Reading Bucs Honored at Concert

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The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps were honored in late March by the Berks Arts Council and legendary jazz musician Chuck Mangione during the 16th Annual FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest.

The Berks Jazz Fest, coordinated by the Berks Arts Council, is an annual 10-day event featuring dozens of musicians and drawing thousands of fans to the Greater Reading area. For more than a decade the Buccaneers have served Berks Jazz Fest as load-in and load-out crews, drivers and all-around helpers. Chuck Mangione, an avid drum and bugle corps fan, dedicated his March 24 performance to the Buccaneers in tribute to the Buccaneers’ 2005 Drum Corps Associates World Championship and the organization’s long history of service to the Berks Jazz Fest.

At the concert, the corps’ championship performance was the featured house music of the evening, treating concertgoers to an aural sampling of “Variations in B,” the Bucs’ 2005 production. Corps members also dressed in full uniform greeted guests and answered questions about the Buccaneers and drum corps. The show began when Reading Mayor Thomas M. McMahon introduced Buccaneers Director of Public Relations Thomas J. Moore, who thanked the community for its support of the corps during its 49-year history in the Reading area. Dozens of current and former Buccaneers, clad in corps jackets, were also on hand for the celebration.

Public Relations Director Tom Moore introduces fellow Buccaneers Jerry Ware, Diane Koenig and Dan Wildonger.
Photo by R. Andrew Lepley

To FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest General Manager John Ernesto, the decision to honor the Buccaneers was a logical one. “The participation of the Buccaneers organization, year in and year out, is a key reason the Berks Jazz Fest has grown the way it has. We could not have a 10-day festival of this magnitude without the many Buccaneers who give their time – often well after midnight – to ensure the success of the event. So when the corps brought the world title back home to Reading, it made sense to honor the Buccaneers for their achievements and thank them for their years of service to Berks Jazz Fest and the community.”

“It’s been a pleasure to lend our service to the Berks Jazz Fest and see it develop into the world-class festival that it is,” said Buccaneers Corps Director Jimmy Gruber. “To be honored publicly by the Berks Arts Council, and to have Chuck Mangione pay tribute to the corps, is very special. We’re thrilled.”

Business Manager Jerry Ware, Corps Director Jimmy Gruber and Public Relations Director Tom Moore
share a smile with Chuck Mangione. Photo by Brian Thompson

Founded in 1957, the Buccaneers are a non-profit, education-oriented musical organization. The Buccaneers are a charter member of DCA and won the first-ever DCA world championships in 1965. Additional titles followed in 1968, 1979, 1980 and 2005. In 2005, the Buccaneers enjoyed the finest competitive season in the organization’s history, completing an undefeated season with a world championship in which the Buccaneers won every judged category and posted the second highest score in DCA championships history, a 98.45 out of a possible 100.

For more information on the FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest, visit For more information on the Reading Buccaneers, visit

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Posted by on Monday, April 17th, 2006. Filed under DCA News.