ironlips

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Everything posted by ironlips

  1. There were many "championships" and champions in those days. One I recall very clearly was the 1970 Miami show. While warming up the Garfield horn line, I kept hearing some pretty fine sounds from just out of sight around the other side of the stadium. When we finished I began to walk in that direction and the sound just got better and better. It was a corps from Kansas I had never even heard of, the Argonne Rebels! And half the horn line seemed to be populated by 12 year-old girls! When I finally got around in front of them the drum major gave a downbeat and they tore into Barnum and Bailey's like it was raw meat. I was totally gob-smacked. When they finished I asked one of the kids who their horn instructor was. "That lady over there", he replied, "Mrs. Opie." Sandra Opie. She sure took me to school that day. Then, that evening, Boston wailed Mancini's Conquest, complete with young Jimmy Centorino's scorching solo, and I stood on the back sideline as the Troopers blew open the circle while every flashbulb in the universe went off in my face. I get high even now, just thinking about this stuff. The '70s? Yeah. What a trip.
  2. "... came home a changed man ". They all did, my dad and his brothers included.. How could it not be so? The drum corps movement proved therapeutic for many, I think, reinforcing comradery and community. We were the real beneficiaries. Further research regarding PFC Ross reveals he escaped from the Nazis and fought alongside the Czech resistance until the rest of the Allies linked up with them and he rejoined his unit. Incredible story. Amazing man. He passed in 2004. I am trying to locate his family. A guy like this should be in a Buglers Hall of Fame. But all vets deserve our recognition and gratitude. Happy Veterans Day.
  3. I discovered these details after we "went to press", courtesy of Jari Villanueva's website, www.tapsbugler.org : The Paratrooper is PFC Don Ross, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. PFC Ross, a rifleman, was also the company bugler, and jumped with his CO. Shortly after this photo was taken, Ross landed outside the intended drop zone, right next to a German HQ, and was immediately captured. According to a quote from the book Tonight We Die As Men: The Untold Story of 3rd Battalion 506 Parachute Regiment, " He was with a small group of prisoners and the Germans were saying 'Shoot the Americans.' They rounded the guys up and were about to shoot them when a German officer stepped in and stopped them. His brother had been captured by the Allies and he wanted to make sure the Geneva convention was followed."
  4. Members 762 1,475 posts Report post Posted 2 hours ago (edited) I discovered these details after we "went to press", courtesy of Jari Villanueva's website, www.tapsbugler.org : The Paratrooper is PFC Don Ross, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. PFC Ross, a rifleman, was also the company bugler, and jumped with his CO. Shortly after this photo was taken, Ross landed outside the intended drop zone, right next to a German HQ, and was immediately captured. According to a quote from the book Tonight We Die As Men: The Untold Story of 3rd Battalion 506 Parachute Regiment, " He was with a small group of prisoners and the Germans were saying 'Shoot the Americans.' They rounded the guys up and were about to shoot them when a German officer stepped in and stopped them. His brother had been captured by the Allies and he wanted to make sure the Geneva convention was followed."
  5. I discovered these details after we "went to press", courtesy of Jari Villanueva's website, www.tapsbugler.org : The Paratrooper is PFC Don Ross, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. PFC Ross, a rifleman, was also the company bugler, and jumped with his CO. Shortly after this photo was taken, Ross landed outside the intended drop zone, right next to a German HQ, and was immediately captured. According to a quote from the book Tonight We Die As Men: The Untold Story of 3rd Battalion 506 Parachute Regiment, " He was with a small group of prisoners and the Germans were saying 'Shoot the Americans.' They rounded the guys up and were about to shoot them when a German officer stepped in and stopped them. His brother had been captured by the Allies and he wanted to make sure the Geneva convention was followed."
  6. This is an interesting discussion. Looking at the bigger picture of corps repertoire historically: - 19th Century corps music sounded like this: - in the early 1900's, Sousa began incorporating "Bugle Trios" in many of his marches, mainly to give the other winds a rest. The Thunderer is a good example. - when "modern" drum corps got rolling after WWI, these open tone tunes were still the norm until Bill Ludwig placed a horizontal valve on the horn. Voila! Enter diatonic marches and even some classics like Commonwealth Edison's Tannhauser and a few pop tunes like Over There, from Irving Berlin's Broadway show. - it's hard to pinpoint when "jazz" entered the picture, but it was probably the early '50s, depending how you define the term. By the middle of that decade, that Murphy cat in Lt. Norman Prince was wowing crowds with Sweet Georgia Brown, and Bobby Adair quickly followed in the Reilly Raiders with Stardust. Latin-inspired music had been around since the late '40's (think Caballeros, founded in '46). Even the Air Force Corps played Perez Prado's Mambo Jambo by the mid-'50s. - as entertainment trumped patriotism in the late '60s and into the '70s, Mangione and Tower of Power became source material. (The hippest version of Squib Cakes came from the Iowa cornfields, courtesy of Doc Crosser's Osage Precisionaires.) Capturing a jazz "feel" has always been a real challenge for corps ensembles, much more so for drums than horns. Given the current infatuation with velocity, there won't be much swinging on the field, and even double time gets crushed to the point of being mechanical. Do not despair, however. The pendulum and the music are sure to swing back.
  7. Really Old Drum Corps

    What a great moment in time you have brought back, and so vividly! I' m sure everyone here would be most interested in your own personal corps history. Please elaborate, and "Welcome, Joe." Frank Dorritie
  8. You may have a point. I'm attempting to steer this towards the relationship between how the flag has been historically connected to drum corps and the way it is viewed today generally. That was the subject of the original piece. I don't think that in itself is political, but the vagaries of shifting socio-political attitudes through time are relevant. In my view, drum corps has always been a microcosm of the larger picture. As such, it has always had it's share of internal politics.
  9. Of course I agree with Brasso. The footballers are not showing submission; quite the opposite I expect. My personal opinion is that their kneeling is a rather odd gesture for protest. Still, that's their choice. And from their perspective it's not really about the flag at all. I think they are protesting what they perceive as an injustice and are simply taking the opportunity to do so very publicly. The kneeling gesture in this context is lame in my opinion, albeit completely "legal". Others want to spin this as some disrespect for the flag. I do not believe that is the intent. Since 9/11 there has been a resurgence of respect for what the colors represent, I think. In my view, that is a good thing. It matters not if one is a Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Federalist or whatever. This is our country, collectively. Drum Corps has always been one of the manifestations of that, flag or no flag.
  10. So let's talk about the kneeling part, as opposed to, say, raising a fist or turning one's back on a public official. Historically, to kneel suggests submission, no? One kneels to the king, or the pope, or at the altar. Does this not show respect? Urban legend holds that the left-handed use of a dinner fork derived from a subtle code signalling sympathy for the Colonial cause during the American Revolution. If so, it was a "protest" of common etiquette, British etiquette. To the extent that it bolstered confidence and unity among the rebels it contributed to their success and the eventual constitution guaranteeing the right of protest. (Well, that's a bit of a stretch, too.) Meanwhile, von Steuben was developing drill and ceremonies which actually would morph into certain flag etiquette protocols that ultimately led to the "Flag Code" observed for a long time in drum corps, the Byzantine requirements of which resulted in restricting and frustrating drill writers for years. Many a show was lost on penalties like "trailing violations", whereby the National Color was preceded on the same plane by another banner anywhere else on the field, even for an instant. All this was to show deference to our national symbol. Eventually there was enough protest among the corps themselves that the requirement for displaying the flag itself was dropped. (Aside: It was becoming difficult to defend "requiring" overt patriotism as the ranks of young Americans, many of whom were drum corps-connected, had been decimated by conscription into a war increasingly seen as absurd. But that is another discussion for another day.) The flag, however, remains a most important symbol, more important than those who use it for political purposes, whether burning it or wrapping themselves with it, or anything in between.
  11. Well, OK. The leadership of the Reveries formed a new corps. Perhaps "morphed" was a bit of a stretch there. Still, the point is that a protest produced a result. The thrust of the article was the freedom of expression, and the purpose was to generate a discussion thereof, within the context of how that played itself out in drum corps. It is, after all, a microcosm or "the real world", after all. Thanks for your thoughts, wherever they lead.
  12. So, just to bring this full circle and back to drum corps, protests always produce results of one kind or another. When the Immaculate Conception Reveries protested their placement by occupying the starting line in a sit-down demonstration years ago, they were summarily DQ-ed. That was the immediate result. In short order however, that corps morphed into an East Coast powerhouse called the 27th Lancers which proceeded to tear up the league for the better part of 20 years, giving creative opportunities to the likes of Charlie Poole, Jim Wedge, Ike Ianessa, George Zingale, Marc Sylvester, Denice Bonfiglio and others whose impact on today's activity is both evident and significant.
  13. And that's exactly the point. Symbolic gestures are powerful. In this land, everyone has the right to freedom of expression, providing it's done "peaceably". VPUS exercised this right recently by walking out of a football game, thereby protesting the protest. Even anarchists, supremacists and other wanna-be nazis are entitled to their opinions, but usually forget the "peaceably" part. Yelling a racial slur while swinging a club at somebody doesn't qualify as protest, but does meet the standard for a felony. Children who can't play nice must be sent to their rooms. We thought we fixed all that racism stuff in the '60s. How naive of us. And drum corps, for all its positive social qualities, was not immune from discrimination. One of today's major contenders, located within a large and very diverse metropolitan area, didn't see its first Black member until 1974. It's not that someone stood at the gate with a stick. Those kids just didn't see themselves in that uniform, so they didn't bother to go there. Now they do. It's that subtle, and that obvious. Symbolic actions produce results. They always have.
  14. They just don't come any better than Dan Farrell. From the time he picked up the horn, he's always been at the top of his game and enjoyed the universal respect of his peers. He may change careers, but those things won't change. Bravo, Bravo, Bravissimo, my friend.
  15. While it's true that Aunt Nellie resisted the decision to introduce a female component into the Cadets at first (She was a staunch traditionalist), she ultimately embraced the idea, as this photo proves: https://www.google.com/search?biw=1078&bih=486&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=garfield+cadets+uniforms&oq=garfield+cadets+uniforms&gs_l=psy-ab.3...171199.177501.0.177968.12.12.0.0.0.0.341.2191.1j2j6j1.10.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..2.4.981...0j0i24k1j0i30k1.0.q2FYpEWaMDI#imgrc=K_nl0WQxlDM_KM: She's "pinning" the sash for one of the guard (Andrea Di Martino) before a show in '77. Note that Andrea's very non-traditional uniform includes "hot pants". Aunt Nellie's world was changing, along with the entire drum corps activity, but she rolled with it. At that point, though, the national color was still on the field, and if memory serves, the young lady pictured had begun her performance career guarding it with a side-arm.
  16. Meet Aunt Nellie:
  17. " Times DO change. And Color Guards are FAR more important in the scores./placements now than perhaps any time in history of the activity. " In my view, there is no question about that. In fact, a solid case can be made that the guard has become the single most important visual element in any field production. Consider the success of corps whose principal visual designers are primarily guard specialists.
  18. Rest in Peace Paul Cain

    Paul was a man of great generosity who freely shared his talent and efforts in the cause of the activity he so cherished. We are all the beneficiaries of those efforts.
  19. Ellis has been my drum corps pal for over 50 years. He's "given back" in many ways, by teaching, writing, financial support, and donating his legal expertise "pro bono" continually. I am asking my DCP colleagues to simply help get the word out by clicking here: http://kidney4ellis.blogspot.com In this fraternity, sometimes you just "know a guy who knows a guy". With gratitude, Frank Dorritie Ellis' Field Drums Blog: http://blog.fielddrums.com/
  20. HELP SAVE A BROTHER'S LIFE

    Just a follow-up, and we can certainly use some good news: Ellis found a donor, a wonderful, generous woman from the Boston area. He got his transplant and is recovering nicely. Blessings on both of them!
  21. Grading the Bugle Boys (and girls)

    " Federal support is for military defense not bands " I think I was absent the day this was discussed in my American Constitutional History Class. There is little doubt in my mind that we spend too much on the military, in general. In fact, we could probably do without half of the generals, and nobody would notice. Those salaries and perks could cover a lot of appearances by The Commandant's Own and the West Point Hellcats. I'm afraid I'll have to retain the "philosophy" position, on the grounds that it's really a question of prioritizing the expenditure, not the amount thereof. But let's keep the discussion going. I'm not so doctrinaire that I can't be convinced by a cogent argument espousing another viewpoint. Besides, it's now officially the off-season and we need some stimulation.
  22. Grading the Bugle Boys (and girls)

    What an amazingly intelligent discussion to hold on these modest pages! The economists are dueling. Soon the music educators and performers will have their say. Me, I was a History/Poli-Sci major, but only a lowly Sgt. E-5 in the Army, and not even in the band. When I asked for an "indoor" job, they made me a tank driver. Still, I know Jefferson's words about government being instituted to secure the "unalienable rights" of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", and it's simply not possible to quantify something like happiness, which is essentially qualitative. A nation without national music is soulless, and recordings (on which I depend for my livelihood) simply do not cut it in this instance. It's really not about the economics of the issue, it's about the philosophy.
  23. John Pratt Needs Our Prayers

    I was honored to meet Mr. Pratt several years ago at the WDC Hall of Fame inductions. As with all the truly great teachers, he is gracious and generous to a fault. John had much praise for other drum teachers we both knew, like Dennis Delucia, Fred Sanford, Bobby Thompson and Jerry Shellmer. All of those masters would have deferred to him, and did.
  24. Highlights of Your DC Days

    "All with Les Diplomates as FH, Lead Soprano and horn instructor:" Les Diplomates...one of my favorite corps of all time! Those people were light years ahead of everybody in the GE category when I competed with them in the Sunrisers. We absolutely loved those guys, and the gorgeous gals as well. Canadian corps always had a joi de vivre that electrified audiences, and the Dips were the epitome of that. My hat is off to hem to this day.
  25. Hey, play nice, youse guys. (Please note NYC accent, which I can't seem to lose, not that there's anything wrong with that.)