Select Page
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 round trip to view a show that spanned less than half that amount of time and I had my doubts as to whether the trip was going to be worth the effort. But I was rewarded many times over, finding myself declaring this or that “was worth the drive” following a certain horn or drum sequence.

(more…)

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 Citizen Kane the greatest film ever made? (more…)

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 unit, or why they were all brunettes. Maybe the actress Jane Russell was big that year.

(more…)

‘Gio’…George Del Monte – My ‘BFAM’: Brother From Another Mother

‘Gio’…George Del Monte – My ‘BFAM’: Brother From Another Mother

George Del Monte: He was, in the truest sense of the term, a living legend. Educator, musician, playwright, and…most of all, a friend. Better yet, was our BFAM (Brother From Another Mother) relationship. Over the years, I’ve saved every piece of email that we shared, including those which he wrote in Italian, to encourage me to learn it better. After all, I am/was a Sicilian from Brooklyn (BklynMario).

Among drum and bugle corps people, there is a special place in heaven reserved only for them. Now George is also a member of that group.

(more…)

The Evolution of Drum Corps “Visuals” in Perspective – What, How and Why? (Part One)

The Evolution of Drum Corps “Visuals” in Perspective – What, How and Why? (Part One)

By Phil Dennesen with Jeff Sacktig

Can you remember seeing a Drum and Bugle Corps for the very first time? What are the visual images you can recall? Just think about it for a minute……….Can you remember where, when and how you were impressed by a Drum Corps and what you were thinking? I believe most of us can, it is one of those things you don’t ever forget, it leaves such a lasting impression.

For me, it was in 1959 in front of my childhood home across the street from the Central Cemetery in Beverly, MA. It was the Memorial Day Parade, and marching down the street were the St Mary’s Cardinals Drum & Bugle Corps.

(more…)

The Evolution of Drum Corps “Visuals” in Perspective – What, How and Why? (Part 2)

The Evolution of Drum Corps “Visuals” in Perspective – What, How and Why? (Part 2)

By Phil Dennesen with Jeff Sacktig

In Part One we covered Visuals in the “Golden Era” of Drum Corps

Part Two: Evolution from “The Golden Era” to Drum Corps today


In 1977, when Arthur Sacktig’s son Jeff was a boy of nine, he also joined his local parish corps. It was the same parish as his dad Arthur’s, St. Matthias in Ridgewood, Queens / Brooklyn, NYC. The Corps had been reformed in 1972 and named St. Matthias “Blue Max”.  Jeff was one of the seven siblings in his family, all of whom marched in Drum & Bugle Corps. From his father Arthur to all seven children, it was the “total” Drum Corps family. It must have been one very busy household.

(more…)

The Evolution of Drum Corps “Visuals” in Perspective – What, How and Why? (Part 3)

The Evolution of Drum Corps “Visuals” in Perspective – What, How and Why? (Part 3)

by Phil Dennesen with Jeff Sacktig

In Part One we covered Visuals in the “Golden Era” of Drum Corps.

In Part Two we covered Visual Evolution from “The Golden Era” to Drum Corps today.

Part Three – Visual Evolution of the “What, How and Why” of Today’s Drum & Bugle Corps

How did props come into the visual picture in current day Drum & Bugle Corps? When, where, how and why did they come into existence?

Back when the VFW had control of the activity, there were no props, There were no non-military type uniforms. This was not allowed! The first props and dramatic uniform changes towards costuming appeared to my knowledge in the 1971 season.

(more…)

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 the favorite team moves up in the standings. Of course, that excitement often turns to amazement, disbelief, shock, and perhaps a bit of anger. “Those judges…….” Or “How did THAT happen? My team was clearly better.” Or “It’s a fix. They always win.” Gosh, I am sure we have all heard a long list of complaints after a competition some time or other. We can probably agree that even in professional sports the audience reactions are not so different. “How could they miss that interference call?” Or “It was clearly goaltending, and they didn’t call it.” Or “It was a fumble. What’s the tuck rule?” Yes, you have to remember the “Snow Bowl” days for that last one.

(more…)

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 William, many cousins, and hundreds of friends.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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 a hundred of us (all girls at the time), and I remember that my friend, Jeanne McGinness, and I were the only two who made the cut that night. Jeanne’s older brother, Paul, was a soprano then (they call them trumpets now) in the hornline, and they’d just come back from the 1962 Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Just listening to the stories he told was magical.

(more…)

Innovation and Evolution in Modern Drum Corps(Part THREE)

Innovation and Evolution in Modern Drum Corps
(Part THREE)

In Part ONE, we covered brass.

In Part TWO, we covered electronics.

Next, we look at the evolution of Repertoire:

Part THREE – Repertoire

Back in the day, drum corps played complete songs. Remember that? It was common for a corps to play a march or martial-type song ‘off the line’, a Spanish Jazz piece for concert, and a ballad for their ‘exit’ with a production number in a completely different idiom. Back then, it did not matter if those songs were related in any way. This meant you could get a variety of musical styles in a single corps’ performance. With a few exceptions, programs did not have a ‘common thread’ or theme. Take, for example, the Madison Scouts 1975 Championship program: ‘Slaughter on 10th Avenue’ (Broadway show tune), ‘MacArthur Park ‘(pop), ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (classical with jazz influence), ‘Dueling Banjos’ (bluegrass), and ‘The Way We Were’ (ballad). This type of mixed idiom program was the standard up through the mid 1980s.
(more…)