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"Heart Is More Than Winning"

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So where did Patty Ann end up marching in 76? SCV or Blue Devils?


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Thank you sweety! Just wondering....

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Thank you sweety! Just wondering....


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  • 1 year later...
Well, my sister got me into Drum Corps when I started to attend parades and so forth while she marched with the Blue Angels Drum and Bell Corps from San Lorenzo, Ca. from the time I was 9 years old until 13.

The one thing that always intrigued me were the tri toms. From then on, I wanted to be in DC.

I used to take my set of drum sticks and CONSTANTLY play along with the album recording from Combine West '71. (Cavaliers show) God I loved SCV back then.

In 1971, I had asked my sister to see if I could join the Blue Angels, I had the "fever" bigtime by then, but she was advised at the time, that I was not good enough to be a member of the Corps.

Thats cool, no worries....heh.

Finally, her and I decided to join the Royalaires Drum and Bugle Corps (where I met Scott Johnson), from close by San Leandro, Ca, and finally, I was accepted to play in the Drum Line.

Her an I remained with the Royalaires until 1974, when the corps merged with the Stockton Commodores, to form the Royal Commodores, which lasted one season.

Then came the turning point in our DC lives...........1975.

She had always adored the Vanguard, as did I, but by then, I had grown an admiration for the Blue Devils jazz sound. So off I went to Concord, and she to Santa Clara.

Then the fun began, she with her VERY conservative Vanguard, and me with the swashbuckling Blue Devils.

SCV had just come off a DCI Champoinship year, and the Devils had just made a jump from 24th in '73 to 9th in '74.

I always liked an underdog.....heh

Drum Corps from that point on was an interesting topic in our house, but Mom and Dad always stayed neutral, and did what most parents would do in that case, cheer for BOTH sides!

In '75, SCV ended up in 2nd, and us in 3rd (we had beat SCV all year long), so no "blood" had been spilled.........yet. :P

Then came 1976, the year that gave me SO much joy, yet so much sorrow also.

For those of you who don't know, the 1976 Blue Devils dominated DCI in a way that no other has EVER done, as we swept all captions, and won by 2 FULL POINTS!

One thing I will remember most about 1976 was the announcer in Philly.........

"and in 2nd place, with a score of nine zero, point seven zero........................

the Madison Scouts!"

The world stopped for me and I'm sure the rest of us in the corps for a few moments.

We all jumped, hugged, kissed (heh), threw our shakos in the air, ran around like little kids. Pure pandomonium had broken out.

I can vividly remember the euphoria that was going through my body at that moment.

At that particular retreat at finals, we were staged between the Scouts and SCV.

At a time that I thought NOTHING could change what I was feeling, something did.

As I made my way around the corps to congratulate my co-members, I looked towards the Vanguard, and what I saw, made the title seem meaningless.

My sister had been in DC since 1967.

She was my hero for twirling her baton, while the drummers drummed, and the bell players played, I LOVED watching them.

She had brought me to the activity that really gave me some direction and MUCH joy in my young life.

She tried desperately to get me into Blue Angels.

She brought me along to join the Royalaires.

SHE looked out for her little brother.

What I saw that night in Philly, STILL chokes me up to this day.

I saw my sister, standing at attention in the proud Vanguard traditon, her knee's buckling, overcome with emotion, trying to keep from breaking down, heart broken, exhausted, but she dug deep inside, and showed the pride that SHE had taught me.

In the span of 2 or 3 minutes, Time stood still for me again.

Everything that happened in 1976, the hard work, the sweat, the thousands of hours of practice, meant absolutely NOTHING to me.

The only thing I could focus on was my sister, and the pain that she had to be feeling that night. After the years of marching she had experienced, and was gracious enough to let her little brother "tag along", it was I who had just gone to the pinnacle of Drum Corps. I felt like someone had just ripped my heart out.

It was not allowed to break the SCV ranks, especially at Nationals, or break any corps rank in general. I felt SO helpless, this was not a casual acquaintance that I was looking at in pain, this was my own flesh and blood, my sister.

If I could have changed uniforms with her at that moment, I would have....afterall, SHE deserved it more than I did.

I wanted SO bad to go over to her and hug her, tell her that they had given it all they could, that I loved her for what she had given me the opportunity to accomplish in DC. But I couldn't.

Retreat had ended, SCV left the field, and my sis and I didn't see each other until we came home to Cali.

I learned something that night in Philly, that heart was more important than winning. That giving was more important than receiving.

My sister gave so many things to me in life, and in Drum Corps, including the championship in 1976.

So I will take this opportunity to say...........

Thank you sis, for on the night of August 21, 1976......it was you who was the champion on the field that night.

I might be 2 1/2 years late, but that moved me. Knowing what it's like to win and knowing who got you to where you're standing when that moment arrives.

You're a fabulous writer Rich.


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Thanks Laura..........it still chokes me up. :)

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One of the best and most touching stories I have ever read on DCP. It made my wife cry as I explained to her what DCI was all about....you are the stuff of Legends and I stand in awe in your company,...it is a shame I did not get to know you better when we marched together in 79....again,...a great piece!

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Thanks. :)

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It is a wonderful story, which is why I asked him to rework it for the Fanfare column that ran on March 26, 2004, two days before his sister's birthday. Hearing how much your sibling loves you is better than any birthday card.

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Its stories like these that make what we do so special and reminds us of all the reasons we do this thing called Drum Corps :blink: . Thanks to everyone who shared those stories! Keep em' comin.

Jim Wolf

71-77 NJ Black Watch

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It is a wonderful story, which is why I asked him to rework it for the Fanfare column that ran on March 26, 2004, two days before his sister's birthday. Hearing how much your sibling loves you is better than any birthday card.

Mike, words can never be more true.

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