Empire Cadets Performance Schedule

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None of them were even born when Rochester’s Empire Statesmen first took to the contest field in 25 years ago in 1983, but the young members of the Empire Cadets marching band will be part of the anniversary celebrations during the Vince Bruni Preview of Champions contest on July 5 in Growney Stadium at John Fisher College.

The Preview of Champions, named in honor of Empire Statesmen founder Vince Bruni, who passed away in 2003, will feature Empire Statesmen, Hawthorne Caballeros, Rochester Crusaders, Syracuse Brigadiers and Dansville White Sabers in competition, along with the Empire Cadets and Empire Statesmen Alumni Corps in exhibition. The Empire Cadets’ practice and performance schedule coincides with the school year, and the annual summer break begins after their Preview performance.

The Empire Cadets will also be marching in the annual Irondequoit Independence Day parade on July 4.

For more than 10 years, the Empire Cadets have been an active component of Rochester’s performing arts culture providing entertainment during such local events as the Rochester Lilac Parade, area Memorial Day parades, Flower City Open Drum and Bugle Corps contest at the University of Rochester’s Fauver Stadium, July 4 Independence Day parades and Christmas Concerts at city hall.

The Empire Cadets were also founded by Vince Bruni, as part of the Empire Statesmen’s community outreach program to provide cultural opportunities for young people in the inner city and surrounding area. Through their outreach program, the Statesmen have helped raise more than $300,000 for Rochester and area schools and music programs, by participating in benefit concerts over the past 20 years. These benefit performances have taken place not just in the Rochester area, but across western New York and southern Ontario.

The Empire Cadets program is currently run by David Bruni and general manager Ron Cheesbro. Instrumental instructors are Jamie Gibbs and Shane Startzel. Patsy Vankirk handles the percussion section and Dana Jackiw works with the color guard.
A registration form for boys and girls interested in becoming a member of the Empire Cadets is available online, at

Applicants under the age of 18 must have their parents’ permission to complete this form and join the marching band. Parents and young applicants with questions are encouraged to contact the Empire Statesmen office at (585) 266-2232.

The Empire Statesmen are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in 2008 with alumni participation in parades and other events and a field show routine including highlights of the three main musical themes that have defined the corps’ contest routines since 1983: songs from the Big Band era, selections from some of the most popular shows to ever appear on Broadway, and patriotic salutes to the men and women of the armed services.

The anniversary theme is a tribute to Vince Bruni, affectionately known by members of the drum corps community across North America as “Mr. B.” As with earlier presentations, the Statesmen’s anniversary show will put the emphasis on entertaining the audience while still competing at top level.

Empire Statesmen achievements over the past two and half decades include winning five Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championships, four American Legion national titles, and the triple crown: the DCA and American Legion titles and the World Show Band championship in London, England all in the same year in 1998, when the field show featured music from West Side Story. Empire Statesmen have finished in the top four during DCA championship tournaments for 20 consecutive years.

The Statesmen are sponsoring the DCA championships for the third year in a row, with events in several downtown Rochester locations and at PAETEC Park stadium on Labor Day weekend.

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame chose the Empire Statesmen as the 1990s all-age corps of the decade, in recognition of their success on the contest field, and the innovative scheduling of mid-summer concert tours outside North America to introduce drum corps entertainment to audiences in such countries as Mexico, England, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, Bermuda, the Netherlands, and France. The Hall of Fame was founded by Vince Bruni in 1976 and now includes 430 men and women from across the United States and Canada.

The Empire Statesmen have also reached new audiences while performing in such events as the Ryder Cup golf tournament and the International Marine Tattoo in Rochester, the President’s inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., the Rochester Lilac Festival, a special concert for the Greater Rochester Visitors’ Association (GRVA), aboard ship during a World Drum Corps Hall of Fame winter cruise, during half time at Hamilton Tiger Cats and Buffalo Bills professional football games. Across the border in Ontario, Canada, the Statesmen have participated in the Burlington Sound of Music Festival Grande Parade and field contest, Burlington Spring Tune Up benefit concerts, the Welland Rose Festival parade and the Kitchener/Waterloo Oktoberfest parade and field show exhibition.
The Empire Statesmen drum and bugle corps is a self-supporting independent group that represents the city of Rochester across the United States and Canada and as far abroad as Europe, the Caribbean and South America.

For more information about any aspect of the Empire Statesmen organization, call (585) 266-2232 or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org

Posted by on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008. Filed under DCA News.