old vanguard

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Posts posted by old vanguard

  1. Can anyone provide some history on St. Rose? It seems that they were only around for a couple of years.

    I remember standing on the starting line watching them at Detroit VFW Nationals in 1960. We (Vanguards) were impressed.

    They had that great Al Saia sound and a very open style drill. We particularly liked their arrangement of "Song of India."

    I may be wrong on this, but I think that Jerry Shelmer was their drum instructor.

    Anyhow, where did they come from? Why did they break up? Where did their membership go?


    • Like 2

  2. 13 hours ago, ironlips said:

    I had never heard that anecdote. What a great story!

    The Cambridge Cabs were a very progressive group. I think I wore out 2 or 3 copies of the 1960 LP, "Horns Aplenty" which features a cover photo of the corps performing an outdoor concert at the band shell.

    The great Al Saia wrote the brass book, Don Benedict, the drum charts. Prince's Scotty Chappell scripted the drill. Their version of Maleguena set the standard for all the others that followed.

    Mr. Saia also wrote for the St. Rose Scarlet Lancers and St. Mary's Cardinals. He had an interesting style. His use of harmony sopranos was unique. Sort of haunting.

    In 1961-1962 (I think) I heard that he was using some baritones with soprano mouthpieces. He voice them like mellophones.

    An innovative and very talented guy.

  3. On 12/6/2017 at 6:13 AM, KeithHall said:

    First to play Contras? Mellophones?


    First theme show? Was it Garfield Cadets? Madison Scouts? Cavaliers?


    The best 1st year corps ever....Star of Indiana?


    Who would be your first call as music arranger? Brass boss? Percussion boss? Visual Boss? Guard Boss? Corps Director?

    (if  you could pick the ALL STAR staff)

    The best corps manager I ever had the pleasure of working with was Jim Unrath, of the Des Plaines Vanguard. A great organizer, cheerleader, facilitator, musician and all around exceptionally intelligent guy. Great sense of humor too.

  4. John Thirion arranged for and instructed the Des Plaines Vanguard drum line in 1968 and 1969. He was an acoustic engineer by training. John also spent a lot of time working with the engineers at Ludwig Drum. He and Hy Dreitzer collaborated numerous times trying to work the tympanis and other tuned drums into his arrangements.

    Interesting times for the Des Plaines Vanguard members and staff.


  5. On 12/6/2017 at 9:11 AM, elphaba01 said:

    "First Contras & Mellophones":

    First contras were the Garfield Cadets and St Raphael's Buccaneers in 1962.  Garfield was "First" with their debut at the Drum Corps News standstill contest at the Masque theatre in Newark NJ in the winter of 1962.  St Raphael's was a week or so behind with their "Debut" at the DCN show in Boston at the Boston Garden.

    The USAF "DC" corps from Bolling AFB and the Hawthorne Caballeros both fielded the Gentzen contras by mid season.

    The first melophones MAY have been the Springfield Marksmen, Troy Interstatesmen and the St Geotge Olympians.  I saw the horn being used by all three units at the 1964 World Open Prelims in Bridgeport CT.

    Elphaba   :flower:

    The first time I recall hearing Mellophones was at the 1964 VFW National prelims. A corps named Tri-Community _____ had them. At first I thought that they were French Horns on steroids. Prior to that, I was very familiar with the outstanding mellophone section of the Stan Kenton orchestra.

  6. The Des Plaines Vanguard marched a single tri-drum in 1968. In 1969, they eliminated tenor drums and instead used three tri-drummers.

    The Cavaliers marched a single three drum apparatus in 1968. We referred to them as "bubble drums" because they had rounded, clear plexiglass bottoms.

  7. On 8/2/2017 at 1:08 PM, ross6200 said:

    1982 Blue Devils - colorguard wore spandex uniforms, incorporated more dance and used wings and feathers

    1983 Garfield Cadets - entire production of Mass/Rocky Point Holiday redifined what a drum corps show could be; while other corps were still performing 'variety' shows, Cadets created a show that was one unified concept.  Also, all the elements (brass, percussion, guard) were incoprated into the drill design (not seperate entities) - especially how the percussion was integrated & marched (I think they invented the 'crab' marching style that year?)

    2005/2011 Cadets - The Zone and Angels & Demons brought new 'theming' idea to the field; drum cops became more of a production/theater-like

    2016 Bluecoats - completely did away with drum corps convention in regards to uniforms, staging and presentation.  A game changer!





    Game changer? Or the final nail in the D&BC coffin?

    • Like 1

  8. On 4/20/2017 at 5:52 PM, Fran Haring said:

    All of the above!!! And I'll add these....

    1969 Yankee Rebels and their "Requiem for an Era" color presentation production.  First use of a "split corps" and multiple tempos within one production.  Changed what was possible, from a music and visual standpoint. A template for SCV's "Young Person's Guide" several years later.

    1969 Boston Crusaders and Long Island Sunrisers... bringing mallet instruments to the field. (One could also point to Preston Scout House and their use of glockenspiels, years before 1969.)

    The advent of the "pit"... the front ensemble. Marching percussion has never been the same since.  (It's better now, IMO. Feel free to disagree. LOL)


    The Madison Scouts used glockenspeils in the 1950s. The Quincy, IL Debutantes used a gong and a glock 1958 ('59?).

  9. On 2/9/2017 at 9:14 AM, MikeD said:

    Happened all the time "back then". Kids moved especially from lower level to higher level. Most of Garfield in my era came from smaller class 'B' corps...a lot from the GSC area. I moved from a parade corps to a GSC corps to Garfield myself. . 

    After 1962, it was very rare for anyone to leave the Vanguard to join another corps. I can only recall one member from that era leaving to join another corps. When members left, it was the end of their Jr. Corps experience.

  10. On 4/7/2017 at 3:34 PM, ajlisko said:

    According to their website, Hy didn't arrive in Skokie until 64 (Luck Be a Lady Tonight) ... everyone looked on with great anticipation as the Vanguard's busses pulled up ... but, they looked quite young and were weary of the trip in from the Midwest ... and ... without the penalty, Sac beat us by 10+ ... so ... no cigar that night ... and ... Garfield and Hawthorne always stacked their shows with judges who were former members ... just the way things were ...


    Hy arranged "Luck be a lady" and "Bill Bailey" for us in 1964. He continued writing and teaching for the corps into the1969 season.

    I was in the Vanguard in 1963. We were relatively young, and we were exhausted when we arrived for the show. (No excuses offered.) It was not our best effort of that season. A majority of those young Vanguards were still with them into the late 1960s.

  11. On 3/18/2017 at 0:03 PM, IllianaLancerContra said:

    The sound of rifle straps snapping in unison

    Having my face ripped off by G bugles

    Snares that don't sound like little brother practicing on the dining room table

    The starting gun

    Real color guards. Flag code, inspections

    Patriotic flag presentation numbers.

    "Ungrounded" instruments. Rudimental drumming.

    Military footwork.


  12. Looking at the map - The Des Plaines Vanguard, the Rosemont Cavaliers and the Schaumburg Guardsmen were all within about 8-10 miles of each other.

    Prior to DCI, there were the Norwood Park Imperials and the Royal Airs within the same vicinity.

    The Chicago area was loaded with major and minor corps.


    Chicago area. I was there twice. I watched drum corps shows that had either green machine perform. I like both.

  13. Faves "Off The Line":

    1961: St Catherine's Queensmen "Dancing Serenade" & Blessed Sacraments "Vanished Army"

    1963 & 1964: St Kevins Emerald Knights "Voice of the Guns".

    Honorable mentions:

    1961: Garfield Cadets "French National March".

    1964: Racine Kilties: "Scotland the Brave"

    1965: Chicago Royal Airs: "Ballyhoo March" & Chicago Cavaliers: "Bully"



    I would add the Des Plaines Vanguard "Man of Lamancha" opening from both 1967 and 1968. But, of course, I'm a little biased.

  14. >>St. Rose was also instructed by Al Saia. Cambridge, St. Rose and St. Mary's all had that Al Saia sound. Hard to describe. His use of harmony sopranos was unique.<<

    I know this thread is about Chick and Spain and Cambridge but, I cannot help thing that the Cab's concert version of Malaguena in 61-62 was the best ever IMO ... the timing variations and volume infections (along with intensity) were superb ... I've often thought it took a DM of extraordinary talent to pull off the direction of that piece ... so unique and so staccato ... one of my favs forever!


    I recently listened to Cambridge from 1962 and especially enjoyed "Sunday in Seville." I heard a voice in there that sounded like perhaps a baritone with a soprano or mellophone mouthpiece. Did my ears deceive me?

    The Rockford Phantom Regiment played "Sunday in Seville" in 1964, but not as well as Cambridge.

  15. This was posted on FB by someone in the New England thread from the MA area:

    "Spain" by Armando "Chick" Corea written by him when he was young, and later re-arranged to become his signature piece. He spent several years with the St. Rose Scarlet Lancer of Chelsea, Mass.

    St. Rose was also instructed by Al Saia. Cambridge, St. Rose and St. Mary's all had that Al Saia sound. Hard to describe. His use of harmony sopranos was unique.