Saturday, April 22, 2006

Scout House Marks 25th Anniversary

By D.J. Mountford
DCN May 22, 1963

PRESTON, Ont., May 4 and 5 - To the beating of drums and the heralding of horns, PRESTON SCOUT HOUSE opened their 25th Anniversary year. Special guest Corps to help them celebrate were the GARFIELD CADETS from Garfield, New Jersey.

The show was staged on two successive nights with a total attendance of a little over 10,000 persons. A huge cake lit with 25 candles and a replica of a scout flanked by 2 flashing horns stood at one end of the auditorium in Kitchener, and through this marched SCOUT HOUSE with an opening fanfare and then into "Waltzing Matilda" and "The Wayward Wind". Fielding a horn line of 30, percussion of 10, 2 Glockenspiels and 16 Colour Guard, they sounded a little better than last year.

The guest Corps, GARFIELD, were the next on with a fanfare from "King of Kings," "I Have Dreamed," and screaming sopranos in "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".

Momentary flashbacks through the years were interspersed throughout the evening which the audience went for in a big way. Special mention should be made of the 3rd flashback which stood out the most in this writer's mind, featuring PRESTON marching around the floor singing at the top of their voices, "Go To Your Right, Your Left, etc."

GARFIELD back with "Climb Every Mountain" and some very poor marching which brought some murmurs of laughter from the audience. I sincerely hope that this Corps will get back into stride before the Preview in 2 weeks. I have seen GARFIELD much better, for instance at Rochester 2 months ago when they took first place at the "Sound Off for '63".

A presentation was made to Bill Kemmerer for helping them celebrate this big year. PRESTON then played "The Lord's Prayer" with soft blue spotlights on them throughout which impressed me very much.

After intermission, the Second small corps up here in Canada showed us what they had to offer. Mention should be made here of the French Horn work. Sounded real good.

GARFIELD came back for the third time of the evening in some of their drill for the field this year. It was as if a new corps had come up during intermission. Their marching was back, their horn and drum work sounding just like the GARFIELD of old. Off the line with "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "De Vile March," "I Have Dreamed" and most especially their concert of 1963, "Fire Dance Ritual" (featuring a baritone solo. This was most certainly the hit of the evening and they had this writer wondering if they could possibly go much faster during this piece. Good drumming followed concert and into exit of "Climb Every Mountain". A real terrific arrangement of a very popular number.

Following this and back by popular request were the two famous glocks playing "Beyond the Sea." Sounded real good fellas!

Combined drum lines of PRESTON and GARFIELD looked and sounded real big with lots of colour.

SCOUT HOUSE then presented as a finale their 1963 field show indoors. Coming off the line with "De Vile March" and into "Men of Harlech" then on to "Moon River" and "March of the Wooden Soldier". Concert features last year's music "Rhapsody in Blue" and "String of Pearls". Exit is "Waltzing Matilda". Drill is much the same as last year's and unfortunately this writer was hoping a new PRESTON but, alas, no such luck.

A special feature that to this writer should be learned by every Corps no matter how big or small is the NATIONAL ANTHEM of their respective country. GARFIELD played the "Stars and Stripes" and PRESTON played "God Save The Queen" which completed the evening. How about it Corps???? Let's learn our National Anthem.

So completed PRESTON SCOUT HOUSE - 25 years. I hope to have a complete story in words and pictures for the readers of this column in a few weeks to help them celebrate this big year, 1963! So to you, PRESTON, we all join together and wish you the very best for the next 25 years and I for one hope that I will be around to attend your 50th Anniversary!


At 6:47 AM, January 28, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was fortunate to have been directed to your blog from the very interesting and informative Preston Scout House Web Site. Scout House was the first drum corps I ever saw at about age 4 and I guess they were at their pinnacle then, around 1954. I was completely smitten! It is the height of irony that many years later I became a member of The Toronto Optimists, who were instrumental in the demise of Scout House.

If you are at all interested in the history of The Toronto Optimists, they have a great web site with a full history of the corps and lots of other historical drum corps information.


Doug Roberts
Thunder Bay, Ontario


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