Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hawthorne Repeats As Mission Drums Champion

by Herb Cole

Drum Corps News
July 11, 1962 issue

When you've seen the movie two or three times, you're bound to feel somewhat bored. This is the feeling experienced in watching the great Caballeros of Hawthorne chalk up another Mission Drums victory in the Boston College Stadium.

This is not meant to take away from the smooth, effective performance of the gay senors, but their routine and even their music have reached that point of providing fewer thrills. Sure, Ralph Silverbrand is tremendous, the horn line and drum section perfectionists in their own right, but there was that "something" that just made the presentation listless and on the border of being uninteresting.

Of course, there will be those who will misconstrue these remarks as ones of severe criticism. Nothing could be further from the real intent - - and that is to report the feelings of several corps fans including my own. The M&M portion is certainly basic with few highlights to merit the "oohs and aahs" of the stands. Save for a few instances, nothing dangerous (point-wise) is attempted. The music, while possessive of zip and sparke, is basically unchanged and here is where the movie idea of repeat show boredom comes in.

I love "Siboney" - - in fact, have two records of it. But I would think that in two and a half years, a different tune would be attempted in concert. All the timbalis can't alter the time-tested, approved but worn-out renditions of the famed Caballeros. Win the Mission Drums, they certainly did . . win the hearts of many newcomers who had never seen them perform, they most assuredly did . . but did they earn the full respect of and comendation by those who have held them high as the Number One corps in the nation for years - - there's room for thought on this.

So, please, Hawthorne, give your legion of followers in the Bay State a varied routine when next you defend your title in the Hub.

A few retakes on Mission Drums - - Springfield Marksmen is one of the most improved units operating in these parts. Their repertoire and drill is full of flash and fire. With plenty of sock, they did wonders with Hy Dreitzer's arrangement of "Witchcraft" and "Comes Love". Good flag work in "Simple Life" with excellent field coverage in "I Believe".

Skyliners seem to like confinement - - that is, remaining between the 40 yard stripes in their M&M offerings. Detected anticipation in the lines and noticed horn trouble in certain spots . . and that fast cadence gave the appearance of the colors on the run. The twist number is a crowd-pleaser, all will agree, but on the overall, their second place finish had a hollow ring to it from this observer's point of view. I could be wrong and no doubt there will be many people who won't think twice to tell me. But I like to call them the way I see them and double checking with others, the way they see it.

The surprise of the evening was Reilly's squeezing into fourth place ahead of the up- and- coming Musketeers of Archer-Epler. It must have been the "Irish Eyes" effect on the Boston scene for their routine was more mechanical than colorful. Horns seemed to be straining in portions and for the size of their 38-bugle line, you would have expected more power. However, on the credit side of the ledger, the rifle drill was par excellence and the "Mandy" number showed some planning with the effective separation and recovery of 3 horns.

And now I must comment on a pre-contest observance and the cynical aspect attached to it. A Reilly Raider, in warm-up drill, paraded around in his T-shirt with the following message imprinted thereon: "I like Eichman" and "Eichman Gas Works". Nothing can hurt drum corps any more than this brazen and idiotic display of sentiment - - especially in a senior corps where men are supposed to be men. Naturally, the whole corps can't be held to task, but it would be appropriate for management to take a dim view of this open brashness by a playing member and to direct his infantile mind to a more constructive advertising program, such as "It's Great to be Free" and "I'm Glad I'm an American".

The Yankee Rebels won the hearts and plaudits of Bostonians with as interesting a performance as was ever concocted. Proper intervals, adequate field coverage, good horn shading, entertaining duets and the twist - - all helped to push the Baltimoreans into a well -merited third place. The only slight drawback was the build-up and let-down on the Rebel Yell. We all expected something big to break loose, but nothing showed up. Might be worth while developing this portion into a more productive G.E. stint.

If someone had asked who could have topped Hawthorne, the answer would have been Archer-Epler. From their opening salute to the split echelon-into-a-front off the field, the Musketeers took hold and never let go. It was refreshing to hear martial music with a band-effect . . it was heartening to witness drum corps justice to popular tunes from Camelot and the novel bass drum workmanship. Archie did themselves proud and have nothing to feel sorry about concerning their top performance.

Geneva Appleknockers had drum trouble again, but not sufficiently so as to hurt an otherwise good showing. "Hawaiian War Chant", "Jezebel" and other hit numbers were done with as much zest as their 30-man horn line could muster. And M&M-wise, they gave it a good effort. But following behind Hawthorne, their whole presentation appeared less effective than had they preceeded the mighty Caballeros.

Preston Scout House, in exhibition, was definitely up for their Boston debut and generally gave the stands something to look at. However, it was not the same gang of two years back - - something was missing from their music. Either the arrangements were too tough or the boys need more polishing up. And why the glockenspiels only tapped out a handful of notes throughout the whole performance is a question that needs answering. Yet, Preston is still one of the greatest junior corps ever to hit a starting line and will always remain a big favorite with yours truly and now, thousands of New Englanders who had their first view of the high-stepping lads from up North.

The EMass Circuit, in only two contests prior to the deadline yours truly has to respect for this column, looks like one of the most enterprising and energetic groups in years. Progress and developement among Class A-1 and A-2 corps has been so noticeable, that many observers are puzzled over who's going to win this contest and who's going to "take home the bacon" in that contest.

I've seen the Caballeros of Cambridge, Boston Crusaders, Immaculate Conception "Reveries", the Majestic Knights of Columbus, Gatesmen and Holy Trinity to date, and you have to off your hats in tribute to the poise and near perfection enjoyed by these units with the season barely started.

I'd like to reserve any detailed observations until I've glimpsed a few more . . and besides the hour is late.

SHORT TAKES . . The Caballeros have a perfect winning record in two competitions and are mighty pleased with their twin Legion and VFW State titles captured in New Hampshire this spring. Their victory over Garfield in Nashua had the local tongues wagging and rightly so . . the REVERIES are moving - - and I mean - - moving. They could be the "sleeper" of this year . . the BOSTON CRUSADERS seem to have reached mid-season form with a well-balanced mixture of musical depth, power and clarity.

CONGRATULATIONS to the 1962 EMass circuit Joseph McMann scholarship winners - - Elinor McCarthy and Vincent J. Gennaco of the Reveries, John J. Kearney, Jr. of the Braintree Warriors, Judith Robbins of the Boston Crusaders and Mary Lou Davis of the Belles of St. Mary of Hull., and a tremendous round of applause is in order for the brave and hardy souls who played their hearts out in a torrent of rain, for the kiddoes at the Mass. Hospital for Children in Canton.

St. Mary's Cadets Win So. Carolina Legion Contest

Drum Corps News
July 11, 1962
by W. W. Jacobus

Charleston, S.C., June 23 - St. Mary's Cadets, the South Carolina American Legion Junior State Champion Drum & Bugle Corps from Georgetown, South Carolina scored 88.7 points here today, to win the first prize trophy in the Southeastern Circuit Contest and the South Carolina American Legion combined contest at College Park.

Second prize went to the Jacksonville, Florida Emerald Buccaneers Drum Corps who scored 85.4 points. The Greenville-Anderson Corps was uncontested in the senior contest and they scored 85.1 points in that division.

St. Mary's Cadets brought home two large first place trophies from this contest. The Cadets presented an outstanding drill exhibition.

In the individual bugling contest, Larry Di Blase of St. Mary's Cadets won the State Championship. In the drumming contest, Nicky Joseph won the drum championship and he, too, is a member of St. Mary's Cadets.

Margaret Ann Jordan, a solo bugler, received a medal from the Georgetown American Legion Post #114 as the most outstanding member in St. Mary's Cadets for the year of 1961 - 1962.

Cavalier Win Streak Is Snapped

Drum Corps News
July 11, 1962 issue
by Jim Ward

Spring Valley, Ill., June 17 - The Cavaliers, who had not been defeated in regular season M&M competition since 1960, were defeated by .4 of a point here today by the Chicago Royal Airs.

Norwood Park had high M&M, followed by the Cavaliers and the Royal Airs. The Cavies and the Royal Airs tied for top horns, while the Big Blue again walked away with drums and also took high GE.

The one thing that is keeping the Royal Airs up there is drums. Their drum line is established as the best in the Midwest. They were second, 0.9 down from Blessed Sac in the Boston show and a ridiculous two points down from Norwood at Mt. Prospect, but except for those two contests, they have not even been pushed in drums.

At Mt. Prospect, they used an alternate in the snare line, but it is doubtful if this would effect their drums as much as five points as their line is probably a good three points better than Norwood under equal circumstances.

The scores:
1. Royal Airs 78.40
2. Cavaliers 78.00
3. Imperials 73.20
4. Phantom Regiment 63.70
5. Purple Knights 57.20
6. Marquette Crus. 46.80