Cozy’s Corpsdom – Looming Past…Future Zooming

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"To be a successful soldier you must know history…Weapons change but man who uses them changes not at all." ~ General George S. Patton, June 6, 1944, in a letter to his son, Cadet George S. Patton IV

Dabble at Googling some of the “ancient” corpsdom history below, and you will likely find soupcon. The idea for this slant of combining the past with tidbits of today’s corps came to fruition partly through an Instant Message pal, a brass player in Director Andre Feagin’s Memphis Sound, who enthusiastically seeks to know more about corps. Stuffing him with more history, I off-handedly IMed, “This was before YouTube, mp3, CDs or DVDs. You can’t Google much of this history.”

Ergo, I invite corps nuts of all generations to squat around the computer campfire and revisit or ponder how it used to be compared to current events. Some of y’all will fondle a cup of Folger’s coffee in an Archie Bunker ripped recliner, others with your Starbuck’s as you wirelessly read on.

Brian Tolzmann, long-time DCWorld columnist of “The Amazing World of Drum Corps,”, knows more trivia than I’ll ever garner.

A massive corps gathering wasn’t invented when the Macy’s Drum Corps All-Stars initially marched Thanksgiving 1992, backed by Star of Indiana’s Director Jim Mason and Bill Cook’s Cook Group. Per Bob Bella Rosa’s Drum Corps Heritage Magazine, February 2007 issue, on November 1949, the combined units of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars stretched down the New York City blocks in one massive Super Drum Corps! How many other times has this occurred besides the repeat 1994 Macy’s All-Stars set up by the capable Larry Hershman and Tony DiCarlo? We all had a memorable time in ’94 as over 400 marchers crammed into nine Cadets and one Empire Statesmen buses.

Dave “Poncho” Medeiros, Rhode Island Matadors alumnus, now part of the Atlanta CorpsVets staff, is one of the most persistent corps historians I know. He is obsessive about gathering old scores, pins and buttons. Medeiros marched with Gil Silva, DCAssociates president.

Tom Colgan, CorpsVets business manager, marched in the Syracuse Brigadiers 1967-68.

2007: Xmen morph, Cadets stress values, CorpsVets are 10, DCI does beyond Vegas

The Xmen have truly evolved through a significant metamorphosis in the move from the East Coast to Alamo Country. From San Antonio, the Crossmen are working appropriately on “Metamorphosis.”

In another YEA! move, The Cadets are doing a show on values. What a contrast that the corps with such a traditional military cadet uniform should be one of the most esoteric corps at the forefront of innovations.

The Madison Scouts selected Alex Houston as their drum major. Houston, 19, is majoring in music at Indiana University.

Oddly, corps like Jersey Surf have Web news that they must travel all the way to Pasadena to compete in the DCInternational Championships. For decades, it was Santa Clara Vanguard, Concord Blue Devils, Denver Blue Knights, Seattle Cascades et al. moaning about the diesel gallons to tour to Foxboro, Orlando and other “Magellanistic” “far-side-of-the-moon” destinations.

DCI signing to keep the Championships in Indianapolis for 10 consecutive years is as long a time a major corps championship has nested, other than shows like the U.S. Open in Marion, OH. Bands of America has always been in Indianapolis to end the BOA season. VFW and the American Legion held their conventions in Miami at least 10 times but not 10 consecutive times.

The 2007 Atlanta CorpsVets rolled the dice into the history books and are celebrating with 10 candles showcasing “Remembrance.”

Blue Devils have a great BoD. Renegades’ Rhonda, cg, has a great bod’. BD board stalwarts like John Donovan’s recent presidency, Todd Tanji, current president, Jeff DeMello, etc., are part of the reason BD has progressed outstandingly since the early days of units like a baton twirling corps.

Alfred J. (Jeff) DeMello drove a truck for the Blue Devils in the 70s, while son, Jeff DeMello, marched BD 1973-78. Alfred passed away New Year’s Eve 2006. Son Jeff is married to DCWorld photographer Francesca DeMello.

Hairbear did Steel City M&M on roller skates as Morey rolls his eyes

Steve “Hairbear” Masters, at the 1988 Hershey Finals, marched, well, skated the last drill rehearsal before Steel City’s night show on roller skates! “Rick Morey didn’t say anything,” Hairbear recalled. No, Masters was not in the pit then. Imagine roller skating parking lot drill while hoisting a euph!

Speaking of los cajones, Mirage Senior, Miamisburg, OH, played Donny Allen's "Bully" arrangement in Mirage's inaugural year, 1995.

The Buglers Hall of Fame inaugural North American Individual & Ensemble Championships is slated for March 17, 2007, in Bridgeport, CT. Make plans to hear luscious music by Frank Dorritie, John “Grass” Urspruch, Ritchee Price, Ruben Ariola, the ROMEOS, including Tommy Martin and Ernie Fesler, percussionists like a Sky Alumni duet with Joe Fontana & Jack Murray et al. E-mail BHOF2 [at] optonline [dot] net.

‘Blue Rock Victorious at Baltimore’

Thus read the banner headline of Drum Corps News, Oct. 21, 1970 (my yellowed subscription, 35 cents, which I ripped twice while reading). With “John Wilson” in the byline, Wilson wrote: “…with the Rocks were the (Eastern States) Circuit-leading Brookhaven Crusaders, Hamilton White Knights, Belvederes, York White Roses and Shadettes.”

This 1970 DCNews also has a back cover ad: World Open Championships, Manning Bowl, Lynn, Mass…$18,000 cash…Argonne Rebels, Blue Stars, Cavaliers, Kingsmen, Madison, SCV, Boston, 27th, Beverly Cardinals, Castlemen, Don Juans, Pembroke, Norwood, Emerald Cadets, St. Kevin’s, CMCC Warriors, Vagabonds, Pougkeepsie, Marauders, ND-ettes, Troopers…Reserved $5…General Admission $3…Children $1.

One can find 1970 ads for the Danny Thomas Invitational in Revere, Mass.
“Echoes of the Past” LP (I have two), two-page ad for Fleetwood Records
“In this our 13th year…Troopers Fleetwood milestone album, $9.95”
McCormick’s Corps Suppliers (Think BOA), Getzen, Ludwig, Gretsch, Remo….
Corps Line rifle: “When they said it couldn’t be done” – 40”, 3 lb. 12 oz. Invincible Mark 1 with strap, $19
Uniforms by George Evans, also Collins Music Sales & Uniform Co.
Moe Knox Photography…

…Columns and news: “Case of the Over 21’s,” by Mike Bowman about “the clash the Toronto Optimists and De La Salle Oaklands of the same city.”
“The sixties brought a change in horns with the rotor, contra bass (and) mellophone.” ~ Tom Day
“Eastern Grit” by H. Worth Ake
Canadian news by Emery Swan, “By the Lakes”
“A Trip to Wyoming” by Dick Blake, editor and publisher
“Western Ways”: “Vanguard Wins Cal. Open” by T.L. Lorden, “Southwest Corner” by Don Clark
“Ill. D&B Corps Assn. Meeting, McHenry, Ill.” – “Midwest CG Circuit meeting, Des Plaines, Ill.”
“Pennsylvania Report” by Fay and Francis O’Donnell
“Ohio Calling” by Nancy and Frank Avenelle: “Marion Cadets Awards Banquet: Dave Peto, Best Bugler (I also knew mello Peto from the Miller’s Blackhawks, Dayton, OH, and Peto’s superb Marion Cadets solo in “The Joker”); Richard Thomas, Best Rookie; Denise Pyles, Best in Color Guard; Wayne Willis, executive director."

Google “Andre Feagin” and I'll bet a 50-yard-line ticket that you will pour out a cornucopia. Hint: Phantom Regiment 1998-2001 conductor, sloooooowly “unholstering” baton….

Publisher's Note: Cozy's Corpsdom features updates from the world of drum corps as only Cozy Baker can deliver ….. in his own unique style and presentation. A featured Drum Corps World reporter and contributing columnist for many years, Cozy travels the country as a competitive marching member, instructor, observer, and commentator on the state-of-the-activity. The opinions expressed in this column are strictly those of the author. (Cozy mug photo by Christina Mavroudis-Dempsey.) You may write to Cozy directly at mailto: Cozy [at] drumcorpsplanet [dot] com.

Posted by on Sunday, February 25th, 2007. Filed under Cozy's Corpsdom.