And They’re Off!!!
Wildwood, New Jersey, known to millions of Northeast families as America’s Island Beach Resort, played host to DCA’s first competition of the new year. The race is on! The Third Annual “ Cabs at the Beach” show, presented by the Hawthorne Caballeros and A. J. Wright, was the perfect setting to get our 42nd season out of the gate.
It was a beautiful day on the famous two mile boardwalk. Home to the Doo Wop Preservation League, Wildwood offers the largest collection of Doo Wop architecture in America. If you have to ask, you won’t understand in this brief piece, but give this area a look on your next South Jersey visit. Even the impressive Wildwood Convention Center (built in 2002) has a few Doo Wop touches as it rises prominently from the clean local beach.
We arrived to the sound of the Caballeros Alumni rehearsal just across the street from the comfortable, air-conditioned arena that would soon present all-age drum corps for the first time in what looks to be a most exciting DCA season.
I was wearing my official Drum Corps Planet knit shirt. Several people asked “are you the owner of Drum Corps Planet?” “ No, I said, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” Kidding of course, but it became clear to me, MANY all-age fans visit DCP regularly.
It was a pleasure to meet Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr. who was enjoying Jimmy Russo and the Cabs Alumni with me. A most personable and enthusiastic promoter of this unique vacation destination, I asked about the Mayor’s special interest in our activity.
“Watching drum corps in the city of Wildwood has been a part of Wildwood’s social fabric, a tread of the community forever, he explained. I’m 55, and actually attended my first show in 1951 at the age of six months! I have never played an instrument, have never marched a day in my life. It’s just something my mother and my father weaned me on. I guess, at six when you’re sitting in a coach listening to drum corps, it’s imprinted in your mind.”
Mayor Troiano went on to say “ Drum Corps is a part of Americana that I pray to God never gets lost, because I look at these guys in their seventies out here. I watched them when they were in their thirties. One thing that’s undeniably true, is the music’s great! DCA music . . . you can actually understand what it is, you KNOW what it is!”
“We’ve got a DCI show scheduled in here by Bob Jacobs and the Jersey Surf on the fifteenth of July, he noted. That one will be at Maxwell Field. It’s been totally refurbished. We’ve put in over a million dollars into the field. I have more than a thousand new bleachers coming in, hopefully within the next months.”
DCA President Gil Silva was thrilled by what he witnessed from the press box level. “ From the opening notes of the Skyliners’ show to the closing notes of the Hawthorne show, DCA’s going to have a very competitive season.”
Silva noted “ It was goose bump time all the way through, plenty of entertainment. I’m really impressed with the level of quality that came out for the first show of the year. Some corps have to be finishing up, but for the most part, it’s going to be a real rock’em, sock’em year for DCA!”