Raiders 20th Anniversary Celebration Banquet
The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps celebrated their twentieth anniversary with a banquet in Pompton Plains, NJ. The walls of the hall were adorned with jackets from past Raider uniforms and pictures from most of the past twenty seasons which set the mood for the banquet. In addition, the Raiders’ Division III first place trophy and flag were on display with other Raiders memorabilia. Alumni from the Raiders first season, current members and others who played a part in shaping the history of the Raiders were on hand to share stories and experiences from their time with the corps.
It was a time to express appreciation to those who helped bring the Raiders to this special landmark. Certificates of appreciation were presented to George Lavelle Jr. and George Lavelle Sr. through whose vision the Raiders were created. Connie and Tony Bestreski received a certificate for the role they played in establishing the corps, and for their continuing years of support. Past executive director, Phil Melius and his wife Janette were recognized as well as current executive director Tommy Maiello. The Wayne PAL was acknowledged for their assistance in providing housing, storage areas and the opportunity for the corps to raise money by working at midnight bingo.
It was a time for looking back at the corps’ journey and for sharing hope for the future. Past and present Raiders, staff, family and friends formed a circle to join in signing the corps song “One More Time”. It was a special moment, which emphasized the family bond felt by those involved with the Raiders in any capacity. Executive Director, Tommy Maiello, expressed his happiness at being able to reunite with former members and he hopes that the corps will have a similar celebration each year to allow current members to connect with alumni and share the corps’ rich traditions.