Cavaliers Remember Sal Ferrera
The world lost one of the truly great Cavaliers this week, with the passing of Sal Ferrera at age 77. Sal had been part of The Cavaliers quite literally since the beginning, starting out as a snare drummer with the corps in 1948, going on to become brass arranger and program director in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s, and finally corps director through the mid 70s.
Sal’s intelligence, taste, and high standards shaped the corps’ on-field identity during The Cavaliers’ first wave of dominance in the 50s and early 60s, as the corps moved from being a neighborhood corps with modest goals to being a national powerhouse. Then, after the corps had established themselves as champions, he went further, working with Len Piekarski and Larry McCormick to create shows that helped keep the corps on the leading edge of the activity and usher in the modern drum corps era. At a time when drum corps was a fairly crude musical form compared to today, his horn charts blended sophisticated harmonies and voicings with a bracing level of power and excitement – all the more impressive considering that those difficult charts were being played by young men who, in many cases, had never touched a horn before becoming a member of The Cavaliers horn line.
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