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NY State in the 1970's


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As I have been reminiscing about the US Open, questions or memories of the Appleknockers and Tri-Town Cadets arose. There were so many corps in the state back then. I have one memory of the NYS American Legion Championships in Syracuse. I remember staying at the (I believe) youth hostel and finally falling asleep when a drum corps cranks up a rehearsal out the windows. I don't think they knew we were staying there and one of our drum instructors went out to ask them to stop. They continued and we didn't get much sleep. To top it off, we had a few members who got sick the next day and had to go to the hospital so we pulled out of the contest.

I also want to comment on a few corps that stand out other than the one's that I discussed in another thread. The Black Knights were a favorite of mine back in the day. This Oswego corps was a corps that could have gone places but somewhere along the line didn't rise higher than they were in the mid 70's.

The Gauchos were also another corps that rose only so far and then disbanded. How sad this is! It seemed that after 1976, NY corps began to dwindle, and rather quickly. By 1985 there were just a handful of corps left.

Avant Garde certainly had the best shot, after Squires, to take a shot at Top 12 but just couldn't do it.

Lest us not forget the Kingston Indians, Troy Volunteers, Lockport Blazers, Verona Eagles, 76ers, and also a corps that is not mentioned to much...the Mello-Dears.

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I remember competing against all of the corps you mentioned, with the exception of Avant Garde. Man, those were some pretty solid groups. I was ALWAYS surprized by how good some of those small town corps were!

Jeffry J. Mason

Precious Blood Cardinals 70-71

Seneca Princemen 72-75

Toronto Optimists 76

Park Ridge Cavaliers 77-78

Kingston Grenadiers 95-96, 2000

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Seneca Princemen!!!

We purchased their uni's for the 1976 season. I also borrowed a soprano from the Princemen twice from the same guy, he had a prosthetic arm which amazed me on how he played that. I also noticed lot more dents. BTW wouldn't you say Seneca Optimists 1976 and not Toronto? Just noticed that in your signature.

I remember competing against all of the corps you mentioned, with the exception of Avant Garde. Man, those were some pretty solid groups. I was ALWAYS surprized by how good some of those small town corps were!

Jeffry J. Mason

Precious Blood Cardinals 70-71

Seneca Princemen 72-75

Toronto Optimists 76

Park Ridge Cavaliers 77-78

Kingston Grenadiers 95-96, 2000

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As I have been reminiscing about the US Open, questions or memories of the Appleknockers and Tri-Town Cadets arose. There were so many corps in the state back then. I have one memory of the NYS American Legion Championships in Syracuse. I remember staying at the (I believe) youth hostel and finally falling asleep when a drum corps cranks up a rehearsal out the windows. I don't think they knew we were staying there and one of our drum instructors went out to ask them to stop. They continued and we didn't get much sleep. To top it off, we had a few members who got sick the next day and had to go to the hospital so we pulled out of the contest.

I also want to comment on a few corps that stand out other than the one's that I discussed in another thread. The Black Knights were a favorite of mine back in the day. This Oswego corps was a corps that could have gone places but somewhere along the line didn't rise higher than they were in the mid 70's.

The Gauchos were also another corps that rose only so far and then disbanded. How sad this is! It seemed that after 1976, NY corps began to dwindle, and rather quickly. By 1985 there were just a handful of corps left.

Avant Garde certainly had the best shot, after Squires, to take a shot at Top 12 but just couldn't do it.

Lest us not forget the Kingston Indians, Troy Volunteers, Lockport Blazers, Verona Eagles, 76ers, and also a corps that is not mentioned to much...the Mello-Dears.

It just amazes me that you know of the Troy Volunteers. Everytime I mention that I marched in that corps, people look at me like I have 3 heads because no one has ever heard of them. I also remember the gauchos.

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It was amazing how States would have so many corps. My first states was Rochester in 76. I was playing 3rd bass as a 6th grader. I lost it going down the stairs off the field (after the rain storm). The drum rolled over me and I landed on top rocking back and forth. The corps all passed by me except the last big contra player who picked up both me and the drum under his free arm.

I miss... Squires, Mark Twain Cadets, Barons of Steuben, Castlemen, Grenadiers, Gauchos, Avant Garde, Mello-Dears, Greece Cadets, Empire State Express, Patriots.

I have a bunch of high school kids who have nowhere to go for junior corps because it is so far away. 4 of them have to go to Syracuse, Bayoone and Reading. It's such a shame.

BTW, If you are upstate. The Sounds on the Susquehanna will be August 4th in Endicott. I hope to see you all there. Rumor has it .. it may be the last one due to finances.

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It just amazes me that you know of the Troy Volunteers. Everytime I mention that I marched in that corps, people look at me like I have 3 heads because no one has ever heard of them.

Have you ever seen the hard cover book which features quite a bit about the Volunteers, that was published back in 1982? It covers the 1981 season. According to your signature, Laura, you were with the Volunteers that season. Your photo may very well be in the book!

It is called Introducing The Drum & Bugle Corps, by Janet Chiefari. It has 126 pages. I think I found my copy at a used book store about 20 years ago. There are 24 pages devoted to the Volunteers, in following what it's like to be in a drum & bugle corps.

Nice color photo of 27th Lancers on the front cover, and color photo of the Bridgemen on the back.

Edited by Northern Thunder
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It just amazes me that you know of the Troy Volunteers. Everytime I mention that I marched in that corps, people look at me like I have 3 heads because no one has ever heard of them. I also remember the gauchos.

I remember many shows with the Volunteers, blazers, Patriots, Greece and Squires, I marched with the Gauchos from the reformation in 79 and spent my last year with the Cadets of Upstate NY, good times and lots of fun. I was one of the 2 snares with the Gauchos and one of the 7 with the Cadets of UNY.

Edited by drumlinetchr
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OK, OK...you sucked me in on this one. This is where I lived in the 70s, on the fields of New York State every weekend. It really was wonderful, because each weekend you had one or two shows, often not more than two hours from your home. The level of the competition you would face was pretty darn good, by national standards.

I marched with the Magnificent Yankees of Utica. Talking about the NYS A.L. Championships, we won the title in 1971, '72 & '73. The first came after finishing second to St. Joe’s of Batavia by just over a point, we were awarded the title after a protest against St. Joe’s over using overage players. We won the next two on the field, beating the Auburn Purple Lancers in ’72 in Syracuse and the Watkins Glen Squires in ’73 in Binghamton.

Typically, in a weekend the following corps would go against each other at various locations; Mag. Yankees, St. Joe’s, Auburn Purple Lancers, Geneva Appleknockers, Syracuse Marauders, Mark Twain Cadets, Tri Town Cadets, Castlemen, Utica Royaleers, Mello-Dears, Poughkeepsie Pacers, Kingston Indians, Barons of Steuben, Greece Cadets, Apalachian Grenadiers, Troy Speigleaires and others who I can’t immediately recall.

Every once in a while, some corps would come up from the NYC area, like; CMCC Warriors, St. Rita’s Brassmen, OLPH Ridgemen and Blue Rock made several weekend ventures “Upstate” from Wilmington, Del.

You could not talk about NYS drum corps in the era without talking about the great Canadian corps that traveled south regularly; Toronto Optimists, De LaSalle, Cadets LaSalle, Les Metropolitans and the lovely Les Chantelains.

Great competition and a great way to spend a summer!

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As I have been reminiscing about the US Open, questions or memories of the Appleknockers and Tri-Town Cadets arose. There were so many corps in the state back then. I have one memory of the NYS American Legion Championships in Syracuse. I remember staying at the (I believe) youth hostel and finally falling asleep when a drum corps cranks up a rehearsal out the windows. I don't think they knew we were staying there and one of our drum instructors went out to ask them to stop. They continued and we didn't get much sleep. To top it off, we had a few members who got sick the next day and had to go to the hospital so we pulled out of the contest.

I also want to comment on a few corps that stand out other than the one's that I discussed in another thread. The Black Knights were a favorite of mine back in the day. This Oswego corps was a corps that could have gone places but somewhere along the line didn't rise higher than they were in the mid 70's.

The Gauchos were also another corps that rose only so far and then disbanded. How sad this is! It seemed that after 1976, NY corps began to dwindle, and rather quickly. By 1985 there were just a handful of corps left.

Avant Garde certainly had the best shot, after Squires, to take a shot at Top 12 but just couldn't do it.

Lest us not forget the Kingston Indians, Troy Volunteers, Lockport Blazers, Verona Eagles, 76ers, and also a corps that is not mentioned to much...the Mello-Dears.

Why do you guys always forget The Mighty Liberators?

Rochester ALONE had the Libs, Greece, Alpine Girls, and Grey Knights, AND Cru and Phoenix.

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I usually make sure I add Mighty Liberators and Alpine Girls in most of my NY posts, sorry I forgot. Lots of Junior corps in NY and many memories.

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