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KeithHall

Ode to NY Drum and Bugle Corps

13 posts in this topic

My first encounter with this strange activity began in the mid 1960's. I was riding my bike in the summer and heard drums. I crossed a major street and headed in the direction of the cool sound I was hearing. I approached Fillner Avenue in North Tonawanda and saw a lot of kids carrying drums, horns and flags. I was to young to join...but someday.

My first show I will never forget. Endicott, NY. We didn't win but I loved it! Saw the Squires win that night with The White Knights, Lakeview Shoreliners, Mello Dears. I THINK Grenadiers and Mark Twain Cadets were there but I could be wrong.

The Watkins Glen Squires were my favorite NY corps for a long time and over the next few years they continued to improve. I can never forget "The Beer Barrel Polka" and "London Bridge." Our biggest rivalry was with the Lakeview Shoreliners (later Imperial Regiment). I remember they played "Spinning Wheel" and Craig Fattey soloing. Now we weren't to bad either....well in my mind.

I watched a corps that we beat in 1972 at the US Open become the first DCI "A" Class Champs. The Greece Cadets were an up and coming corps back then. It was sad to see them go down hill in 1976 and then rebound and only to disappear by the end of the 1970's. Mighty St. Joe's I learned to hate in 1971. I was a young lad then. Some of our members left our corps to join them. The winner of the "Oddest drum corps uniform" in NY has to have gone to the Tri Town Cadets. Bib overalls and straw hats. They were entertaining though but sadly they left the activity in the mid 1970's. Rochester, NY had another corps in The Mighty Liberators who improved every year. I saw them at DCI 1976 and really liked their show. They had the money and I always wondered if they could get to the next step. They faded away.

I saw Purple Lancers, Magnificent Yankees, Syracuse Marauders once or twice. Love MY's "Hill Where The Lord Hides" but alas....they were gone. My corps The Royal Coachmen were slowly building and in 1976 we had a decent program with 36 brass, 7 snares, etc. We won the NT Open ( I know...Big deal!)More to come

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Who could ever forget the amazing horn line of The Southern Tier (Appalachian) Grenadiers.

How about the all-girls corps, the Mello Dears and the Alpine Girls.

One of my other 2 favorites were The Oswego Black Knights and The Gauchos of Fulton, NY. I always rave about the soloist the Black Knights had. These are obviously upstate NY corps as those were the only corps that I saw way back when.

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Keith,

One of my favorite drum corps trivia questions is, "Name the first corps to play a Chuck Mangione chart."

Invariably, the reply is, "Blue Devils playing Legend of a One-eyed Sailor."

WRONG !!!!!!

Of course you know the correct answer...the Magnificent Yankees playing Hill Where the Lord Hides !

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It was fun traveling to Rochester (Greece), Binghampton, Batavia, Hammondsport, Angola, Castile, Fulton, etc every weekend.

Our own show in North Tonawanda started out as "Sights and Sounds _____ (put in year). Held at Vetter Stadium which I felt was the best field to have for a drum corps show. In 1973 Phantom Regiment came and blew the house down. Later when the NT Open began in 1974 to 1977, we saw an emerging Blue Devils as well as Cavaliers, Precisionaires, Argonne Rebels,Greece Cadets, Squires, Imperial Regiment, Floridians, Charioteers, Black Watch (WA), Knight Raiders, Freelancers, Seattle Imperials, Regimente Militaire, Devil Dogs, Buckeyes, Simplex minutemen, Toronto (later Seneca) Optimists, Seneca Princemen, Mark Twain Cadets and many more.

Who can forget the senior corps in the 1970's - Rochester Crusaders, Brigadiers, Hamburg Kingsmen, Dunkirk Patriots, Gypsy Brass, Suburban Knights. I am sure there are a few I missed. I remember a show that we did an exhibition at in Lockport, NY that had Crusaders, Cabs, Yankee rebels and some other corps that I have forgotten.

Sadly, in Upstate NY, there are no more junior corps left. We are talking about one of the greatest states in our country and there is ZERO junior corps! Fulton, Oswego, Owego, Irondequoit, Angola, North Tonawanda, Batavia, Utica, Syracuse, Castile, Elmira, Corning,Verona, Geneva, Vestal, and many other NY cities are without an activity that caters to youth. Now our teenagers can live a sedentary life by sitting on the computer or playing video games, having their cell phone in their hand 24/7 to get a text message . BITD we had Bingo to help fund the corps but the government made it more difficult for non-profit groups to continue holding these fundraising events. Drum and bugle corps started becoming big business and smaller corps had a tough time being able to compete. NY's last great hope was the Rochester Patriots but sadly, they too faded away into a NY drum corps memory.

I miss my youth. I miss being with friends and traveling and rehearsing with them. It wasn't about winning back then. Yes we wanted to be better but it was more about friendships and making something together that we could take with us into adulthood. Today when I talk to someone in a corps, you hear, "What corps were you with?" I reply, "The Royal Coachmen from NY!" "Never heard of them. Where were they from?"

Maybe it is time to fade away.

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"Mark Twain, mark!" :tongue:

Didn't they also use "Pop Goes the Weasel" as their walking beat and do a little "hop" when they got to the "Pop!" part of the melody?

Edited by gak27

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Cadets of Greece actually marched into the 80's. 80,81 and 83. The two best years were 1975 Class A champs and 1978, DCI Associates!

Don't forget Lockport Blazers, Avante Garde, Empire State Express, and let's even give Props to Fusion and Renegades. Patriots also were around for a while in the 80's and I believe 90's. Northmen had quite a showing in mid 80's taking midwest champs and 5th at DCI Class A.NY had a rich history of Drum Corps, and it is sad to note that only a couple of corps remain in NY and no junior corps. I would love to see a resurgence.

Edited by DreaminMello

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Well Linda ... the link you provided certainly painted a picture of a more complete NY State drum corps scene ... to go back even earlier would have uncovered corps like the Grand Street Boys from Manhattan and Phoebe-Apperson Post - who both combined after WW II to become the NY Skyliners ... it would have shown national contenders of the early 50's like the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Bronx Irwin Kingsmen - giving way to a dominent St. Catherine's Queensmen ... Wynn Center Toppers ... Our Lady of Loretto Knights ... and Selden Golden Lancers of the early 60's ... not to mention of bevy of NYC corps that came along like: the St. Joe's Patron Cadets, Eastsiders, Riversiders, Manhattanaires, Staten Island Lawmen, Regimental Cadets, Staten Island Thunderbirds, Carter Cadets, Minisink Warriors ...

... many, many NYC area corps in the GNYC and the Penn-Jersey

Edited by ajlisko

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I miss my youth. I miss being with friends and traveling and rehearsing with them. It wasn't about winning back then. Yes we wanted to be better but it was more about friendships and making something together that we could take with us into adulthood. Today when I talk to someone in a corps, you hear, "What corps were you with?" I reply, "The Royal Coachmen from NY!" "Never heard of them. Where were they from?"

Maybe it is time to fade away.

This quote needs to be in the thread about the problems of drum corps today. There was always the top 12. But for the rest of us couple hundred corps, you nicely articulated what drum corps was about for the thousands upon thousands that put on uniforms with no hopes of making finals.

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Don't forget the Avant Garde, who were made up of the Bethesda Emerald Knights & the Spieglairs (2 very good corps on their own). The Troy Muchachos, the Volunteers and the Interstatesmen to name a few. All Part of that NYS Thruway connection. Miss all that have been mentioned on this thread Kieth,, but,,don't fade away.

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