Dick Jennings

Really Old Drum Corps

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I turned mt tarot card over and its sort of blurry, but its showing a picture of a white haired man with the name "Scotty Chapelle" on it. I then went to the next card and turned it over and it has a fellow on it and under his name is " Paul Palange ". Then for the hell of it, I went to the 3rd card and turned it over and it has a fellow and under his picture it says " Al Saia "....4th and final card has a rather large fellow and under his picture it says " Ed Denon ". I don't know what any of this all means. I need to get rid of these superstition cards nonsense and go see a priest or something for spiritual guidance on these Drum Corps mysteries. I wish Father Kierce was still around. He'd set me straight on this.

Don't stop turning the cards over.........5 could be, Joe McNaught, and then 6 would be "Buzzy" Bergdahl and wait, how about 7 being Red Wallace and on the back side would be Jimmy Murphy. 8,9 and 10 would be Paul DeBasio, (can't remember 1st name) Dagastino and then of course jerry Shelmar (not a bad drum line) and then the man who put drum corps on the records from Fleetwood and we just lost him.........Dick Blake. Now how's that for a pretty good cards?

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Andy: better not forget to include the Majestic Knights or the Cambridge Caballeros....:rolleyes:

.... and not for nothing, a valid questions is whether or not the current DCI Boston Crusaders are from Boston "in name only." How many of the BAC members actually live in/near Boston?

Don't blame the "kids" because a lot of people don't want to remember or just can't. I would hope this forum would change a lot of this and some of the youngsters would come on board and ask some questions. We don't have all the answers and I imagine we probably disagree on some things but what makes "this thing of ours" is that we don't forget and we move forward with this age of greatness.

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Corps are no longer defined by where the marchers come from. The Corps are defined by what region they primarily fund raise and where they get their money. ( ergo.. " Boston Crusaders" ) Many of the I.C. Reveries marchers ( and staff too ) in their early times used to live in Revere, and many were afiliated with the parish. But even back then it changed as the 27th Lancers that followed the Reveries could not have become a national Corps just by taking kids in that were from Revere. They branched out from Revere too, as I'm sure you are aware. That branching out trend just expanded outward from that over the years. The World Class Corps of today now have marchers from all over the world in their Corps. Its all changed. The Cadets in the late 70's almost folded, but it was an influx of marchers from the Univ. of Mississippi band one summer that helped keep this alleged New Jersey Corps afloat. Carolina Crown ( from South Carolina ) had a lot of marchers from Massachusetts,... more than Boston Crusaders, as their had staff at Crown from the Umass Marching Band. The Boston Crusaders used to have most marchers from Hyde Park section of Boston.... many from the Most Precious Blood parish. But even they branched out beyond Hyde Park in time... Dick here didn't live in Boston. He marched Boston Crusaders. this is the same as the Cavaliers did when they branched out from the City of Chicago itself.... and began to draw marchers from outside the City of Chicago... as most Corps have now done that have been able to survive by going " global ". Now the World Class Corps have marchers from all over the world.... but the naming rights go to where these Corps fund raise and where they get the bulk of their funds to run their Corps.

Didn't know about the Carolina Corps but I was based in S. Carolina and I really never thought there were that many youngsters to field a corps, thanks for clearing that up. I understand what your saying about bringing in people from all over the nation but don't you think then Drum Corps has really changed from what it started out to be? Not that it's wrong but I would think the local schools have some pretty good musicians that could field a corps. Maybe it's just wishful thinking or I'm stuck in the past.

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Didn't know about the Carolina Corps but I was based in S. Carolina and I really never thought there were that many youngsters to field a corps, thanks for clearing that up. I understand what your saying about bringing in people from all over the nation but don't you think then Drum Corps has really changed from what it started out to be? Not that it's wrong but I would think the local schools have some pretty good musicians that could field a corps. Maybe it's just wishful thinking or I'm stuck in the past.

The Drum Corps activity has undergone vast transformations since the 50's and 60's, Dick.

For perhaps some perspective on the " changes ", I told this story once before, and I'll relay it again here now for you :

Awhile back I went to a family reunion picnic in the state of Connecticut. There were family, and friends of family there, I had not met before. I met one guy there and we struck up a friendly conversation and somehow or another I got around to mentioning that I had participated in " Drum Corps ". His eyes lit up when he heard that, and he said " I march Drum Corps too ". I said " no kidding ". I asked him what the name of his " Drum Corps" was. He told me. But I did not recognize it. I asked him what he played. He said... " Snare drum ". I said "cool". I told him my Corps and other Corps I marched with. He said he was not familiar with them. He said he was from Connecticut, so I asked him if he had heard of "the Connecticut Hurricanes ". He instantly responded.. " oh, yes, I know of them.. I've seen them in parades we are in, and they're pretty good"... Then he goes on " but they are not a REAL Drum Corps ", he tells me. Perplexed, I aked him what he meant. He says to me " well, REAL Drum Corps don't have bugles, they have fifes". Since he seemed friendly enough, and pretty set in his ways, and was a " true believer " that Drum Corps don't have bugles, I wasn't about to argue with the guy, so I just nodded ( while chuckling inside ). You see, Dick,from this guys perspective " Drum Corps " went off the track somewhere back in the 17th century when some Drum Corps replaced the time honored fife with a new fangled instrument called a " bugle ". This guy plays a snare drum in a Fife and Drum Corps, and from his perspective it all went downhill in Drum Corps when they got rid of the fife in some of thes corps and replaced it with a bugle. I guess we could say things and times change. I value the past as well. I find most of todays marchers typically respect the past and are curious about the past and want to know of it. But they don't want to be told that what they do now is " not real Drum Corps " ( as I was told at that picnic ) or that some earlier era was better than theirs of today. I try to understand where they are coming from. One thing I have noticed is that these teenagers and young adults look like we did, and still want to compete, still want to do their best, still love their Corps, and still want to impress. Its not the same as in previous eras. But behind the uniforms and the instrumentations and the music and drill, there is still the young adult that wants to be his or her best and compete as hard as they can to play music and compete on a football field. There is more in common with past eras than maybe some of us think. Thats how I see it anyway. Welcome to the board. I hope you find it interesting, enjoyable, and informative.

Edited by BRASSO

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The Drum Corps activity has undergone vast transformations since the 50's and 60's, Dick.

For perhaps some perspective on the " changes ", I told this story once before, and I'll relay it again here now for you :

Awhile back I went to a family reunion picnic in the state of Connecticut. There were family, and friends of family there, I had not met before. I met one guy there and we struck up a friendly conversation and somehow or another I got around to mentioning that I had participated in " Drum Corps ". His eyes lit up when he heard that, and he said " I march Drum Corps too ". I said " no kidding ". I asked him what the name of his " Drum Corps" was. He told me. But I did not recognize it. I asked him what he played. He said... " Snare drum ". I said "cool". I told him my Corps and other Corps I marched with. He said he was not familiar with them. He said he was from Connecticut, so I asked him if he had heard of "the Connecticut Hurricanes ". He instantly responded.. " oh, yes, I know of them.. I've seen them in parades we are in, and they're pretty good"... Then he goes on " but they are not a REAL Drum Corps ", he tells me. Perplexed, I aked him what he meant. He says to me " well, REAL Drum Corps don't have bugles, they have fifes". Since he seemed friendly enough, and pretty set in his ways, and was a " true believer " that Drum Corps don't have bugles, I wasn't about to argue with the guy, so I just nodded ( while chuckling inside ). You see, Dick,from this guys perspective " Drum Corps " went off the track somewhere back in the 17th century when some Drum Corps replaced the time honored fife with a new fangled instrument called a " bugle ". This guy plays a snare drum in a Fife and Drum Corps, and from his perspective it all went downhill in Drum Corps when they got rid of the fife in some of thes corps and replaced it with a bugle. I guess we could say things and times change. I value the past as well. I find most of todays marchers typically respect the past and are curious about the past and want to know of it. But they don't want to be told that what they do now is " not real Drum Corps " ( as I was told at that picnic ) or that some earlier era was better than theirs of today. I try to understand where they are coming from. One thing I have noticed is that these teenagers and young adults look like we did, and still want to compete, still want to do their best, still love their Corps, and still want to impress. Its not the same as in previous eras. But behind the uniforms and the instrumentations and the music and drill, there is still the young adult that wants to be his or her best and compete as hard as they can to play music and compete on a football field. There is more in common with past eras than maybe some of us think. Thats how I see it anyway. Welcome to the board. I hope you find it interesting, enjoyable, and informative.

I would be the last one to say this era's competitors are not as good as the past, that would be a very dumb statement. Just the instruments are far better and especially the participants are much better. What I'm saying about the past is that we had so many durm coorps from the same areas. Just the Boston area had over Class A corps and most if not all had a Class C filler corps to pull from. Most were sponsored by their local parish but that didn't mean that all the corps members were catholic or even members of the CYO. It's just that the corps now don't seem to have the commadery that we had back then and how could they. We practiiced at least 3 nights a week. 2nights instruments and Friday night was drill at some local armory (wnter time) and school football field in the summer. Now I'm no expert in this eras corps but I can't see how they can be that close if they only get together during the summer. Now I know they are together for 2 months but back in the day, we all went to school together and would talk drum corps during study periods, lunch and the walks home. I feel that's the number 1 change from past to present.

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I would be the last one to say this era's competitors are not as good as the past, that would be a very dumb statement. Just the instruments are far better and especially the participants are much better. What I'm saying about the past is that we had so many durm coorps from the same areas. Just the Boston area had over Class A corps and most if not all had a Class C filler corps to pull from. Most were sponsored by their local parish but that didn't mean that all the corps members were catholic or even members of the CYO. It's just that the corps now don't seem to have the commadery that we had back then and how could they. We practiiced at least 3 nights a week. 2nights instruments and Friday night was drill at some local armory (wnter time) and school football field in the summer. Now I'm no expert in this eras corps but I can't see how they can be that close if they only get together during the summer. Now I know they are together for 2 months but back in the day, we all went to school together and would talk drum corps during study periods, lunch and the walks home. I feel that's the number 1 change from past to present.

I agree that it might be more difficult to develop long term camaraderie for these Corps with todays marchers as many of them come together for just the camps, and then the summer tour. Time will tell if their reunions are well attended in future years. We don't know one way or the other right now on this however. The neighborhood Corps went out long ago when the parish's and the Veterans stopped providing sponsorships. Additionally, the national touring model adopted by the Corps in the 70's changed the landscape as Corps went on tours all summer. This led to costs for Corps to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Many Corps folded through lack of funding, and only the stongest with solid fundraising efforts were able to survive. The turning point in the activity ( my opinion ) was when a few Corps were able to convince colleges and High Schools to reward high school and college music credit for marching Drum Corps in the summer. Once marchers could see college credit coming forth, the activity was able to attract marchers from the colleges. Today, more than half of the marchers in many of the upper echelon World Class Division of DCI Corps are college music majors. Thats changed the activity as the music needs to be more challenging and interesting for them, in order to keep their interest and their desire to participate. There are no more " neighborhood Corps " and that actually began to change in the 1950's and then proceeded outward from there. Now, some Corps have marchers from Europe, Asia, etc that come to march..... I spoke to 2 guys not that long ago that marched Boston Crusaders that lived in Boston area when they marched and they bemoaned the fact that their Corps no longer has that many marchers from Boston, and has quite a few from outside the region, including "Florida" they said. I asked these one time Boston City kids where they live now. They both said :..... " Florida ". ( how ironic, I thought ) So I guess we could say they changed and moved away from the neighborhood and the region as well. They still write checks to their former Corps though, and so thats helped them stay afloat as the " Boston Crusaders " and keep on competing.

Edited by BRASSO

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Here is what I dont understand:

What exactly is it that "old" people want from "Young" people?

From my point of view, the thing i see most is "old" people constantly craving attention, recognition, and praise for what they did decades ago, and they are in a constant quest for the collective community to recognize that all aspects of drum corps were "Better" in 19_ _. In many cases, it just seems that none of them will be pleased until DCI is disbanded and the the 1962 VFW rule book be broken out and that everyone stop writing and designing and just go back to the old horns, percussion instruments, uniforms, etc.

I am in my mid 30s now. Im no senior citizen but i am certainly not a kid anymore.

As a band director, I constantly use older drum corps as a training tool for my students. I love showing them what was going on when i was 14. I am a HUGE fan of the early 90s naturally because thats the first version of drum corps I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. I was also blessed with instructors in my HS band program who marched in the 80s and had a lot of great videos that they loaned to me and that I watch. Just yesterday I watched 1984 Blue Devils and Cadets. Possibly my two favorite musical shows of all time.

No matter how much I do that though, they want to see TODAYS drum corps. Thats just how it is.

In the same way most kids dont want to sit around and watch "Dr. Strangelove", "Lawrence of Arabia", or "Dr Zhivago", kids generally dont want to watch 1968 VFW corps or 1962 DCA corps. I dont think its a lack of respect, but just a generational line. Most of these kids also do not listen to Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, Hermans Hermits or Sonny and Cher.

Kids in general are often unaware of what happened before their time. But thats ALL of us. When we were teenagers, we did the same thing. Sure, there are changes in behavior. I see clearly that kids used to be more respectful of their elders, used to dress better for school, and I think due to cell phones being their primary communication tool, they dont communicate as well verbally as people even just a few years older than them.

But I cant seem to find any community less willing to adapt to this than "Older" drum corps people.

I spent a great deal of time coaching youth football and I rarely heard older fans/players of the game sit around so much and talk about how much better they were than everyone playing now and hounding younger players to admit that they arent as good as players in the 60s.

Again, I have nothing but respect for the activity of drum corps in each of its forms in all of its eras. (I DO listen to Marvin Gaye and the Temps. lol).

But at the same time, I just dont know what older people want. Unfortunately, I cant seem to give them what they want. I do love drum corps in its current state. I find it HIGHLY entertaining, exciting, and look forward to it more than even when I was 14.

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Here is what I dont understand:

What exactly is it that "old" people want from "Young" people?

From my point of view, the thing i see most is "old" people constantly craving attention, recognition, and praise for what they did decades ago, and they are in a constant quest for the collective community to recognize that all aspects of drum corps were "Better" in 19_ _. In many cases, it just seems that none of them will be pleased until DCI is disbanded and the the 1962 VFW rule book be broken out and that everyone stop writing and designing and just go back to the old horns, percussion instruments, uniforms, etc.

I am in my mid 30s now. Im no senior citizen but i am certainly not a kid anymore.

As a band director, I constantly use older drum corps as a training tool for my students. I love showing them what was going on when i was 14. I am a HUGE fan of the early 90s naturally because thats the first version of drum corps I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. I was also blessed with instructors in my HS band program who marched in the 80s and had a lot of great videos that they loaned to me and that I watch. Just yesterday I watched 1984 Blue Devils and Cadets. Possibly my two favorite musical shows of all time.

No matter how much I do that though, they want to see TODAYS drum corps. Thats just how it is.

In the same way most kids dont want to sit around and watch "Dr. Strangelove", "Lawrence of Arabia", or "Dr Zhivago", kids generally dont want to watch 1968 VFW corps or 1962 DCA corps. I dont think its a lack of respect, but just a generational line. Most of these kids also do not listen to Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, Hermans Hermits or Sonny and Cher.

Kids in general are often unaware of what happened before their time. But thats ALL of us. When we were teenagers, we did the same thing. Sure, there are changes in behavior. I see clearly that kids used to be more respectful of their elders, used to dress better for school, and I think due to cell phones being their primary communication tool, they dont communicate as well verbally as people even just a few years older than them.

But I cant seem to find any community less willing to adapt to this than "Older" drum corps people.

I spent a great deal of time coaching youth football and I rarely heard older fans/players of the game sit around so much and talk about how much better they were than everyone playing now and hounding younger players to admit that they arent as good as players in the 60s.

Again, I have nothing but respect for the activity of drum corps in each of its forms in all of its eras. (I DO listen to Marvin Gaye and the Temps. lol).

But at the same time, I just dont know what older people want. Unfortunately, I cant seem to give them what they want. I do love drum corps in its current state. I find it HIGHLY entertaining, exciting, and look forward to it more than even when I was 14.

Well... whew... 'glad you got THAT off your chest for yourself anyway. Feel better ? Who are you responding to on this thread with this lengthy diatribe attacking " the old " music ? Where is there any criticism on this thread of the kids music preferences of today ? I have no idea what prompted your response. But as near as I can tell there is nothing anyone on this thread has said regarding major complaints with the MUSIC that you claim the "young marchers " of today like. The word " MUSIC " on this thread has not even been brought up, until you just did. Did you even READ the posts on this thread before responding on something totally unrelated to the topic subject matter ? There is NO criticism to be found anywhere on this thread on the music that you claim the young prefer. Are you perhaps a newbie, and perhaps not aware that DCA has hundreds of marchers between the ages of 12- 75 marching along side of one another in mutual appreciation for the music that thay are playing ? And have so for years ? That said, you might want to consider staying on topic re. this thread. I see no need to get into a defense of " the old "music on this thread, when there has been no attack on " the new " music on this thread. That MUSIC topic has been beaten to death for decades now and perhaps you are late to all this.Finally, I see no need for you to try to hijack this thread on a personal rant on your perceived generational music preferences in Drum Corps...and perhasps with the young ( or old )in general. Thats not what the central theme of this thread topic has been at all. But I'm glad you got that off your chest for yourself anyway, and hope it makes you feel a bit better now.

Edited by BRASSO

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Here is what I dont understand:

What exactly is it that "old" people want from "Young" people?

From my point of view, the thing i see most is "old" people constantly craving attention, recognition, and praise for what they did decades ago, and they are in a constant quest for the collective community to recognize that all aspects of drum corps were "Better" in 19_ _. In many cases, it just seems that none of them will be pleased until DCI is disbanded and the the 1962 VFW rule book be broken out and that everyone stop writing and designing and just go back to the old horns, percussion instruments, uniforms, etc.

I am in my mid 30s now. Im no senior citizen but i am certainly not a kid anymore.

As a band director, I constantly use older drum corps as a training tool for my students. I love showing them what was going on when i was 14. I am a HUGE fan of the early 90s naturally because thats the first version of drum corps I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. I was also blessed with instructors in my HS band program who marched in the 80s and had a lot of great videos that they loaned to me and that I watch. Just yesterday I watched 1984 Blue Devils and Cadets. Possibly my two favorite musical shows of all time.

No matter how much I do that though, they want to see TODAYS drum corps. Thats just how it is.

In the same way most kids dont want to sit around and watch "Dr. Strangelove", "Lawrence of Arabia", or "Dr Zhivago", kids generally dont want to watch 1968 VFW corps or 1962 DCA corps. I dont think its a lack of respect, but just a generational line. Most of these kids also do not listen to Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, Hermans Hermits or Sonny and Cher.

Kids in general are often unaware of what happened before their time. But thats ALL of us. When we were teenagers, we did the same thing. Sure, there are changes in behavior. I see clearly that kids used to be more respectful of their elders, used to dress better for school, and I think due to cell phones being their primary communication tool, they dont communicate as well verbally as people even just a few years older than them.

But I cant seem to find any community less willing to adapt to this than "Older" drum corps people.

I spent a great deal of time coaching youth football and I rarely heard older fans/players of the game sit around so much and talk about how much better they were than everyone playing now and hounding younger players to admit that they arent as good as players in the 60s.

Again, I have nothing but respect for the activity of drum corps in each of its forms in all of its eras. (I DO listen to Marvin Gaye and the Temps. lol).

But at the same time, I just dont know what older people want. Unfortunately, I cant seem to give them what they want. I do love drum corps in its current state. I find it HIGHLY entertaining, exciting, and look forward to it more than even when I was 14.

Hi, Tasty!

My opinion is that the way drum corps has developed is not good. The corps themselves are excellent, don't get me wrong, but the demographics have changed.

I remember being told when I was marching ('75 to'77) that there were more people involved in drum corps than there were in the Boy Scouts. Having been a Boy Scout before drum corps I did not believe it at first, but then I realized that drum corps have a lot more age groups involved, so at the time it was likely true. Now? I doubt it. The sheer numbers just are not there, for a lot of reasons.

In other threads here some have suggested that high school marching bands have replaced drum corps. I beg to differ. First, unfortunately some schools see music programs as obvious places to make cuts (insert very bad words of choice here). Second, in my experience, marching bands will tolerate bad habits and bad attitudes that drum corps would either straighten out or eliminate. The focus is much different and the bar is much higher, even at the class B and C level. A corps director is more likely to tell a meddling mama to take a hike if her little darling is causing a distraction.

I have seen in these threads that there is a movement afoot to revive the small corps environment. I wish there was something close by that I could support, and wish the efforts become wildly successful. After all, doesn't every kid deserve to have the chance to have same great experiences we all did? Even if they do use amplifiers and keyboards (scratches and shakes head).

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Hi, Tasty!

My opinion is that the way drum corps has developed is not good. The corps themselves are excellent, don't get me wrong, but the demographics have changed.

I remember being told when I was marching ('75 to'77) that there were more people involved in drum corps than there were in the Boy Scouts. Having been a Boy Scout before drum corps I did not believe it at first, but then I realized that drum corps have a lot more age groups involved, so at the time it was likely true. Now? I doubt it. The sheer numbers just are not there, for a lot of reasons.

In other threads here some have suggested that high school marching bands have replaced drum corps. I beg to differ. First, unfortunately some schools see music programs as obvious places to make cuts (insert very bad words of choice here). Second, in my experience, marching bands will tolerate bad habits and bad attitudes that drum corps would either straighten out or eliminate. The focus is much different and the bar is much higher, even at the class B and C level. A corps director is more likely to tell a meddling mama to take a hike if her little darling is causing a distraction.

I have seen in these threads that there is a movement afoot to revive the small corps environment. I wish there was something close by that I could support, and wish the efforts become wildly successful. After all, doesn't every kid deserve to have the chance to have same great experiences we all did? Even if they do use amplifiers and keyboards (scratches and shakes head).

well just depends on th HS program one is with. I have been with several programs that didnt deal with medling mama's and some have practiced just as hard as any drum corps...given the time and not going on a tour. Habits...they lose them or they get cut....ok maybe it isnt the norm BUT there is certainly as many of those types of bands as there are drum corps working like this. Times have changed, kids needs are different, so many more choices..If you also look up Boy Scouts there is 1/2 the amount of members than there was in the 70s.

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