MMA Archives

Articles and Photos from past issues

Enjoy browsing our ‘classics’ from the original Masters of the Marching Arts magazines

 

More volumes will be added as we go…. so come back again soon!

Maters of The Marching Arts - Volume One

Volume One Articles

MMA Cover Volume II Number 1

Volume Two Articles

Coming Soon

For Your Inspection

Here you’ll find a growing library of articles from the original print and new online magazines

2021 Drum Corps East Review

2021 Drum Corps East Review

Allentown – August 7, 2021 Drum corps fans packed the stands at Birney Crum Stadium Saturday night under perfect weather. The wide range of age of those in attendance showed that drum corps is alive and well and sought after by fans of all ages. We drove a six hour...

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The Greatest

The Greatest

Should there be competition among the Arts? Easy decisions are made on the football field, baseball diamond or at the track meet tape. Whoever is fastest or scores more points wins. With Art, subjective minds decide what/who is best – usually for the rest of us. Is...

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Random Thoughts Inspired by an Old Photo

Random Thoughts Inspired by an Old Photo

The picture with this article is from my mother’s 1948 high school yearbook. The resolution is poor, but one can see that the corps uniforms resembled those of Salvation Army ladies and that the girls wore sensible shoes. I don’t know whether they were a competitive...

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How Drum Corps Is Judged Today

How Drum Corps Is Judged Today

by George Oliviero

“In second place with a score of…………….” We’ve all heard those words in one context or another. For drum corps fans, the announcement of the scores is the moment to hold one’s breath and to cross one’s fingers, hoping that…

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My Homage to Bobby Locke

My Homage to Bobby Locke

I’m sure that most MMA readers know that Bob Locke, who marched in the Charlestown Majestic Knights, Somerville Annunciators, and 27th Lancers passed away last year. He is survived by his wife Roberta; his children Robert, Thomas, Aimee, Renee, and Janeen; his brother...

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Ask the Arranger

Ask the Arranger

THE QUESTION: Dear Mr. Kerchner, I’m a lifelong drum corps fan and feel I have been very patient through the years with all the changes DCI has made but enough is enough. I saw the quarter finals in 2019 at the movie theatre and was astounded first by the costuming,...

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I Remember

I Remember

I made another trip around the sun last week. It started me thinking about corps memories from nearly six decades ago. I remember the night my best friend and I tried out for the color guard, but I don't remember anyone else who tried out that night. There were nearly...

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Remembering Chick Corea

Remembering Chick Corea

Chick joined the St. Rose Scarlet Lancers in the Fall of 1956, and left to take a job with his father and uncle at a dance club in Hyannis during the mid-1959 season. He marched the entire 1957 class B season, 1958 class A season, and part of the 1959 season. Two...

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Once Upon a Time… (A Preface)

Once Upon a Time… (A Preface)

It was a simpler time in New York City. Corps directors had jobs in the real world. Instructors had no assistants— they taught what they created. Corps members were from the neighborhood, and “outsiders” were from a relatively short subway stop or bus ride away.

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Let’s Get Ready

Let’s Get Ready

Calling all drum corps members: drummers, guard members, and horn players alike. If you have been out of practice, it is high time to get back in shape! This season is going to materialize before you know it and you had better be ready. The first few times out on the...

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Ramblings in the Age of Covid

Ramblings in the Age of Covid

I hate Covid-19. I hate it more than most. I think I had it in January '20 - that weekend I sounded exactly like Barry White. As of this writing, Ohio – as well as most of the planet – has been mired in shut downs. Covid has been deemed a worldwide pandemic of epic...

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Ralph Pace’s Contributions with the 27th Lancers

Ralph Pace’s Contributions with the 27th Lancers

By Jim Hager

In order to talk about the meteoric rise of the 27th Lancers in 1975, first we must step back and look at the 1974 season.

At the end of the 1973 season, the corps had graduated many members and the last of the true “original members” from 1968. Along with the age-outs and their experience, the departure of staff members Richard “Ike” Ianessa (RIP) in M&M and Jim Buckley in percussion left gaping holes.

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Eulogy for Jerry Noonan

Eulogy for Jerry Noonan

Francis G. Noonan

23 November 1958 – 24 September 2020

29 September 2020

St. Raphael Church, Medford, Massachusetts

By John Oppedisano

Lorrie, Sean, Sammy.  Michael, Patty, and Judy, other members of Jerry’s family, colleagues, friends and acquaintances:

Thank you all for coming, and as is the norm today, for watching. Your presence here today reminds us of the scripture’s counsel, “…that those who mourn are blessed for they shall be comforted;” and we are comforted by the knowledge that, somewhere up above, God is getting an earful of trumpet solos and double C’s.

How do you honor a legend?   Let’s start with the basics.

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2020 The Season That Wasn’t

2020 The Season That Wasn’t

“2020, the Movie.” Once upon a time, this would have been the title of a sequel to the film 2010, or a graphically esthetic date of a science fiction novel. More fantastically, it might have been a possible calendar date reality in which we got around town in our own,...

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Computer vs. Pencil

Computer vs. Pencil

The Question: Dear Larry, How do you feel about all the changes that have happened in our lives regarding computers changing the way you write, etc.? I have seen a few of your old hand-written charts and I love the personality of them. Now everyone uses music-writing...

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‘Hits and Misses’ in Show Design

‘Hits and Misses’ in Show Design

Top DCI competitors these days regularly leverage their wealth of resources to put out excellent shows. Over the last 10 years, six corps: Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Carolina Crown, Bluecoats, Cadets, and Cavaliers have been at or near the top of the rankings,...

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On the Shoulders of a Giant

On the Shoulders of a Giant

A Tribute to Ralph Randall Pace   By Joe Marrella We remember vividly those in our beloved drum corps activity who share their unique talent, dedication, creativity, and life philosophy, toward catapulting the activity and its performers to greater heights. Their...

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Alumni Corps…Inaction?

In today’s column we will cover alumni drum corps action. Or shall we say inaction? The last time the United States experienced this low level (zero) of drum corps activity was during World War 1! When the war was over, American Legion posts across the country formed...

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The Ninth Soprano

The Ninth Soprano

A Conversation between Rick Wygant and Tad Faccini Rick spent six years in the hornline of the Garfield Cadets. We all know his distinctive tone quality, as he was the soprano soloist from 1984 through 1988. We became acquainted through social media, and I have asked...

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Bill’s Wish

Bill’s Wish

Having been involved in drum corps, band, and winter guard for over half a century, I’m usually pretty good at following orders, but I’ll readily admit to finally having to run laps and do push ups. You see, Rick (bless him for being back in full swing as we’ve all...

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A Letter from Orlando

A Letter from Orlando

Dear Aunt Mildred: Here I am, waiting for my plane at Orlando International Airport. I've just finished watching three days of the Drum Corps International Championships. Editor Rick, you may know, asked me to do coverage of DCI for Masters of the Marching Arts. Wow!!...

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Hymie’s Inferno

Hymie’s Inferno

I, Hyman Roth, an erstwhile flugel player approaching the middle of life's journey, one day found myself in a parking lot in Revere. In the wall of an edifice bordering the lot was a portal, above which were inscribed these words: WELCOME TO DRUM CORPS HELL. DON'T ASK...

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What Are Your Favorite Arrangements?

What Are Your Favorite Arrangements?

The Question:  Of all the arrangements you've done for drum corps, what are your favorites? The Answer: First of all, there is no way I can remember all of the arrangements I've written, let alone prioritize them. In fact, if anyone out there remembers something I've...

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DCA

DCA

by H. Worth Ake The Senior World Championship circuit, Drum Corps Associates, has had an illustrious history of 32 consecutive years of international competitions, although no title show has yet been held outside the continental USA. DCA was organized in 1962 at...

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The Triumph of Sound

The Triumph of Sound

by John Fitzgerald Recently a contributor to the Netscape Drum Corps Newsgroup on the World Wide Web raised an interesting issue. She inquired as to what people thought was fundamentally more important in the activity, the music or the marching? This is a question I...

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The Check’s in the Mail

The Check’s in the Mail

Hi Aunt Millie, I love reading your different letters in this fine magazine. I do have one complaint though. Your editor, Rick Connor, sent this message to me with his latest issue, "Send your check or I'll kill you." Could you please tell Rick his tactics are a...

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Moon of Iowa to Become Art Corps

Moon of Iowa to Become Art Corps

DUBUQUE, IA - Pork magnate Harry Hamm, Director of the Moon of lowa Drum and Bugle Corps, has announced that his unit will suspend competition for 1997 and will instead take part in a series of unconventional artistic ventures. Hamm, whose corps won the National...

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Why the Ticks Stopped

Why the Ticks Stopped

The Ever-Changing Face of "Excellence" by George Oliviero "Have We Abandoned Excellence?" was a question asked of American society and workers, in general, more than ten years ago, in an essay by  Lance Morrow in Time magazine. The question is still relevant in...

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Where Are They Now? – Jim Galvin

Where Are They Now? – Jim Galvin

Jim Galvin is in Beverly, Massachusetts. What a surprise! At last count, Beverly didn't have a single ski area.He and his wife, Janice, a Cardinal alumnus, were married in 1986. They have two children, 8 year old Holly, (color guard captain of St. John's squirt...

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Beginnings

Beginnings

by Jack Weir The result was the same for all of us. The circumstances leading up to it differed in many cases but the effect never varied. We were stricken by the "Drum Corps Virus," i.e. chills, goose bumps, and an insatiable thirst to be a part of the group. Like a...

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The March on Massachusetts – Chapter 1

The March on Massachusetts – Chapter 1

The following is an excerpt from "The March on Massachusetts," a history of Massachusetts Drum Corps from the mid 1920s to the present. It will be available in early ’97. In the Beginning There Was a King *In the beginning, there was a king and this king ruled over a...

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The Alumni Corps Experience – Is It for You?

The Alumni Corps Experience – Is It for You?

If you were at Memorial Hall in Plymouth last November 23rd, the answer to the titled question would be a resounding, "YES!" It was a great indoor show featuring the Alumni Corps of Revere, Mighty St. Joe's of Batavia, NY, the Hawthorne Caballeros, Racine Kilties, and...

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From Chrome to Rope – Part 2

From Chrome to Rope – Part 2

by Michael J. Cahill Observations of a Drum and Bugle Corps Drummer in the World of Fife and Drum Last time, we explained that because the fifers and drummers were the signalmen of their day, they had to be at once identifiable to the commanders. Because of this, they...

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Park It Over Here

Park It Over Here

We all know that the marching activity has been a valuable means of getting young (and not so young) people off the streets... and into the parking lots. Here are a few tidbits of parking lot history: MAY 1, 1919 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - During the postwar Red Scare, the...

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Was Star of Indiana Good for the Activity?

Was Star of Indiana Good for the Activity?

Point: Star of Indiana Was Good for the Activity by T.L. In this debate on the state of drum corps today, one corps - Star of Indiana - has been a flashpoint. To many, Star is the strongest example of what ails the activity. They look at the corps' progressive...

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The First “Ask the Arranger”

The First “Ask the Arranger”

When my good friend, Rick Connor, called and asked if I would contribute an article for his new publication, Masters of the Marching Arts, (actually, he said, "aahticle" and "maahching aahts," but I lived in Boston for many years and learned the language, so I knew...

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Al Saia – World Drum Corps Hall of Famer

Al Saia – World Drum Corps Hall of Famer

On Saturday evening, August 31, 1996, Mr. Al Saia was inducted into The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, founded in 1976. This is a most prestigious honor, as Al joins fellow New England corpsmen Scotty Chapell, Dom Bianculli, Earl Sturtze, Vinnie Ratford, Pepe Notaro,...

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Drum Corps in 1996

Drum Corps in 1996

Point - What's Right with Drum Corps in 1996? by Tom Lizotte To hear some say it, there isn't a lot that's right with drum corps in 1996. But while some would want to bring us back to the days of valve-rotor bugles, company front opening sets, and every other corps...

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From Chrome to Rope

From Chrome to Rope

Observations of a Drum and Bugle Corps Drummer in the World of Fife and Drum by Michael J. Cahill   As I grow older, I am truly amazed that I continue to learn a great deal - a fact that is astonishing considering that I was quite certain that I knew it all some...

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The Phantom from Methuen

The Phantom from Methuen

The national drum corps scene had a decided New England flair this past season in that several participants in several top corps have Massachusetts roots. Amy Grelle, daughter of Frank and Elaine Grelle, is a 20-year-old Senior at Merrimac College, majoring in...

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Gerry Shellmer – Unplugged!

Gerry Shellmer – Unplugged!

Gerry wasn't like the other drummers and instructors. Hell, he wasn't like anyone you ever met before, a unique, creative, intense and driven genius. He now resides in Wilmington, Delaware and his current passion is sailing. He screams at the waves, the seagulls, the...

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The National Contenders

The National Contenders

However checkered its history in winning championships may be, Massachusetts has traditionally featured many national contenders. From the late 1950s to the mid 1980s, this state had a formidable national presence that resulted in intense - often bitter - local...

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A Rift in the 27th Lancers?

A Rift in the 27th Lancers?

Dear Aunt Mildred, You're probably wondering why I sent this letter to you care of Masters of the Marching Arts. I happen to be a personal friend of your nephew, R.C., and he gave me the inside track on this new gig of yours and told me that you don't get paid if...

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I’m Bored – Aren’t you?

I’m Bored – Aren’t you?

By Gerry Shellmer In my opinion, listening to a drum corps percussion section is as musically boring as a politician's campaign speech. Imagine how interesting and musically rewarding a drum corps contest would be if the instrumentation were not limited to mere drums...

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