3rd Annual Scout House Black Thursday Pub
The third annual Preston Scout House Black Thursday pub night on April 17, 2014 will salute two of the giants in Ontario drum and bugle corps history while providing a significant financial boost to the next generation. Everyone is welcome to attend for an evening of reminiscing, renewing acquaintances and making new friends.
The pub night will take place beginning at 7 pm at the Preston Knights of Columbus building at 333 Speedsville Road in the Preston district of Cambridge. The building is the Scout House winter indoor rehearsal facility. Admission is free, with plenty of free parking available.
Memorabilia on display during the evening will highlight the drum corps careers of John Robins, a key contributor to the Kitchener/Waterloo drum and bugle corps scene for five decades, and Al “Abby” Strassburger, who had associations with Ventures all-girl drum and bugle corps, Flying Dutchman and Guelph Royalaires, including marching a horn player and serving as corps director. Many current members of Scout House alumni band had close contact with both men in earlier years when former Scout House members continued to march with Royalaires, Flying Dutchmen and other local groups.
Anyone with pictures, contest programs, souvenir items or any other memorabilia that could be displayed at the Black Thursday pub should contact Scout House board president Bruce Witmer at email: wwitmer [at] rogers [dot] com
Black Thursday organizers have also invited four members of the Ventures Winter Colour Guard to conduct fund raising projects during the evening, to help finance their summer activities with Drum Corps International (DCI) corps. Madison Cairney, Jessica Smith, Jessie Barsoum and Kylie Bradshaw have all auditioned and expect to participate in the Drum Corps International (DCI) summer competition tour with three of the most renowned corps in North America, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard and Troopers.
John Robins passed away in 2005 after almost 50 years of drum corps activity in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. A fund created in his name provides scholarships and bursaries to support to young musicians in the area. His drum corps career began with playing bass drum with 48th Field Squadron Royal Canadian Engineers Trumpet Band in 1955. The group eventually became the Flying Dutchmen drum and bugle corps. When the corps folded in 1966, many members moved to Guelph Royalaires. He took the remains of the Dutchmen and created the Flying Dutchmen Junior corps in 1967. The Dutch Boy Cadets, a feeder group, started operations in 1969. The two groups merged in 1976 to become Northstar. Its feeder group, called Cadets of Dutch Boy outlived Northstar to become Dutch Boy drum and bugle corps, with a feeder group named Cadets of Dutch Boy.
Over the years, he served in many management and instructional positions, including corps director, show designer, staff coordinator and marching instructor. He was also instrumental in founding the Ventures all girl drum and bugle corps, Kiwanis Kavaliers and St. Andrews of Cambridge. He was a past president of both the Ontario and the Canadian Drum and Bugle Corps Associations and was vice president of the Northstar Youth Organization at the time of his passing in February, 2005.
Al Strassburger, who passed away in 2013, played a G bass horn before he became corps director of the Royalaires in 1967, after the Guelph Royalaires and the Flying Dutchmen combined following the competition season in the autumn of 1966. He remained in that position for more than 20 years until the Royalaires disbanded. He also served on the Ventures board of directors for about a year before his passing. He was a great supporter of the Ventures from 1978 to 1983 when his daughter Christine was a marching member.
Under his direction, Royalaires finished in the top four in the Red Carpet Association championships every year throughout 1970s, winning the title in 1974.
The members of the Ventures Winter Guard who hope to spend the summer on the DCI contest circuit are Madison Cairney, Jessica Smith of Waterloo, Jessie Barsoum and Kylie Bradshaw of Kitchener.
Jessie Barsoum already has a guaranteed position with the Troopers. The other three will attend call back sessions in April: Jessica Smith and Kylie Bradshaw with Phantom Regiment and Madison Cairney with Santa Clara Vanguard.
In the interim, Smith and Bradshaw must complete and submit home work assignments from Phantom Regiment and keep up with monthly payments of $560 (U.S. dollars) that started in January. Total membership fee is $3,200 (U.S.).
Vanguard of Santa Clara, California, was formed in 1967 after another local drum and bugle corps, the Sunnyvale Sparks, disbanded. The corps is the only unit to qualify for every DCI world championship finals competition since 1972. Vanguard has won six DCI world championships, the first in 1973.
The Troopers have long been the only competitive junior drum and bugle corps in Wyoming, winning 11 national titles and competing in the DCI world championship finals nine time. Casper businessman Jim Jones founded the corps in 1957. It now represents Wyoming in widespread performances and events during the year.
Phantom Regiment is named for a popular song written by well-known American composer Leroy Anderson. The corps was founded in 1956 as the Rockford, Illinois, Rangers but changed names after staff members heard Anderson’s stirring march titled “The Phantom Regiment.” The corps has been a DCI world championship division I finalist every year since 1974, winning its first title in 1996.
The Black Thursday pub is a Scout House extension of a tradition established in the early 1960s by members of the Guelph Royalaires. The event began as a house party following practice on the evening before Good Friday, a holiday from work that allowed participants to sleep in after late-night socializing.
Black Thursday pub nights aim to restore the close relationships between former members of the many drum and bugle corps that flourished in the Guelph, Cambridge, Brantford and Kitchener/Waterloo area over the past 50 years. They are an opportunity for individuals of any age and background to celebrate drum and bugle corps and marching music involvement at any time during their lives.
Scout House now includes about 200 marching and associate members from more than 20 communities across southern Ontario who had previous marching music experience with more than 75 organizations. About half of the current group marched with the original Scout House Band, some as long ago as the early 1950s. The organization also includes the Preston Scout House Cadets drum and bugle corps for boys and girls ages 12 to 18.
Since its first stage show in 1999, Scout House has performed in more than 425 parades, field shows and concerts in communities across Ontario and Quebec, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, West Virginia and Maryland.
For more information about Preston 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 http://www.scouthouseband.com/