John Ogle is a Broadcast Journalist. He currently works as a freelance
correspondent for WCVE, Public Radio in Richmond, Virginia, and for the ABC
Radio News weekend program "Perspective". He was the founder and director of
The Times Dispatch Broadcast News Service in Richmond from 1993 to 2004. He
retired from the newspaper in 2004. Previous to coming to Richmond, he was
News Director of WCXR, Washington; WPIX FM, in New York City; and worked as
a News Anchor for WNEW, WNEW-FM, WINS, and The RKO Radio Network in New
York. He also worked as a News Anchor for The Mutual and NBC Radio Networks
in Washington and for the Voice of America. In the late 80s he anchored a
series of programs for The President's Own United States Marine Band that
were part of NPR's "Greatest Bands in the Land" series. He is a member of
The Richmond Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
MUSIC GAMES FRI June 27
The Tidewater Summer Music Games took place Monday July 7th at Hickory High School in Chesapeake.
1. Music Games Audio
The sponsors in Chesapeake asked me to present the Gold Medal. Cadets won. I also had the honor of singing with them before they went on the field and giving the pep talk ..I felt like a rock star! Both drum majors and the color guard captain ..and me ..were in tears as I hung the medal on the guard captain.
2. Music Ed Audio
In Warrenton ..a competitor ...found me after the show ..he was out of uniform ...I was wearing a Holy Name Cadets 1934 shirt ..he told me that he remembered me ..because during the medal ceremony in Chesapeake I was standing in front of everyone ...He wanted to talk about Holy Name and Garfield ..and what it was like "back then". He has tremendous respect for everything that has anything to do with Cadets ..owns several of their CDs. and has good friends in the corps.
3. Youth Education in the Arts Audio
I also had the honor of singing "O Holy Name" with them.
4. O Holy Name Audio
THE CADET ALUMNI SALUTE THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE MADISON SCOUTS, THE GREEN MACHINE OF THE CAVALIERS, AND AMERICA’S CORPS – THE TROOPERS.
Three truly great drum corps are celebrating monumental events in their history during this 2008 season; The Madison Scouts 70th Anniversary, The Cavaliers 60th Anniversary and The Troopers 50th Anniversary. We considered several different ways to honor these corps and their special anniversaries, but nothing we came up with seemed adequate. The most obvious choice was to publish short versions of their corps’ histories, with accompanying photos. We knew they would be doing something similar themselves though, and could certainly do a much better job of it than we could possibly accomplish.
Both The Troopers and The Cavaliers have already published hard cover books for this special year, and you can be certain that The Scouts will have something similar for their special celebration as well. We have had the good fortune to read both The Troopers’ and The Cavaliers’ magnificent books, and they are wonderful. If you have not already purchased a copy go to their website or their souvenir tables and do so. No drum corps library will be complete without them, and you will learn things about the early histories of these corps that will make your heart sing.
The Troopers already had a huge party in Cheyenne about a week or so ago prior to heading to Denver for a second celebration at Drums Along the Rockies. Melanie True was kind enough to send me a report on those in attendance, and the names jumped off the page at me as memories exploded in my head.
The Big Cavalier Celebration will be held on Sunday, August 3 at the Donald Stephen's Convention Center, Rosemont, Illinois (please confirm that date with the Cavalier website). Chris Hartowicz has been keeping us up to date on their plans, and it appears that it’s going to be as spectacular as the storied history of their corps requires.
The Scouts have scheduled their grand 70th party for the Kalahari Resort Hotel in Wisconsin Dells on September 26 & 27 (please confirm date and location with the Scouts’ website). Steve Vickers has been sharing some of their plans with me, and it is going to be a total blowout that no Scout, former Scout, or friend of The Scouts should miss.
The way we would have liked to have honored these three long-time respected competitors would have been to send a large delegation of Cadet Alumni to be present as testimony to the respect, the admiration, and the friendship we hold for all three of these corps. Unfortunately, the competition season precludes that possibility. However, we encourage any Cadet Alumni living within driving distance of these three corps, to attend these events if tickets are available (check appropriate websites), and to thank the celebratory corps for contributing so many good things to the history of The Cadets, just as they have contributed so many good things to the history of drum corps.
I have many personal memories of The Scouts, The Cavaliers, and The Troopers. Perhaps sharing a few might be a good way to let them know the very, very high regard in which they are held, not only by myself but by Cadet Alumni in general.
My first memory of The Scouts was as a marching Cadet awaiting our turn to stand inspection in Central Park, New York City, 1952. The Scouts were nearby, and I was mesmerized to see how imposing they looked in their official Boy Scout uniforms. I think what particularly impressed me was that they were standing close to the Belleville Black Knights, who were wearing what was probably one of the greatest drum corps uniforms of all time, and yet The Scouts were in no way diminished by the comparison or the proximity of the Black Knights. Later that evening Cadets and Scouts mingled socially at a dance sponsored by The American Legion at a hotel on W. 34th Street.
Through the years following 1952 I followed the accomplishments of the Scouts not just as a competitor, but as a fan and supporter. Years later, during an early Cadet weekend swing through the Midwest we were housed in the homes of Scout members. My host family took me on a nighttime tour of the Campus of UWMadison, and I’ve been in love with everything Wisconsin ever since. One of our contests during that weekend was sponsored by the Scouts, and it was held in the same stadium where The Scouts’ Alumni Corps held their pre-DCI exhibition show prior to the last DCI Championships in Madison. To this day I remember standing at the top at that stadium our first time there and looking over the rail into the parking area at the Scouts and other Wisconsin corps lingering there; and wondering if everyone in Wisconsin was blond, and how they all managed to look so healthy.
The Scouts have been an important part of my life since I was 14 years old and I consider myself very fortunate indeed to have had the great honor and pleasure to have known so many Scouts personally, and to be able to call them friends. They share a bond which they express in their corps song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Those of us who wore the maroon and gold rather than the Madison Green understand that bond, and though we are not a part of it, we want The Scouts to know that wherever there is a single Scout and a single Cadet, there too you will never walk alone.
It is hard for me to believe that The Cavaliers are only sixty years old. To this old drum corps war horse it seems as though they have been in the center of everything drum corps forever. I remember when they won their first National VFW Championship in Miami in competition with St. Vincents of Bayonne. The year was 1957. They were physically attacked by St. Vincents members in the bus parking area following the contest, and vilified by many of the same type-cast “old time” drum corps “fans” we still have around; but The Cavaliers emerged from that character-testing experience champions in every way possible. If it’s any consolation to The Cavaliers, that same year after winning the American Legion National Championship in Atlantic City, The Cadets were spit on by some of our disheartened competitors as we emerged from the contest site.
Cadets have a special regard and admiration for The Cavaliers because in many ways the histories of our two corps have run on parallel course. We both had our early years of glory, our early DCI years in the woodshed, and then reemergence as the pace-setters of new eras.
I have far too many wonderful memories of The Cavaliers to be able to relate them all, but I would like to share two or three. I have loved The Cavaliers and Cavalier performances for longer than I can remember. I can no longer watch any Cavalier performance without my memories of earlier Cavalier programs and special moments on the field resurfacing. The years blend together and their mere presence on the field pushes a nostalgia button in me that makes it impossible for me to exercise any semblance of impartiality. Some years I think their shows are great, some years a little less great; but always great to some degree, and the love I have for their corps is always there and always will be.
In 1959 The Cadets were enroute to Stillwater, Minnesota to compete in the legendary Drum Beauty Contest. Don Angelica, a Cadet by the name of Greg Zwarycz, and myself, were an advance party sent out early supposedly to confirm arrangements, but more accurately just because we felt like an adventure. Our first stop was Chicago, where we checked into 50th On The Lake, at that time a very upscale motel. Once settled we drove off to watch a Cavalier drill rehearsal. Don Warren was present, and you could practically hear the “enemy present” alarm bells go off in his head. He was friendly and very hospitable, even to the point of assigning a “guide” to assist us during our short stay in Chicago. The guide of course was there more to keep an eye on us and see what we were up to (Angelica and I had less than sterling reputations…with good reason). Who was the guide? A Cavalier icon, at that time still a Cavalier marching member, by the name of Adolph DeGrauwe. We remain friends to this day, and through the years my admiration and respect for him grew stronger with each passing year.
One final memory; the results of the VFW National Championship had just been announced (location and year hazy), and it was the turn of the Cavaliers, as was the practice of the time, to pass in review and salute the new champion. It must have been very difficult for them, because they had been heavy pre-contest favorites and things had just not gone their way. As they marched off into the tunnel, half the corps still visible, I realized that they were playing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” That moment frozen in time will be my eternal Cavalier memory. A great champion drum corps showing that championships aren’t won only on the field, but off of it as well. Happy 80th Birthday Don Warren. Happy 60th Birthday Cavaliers.
The Troopers are celebrating 50 wonderful years in 2008. I was there for eight of them, and not a single minute of a single day has disappeared from memory. Now they are “America’s Corps,” and universally loved. At the beginning, when drum corps flourished predominately on the east coast and in the Midwest, they were “Who? From where? The kids in the corps during my years on staff were 14, 15, 16 years old; and they were the future of drum corps. While corps in the east were still slamming each other over the heads with horns after scores were announced, and corps in the Midwest were busy with border wars between Wisconsin and Illinois; The Troopers were loading up their buses and traveling through the corn fields of Nebraska to turn drum corps upside down.
Who can forget the first time they saw the Troopers’ vehicle caravan (the first in drum corps) moving down a highway or pulling into a contest site.? Who can forget billboards adjacent to stadiums large and small with just four words: “THE TROOPERS ARE COMING.” Who can forget the local radio station in Casper being the first to broadcast the national championship contests live from the stadium, minute by minute coverage and interviews. Who can forget The Troopers welcoming Cavaliers, Kilties, Scouts, Cadets, Blue Stars, and every other corps present at whatever contest they were at that night, to their post contest watermelon socials. Most of all who can forget Jim Jones, the genius with a stick of hay in his mouth and a grin on his face, changing the face of drum corps forever.
There are lots of things we all owe to The Troopers, but in my case I would just like to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of those golden years. I love you all. You made my life better and brighter and happier…and just thinking about you as you celebrate your 50th Anniversary, makes me better and brighter and happier all over again. There is a line in The Troopers’ corps song, “Troopers rise, and stand up for the corps you love”; well, I stood up a long time ago and I’m still standing. Thank you Jim and Grace and the entire Jones family. Thanks to all those wonderful Trooper parents and supporters who made me feel so welcome. Thanks to Gene Monterastelli for being a true and steadfast friend from the first day to the present. And, most of all, thanks to all The Troopers, the ones I knew and loved, the ones that came after, the ones marching now, and the ones yet to come. You truly are the beating heart of drum corps.
Most people reading this will not have had the rare privilege I was accorded, to be there when the 70 and 60 and 50 year histories of these great corps were being lived. I constantly read the spectator critiques of various corps programs on the field, and complaints about this, that, and everything; and I wonder if any of the people so fixated on those things have any idea about the real purpose and value of drum corps?. The Scouts are a great drum corps. They are champions now, they have always been champions, they will alway be champions. It doesn’t matter where they place in a competition or whether or not you as a fan like what they’re doing on the field or not, because champions and their values endure. In the future they will have wins and losses, good programs, less good programs; but they will endure because they are The Scouts, or The Cavaliers, or The Troopers, and that means something. In fact, it means everything!
Please join with me and all Cadets and Cadet Alumni as we wish these three great champions a happy anniversary, and many more yet to come. Wherever you might place competitively this season, you have already won! Thank you too for making our Cadet experience a richer experience because you are a part of it.
THE CADETS’ ALUMNI SALUTE THE BLUE KNIGHTS
On behalf of the Cadets' Alumni I would like to apologize to The Blue Knights for overlooking their important 50th Anniversary Celebrations July 11-13 in Denver. We were unaware that BK was celebrating a special milestone this year until a former staff member brought it to our attention. The oversight was definitely unintentional, and in no way meant to indicate any lack of respect or admiration for this wonderful, ground-breaking drum corps.
We very much admire (as you can probably imagine) The Blue Knights’ commitment to a singular and unique on-field identity; and the success they are achieving in making people aware that there are many different paths that lead to entertainment satisfaction.
I have had the good fortune to be seated next to a drum corps writer for Drum Corps News from Quebec at both DCI East and the DCI Championships the past few years, and the Blue Knights are by far his favorite corps. He convinced me to watch what you are doing more closely, and I now can honestly say they are one of my favorite corps as well. They do not provide the same type of entertainment as most other corps (not a revelation to them I'm sure), but I and many others appreciate the difference very much.
Continued good luck to the Blue Knights as they continue to prosper, and special good wishes for success at the DCI Championships in Bloomington and in their quest to be the best they can be. It is an honor for The Cadets to share the field of competition with you. Congratulations on your 50th Anniversary.
RED, WHITE, BLUE…AND MAROON
I took a Cadet Alumni ride to the moon this Independence Day weekend, and it was dazzling. I suspect that many non-Cadet drum corps friends and competitors probably feel that we may sometimes overplay our feelings for our corps. If so about the only defense I can offer is that our feelings are totally genuine. I can tell you that it’s been 50 years since I wore my uniform for the last time; but I still get a thrill when I see them on the field,. I still can’t sing through the entire Holy Name Hymn without choking up, knowing what my personal Cadet experience has brought to my life experience. Most of all though, I look at the marching Cadets of today; their talent and performance levels, their attitude towards what they are doing and why they are doing it, their conduct and demeanor and image, and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. Last night at the Cadets home show in Clifton, NJ the alumni present went down on the field after the finale to join our marching Cadets in singing the Holy Name Song and to meet them personally. The joint singing moment was a bit of a disaster since the version now sung differs significantly from the version familiar to most older alumni…but we stood in one group, physically linked, emotionally bonded, and forever one corps. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life, and I’m not embarrassed for the world to know that after all these years being a Cadet makes me feel like someone blessed far more than I deserve or have ever had a right to expect.
For many alumni present, many for the first time in quite a few years, the privilege of meeting and talking with our young 2008 marching Cadets was a revelation. We all knew what being a Cadet was all about when we marched, but to see the continuation of that heritage in the magnificent young people now wearing our precious maroon and gold uniforms., was a cause for great pride and simultaneously a very humbling experience. The few moments we got to meet them and chat with them reignited many precious memories, but perhaps far more important, made us remember that history happens every day…and these young marching Cadets are making new history every minute of every day as they become another chapter in our history, and another golden element of our heritage.
(left to right) Margee Estelle, Cindy Carozza, Sandy Van Romer, Lillian Petrullo, Patti Lovas, Lois Witte, Ginny Wildt click on photo to enlarge photos courtesy of Patti Lovias-Trajanowski
None of what I’ve said here is meant to devalue the experience of alumni and marching members of those who marched or still march in other corps. In our 75- year history we have had the honor to share the field of competition with many corps. We have watched the performance greatness of so many of those corps. We know that the deep feelings of love alumni of all corps feel for “their” corps is no less than our own. We respect, and admire, and honor each and every corps we have ever known, and each and every corps we currently compete against.
We hope, therefore, you will indulge us in our excesses as we remember our 75 years of contribution to the activity. The many thousands of young men and women who have worn the maroon and gold . We have won our share of championships, and there will be more to come; but far more important to us is that we have values we pass on from generation to generation that truly define who and what we are as a corps. We are the Cadets. We think that means something very, very special. We hope you do too.
My personal Independence Day celebration started out on Friday morning, July 4, at a morning parade in the small New Jersey town of Maywood. It is one of those perfect little all-American towns scattered across our Country. A neat, flourishing, one-street downtown and tree-lined streets with well-cared-for houses. It was the kind of small town that defines America. The streets were packed with local residents in their lawn chairs exchanging greetings with their neighbors. Excited little children sat on the curb impatiently waiting for the parade to reach them (along with the candy they knew would be thrown in their direction by the parade participants). It was a very, very nice parade, in a very, very nice little town. As it neared its’ conclusion I could hear some familiar music from Cadet history. Slowly a low-bed trailer pulled into my line of sight. On a small raised section behind the tractor cab two percussionists were displaying the rudimental percussion art so familiar to old-time drum corps people. Sitting behind them, in a lower trailer bed being towed by the tractor; in rows of three, each wearing a Garfield Cadets’ Alumni Cap and golf shirt, were a group of Cadet Alumni and friends, riding through the parade in grand style. It was a sight to see. They looked so classy and so very, very cool. I happened to be in the center of a group of followers and supporters of some of the other musical groups in the parade. I heard their questions. Who are they? They sound pretty good. “That’s the Holy Name Alumni.” That was all that needed to be said. Everyone around me focused their attention on that small band of Cadet Alumni on the trailer, and the comments made were full of compliments and absolute respect. The men on that trailer sat ramrod straight, Cadets to their core, and they stood out because of it. The knew they represented an organization very unique in the drum corps world, and they knew that, for that short time span in that single parade event, THEY were the Cadets. They did us proud!
Saturday dawned red, white, blue…and maroon in Clifton, NJ, this years’ site for The Cadets’ home show. Events began with an alumni luncheon at the Mountainside Inn in Clifton. It was held in particular to honor the members of the 1983 DCI Championship Cadet Corps and to induct the four new members of the Cadets’ Hall of Fame.: Jeff Sacktig, David Welch, Dr. Joseph Cinzio, and Al “Chez” Chesnavitz. The house was packed. As it turned out it was standing room only. A significant number of members of the 1983 corps were present, along with Cadets and supporters of the Cadets from many generations there to honor the 1983 corps, the Hall of Fame Inductees, and most of all, to honor our corps.
(l to r) Cadet Hall of Fame inductee Al Chez 78-82, his lovely wife Kat, Ken Shedosky 57-61, and all the way up from Florida, Al Handzo 59-62. click on photo to enlarge photos courtesy of Scotty McGarry
The room was picture-perfect. Lining the walls was memorabilia from 75 years of Cadet History. Most of it I had never personally seen. It took my breath away. Packing the room were Cadets I hadn’t personally met previously, others I hadn’t seen in 50 years, and some I see regularly but never see enough. The Cadets’ and YEA have a secret weapon. A superb staff of professionals and volunteers who can turn straw into gold. Always at the forefront of events like this is our special treasure, Caryn Goebel. She seems inexhaustible, never allows a single detail to go unattended, is far better organized than our federal government, and is a joy to work with and be around.. We extend our way-too-inadequate thanks after each of these wonderful events she organizes and executes…but there is never enough words you can say to express the depth of our collective gratitude for all she brings to the table for the Cadets and for YEA. She is one of so many gifted and dedicated members of this great, great staff assembled by George and the YEA Board. I hesitate to mention names because I’m sure to leave someone out, but watching the staff and volunteers do what they do so effectively yesterday filled me with awe and admiration. So to all of you, staff and volunteers, we want you all to know how much you are appreciated for all you do. Our corps and our alumni thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Special recognition is also due to those who bear the brunt of the responsibility (and probably George’s ire when things don’t go as smoothly as he wished) . Cadet heroes all: Sean King, Christen Juel, Charilty Musielk, John Keegan, Larry Harris, Tim Gallagher, Justin Heimbecker, and all those others working so hard behind the scenes in the thousand and one jobs that need to be done.
All these people and all their effort came together to produce a day of maroon pride that I don’t think anyone present will ever forget. Eric Santo, acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Alumni Hall of Fame Committee, was the defacto master of ceremonies for the Hall of Fame portion of the luncheon.
The first inductee was Al Cheznavitz, better known to those of us who know and admire him as “The Chez Man,” or “Goober.” Al was introduced by Jim Mallen. Jim outlined “The Man’s” endless list of accomplishments, and his special connection to The Cadets. To us, of course, the most important part of his resume was that while wearing the maroon and gold he helped to lead our corps out of the wilderness of desperation. He is part of our legend, and a part of the living, breathing heart of The Cadets.
Holy Name Garfield The Cadets Alumni Corps. click on photo to enlarge photos courtesy of Dan & Fanny DeRosa.
Jeff Sacktig was tearfully introduced by Mark Silvestri, whose affection for Jeff and pride in his accomplishments were there for all to see and hear. Jeff has a drum corps pedigree he traces back to his Dad who marched with Phoebe Hearst, arguably the greatest Post WWII corps of the era. The senior Mr. Sacktig had seven children who marched drum corps. Jeff too has a resume packed with success in many different areas, but to all Cadets he is the genius behind the corps’ drill program for many, many years. We respect him, we admire him, but most of all we love him. There are not many people as nice as Jeff in this world, and we are fortunate to have one of the few as part of the Cadet family. He marched in the maroon and gold, and now he is leading them forward into the future. Mr. Sacktig Sr. was present in the stadium later that evening to personally present Jeff’s award to his son.
Dr. Joseph Cinzio was introduced by George Hopkins. It is not often in drum corps that active corps directors honor their predecessors, but in the world of The Cadets, we hold them all in special reverence; and George is very instrumental in making certain that we all remember the gifts of time, treasure , and talent each and every one of them gave to The Cadets. “Doc” Cinzio worked for many years with the Cadets in every imaginable capacity., culminating in his becoming Director for two years. During his tenure as Director both his two sons and his daughter marched Cadets, as did their eventual spouses. All six marched Cadets at the same time under Dr. Cinzio’s leadership. As anyone who has ever been a corps director can tell you, only a very small portion of the heavy responsibilities involved are ever known to outsiders. There were times when Doc Cinzio and his lovely wife Sophie had to use personal finances to keep the Cadets afloat. We all owe the entire Cinzio family a debt of gratitude and respect that we can never repay. We hope that Doc and his family can feel the love and gratitude that surrounds them everywhere they go.
David Welch, our ultimate Cadet Ideal, was introduced via a pre-recorded taping by Doug Rutherford.. David’s contribution to the Cadets, to the world, and to those like himself suffering the terrible toll of brain cancer cannot be underestimated. He has drawn upon his Cadet training and his personal ideals and skills to bring hope and sorely needed information to people around the world through his 38lemon brain cancer awareness programs (www.38lemon.com). Through the example of his courage and his perseverance, his imagination, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow man; he has covered our corps in a cloak of pride that outshines all of our championships, and all of our achievements. He is…he represents…everything The Cadets are about. We stand humble in his presence, and we thank him for allowing us to honor him as he has honored us all.
Warren Corman, one of our fabled super-Cadets who will always be remembered for being one of those who inspired the members of the 1983 corps to become the best they could be (and boy did they ever), honored his fellow 1983 Cadets with special recollections of that fateful year. He tearfully (tears flowed throughout that luncheon) recounted that special year when the Cadets won our first DCI World Championship (the first eastern corps to do so), from a personal perspective that brought special meaning to those present who had not been fortunate enough to share that 1983 adventure. I was present for that momentous event on assignment for one of our local newspapers, and the sound of thousands of people chanting “EAST, EAST, EAST” will remain with me until the day I die. Many marching members from 1983 were present at the luncheon, and they were all presented with a special memory packet from the corps.
(The 2008 marching Cadets join with Cadet Alumni in the singing of our corps anthem, The Holy Name Song. click on photo to enlarge photos courtesy of Scotty McGarry
The afternoon climaxed with a “few” words from George Hopkins, our honored and highly respected Cadet Director. I have been present at a number of George’s speeches and presentations, but this time he won his own World Class Championship. He was superb…covering every base of the Cadets’ past, present and future. He was more relaxed and natural than I’ve ever observed him with an audience of this type, and he had everyone, myself included, roaring with laughter from beginning to end. This man, whatever you might think of his artistic taste, is a force of nature. I think our corps is very lucky to have him at the helm. He has accomplished much for The Cadets and for drum corps in general…and it’s pretty obvious that he’s not even close to calling it a day. There were 50 years of Cadet history prior to George, 26 years now and counting with George, and there will be Cadet history after George. BUT, to be a part of this George Hopkins’ era, and even to be like myself a distant observer, is an exciting roller coaster ride that is thrilling, perplexing, fascinating, interesting, challenging, and one hell of an adventure.
Seven decades of Cadets, One Corps, joined together in singing the Holy Name Hymn 7/5/08 click on photo to enlarge photos courtesy of Patti Lovias-Trajanowski
Following the luncheon everyone moved to the stadium for an alumni tent-reception on the lawn outside the gate. Inside the stadium the Cadets were hard at work rehearsing and holding another one of their Music is Cool programs for local high school bands. It was drizzling slightly off and on, so there was some concern about audience turnout, but when I walked inside the stadium just to see what was going on the stands were already 25% full and the contest was still two hours away.
Outside a sea of maroon was gathering. There was no doubt at all that this was a Cadet Alumni Homecoming. The memorabilia had been transferred to the tent, and there were courtesy beverages provided along with (get this) maroon and gold popcorn. Lots of hugs, lots of kisses, lots of collective pride . General spectators passing by on their way to the gates joined in to say hello to friends and just in general to see what was going on. I heard more than one comment to the effect of “I can’t believe that your corps alumni support The Cadets so much.” It’s easy my friends. Seasons come and go, programming direction changes and you either like it or you don’t,. The outside world sometimes thinks we’re great, sometimes not so great; but we as alumni know that out on the field in our uniforms are our kids…working their hearts out, being the best they can be (and usually succeeding), and making us swell with pride as they become a part of our ever-growing history. We love our corps and we love those kids out there who we once used to be. It’s that simple. We know that George Hopkins is holding true to the ideals that we all share, and we know that every single year the Cadets send out into the real world young men and young women who will help to build a better world than we managed to build. That’s why we cry when we sing the Holy Name Hymn. That’s why we end our written communications with “For Holy Name shall always be…”, that’s what we as alumni believe the Cadets are about. Cheer our kids if you believe they deserve it, as we do; or jeer them if you feel they have injured you or your world in some way…but remember who they are, what they represent, and what their corps has brought to the table for 75 years now. The sun will shine tomorrow, and The Cadets will be out rehearsing in it, working to exhaustion, to be the best they can be. That’s all we, as alumni standing shoulder to shoulder with them, expect of them.
The stands at the contest were packed end zone to end zone. I had read all the reviews on the drum corps forums, but I was seeing all the corps myself for the first time. This is always a moment of truth for me, because for some odd reason I increasingly find myself in total disagreement with all the criticism of the different corps I read on Drum Corps Planet. Honestly, I thought every corps was great. I ‘m not going to give individual reviews because I think everyone should do that for themself, but I don’t think anyone in that stadium thought they didn’t get their moneys worth. It was a great, exciting, fascinating competition, and I felt fortunate to be there. Thank you Spartans, Raiders, Surf, Crossmen, Boston, Crown, Cadets, and Bridgemen. You all made magic once again, and for anyone to criticize anything about any of you; well, they need to review their priorities.
Patti Lovas, Margee Gearhart, Lillian Petrullo, Lois Snure (all members of the Cadets' first female guard), along with Todd and Kevin Ullrich, try their best to convince Cindi Devivo that she can't take her somewhat flustered Cadet named Patrick home with her. click on photo to enlarge photos courtesy of Patti Lovias-Trajanowski
The evening ended with the announcement of scores, and a beautiful encore performance by the Cadets. As mentioned earlier, the alumni then joined The Cadets on the field to bond once again as we sang the Holy Name Hymn; four banners, one corps, all Cadets, all Holy Name. I ended my evening slumped in a chair against the fence totally exhausted. I watched the alumni and current marching members talking and embracing, the spectators departing the stadium with smiles on their faces, and the picture of a drum corps stadium with the scent of new mown grass, the hustle and bustle as the refreshment and souvenir stands closed down, the distant sound of the buses revving up in the parking lot; and I felt so lucky to have been a part of all this for so long. No, it’s not the real world, but it is our world, and it does count; and I wouldn’t have traded a second of all my drum corps life for any trophy or any other attainment in the world.
Red, white ,blue…and maroon. That describes me about as much as you can.