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Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers recorded a song together years ago. The name of the song was “You Can’t Make Old Friends.” No, you can’t, but there’s a great way to remember those old friends, honor them, maybe reconnect, or even make new-old friends who share your memories.

I’ve lost track of the number of years I’ve gone to America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration in Plymouth, MA. Too many to count, but every year I have the same yearning to hear the Caballeros make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, or hold the tears back when I hear the Hurcs play “I’ll Be Seeing You” in all the old familiar places.

Quite a few years ago I had the pleasure of a chance meeting with a “guy” I singled out in the morning parade as having the best military bearing I’d ever seen just to ask him where he’d marched. “The Matadors,” he said. “Do you know Jimmy Centerino?” I asked. “We were roommates!”

That was the start of a new friendship based on old memories and old friends. We’ve been friends ever since, but you may know Chuck Wilson from the Hanover Lancers (Hanover, PA) as “The Czar” because he, too, now writes for Masters of the Marching Arts.

So, get to Plymouth for the Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps Concert the weekend before Thanksgiving. Barbara Gobbi DiRusso (Boston Crusaders Alumni and founder of the Plymouth Alumni Concert) has ensured that this year’s lineup is great with old standards like Crusaders Seniors, Hawthorne Caballeros, Hanover Lancers, and more.

No, we may not be able to make old friends, but we can relive those old memories and make new ones just by reigniting that drum corps fire that’s always gonna be in our hearts. I’ll meet you at the morning parade and at Memorial Hall for the show on November 19th. You’ll recognize me. I’ll be the one standing with tears in my eyes.

American's Homecoming

Parade Spectators and UMass Band performing at the reunion concert