Recommended Posts

I was in the St. Fidelis 'Majestic Knights,' College Point in the 60s.  Hornline taught by Manny Rodriquez of the Cabs and the drumline was taught by the Skyliners...no better Corps to teach us!!  A bunch of white kids w/ a Latin walkoff beat!!  Under direction by Sister Solongia.   Tried but can't attach pix

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 29
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Have I really been on DCP since 2007?

My colleague, John Smith, mentioned several church corps that I taught in the late '60s and early '70s, including St. Joachim & Anne, St. Aloysius, St. Fidelis, and the Miraculous Medal Orbits. I'

Bridgeport Conn sported several "Church" corps.  St Raphaels Parish fielded three units:  The Buccaneers  (Of which I was a member 59-67), the Musketeers  (The "Cadets" corps for the Buccs,) and the all girls corps the Marionettes.

St Ann's Parish fielded the Loyalaires.

SAM

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

My colleague, John Smith, mentioned several church corps that I taught in the late '60s and early '70s, including St. Joachim & Anne, St. Aloysius, St. Fidelis, and the Miraculous Medal Orbits. I'd add the St. Mary Gate of Heaven Ambassadors, where I had the good fortune to work with the great Cal Meyers.

In my opinion, the primary reason for the disappearance of these corps and others like them was economic. Church revenues were dropping dramatically as attendance dwindled. The Sunday collection wasn't what it used to be.

In addition, religious vocations declined, forcing parishes to hire more salaried lay teachers to replace the nuns, priests and brothers who were disappearing.

Drum corps really didn't pay for themselves in those days. The dues for the St. Aloysius Blue Eagles came to 50 cents/wk for each member when I taught there. Instructors were paid at rehearsal, with a roll of quarters. There were three of us.

Even the corps who didn't compete had to travel to parades, ergo, bus costs.

In hindsight, it was extremely short-sighted of the pastors and church administrators to de-fund the corps, particularly at a time when city infrastructure and societal norms were crumbling.

Current conditions suggest that neighborhood corps could provide a real service again. It's possible. And maybe the Marlins will win the Series.

P.S. My favorite church corps name of all time originates in John's very neighborhood, the "Immaculate Conception Hellgaters", named for the bridge, of course.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, what happened was the result of a decision made by the Council of Bishops in 1960 that reflected the Church became contractors with the various states for sizeable fees for social services. True, drum corps did have costs related to them but those were mostly one-time expenses incurred in the early start-up phase. Instruments & uniforms had a very long life and did not require frequent replacement.

The small dues paid by members were only to keep people honest.

Many parishes never paid the instructors. I know of at least 2 good Brooklyn corps that owed the instructor/director over $3,000 and that was from a weekly fee of $15. That model may have been repeated elsewhere.

Corps were mostly self-sustaining financially from parade work and contest prize money plus other inventive fund-raising. Many corps sponsored contests/stage shows where the Church took the money. All those corps did unpaid parade works for the parish street feasts.

I was in Loretto (originally Our Lady of Loretto) and each kid bought the uniforms 2 times. (Did I just give my identity away?) We also had to turn them in when we left or the corps was disbanded. The parish sold everything for a good amount and kept the money forgetting that they never owned the uniforms and did not sponsor the corps for 2 years. Instruments were fully depreciated.

Disbanding was the final step in a financial decision that brought a lot of income to poorly managed parish finances at a time when there was enormous growth in attendance and contributions. The Church was not shy about making a buck whenever it could.

It was a calculated and conscious decision by the bishops to get out of youth activities, including sports to the detriment of the kids and the greater parish. Costs of operation did not change much until the '70's so the churches were not subject to rising price pressures. The various parishes and the overall Church benefitted enormously from the positive exposure brought to them by the drum corps. The corps were great public exposure and no-cost promotion. Contests/performances were mostly within 50 miles of home with occasional  distant trips and many of those were subsidized or paid fully by the county veterans associations. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2020 at 1:19 PM, ironlips said:

My colleague, John Smith, mentioned several church corps that I taught in the late '60s and early '70s, including St. Joachim & Anne, St. Aloysius, St. Fidelis, and the Miraculous Medal Orbits. I'd add the St. Mary Gate of Heaven Ambassadors, where I had the good fortune to work with the great Cal Meyers.

In my opinion, the primary reason for the disappearance of these corps and others like them was economic. Church revenues were dropping dramatically as attendance dwindled. The Sunday collection wasn't what it used to be.

In addition, religious vocations declined, forcing parishes to hire more salaried lay teachers to replace the nuns, priests and brothers who were disappearing.

Drum corps really didn't pay for themselves in those days. The dues for the St. Aloysius Blue Eagles came to 50 cents/wk for each member when I taught there. Instructors were paid at rehearsal, with a roll of quarters. There were three of us.

Even the corps who didn't compete had to travel to parades, ergo, bus costs.

In hindsight, it was extremely short-sighted of the pastors and church administrators to de-fund the corps, particularly at a time when city infrastructure and societal norms were crumbling.

Current conditions suggest that neighborhood corps could provide a real service again. It's possible. And maybe the Marlins will win the Series.

P.S. My favorite church corps name of all time originates in John's very neighborhood, the "Immaculate Conception Hellgaters", named for the bridge, of course.

 

Frank:

Modesty must have prevented you from letting the board know you marched wit the St Catherines of Sienna Queensmen, along with some drum corps icons as John Sasso, Ted Sasso and  Billy Hightower, 

SAM

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, gunther said:

Actually, what happened was the result of a decision made by the Council of Bishops in 1960 that reflected the Church became contractors with the various states for sizeable fees for social services. True, drum corps did have costs related to them but those were mostly one-time expenses incurred in the early start-up phase. Instruments & uniforms had a very long life and did not require frequent replacement.

The small dues paid by members were only to keep people honest.

Many parishes never paid the instructors. I know of at least 2 good Brooklyn corps that owed the instructor/director over $3,000 and that was from a weekly fee of $15. That model may have been repeated elsewhere.

Corps were mostly self-sustaining financially from parade work and contest prize money plus other inventive fund-raising. Many corps sponsored contests/stage shows where the Church took the money. All those corps did unpaid parade works for the parish street feasts.

I was in Loretto (originally Our Lady of Loretto) and each kid bought the uniforms 2 times. (Did I just give my identity away?) We also had to turn them in when we left or the corps was disbanded. The parish sold everything for a good amount and kept the money forgetting that they never owned the uniforms and did not sponsor the corps for 2 years. Instruments were fully depreciated.

Disbanding was the final step in a financial decision that brought a lot of income to poorly managed parish finances at a time when there was enormous growth in attendance and contributions. The Church was not shy about making a buck whenever it could.

It was a calculated and conscious decision by the bishops to get out of youth activities, including sports to the detriment of the kids and the greater parish. Costs of operation did not change much until the '70's so the churches were not subject to rising price pressures. The various parishes and the overall Church benefitted enormously from the positive exposure brought to them by the drum corps. The corps were great public exposure and no-cost promotion. Contests/performances were mostly within 50 miles of home with occasional  distant trips and many of those were subsidized or paid fully by the county veterans associations. 

My junior corps survived until 1968 at which time it was disbanded due to massive ageouts and the Viet Nam draft calls.  The parish did pretty much as described above, with a complete loss of all the trophies and flags that the corps had won.  Almost all of the memorabilia was thrown away. The unit was reserected in 1970 as the "Golden Buccaneers" with no "Church" affiliation and was, in 1975 merged with the New Haven bases St Aedens Cadets another "Church" unit.

The merger survived for one season as the "Emerald Buccaneers"

SAM

Link to post
Share on other sites

This happened in ALL youth ministries including sports. The Church sought to become political and pursue mercenary interests. The amount of money it took to support an ongoing youth program was not large. In those days, the economics was very different. A corps could take a parade for $150 and the bus only cost $40 to 50. Likewise contest money. A corps could break even even with poor contest results. But the fees for contracted services with any municipality were far greater and much more appealing to Church leaders.

The dumping of youth onto the streets contributed to a rise in crime that slowly took off at this time in places large and small. There was no other organized outlet for such large numbers of youth and instructors. This also had a severe cost in depriving emerging talent from guided development from qualified and dedicated instructors. It killed dreams and careers.

It also began the process of weakening the family unit which was being held together by the support and interest of parents, siblings, relatives and the general community for the corps and sports teams. It put a burden on families and parishes with no interest in the consequences of the Church's decision or supplying an acceptable alternative replacement. The parishes sold all equipment for the most they could get, wiping out the memories and pride of achievements. All this equipment was fully depreciated. It could have been placed with other organizations that could have continued the corps and teams but the lure of the buck had a greater appeal. The Church had no social conscience.

This activity kept people's children trapped into very limited futures and control of the Church. It was all done, like my friends Frank and John said above, for financial reasons. The missing point has been the Council of Bishops' decision and orders to their parishes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gunther's analysis is very astute, and brings to mind a distinction Cornel West makes in his book, Democracy Matters, between two competing forms of Christianity, prophetic and Constantinian.

The former concerns itself primarily with fulfilling the moral obligation of supporting the community through charitable good works. The other, named for the 4th Century Roman Emperor who made Christianity the official religion of the empire, exemplifies the merging of church and state, and uses the power of both to enhance its goals.

In the case of "church corps", one can see the shift from the '60s to the '70s reflected in these terms. Where John XXIII had promoted outreach to the people via the reforms of Vatican II, subsequent reactionary popes (and bishops, as Gunther mentions) sought mainly to solidify the economic and political status of the church.

All of this, of course, is way beyond the pay grade of the volunteer supporters of neighborhood corps and other youth activities, instructors honing their teacherly skills, and the members themselves.

To be sure, this was not the only factor in the decline of these grass-roots youth activities, but it was a major, if not fatal, wound from which parish corps would never recover.

It's ironic that today, when the church could really use some positive public relations, supporting activities such as these would greatly enhance its image. Perhaps there are still some prophets somewhere.

 

Edited by ironlips
clarity
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nicely put!

This is an example of where the individual is required to do what is in his own best interests. In drum corps, we have  survived although a bit burned and scarred. Our members have even survived the bumbling efforts of the competition formats. We have created alumni corps and many of them have quietly created or sponsored neighborhood corps made up locally. This effort is being done quietly because otherwise it is just too great a temptation for the vultures to extend their control while taking the money out. Financial blood sucking. In many ways, this form of management is a close copy of how the Church operated.

Local corps are the natural evolution. What is old is new again. Do something.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.