Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Southern Breezes

By John F. Van Tassell
DCN Sept. 12, 1962 issue

Well, Nationals are over for many corps and the Drum Corps season is coming to a close. This writer attended the VFW Nationals in Minneapolis and it was some contest. There had been some 41 corps registered. However, only 33 participated in the contest for the Juniors and 4 in the Seniors.

There were only two Southern corps participating in the contest, so I will give you a run down on them. They were the Miami Vanguards and the Greeneville Presidents.

The Vanguards were on in the early morning and were doing a fine job until going off the field, they came to what they thought was the finish line and began marking time, since the gun hadn't gone off. Actually the line they stopped at was the finish line for the Color Guard competition from the previous day. As a result, some of the Corps quit playing, and the Corps was penalized for too much time on the field. This probably kept them from being in the pageant that night.

The President's came on strong, doing a good M&M job, and with a strong drum line looked very good. In some spots, horns were a little weak, but overall, it was a good job. Both corps should have placed higher and perhaps next year will see these corps in the finals.

It was good to see all the old faces at the Nationals - Vinnie Ratford, Frank Hyrup, Jim Costello of Hawthorne, Don Angelica, and the many more old friends of bygone years. Many of the corps looked real sharp and improvement was the word of the day.

On the local Southern scene, the Chattanooga Corps has changed their name, uniforms and has had a general revamping altogether. They are now known as the Volunteers, have a new cadet-style black and white uniform, and have changed instructors.

Mr. Tilson, of the famed Chattanooga Central High School is the music instructor. He is a student and co-worker of the famed Casavants, who has written many books on drum corps style drill for bands.

Their music is along the show business theme and plans are now for them to go to Las Vegas to participate in the Legion Nationals. They recently topped the Memphis Corps for the Legion State Championship. Memphis has reorganized their corps and have new uniforms, instruments, and arrangements by Tru Crawford. The word is that they have improved greatly over past years.

News from Louisiana is that the annual Dairy Festival in Abbeville will be something this year. There will be a corps contest for the first time. Three corps will be competing: the Southernaires and Stardusters from New Orleans and the All-Girl Eaglettes from Abbeville. This is the first contest in the Bayou State in many a year. I hope to have first hand coverage of this event for you. Good luck to Doc LaBorde in this endeavor.

The Presidents of Greeneville are planning big things for next year, going to a larger horn line, possibly a bigger drum section, two Contra-Basses from Getzen, and to top it all off, Don Angelica is going to arrange music for them. This last stroke was arranged in Minneapolis and this should be a good thing for the Presidents. Much credit is due to Jerry Cole for the advance of this fine corps. He is a real worker and a good spark plug.

Well, I guess it is sign off time for this edition. From the land of hot weather, and we have had it this summer. The word is, "Yours for better corps".


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