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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 the formally attired Crusaders Senior Corps with undoubtedly the top drumline of the night, under the direction of the ageless Al “Cisco” Colleameno.

There are many misconceptions regarding alumni corps. Let’s start with “alumni” and “corps.”

God (and perhaps Aunt Mildred) may understand why these corps persist in referring to themselves as “alumni corps.” Many of these groups started as alumni corps but, except for the Hawthorne Caballeros who require former membership in the still-active Caballeros Senior Corps as a prerequisite for membership, the term “alumni” is a misnomer. The Boston Crusaders realized this and are now The Boston Crusaders Senior Corps. Anyone may join any alumni corps, with the exception of Hawthorne.

The second problem is with the word “corps.” When we think of corps, the word commitment comes to mind. Alumni corps are FUN! That doesn’t mean that it’s all fun and games, but it also isn’t the five rehearsals a week, the summer tour, and the all-consuming time commitment that doesn’t allow its members to have a life. Most of these corps have a mandatory rehearsal once a month with optional rehearsals held weekly. The emphasis for all alumni corps is music and entertainment!

They don’t do a drill show as such and they don’t compete. The concept behind these corps is to keep the legend alive, play that horn, bang that drum, throw that flag, spin that rifle one more time, and, if it’s fun, one more time ad infinitum!

Alumni Corps are fun! All you need is the desire to be part of the family, have that burning sense of pride, and as the U.S. Army so eloquently put it, “Be all that you can be! You may not be all that you were, but you’re more than good enough!

Even if you have no musical or guard background, there’s a place for you in the alumni corps family. Most corps will take the time to train new members who lack experience if the novitiate has the proper attitude and desire. All alumni corps need new blood.

If you’re a former band member, the transition is remarkably painless! Ask George Kintz or Marty Connolly of the Crusaders, or Donald and Kevin Mac Taggart of the Alumni Corps of Revere.

As far as age requirements go, most corps try to shoot for a healthy mix of between 21 and death, but contact the corps you’re interested in joining. Exceptions for age are occasionally made, but dealt with individually.

Many prospective members are scared off because of their corps or band inactivity. Loosen up! You’re not going for the VFW Nationals here. I’ll say it again – alumni corps are fun! I don’t care if you haven’t played for 20 or 30 years. Join, get a horn, drum, flag, etc., put in 15 or 20 minutes a night, and you will amaze yourself at what you can do. The sense of accomplishment is priceless. Give it a shot!


*Featured Photo: 2011 Boston Crusaders Senior Corps
“2011 DCI East Coast Classic” flickr photo by FiferJanis shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license