Making Music

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They once set the standard for competitive drum and bugle corps, performing songs that ranged from Harold Arlen's "Stormy Weather" to the Frank Zappa piece "Peaches En Regalia."

The complicated rhythms of Zappa's lead into his 1969 solo album, "Hot Rats," were a hit for the Pittsburgh-based Steel City Ambassadors at drum and bugle competitions up and down the East Coast.

While the group no longer plays competitively, their sound continues to reverberate through the region. The Ambassadors — many of whom are older than 60 — still perform regular gigs, and will kick off their season Saturday by marching in Pittsburgh's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. The corps also will perform concerts in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Erie, and march in parades until Ligonier Days in October.

One thing keeps them going: "It's like an addiction," said the group's personnel director, Frank Cicco, 68, of Penn Hills,who is marking his 54th year with drums and bugles. "It's fun. We enjoy it."

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Posted by on Saturday, March 11th, 2006. Filed under DCA News.