Scout House Returning To DCA Alumni Spectacular For Ninth Time
Preston Scout House Alumni Band will make its ninth appearance since 2002 in the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) Alumni Spectacular field show in Rochester, New York on Labor Day weekend, part of a 10-corps lineup that represents the entire span of modern drum and bugle corps activity from the 1930s to today.
The Alumni Spectacular begins at 10 am in Sahlen’s Stadium, home of the Rochester Rhinos, on Sunday September 4. The stadium is located at 460 Oak Street within walking distance of downtown Rochester. Ticket information is available from DCA at: http://www.dcacorps.org/
The alumni corps participating in this year’s show, in order of appearance, are: the Freelancers of Sacramento, California; Toronto Optimists; Bridgemen of Bayonne, New Jersey; Reilly Raiders of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania; Crusaders Senior Corps of Boston; Mighty St. Joe’s of LeRoy, New York; Park City Pride of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Preston Scout House of Cambridge, Ontario; New York Skyliners; Caballeros of Hawthorne, New Jersey.
Preston Scout House
Scout House originated in the late 1930s as a non-traditional activity for the members of the 1st Preston Boy Scout Troop. During almost 30 years of activity until 1967, Scout House, named after the scout troop’s building, won more than 80 regional, provincial, national and international titles. Scout House blazed a trail of innovation and performance excellence throughout that period, introducing Latin-styled numbers, Broadway hits and classical selections while other corps were still playing mainly military marches; introducing French horns and E-flat bass baritones; competing in four different categories in the Waterloo Music Festival in a single day, winning each one, and then performing a late night encore of its field show before 30,000 spectators. Since its first stage concert in 1999, Scout House Alumni Band has performed more than 350 parades, field shows and concerts in communities across Ontario and Quebec, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Since the start of activity in 1932, the Sacramento Freelancers have appeared as a senior drum and bugle corps, an all-girls junior corps, a World Class junior corps and a World Class winter drumline. The Freelancers have been inactive several times, but have always bounced back to activity. In 1989, the Freelancers returned to Drum Corps International’s top 12 rankings, the first time a corps that went inactive made it back into the finals. The Freelancers alumni organization began in 2008 following the DCI World Championships in California. The Freelancers Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps includes former members from other corps and other states, including Blue Devils, Kingsmen and Velvet Knights and individuals with no drum corps background.
The Toronto Optimists Drum and Bugle Corps was formed in 1957 and immediately became the dominant junior corps in Canada. Between 1958 and 1975 the corps won 12 Canadian national championships and a many other regional and international awards. In 1976, the Toronto Optimists and the Seneca Princemen merged to form the Seneca Optimists. The Seneca Optimists finished in the DCI top 12 in both 1976 and 1977. The corps’ final contest was in 1978. The alumni corps was formed in 2003. Over the succeeding eight years, the Optimists Alumni has included individuals from more than 40 different drum and bugle corps.
The Bridgemen Alumni Corps includes elements from two periods in the organization’s history: the St. Andrew’s era (1965-1975) and the Bananas era (1976-1988), The Bananas nickname refers to the long yellow coats worn in the latter years. In 1972, the Bridgemen earned charter membership into the newly formed Drum Corps International organization. Following a 12th place position in the prelims, Bridgemen became the first corps to compete in a DCI finals contest. The alumni corps initially appeared in 2005 as a parade corps wearing bowling shirts reminiscent of the Bananas Era uniform jacket and baseball caps. In 2006, the alumni corps marched on to the field for the first time since the 1987 DCI championship prelims, wearing the uniform of the Bananas era.
The alumni corps founded in 1994 traces its roots back to 1946, when veterans returning home to the Philadelphia area following World War II re-organized the junior corps they had belonged to earlier into a new senior corps named in honor of a fallen comrade, Corporal Frederick W. Reilly, thereby giving the unit an Irish connotation. Because no new horns had been manufactured during the war years, the corps initially used old instruments that leaked air through tiny pinholes created by constantly polishing the brass for more than a decade. The solution: paint the bugles green to match the uniforms. The automobile enamel sealed the holes and eliminated the need for polishing except for inside the bell. Reilly Raiders won the first Dream Contest at Roosevelt Stadium in 1949, setting the stage for a remarkable run throughout the 1950s. Reilly won its first national championship title in 1950. In 1952, they won both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national titles, the only corps to hold both titles simultaneously. The corps eventually won seven national championships and 16 Pennsylvania state titles. From 1946 to 1959, Reilly Raiders won 90 of 129 contests entered and finished second 31 times.
Crusaders Senior Corps of Boston
The alumni corps now known as Crusaders Senior Corps of Boston originated in 1991 as the ‘Saders, in reference to the popular nickhame for the well known junior corps Boston Crusaders, from which the alumni corps was formed. The Crusaders, the third oldest junior corps in the United States and a founding member of Drum Corps International, have also had several identities over the years. The corps was originally known as Most Precious Blood Crusaders, then Hyde Park Crusaders, finally becoming Boston Crusaders. During a period of financial problems, the corps competed simply as Boston, later assuming the Boston Crusaders identity again. The Crusaders experimented with the use of electronic equipment in 1985, using a synthesizer in their field show even though they were penalized two full points. DCI did not approve the use of electronic amplification until 2004.
Mighty St. Joe’s
The alumni corps was formed in 1991 by former members of Mighty St. Joseph’s of Batavia 20 years after the original corps ceased activities in 1971. St. Joseph’s Drum Corps was founded in 1931 by the Rev. T. Bernard Kelly, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, as a youth activity for youngsters in the Batavia area. The corps started as a choir, then was a fife and drum corps and finally became a parade corps. In 1951, corps graduates formed St Joseph’s Drum Corps Association Inc., which sponsored and supervised two corps; a feeder corps, ages 6 to 12 and Mighty St Joe’s, for members ages 12 to 21. St. Joseph’s Drum Corps operated as a parade corps till the late 1950s, when it became a field competition corps. During the l960s, Mighty St. Joe’s rose to national and international prominence. Notable achievements including winning eight New York State American Legion championships; four New York-Canadian championships, the 1971 Canadian Open championship, the l968 drum line national championship. St. Joseph’s placed as high as fourth in national and second in World Open competition.
Park City Pride
Park City Pride Combined Alumni formed following a 35-year reunion of the Bridgeport PAL Cadets, when the idea of forming a parade corps was suggested. Organizers decided that anyone who had ever marched in any drum corps in the area would be welcome to join. More than 200 showed up at the first organizational meeting. To get started, all the equipment had to be borrowed. Horns and drums came from many area corps, including Skyliners, Hurricanes, Hawthorne Caballeros and Lake Erie. At its first field show just 100 days after organizing, 233 members of Park City Pride drew a wild, enthusiastic response from a hometown audience. The original plan to perform just once then return the borrowed equipment was quickly abandoned. A new management team was quickly formed, horn players obtained their own instruments and the color guard secured their own flags and poles. The corps was completely outfitted by August 2004, with the arrival of new drums.
New York Skyliners
The alumni corps of the New York Skyliners was originally named The Grand Street Boys, but changed two years later in 1996 to NY Skyliners Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps. The alumni corps’ first two performances were the Memorial Day Parade in Garfield, New Jersey and Lodi, New Jersey in 1994 and 1995 with 12 horns and four drums. The corps’ first Great Alliance of Seniors (GAS) appearance was in 1996 with 29 horns and 11 drums. The New York Skyliners Drum and Bugle Corps was established in 1945 and is a founding member of Drum Corps Associates (DCA). The corps has been a World Open champion, three-time DCA world champion and two-time DCA Class A champion. The original Skyliners were well known beyond the contest field, having performed in television commercials, at National Football League games, in Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall.
The Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Corps was organized in March 1994 by 12 former corps members. The first public appearance was at the GAS reunion hosted by the Cabs on April 1, 1995. In 1996 a simple drill was instituted for field shows, and the following year a full drill was performed. Originally, membership was open only to former Caballeros. In the spring of 2000, however, membership was opened to outside applicants with certain qualifications. The Hawthorne Caballeros have been top competitors and fan favorites since their founding in the late 1940s. They have won the DCA world championship nine times, the American Legion national title 16 times, the National Dream Contest 17 times, and the New Jersey State American Legion title 43 times. The Cabs have completed five undefeated seasons, including consecutively in 1984 and 1985. In 1989, during DCA’s 25th anniversary season, fans voted the Caballeros their favorite senior drum and bugle corps of all time. The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame named the Caballeros the senior corps of decade twice, from 1960 to ’69 and 1970 to ’79.