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KeithHall

Watkins Glen Squires

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Anyone have any memories of the corps? What happened? I saw them in 1981 with a larger corps than they had in 1980 (that was a small corps). Share with us!

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Anyone have any memories of the corps? What happened? I saw them in 1981 with a larger corps than they had in 1980 (that was a small corps). Share with us!

I remember this corps in 1976. What a hornline. They came off the line with Moorside March and nailed it. This was a great year for quality corps because this powerhouse missed making finals. They had a great show and wonderful presence on the field. I was very sad to see them go and miss them very much.

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Jud Spena here. I don't frequently visit this site and am quite surprised to see that there is a little discussion about our corps, the Watkins Glen Squires. We were the typical small town corps of that era. I suppose we were unique in that, as a result of a confluence of positive influences, we managed to compete very successfully for a few years, basically the 70s, even though Watkins Glen has less than 3,000 residents.

To address the question about 1980 and 1981 here goes. After some very good years (we had placed as high as 13th at DCI and had been a frequent finalist in many major contests such as the DCI regionals, U.S. Open etc.) the 1980 season was a test of wills and guts for our small membership. Most of the previous year's members had moved on and a very small but determined nucleus was joined by an equally small but enthusiastic group of new members. The veterans were fiercely loyal kids and the rookies were looking for a good experience and even though the corps was tiny we had a very positive season taking part in Class "A" contests and traveling to DCI in Birmingham. There were about 50 members.

For the '81 season there was a good percentage of returning members and they went out and brought their friends in and the corps grew to about 90. While not really in contention for anything except maybe an outside shot at the top 25 and DCI Associate status it was very inspiring to be part of the corps' rebirth, so to speak. We managed to get into the finals of a number of contests like the U.S. Open, Key to the Sea in Toledo, DCE etc. We came in 2nd place in the NYS Championship contest which was very meaningful for us. (Does anyone out there remember when there were state championships?)

It was a very inspiring time and there were lots of feelings of better things to come. Unfortunately by the middle of August the corps had used up most of its resources and limped home from DCI in Montreal pretty much flat broke. We tried to reorganize over the winter but there were too many things working against the corps and, as so many others, the Squires folded up in May of 1982.

If anyone out there is interested in the whole story I have copies of my book "Echoes in the Valley" still available. It's a great read, even if I do say so myself. It covers the entire history of the Squires from 1964 to 1982. In addition it traces the roots of drum corps in Watkins Glen back to 1931. Tons of pictures, lot of great anecdotes. Contact me if you're interested.

Thanks for reading.

Jud

judspena@aol.com

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I remembered a show in Endicott, NY 1971 and Squires won the show and everyone said "Squires? Wow!" Watching the corps grow in NY was fun. How can you forget "Beer Barrel Polka" and then later in the 1970's "Polovetsian Dances?" Oh I taped the corps at the NT Open and they played "London Bridge." I wish I had scores from the NT Open, I think that year was won by the Blue Devils.

I saw the small 1980 Squires at North Tonawanda and was sad, yet happy because they were so good even with the small size. I was stationed at Seneca Army Depot and wanted so much to march Squires for the 1981 season as I was getting out of the Army then but ended up with a little corps called the Frontiersmen for my ageout year.

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I remembered a show in Endicott, NY 1971 and Squires won the show and everyone said "Squires? Wow!" Watching the corps grow in NY was fun. How can you forget "Beer Barrel Polka" and then later in the 1970's "Polovetsian Dances?" Oh I taped the corps at the NT Open and they played "London Bridge." I wish I had scores from the NT Open, I think that year was won by the Blue Devils.

I saw the small 1980 Squires at North Tonawanda and was sad, yet happy because they were so good even with the small size. I was stationed at Seneca Army Depot and wanted so much to march Squires for the 1981 season as I was getting out of the Army then but ended up with a little corps called the Frontiersmen for my ageout year.

Wow. That show in Endicott was the greatest moment of our lives up to that point! We had basically the same reaction...disbelief! I wrote about it my book. If you're interested go to www.buybooksontheweb.com, search for "Echoes in the Valley" you'll find an excerpt from the book that gives an account of that night.

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Jud's book is indeed a great read! I had many friends in the Squires through the years and as Jud pointed out, some of the vets when west with me in 1980 to march our age-out season in the Schaumburg Guardsmen.

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Hi old folks! (and I mean that fondly!)

I do NOT like to reopen old topics, but as probably one of the few people here with a Squires story, I had to relight the fire.

I grew up in a small town in the sticks in Florida where our HS band director turned us on to drum corps. However, aside from watching finals on PBS and going to a few shows, we didn't have a good idea of how or where one would join a corps. So I'm off to Ithaca, NY in my freshman year at Cornell, in the marching band and become friends with a girl from Ithaca who's HS band was also very into the drum corps thing. So we talked corps and went to local marching band competitions and such and laughed at the old high-steppers in our own band (Cornell Band was very loose). Through our corps talk we realize that there's an ACTUAL drum and bugle corps only 30 miles away from us in Watkins Glen and we should check it out.

We got hold of the director and he invited us to the last rehearsal before Christmas break. So we go but we were SO nervous about going, thinking we'd have to audition, and how hard would it be to get in, etc. My only frame of reference was those people in the top-12 corps from Championships, who were all grown in laboratories so that they'd all march and play the same way. We didn't think they took "normal" people like us and maybe we could beg and work really hard. In retrospect, I'm sure the director was equally excited about having some fresh talent coming in. So we go and meet people and they try to work us into their "vision" of the '81 Squires: her in the guard and me in the hornline. Uhhh.....no.

I'd been playing woodwinds for many years, and had no desire whatsoever to switch teams and pick up a baritone bugle (remember bugles?). My friend, though, was a music major and knew her way around the brass family as well; she was a musician and wanted to play. But for some reason, maybe because she was a thin, pretty girl, they handed her a flag and pushed her into the guard.

Well we tried...we made it through the first day and said we'd come back in January. I even took the baritone back with to Ithaca and promised I'd work on it. However, neither one of us were liking the way this was turning out...did we want to give up weekends and the summer like this? Well, it was time for Christmas break so we weren't due back in Watkins Glen till January.

While at home in Florida for the break, my best bud from high school hears about ANOTHER small drum corps, only about an hour away at Tampa Bay, who was looking to bring in more members and really expand this year. And so we get invited to another rehearsal/ audition. We get there and there's at least twice the number that were at the Squires meeting, and we ask right up front about the co-ed color guard situation and they say Sure- we want a co-ed guard." So like that, we're now part of Suncoast Sound.

So after New Year's, we had to go back to Watkins Glen and politely bow out of the Squires. I was already committed to Suncoast and my friend said she wouldn't do it without me; so that was that.

Well, it turned out pretty good for me and Suncoast. Later that summer we actually ran into the Squires at a show somewhere in New York or Pennsylvania but it was little sad seeing the final corps that year. And I DON'T MEAN TO BAD-MOUTH THEM!!n They were a good, solid, medium-sized corps from a little town in the middle of upstate New York, as most of the corps in the Northeast were in those days. That's what they wanted and they ended up doing very well in '81. But Suncoast had close to a full corps (about 110) and we were looking forward to one day being one of the big guys, making FINALS and all that.

So that's my long story of almost becoming a Watkins Glen Squire and instead helping to develp Suncoast Sound (ooooh, shivers!). The end.

Edited by FLBuzcut

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