Southern Knights Celebrate 25th Anniverary Of DCA Trip
In 1990 the Southern Knights Drum & Bugle Corps from Brighton, England embarked on a 3 week trip to the USA to be the first European Corps to compete at the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) World Championships which were held in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 2015 we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of this tour.
In August 1990 140+ personnel set of from the UK to Toronto, Canada. Initially the Corps were housed at Victoria University in Toronto. A couple of days later they crossed the border into the USA and spent the first few days in Buffalo, New York spectating at the Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships plus they could not miss the chance of a day at Niagara Falls.
At the completion of the DCI event they took possession of 90% of the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps equipment and vehicles (thanks to Carl Ruocco – the Corps Director of the Crossmen in 1990) and made their way to Long Island, New York (a 10 hour drive) and specifically to Sachem High School which was their home for the first part of their stay.
During the time in Long Island they competed at their first DCA contest, in Derby, Connecticut, (Saturday 25th August) where they came 7th (out of 7!!) and then also attended the United Drum Corps Association (UDCA) Championships – a small and independent New York Drum Corps circuit (that sadly is no longer active) – for what they thought was an exhibition performance until they were announced as the UDCA Champions for 1990.
One of the other highlights whilst in New York was the opportunity for the Corps to perform in exhibition at a Baseball game at the world famous Yankee Stadium – how they got 100+ Baseball bats back through customs will always be a mystery!!
With a few days to go before the DCA World Championships the Corps moved base to Allentown to prepare for the main event. The Corps also performed for the local Mayor in the town centre as a “Thank You” for hosting them.
On the weekend of Saturday 1st September and Sunday 2nd September 1990 the DCA World Championships were held at the J Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown and on the Saturday the Corps were placed 12th in the Prelims. As only the top 10 went through to Finals the Corps were given the honour of also performing on the Sunday in exhibition at the Finals where they were presented with the DCA European Champions flag.
After returning from the USA the Corps final performance of 1990 was at the Drum Corps United Kingdom Contest held at the Leicester Saffron Lane Cycledrome on 16th September – little did anyone know at the time that this would also be the final performance of the Southern Knights Drum & Bugle Corps at this level!!
A Facebook group has been created to commemorate this anniversary and was launched at the beginning of the year and is being continually updated with photos, stories and videos from that never to be forgotten summer for so many people.
“It’s surprising how quickly 25 years passes” said Alan Thompson, Corps Director in 1990 and current Chairman of Southern Knights – which is now a Winter Guard only organisation, “I wanted to create a reminder of that great year and see if we can rekindle friendships that may have been lost over the years, allow people to relive the experience and also enable them show their new families what they were involved in all those years ago and the Facebook group has already bought people back together although we are still looking for a number of members and staff we have lost touch with.”
The Facebook group is open to all to view and can be found at – https://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthernKnightsUSA1990/
Alan, along with the 1990 Show Coordinator, Ian Newton, and 1990 Brass Caption Head, Ian Lyall, will be travelling to Rochester, New York for the 2015 DCA Championships to celebrate this 25th Anniversary and for Ian Lyall there is an added celebration as his youngest son is a member of the Kidsgrove Scouts from the UK who are competing at this year’s event on 5th-6th September at Sahlen’s Stadium.