
The first rehearsal was held two weeks later on March 1st, at Upland High
School. Tim Achin joined as percussion instructor one week later. The band
purchased its first instruments(drums, sousaphones, mellophones and flags)
in May. The Sound Machine entered and marched in its first parade in the
City of Carson on June 2nd, wearing band shirts, blue jeans, and red bandannas,
taking first place in open class bands. Two weeks later the band performed
at the Lompoc Flower Festival Parade and Field Show, in full uniform, thanks
to "Band Mom", Nan Brest. The band competed in local July 4th parades and
also traveled to Sunnyvale/San Jose area in July to perform at a field show
competition. In August the band competed at its first P.C.Y.B.A. Championship
Show in Santa Ana.
In 1985, The Sound Machine grew in size, added a full time color guard
instructor, Debbie Stephens, performed at the Southern California Youth Band
Council Show at El Camino College, traveled to San Diego for a stand-still
competition, won its first Sweepstakes trophy at the Corona Parade, hosted
the First Annual Inland Empire Invitational, and made three trips to Central
and Northern California(Lompoc, Salinas and Sunnyvale).
1986 saw The Sound Machine grow and continue in its development. The band
traveled throughout California performing at parades and field competitions
and almost made it to Vancouver, British Columbia for Expo '86, but the plans
In 1987 a great group of kids joined the band; several are now on The Sound
Machine's Staff. Richard Romero became the color guard instructor. The band
continued traveling in California and competing in parade and field events,
including their fourth straight P.C.Y.B.A. Championship Show.
Classic Rock 'n Roll became the band's theme music in 1988 with their first
presentation of the music of Elton John. Sharon Bailey became Richard's
assistant in teaching the color guard. Also, The Sound Machine traveled
beyond California's border for the first time when it toured for 16 days and
competed in the "Seattle Seafair Torchlight Parade" and "Field Show", the
Edmonds, Washington Show and the Championship Show in Sunnyvale.
In 1989 The Sound Machine's Drum Line started to make a name for its self.
An improved and upgraded Elton John theme was presented in the band's show.
Richard left us to join the Army and Sharon took over the color guard. Lots
of local parades, stand-still shows and Tour #2 to Washington, White Rock and
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the P.C.Y.B.A. Championships in
1990 was a banner year in the history of The Sound Machine. Highlights
include: more trophies at the Christmas parades, the Drum Line entered the
Southern California Drum Line Circuit and placing second in open class, new
uniforms, Jason Goodman joined the Percussion Staff, the first trip to
Seaside, Tour #3 to the Pacific Northwest, and the Band won High Percussion
and High Music at the P.C.Y.B.A. Championships in Burbank. But all was not
good in 1990, for on July 6th the band lost percussion instructor Tim Achin
in an automobile accident. He became the band's inspiration for their great
finish to the season.
In 1991 the appeared in the "Hollywood Welcome Home to the Troops Parade"
that was televised nationally. Kendall Crawford was in his sixth and age-out
year as Drum Major. A very difficult show was chosen, both musically and in
drill demand(over 85 sets). John Steinwinder joined the Staff and the band
traveled to the Northwest again on Tour #4 with Championships held at Willamette
University in Salem, Oregon. The band finished the season in a joint concert,
in Anaheim, with the Holon Academy Band, from Holon, Israel.
In 1992, we earned a Sponsorship from Stingray Percussion - NEW DRUMS! The
Drum Line competed in the Drum Circuit again and The Sound Machine won a major
Parade Sweepstakes in the Brea Parade. A great show, based in the music of
the rock group "STYX", was created by the band and Staff. The band traveled
on its longest tour ever, Tour #5, covering six States(California, Nevada,
Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) and lasted 17 days. Since the Championship
Show was held in mid July, in Kent, Washington, the Inland Empire Invitational
was the last show of the season and The Sound Machine took First Place with
a score of 94.0. The summer ended with a Sweepstakes win at the Big Bear
Parade, even though the band had to march through the competition zone during
a thunder hail-storm. At the end of the season, Ron Barbee announced his
retirement from the band so that he can spend more time with his young family.
The 1992-93 Season started with a bang as The Sound Machine marched 117
members and alumni, in the Fabulous "Hollywood Christmas Parade" that was
televised worldwide. The band, in conjunction with S.B.I., became a member
of Drum Corps West. After several first place parade finishes, the band
started working on their summer show, featuring music of Peter Gabriel and
Queen. In June, the band performed in exhibition at the Velvet Knights D.C.W.
Show. Lonette Estrada became the color guard instructor. The band's show
was improving rapidly and the Drum Line was taking High Percussion at most
of the competitions. Tour #6 took the band up north for their fourth "Seattle
SeaFair Parade", the S.B.I. Pre-lims in Seattle and the Championships in
Salem, where the band and the color guard each finished in a very respectable
third place. After looking at the placement of the band's finishes during
the year, both in parade and field, it can safely be said that the BEST Youth
Band in the State of California for 1993 is The Sound Machine of the Inland
The 1993-94 Season saw the Band gain official California
Non-Profit tax status, become Explorer Post 629 of the Boy Scouts of
America, and celebrate its Tenth Anniversary. The band won Sweepstakes at
the East L.A. Christmas Parade and then got busy designing its new show,
based on music from "Kansas" and "Dream Theatre". Tim McElearney joined
the percussion staff. The band traveled on three short tours and did very
well in competition, taking third again at the S.B.I. Championships in
In the 1994-95 Season the band bought new mellophones and
baritones and grew in size. We picked the music of "Yanni" and "Yes" to be
featured in our show and the band worked on special music for parade
competition. Tim took over as drum caption head and Rick Moran joined the
percussion staff. The show became our most challenging visual presentation
ever. The band won Sweepstakes at both the Huntington Beach and Pacific
Palisades parades on July 4th. Tour took us to Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and
Nevada where the band finished third in SBI and won high color guard and
high percussion at the Championships.
The 1995-96 season started with a very successful Christmas
parade season by winning two first places and a Sweepstakes. Music from the
movie based on the Beatle's "Stg. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was
picked as the theme of the show. We toured to the bay area for shows and
then took a trips to Fisherman's Wharf and Yosemite National Park. The band
finished third at Championships and the drumline took another percussion
"Championship." We finished the summer with the La Habra parade and a
over-night trip to Big Bear for "Old Miner's Day Parade."