Sunday, March 19, 2006

Penn-Jersey Observations
By Ernest W. Saxton

DCN July 11, 1962

As I sit here, thinking about just what I can write about for this edition of the bible of drum corpsing, DRUM CORPS NEWS, my mind can not but, wander back several years to the time when drum corps prospered in this Philadelphia area. It was not an uncommon sight to see 10 - 15 drum corps (top notch) show up for a parade or a contest but, since then, drum corps has declined to a dismal state of affairs in the towns surrounding the city of brotherly love. For awhile it seemed that drum corps would once again make its' way up the popularity ladder in this area but that soon came to an end when, the know it all directors of some of the area corps started fighting among themselves, the clique became split, the small corps became jealous and started their own dirt campaigns to ruin the larger corps, the overage crusade was started by the Bernerts, and many other things added to this made drum corps start to decline again and it is still declining.

Take for instance, this years' state competitions in Pennsylvania. They could be really great shows this year but, already the little corps, that don't stand a snowballs chance in H--- of winning the title are protesting the bigger corps for overage, corps jumping, etc. What are they accomplishing??? Well in my opinion, nothing, but in their opinion they are building up drum corps in this area. By knocking down big corps, which are carrying this area's name into the bigggggg contests, they figure it will give the small corps a chance and help to make for better drum corps in this area but that is not true, because when they get rid of the alleged overage kids in the bigger corps, their own kids will want to leave the smaller corps to take a spot in the bigger corps, thus the small corps is no better off now than when they started their smear campaign.

In my estimation, there are many corps that have overage members, corps jumpers, etc., but nothing is ever said. It is just in this one time big drum corps area that the know nothings of drum corps would like to make trouble so that maybe they can take the credit for helping to break up drum corpsing in this area.

Drum corpsing was started for the youth of the nation to learn competitive rules, to learn sportsmanship, to learn travel and have a good time, but it has sort of lost its' meaning and has become a business where the directors and committee throw temper tantrums in front of the members when their corps loses or something of that sort. Aren't you setting a fine example for the members to follow.

It all adds up to this, that drum corps will return to their standings of many years ago and that is the ranks of parade corps and you the directors (not all of them just the know nothings) will be able to grumble and growl because of something you brought on yourself. You say it will never happen??? Well keep up the good work and it will happen sooner than you think, maybe your corps will be parading right behind mine.

Let me drop this subject with this thought, "It is easy to complain and protest but it takes hard work and brains to build a winner". OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!!!

Walker-Dyer Blue Rocks take first win at Easton, Pa. on June 16.......... many, many corps lost muchos money as the rain poured all over the East Coast on the weekend of June 23 - 24.... and many fans are expecting a great deal from the Bracken aggregation after their upset victory over St. Catherines in Levittown, Pa..... still people talking of a BIGGGGGG show in Philly's huge Municipal Stadium ..... National Judges Association getting many jobs, for rates and info contact Bob Jacobs at Gillespie Stree, Phila. 35, Pa.
Vasella's hornline much improved over last season and getting better all the time..... Haddon Heights Vagabonds have one of the best drum lines around these days.......... I heard the Carnegie Hall album and it is nothing short of fabulousssssssss ....... and Dick Blake had to make his way to my humble abode after being soaked during the turential rains of a few weeks ago....... don't forget the competition in Ocean City, N.J. on July 17th, Garfield, Bracken, St. Catherines, Loretto and Dumont all competing in this one..... and guess what, the admission is FREEEEEEE for that show...... Bracken's Big Eastern States Competition to be held at the Woodrow Wilson High School in Levittown this year, and there will be the top corps in the East in competition and the price is still $1.00 ...... and did you hear about the lovely majorette from one of the nations top junior corps who wouldn't go up and accept the fourth place trophy at a recent competition because she would be embarrased but she was right up there when the corps took first the following week...... And so how was your week????????

Cadets, Noteables Cop Victories
By Tom Gilmartin
DCN July 11, 1962

Pittsfield, Mass., June 16 - The P.A.L. Cadets of Bridgeport, Conn. pulled out ahead tonight in one of the closest victories a near capacity crowd at Wachonah Park has ever seen. In the class A contest, the Cadets edged out the So. Boston Gatesmen in a crucial contest with the challenging Noteables of Auburn taking first place honors in the class B competition.

Most spectators at this contest were in full agreement that this was one of the hottest contests ever witnessed in this popular drum corps city.

Corps placings and scores are as follows:
Class B
Noteables ............................................... 68.55
Skyhawks of Pittsfield ........................ 60.30
Sabers of Thompsonville, Conn. .... 44.66

Class A
P.A.L. Cadets ........................................ 84.95
Gatesmen .............................................. 84.73
Grenadiers of New Britain, Conn. ... 79.57

A big contest at a crucial time of the year when every corps in the Yankee Circuit, and of course all other circuits, is trying to make its bid for those top scores. Every corps at this contest knew the job to be done and all of them came through with flying colors.

One of the top corps of the evening, keeping the crowd in a spellbound mood, was the Pittsfield Cavaliers. This corps, with its excellent Del Ray arrangements, twisting major, a drill that truly takes in the whole field, and well-used color guard; hit the field with one of the best rounded out shows of the evening. Special notice must be given to their rendition of Drummer Boy and the way this corps never lost any of its power from start to finish.

Judging of this contest was done by the Conn. All-American Chapter.

Hawthorne Wins Music In Motion
DCN July 11, 1962

New Haven, Conn., June 16 - The Hawthorne Caballeros continued their winning ways here today by annexing the Music in Motion title.

The Cabs finished four points ahead of the runner-up Interstatesmen from Pittsfield, Mass. and Troy, N.Y. The Baltimore Yankee Rebels were third

The scores:
1. Hawthorne, NJ Cabs ........... 86.9
2. Interstatesmen .................... 82.9
3. Yankee Rebels .................... 82.4
4. Springfield Marksmen ........ 80.3
5. Conn. Yankees .................... 76.7

1962 Yankee Rebels
DCN July 11, 1962

From The Land Of Sky Blue Waters
By Jim Ward

DCN July 11, 1962

Greetings once again from the Northland. The second half of June has been a busy time and we have five contests to report on in addition to several changes in the Midwest Junior Ratings and some general news from around the area.

First I'd like to clarify a statement that appeared in my column in regard to the Illinois State VFW contest. I did not mean to imply that the Royal-Airs could not have been beaten that night. Certainly did not have a perfect performance, as was shown by their score. However, their show was mechanically as close to perfect as one has the right to expect from a drum corps during the first part of June. Naturally, they have room for improvement and will improve as the season goes along. It is still my personal conviction, however, that had the Cavaliers made the line that night there would be a new State VFW champion today. Now we'll have to wait until Woodstock.

A couple of errors have been brought to my attention. The Chicago Cavaliers are not using "Carioca" as a concert number. It is being played on the march and replaces "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" from the 1961 repertoire. The new concert is "Bie Mir Bist Du Schun." Also, the Racine Scouts are using "Maria" from West Side Story in concert. "Sweet Georgia Brown" is being played on the march with Tom Stanton soloing.

In mentioning the Cedar Rapids Cadets and the Fort Dodge Lanciers as the two competing corps in Iowa we inadvertently omitted the Monahan Marksmen from Sioux City. They are an old corps with a very fine record through the years and although they do not plan much competition this year they will be on the line at the Iowa State Legion contest in August. Thanks to Dave Hatcher of the Marksmen for the information.

The ratings will be based on performances through the Cedarburg contest. You will note many changes and we expect the ratings to fluctuate quite a bit for a while until there are a few more contests between Wisconsin and Illinois corps so that an accurate comparison may be drawn.

Many corps, the Racine Scouts in particular, have improved greatly from 1961 while others, most notably the Purple Knights and the Marquette Crusaders, are down from last year's performances. Some, like the Bellville Black Knights, are still question marks and will remain so until they have competed more often. In parentheses are listed the number of contests, firsts, and seconds for each corps in the top fifteen.

1. Chicago ROYAL-AIRS .................... (5-3-1)
2. Park Ridge CAVALIERS ................. (2-1-1)
3. Madison SCOUTS ........................... (3-2-1)
4. Racine SCOUTS .............................. (2-0-2)
5. Bellville BLACK KNIGHTS ............. (1-0-1)
6. Racine KILTIES ............................... (2-0-0)
7. Norwood Park IMPERIALS ............. (5-1-0)
8. Skokie VANGUARDS ...................... (3-0-0)
9. Rockford PHANTOM REGIMENT ... (3-0-0)
10. St. Paul SCOUTS ........................... (3-2-0)
11. St. Matthias CADETS .................... (3-1-0)
12. Rockford PURPLE KNIGHTS ....... (4-0-0)
13. Aurora VACQUEROS ................... (1-0-0)
14. Morton Grove COUGARS ............ (4-0-0)
15. Eau Claire BOYS ........................... (3-1-1)

Many contests will be held during the first part of July. Some of the more important ones are Madison on July 14, and McHenry, Illinois, on July 15. We will try to have a full report on these plus any other news we can pick up "From the Land of Sky Blue Waters."

Fulton Gauchos To Sponsor 1st Contest
By Joe Price

DCN July 11, 1962

Fulton, N.Y., June 20 - Don Brown, Business Manager announced that the Fulton Gauchos will sponsor their first big contest on Sat., Sept. 8. The contest will be held at the Milray Speedway, which is 3 miles south of Fulton on Route 57. The show will start at 8 P.M. Competition will be among all top N.Y. State Senior Corps.

The Fulton Gauchos were organized in September, 1960 and did not enter the M&M class until this season. They have an outstanding record in the field of parade work and concerts. The corps is made up of men with previous experience. The Gauchos have an able staff of well known instructors, consisting of Len McMannus on music; Dick Mercurio, drums; and John Laskowski, drill. All of these instructors made their mark with the famous Syracuse Brigadiers.

Tourney Of Champions Opens Badgerland M&M Season
*From Doc's Desk*

DCN July 11 1962

The Wisconsin Rapids Tournament of Champions gave me my first 1962 chance to see what Badgerland had to offer Corpswise this year. Outside of the usual tournament rain, the contest was A-OK - if you are willing to forgive the disadvantages of an indoor corps show and its undersized floor, humid and warm air, and the thought of getting home about time for work Monday morning.

First place went to Madison Scouts in their new, dark green cadet type uniforms. The uniforms have slight white trim, and the conservative type West Point plumes. Especially nice is the professional look of the highly polished black shoes (and this Madison is a wise move!) and the sashes which distinguish the commanders from the corpsmen. The corps was tremendous in general and I must compliment Nick on his music! The horns were strong and accurate for this time of year, the drums at this time, I believe, were over-rated a bit when they were put over the 1962 Kilt drummers. Their drill was average, but executed well under the adverse conditions. This year's Madison Scouts are wonderful! They will go far.

Second went to the Racine Scouts in their new white-trimmed uniforms, and impressive Aussie type hats. These boys have fine spirit, and did a good job executing their simply constructed drill on the small floor. Their music was well done and had power. G.E. music was much better than G.E. drill but the spirit of the boys does a lot to make up for what lacks in the drill. Their drums were average to good, and I think the corps will have a nice year.

Third place went to the Racine Kilts with a 78.3, 3.8 points behind the Racine Scouts, and 6.45 points behind Madison. The Kilts had more trouble with the floor than any other corps. Their drill was almost destroyed under the handicap and it affected their horns a lot. The music was fine but lacked the power of the other units. (I do hope this is not a permanent defect.)

Their drums were really fine and it looks like a top drum line this year. The spirit seemed lax, probably due to the knowledge of what was happening to the drill. Mr. Carl Last won the best Drum Major award in the parade and looked equally tough on the floor. The drill construction is simpler than last year but a lot more intricate than the other competing units. The corps will shape up when the shows get outdoors and will do well this year. What is lacking most is the complete absense of theme music, but then who says, "Scotchmen" must play Island Music? Their "Hands Across The Sea" will be a spectacular number all season. (I have suggestions, Emil.)

In fourth place was the Indianhead Council Scouts. Their horns sounded O.K. and displayed some power. The drums were better than I have heard in this unit before. The Color Guard was nice but displayed some flagrant Flag Ettiquette, especially when the U.S. flag came from behind in an echelon with all the other flags to its front on right and left. The corps was nice.... 77.9.

The St. Matthias Cadets were fifth, with a 76.9. A fast cadence and a nice drill. Good spirit, coupled with a nice marching style and an appearance of confidence and poise, made this young unit outstanding, and in my opinion, under-rated in M&M. They had surprisingly good drums (however, afraid to pick up their feet), and pretty good horns for their ages. I think this unit is a future winner, barring any unexpected happenings which would disrupt their progress. Horns lack power a bit, but are good for a mixed line.

In sixth place, the Cedarburg Thunderbolts scored 76.6. This is another mixed unit. Nice music (A lot of band people, no doubt)! M&M quite neat and I thought it was one of the good units in the show. The girl snares do a commendable job. The whole unit was smooth and had a good repertoire. I did not especially like the red trim on the upper uniform in contrast to the blue on the trousers, but this is trivial opinion even though it distracted me. (The lightning bolt on the back could go! Constructive!)

7th place went to the Eau Claire Boys. They reminded me of Garfield Cadets after they left Holy Name and temporarily got the white bermudas, Aussie hats, etc. in fact, the two uniforms are almost identical. In general, the corps attracts attention. Their precision is a bit defective and their basic M&M fundamentals, etc. is rather weak. Flag Ettiquette goes to pot at times: e.g., U.S. flag in center of Corps on entrance and behind other flags in single file during the drill.

Some parts of their drill are very effective (squad slip throughs) DBP&E off at times, especially moving at attention. The corps has a nice musical repertoire and the drums are OK. I do not know if the bells help them or not. The unit does sport a working potential and may be a big one some day.

The Spam Town Lancers with a 72.2 and 2.7 behind Eau Claire occupied the number eight spot. A pretty corps and uniform-wise they have the Blessed Sacrament look. I really think the word Spam in their title does much to give the impression of "not the best". The word, "Spam", to most people means a can of meat, and no matter how good a corps is, Spam is still a can of cold, gelatinous , meat. The beautiful effect of the corps uniforms was almost destroyed by the red plumed, blue-shirted drum majors.

The majors clashed with the corps. The corps displayed some nice horn blowing and their repertoire was really all right, though I sensed the patterning after several other corps repertoires in theirs. (Skokie, Hawthorne, Geneva, Pittsburgh, etc.). The young and very promising unit, showed faulty precision all around, with the great need of work on basic fundamentals. A lot of potential there!

In 9th was the Maria High School Girls with 66.2. These are nice looking girls. They have spirit, ambition, and all it takes for a corps except ideas and training. In the sense of pure constructive criticism, I make the following statements. I surely would not want to, in any way, hurt feelings. First of all, the Strutting Drum Major is "Mickey Mouse". (Not the girl, just the style) It is not "Corps" to strut like a leader of "Copina's Twirling Corps". The big baton would go over in Kilts' Carl Last's hand but not in the Maria Corps.

A 100% improvement would be effected if the corps got plumes on the inclined shakoes, and the whole corps attained the look of the color guard "gals", who wear boots, instead of the little sneakers or shoes worn by the corps. The corps marched O.K., but a great improvement would come about if all the girls managed to pick up their right legs as well as their left. (This was bad.)

Tenth place went to the Blue Notes with 65.0. I really can't say why the corps got last! Maybe it is because of the name Ishpeming preceding the Blue Notes. Ishpeming, like Spam, just doesn't put strangers or judges in the exact right frame of mind - - I mean this, and not being sarcastic either. The corps had nice music for a mixed unit. The M&M was O.K. and power was shown at times. Potential was there, and this corps was not last place in my opinion. Keep up the good work Blue Notes.

PS: The Mariner Drill Team and Guard of the Spectacle City have one of the finest field drills a drill team could have. They are willing to show such at any break at any corps shows. Hope some of you consider this as you set up your programs. It is very hard to keep a drill team alive. Believe me, this team can entertain as well as a musical unit. Give them a chance.

Dr. H.R. Patin

St Roccos 1962

St Roccos 1962
Originally uploaded by NanciD.
St. Roccos Golden Aces
DCN July 11, 1962

The Great Equalizer
By D. E. Angelica
DCN July 11. 1962

The game of execution is the saddest game I know: It sounds like something by the late Oscar Hammerstein II, but it is in all reality a statement of important consequences.

We have in past years bemoaned the lack of quality shows, and while doing this, have also allowed ourselves to become part of the system that allows only execution to win contests. On the present American Legion score sheets being used almost exclusively this year, (at least on the Eastern Coast) we have retrogressed a minimum of 10 years in the General Effect caption.

Several years ago, we proposed and had accepted a comprehensive G.E. sheet, which was the result of much work on the part of many drum corps people. Vinnie Ratford, Lefty Mayer, Bill Kemmerer, Val Capone, etc. These sheets were used during the 1960 season and were found unsatisfactory by most of the corps - not because of the sheet itself - but because there were not enough qualified men in the judges chapters who could judge the sheet properly. (The judge had to be versed in bugles, drums, M&M, and Color Guard.)

It was understandable that this type of overall G.E. sheet could be in advance of the majority of the judges who would be forced to work with it. The sheets were drawn up by the next American Legion Congress committee with this in mind. There was a decision made by the majority of the members present at the 1961 Congress to revert back to the 1959 G.E. sheet with modifications.

This would entail 3 G.E. judges, 1 G.E. Bugle, 1 G.E. Drum, and 1 G.E. M&M. The sheets were to be worth 30 points each and were to be totalled to a possible 90, which would then be divided by three. This meant that 30 points would be allocated for M&M, 20 for Bugles, 20 for Drums and 30 points for General Effect.

Somewhere between the general meeting, where the above recommendation was made and the meeting of the executive committee of the UOCC, it was decided that this was not in line with UOCC thinking and everything was then divided by 9 rather than 3, which made G.E. a 10 point caption.

The Great Equalizer has arrived!! Let me demonstrate the manner in which the great equalizer works: This is the system proposed by the congress delegates, (90 points divided by 3, for 30 points)
Corps A
GE Drums ............ 27.00
GE Bugles ............ 27.00
GE M&M ............... 27.00
Total ..................... 81.00

Final GE Mark - 27.00

Corps B
GE Drums ........... 25.00
GE Bugles ........... 25.00
GE M&M .............. 25.00
Total .................... 75.00

Final GE Mark - 25.00

All the GE judges in the above scores had the corps 2 points apart in GE and the final mark was the exact reflection of every judge. Now let us examine the system that was adopted. Using the same marks for the same supposed corps.
Corps A
GE Drums .......... 27.00
GEBugles ........... 27.00
GE M&M ............. 27.00
Total ................... 81.00

Final GE Mark - 9.00

Corps B
GE Drums .......... 25.00
GE Bugles .......... 25.00
GE M&M ............. 25.00
Total ................... 75.00

Final GE Mark - 8.333

Rather than the 2 point spread intended by every General Effect judge, corps B, with the weak overall show, now is only .667 behind corps A, who takes all the risks and chances by presenting a difficult, pleasing show - wich is supposedly 2 points better than corps B. We have with this one mathematical trick, completely destroyed any need for creativity in drill, music or drums. The corps who goes on the field and plays it safe in all captions, and does nothing to present an overall show, is automatically the winner. Shocking what a little juggling of figures can accomplish!!!

Our 1962 American Legion sheets present the same problem - the sheets are 10 points each and are divided by three (which presents the same mathematical ratio as 30 divided by 9).

I am as interested as anyone else in maintaining technical standards. (Both Garfield and Hawthorne are to my knowledge, no slouches in the execution captions, as evidenced by last year's victories with these particular sheets) However, I definitely am in favor of improving the overall quality of the shows presented and the way to accomplish this is by opening up this wonderful world of General Effect.

My suggestion is to go back to 3 thirty point sheets which will be totalled and divided by 3, giving us back a 30 point G.E. score. I don't think we have enough idealists who are ready to accept the wonderful N.Y. State 45 point G.E. sheet, or the equally fine 35 point Canadian G.E. sheet, and since we live in a world of pragmatists, let us compromise with a 30 point G.E. system.

The three sheets should not be drums, bugles and M&M, however. They should be M&M, Music (A combination drum & bugle sheets, which any qualified musician should be able to work be he drummer or bugler, since it contains none of the details of either but a general picture of both), and Showmanship, (a sheet which takes under consideration all those elements which comine to present a truly moving performance.). This combination of three sheets would be more in keeping with the true meaning of General Effect and would prevent judges from doing an execution sheet when assigned to judge G.E., as is the case with many judges today. The G.E. sheet is merely in many judges hands, another execution sheet, destroying again the true meaning of G.E.

This by the way, is no new suggestion. It was utilized by the American Legion in 1957 or 1958 and was for some reason discarded. In my humble opinion, they have found nothing to match or replace this sheet, so when 5 years of searching have produced nothing better, let us at least return to what was an acceptable and intelligent system of judging G.E.

Bracken Is Best Mudder At Levittown
By Ernest W. Saxton
DCN July 11, 1962

Levittown, Pa., June 24 - The First Annual Musical Jubilee was held on a sea of mud here tonight as 2500 fans braved the weather to attend this competition sponsored by the Levittown Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps.

First place was taken by the Bracken Cavaliers of Bristol, Pa., who scored 84.55 to put them just .05 of a point ahead of their nearest competitor, the St. Catherines Queensmen.

It was a night when Bracken was not to be denied as they did a top notch job to make the area people proud that this was their corps (Bristol is only 2 miles from Levittown).

The Vasella Musketeers were third with an 84.10, while Haddon Heights Vagabonds took fourth position.

Vasella has a terrific horn line and they put it to full use here tonight, but just couldn't get everything working right and so had to settle for third spot.

Our Lady of Lourdes, looking far better than last season, finished in the next position. Their rendition of "Rock Around The Clock" is very good.

The St. Raphael's Buccaneers took sixth spot, while the Belles of St. Mary had to settle for the last position.

An exhibition presented by the Levittown Drum & Bugle Corps was well received by the many fans. Frank McCormick is the director of this organization and does a very good job with these young ones.

The totals:
Bracken ................... 84.55
Cathys ...................... 84.50
Vasella ..................... 84.10
Vagabonds ............... 84.00
Lourdes .................... 80.90
St. Raphaels ............. 80.30
Belles ....................... 75.00