Scout House Cadets Expanding To Drum And Bugle Corps

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Preston Scout House Cadets celebrated their first anniversary as a drumline by expanding the instruction staff and adding a brass section to become a drum and bugle corps. The drumline held its first practice in September 2012 and performed in public less than four months later. The first brass practice took place in the week following the Cadets’ first anniversary party at Scout House building in Cambridge in late September 2013.

Preston Scout House Band established the Cadets as part of the recruiting drive to mark the 75th anniversary of the original band’s first practice in October 1938 as an innovative new activity for members of the 1st Preston Boy Scout Troop.

The Cadets’ practice schedule will include one Saturday morning session per month in addition to weekly Wednesday evening practices. The Cadets drumline is now a member of Drumline Ontario (, a Canadian not for profit organization providing percussion ensembles of every level the opportunity to improve and perform.

Several new instructors have been added to the Cadets staff to handle the expanded activities.

Gaelen Swartz is the new visual caption whose first job will be to teach new corps members how to march in step and maintain dressing with the same technique and look. When it’s time to learn field shows, he will design and teach the drill. He played snare drum with the Blue Saints Drum and Bugle Corps from Sudbury, Ontario in 2009. He played baritone horn with Pioneer Drum and Bugle Corps from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2012 and with Empire Statesmen Drum and Bugle Corps from Rochester, New York in 2013.

Bill Graham is brass caption head, working with Sally Ascroft, who also currently plays bass drum with Scout House Band. Graham is a 50-year veteran of drum and bugle corps activity in southern Ontario. He began taking private lessons in Guelph as a young boy and at age 10 was playing cornet and baritone horn with the Red Chevron Club band. He moved to Guelph Sea Cadets Ajax playing soprano horn then French horn. He spent 17 years with Guelph Royalaires playing, instructing and marching as drum major. He has been associated with groups in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, three different corps in Hamilton, Galt (now part of the city of Cambridge), Batavia, Kitchener and Preston Scout House Alumni Band.

Jim Pratt continues as percussion caption head, leading a team that includes Ralph Ullman and Jim Kane.

Pratt has been active in the drum corps world since 1968, first marching in the Guelph Sea Cadet corps drumline, the Guelph Optimist Knights and playing snare drum with the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) finalist Niagara Regionnaires. He started to teach in 1982 as the caption head for the newly formed Conqueror II drum corps of Hamilton, undefeated Canadian national champion in 1984. After some family time away from drum corps, he returned to march in the Guelph Royalaires Alumni and serve as bass tech for Dutch Boy drum and bugle corps from 2002 – 2005.

Jim Kane currently plays snare in the Canadian Associates Drumming Rudimental Excellence (CADRE) percussion ensemble. He started his long involvement in the drum corps world in the Toronto Optimists Cadets in 1966 playing snare drum. He marched in the Toronto Optimists from 1970 to 1975 on double tenor, tympani, and triple tenor. He was with the Seneca Optimists for 1976 and 1977 on triple tenor and triple conga. He was the triple instructor for St. John’s Girls of Brantford in 1974/’75 and was the caption head for the Newmarket Ambassadors in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

Ralph Ullman marched as a first bass line drummer for Niagara Regionnaires 1982 and Empire Statesmen of Rochester, New York in 1983, 1984. After graduating from college in 1986 he started studying the trap set with various top educators in Toronto. He continues to study, play and enjoys giving back to the kids of Scout House Cadets.

More information about Preston Scout House Cadets is available at pshcadets [at] outlook [dot] ca

For more information about Scout House Band, contact Activities Director Nancy Weiler at telephone (519) 653-3376, email prestonscouthouseband [dot] adm [at] sympatico [dot] ca or visit the Web site at

Posted by on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.