Banners, pennants shield and flags

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Banners, pennants shield and flags

Post by PGOK » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:06 am

One of the things that makes California parade bands unique, other then the use of real marches, is the use of banners, ID units (shields) and other "pageantry" items. You will see shields occasionally with bands from other states, but never in the unique manner of many California bands. Examples from the past are The giant VILLA PARK letters, the Mt. Miguel fans, and of course the often copied Loara banners. I have mentioned before the La Canada torches from the 70's. In that same period El Cajon ended a fanfare with a gong. Garden Grove use to have an Argonaut in a chariot with two timpani. Don't get me started on muskets, guns, cannon and other WMDs. :wink:

Of course many bands would go overboard. There would be tiny bands with GIANT banners. One band marched with what looked like a tent, and there was of course the "birdcage".

What I'm looking for here is some history. I know it starts with ID units. Who was the first to go away from a single banner?

How did banners and pennants get started? I once heard that an early influence was the IOF Robin Hood Band. Is there any truth to that?

Yes, I know "it will be in the book" :wink: , but those of you were out and about in the 60's share some of your knowledge.
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Post by ScrapHappy » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:59 am

While I'm an old-timer compared to many here, I'm not able to remember much from the 60s (and that's age-related, not related to any illicit chemical substances from that era :wink: .) And my point of view is from Northern California history, not Southern. Foothill Pleasanton marched ID unit letters from late 70s. The school opened in 1974 and I think they had a banner at first, but I remember some photos from before my time (I started there in 1979) that showed ID letters. They were mounted on a long pole and the letter girls, as we called them, did a routine with head nods and turns and moving the entire ID bar. Starting I believe in 1980 the band got new Eye Catcher letters (very fancy for the time with the the sparking/reflective sequins) and removed them from the pole and started using them individually. There weren't even real handles on the shields. There were some rudimentary handles meant to help lift the sign into position but they weren't designed for twirling or even for carrying for a long period of time. The letter girls had to use foam padding and duct tape to keep their hands from being cut up and bruised. Foothill was one of the first Northern California bands to use the individual shields for a routine and one of the first later on to design a routine where the carriers weren't just marching in a straight line, but actually doing a drill down the street. As I was marching in the parades at the time and wasn't able to see many other units I can't remember who else had/started using individual letters. By the time I graduated in 1983, very few of the larger Northern California bands still used banners. I do remember Rom Jones' Del Oro HS of Loomis using umbrellas for the ID letters. Del Oro was spelled out, one letter to each umbrella, and the carriers did a routine that involved opening and closing the umbrellas as well as moving them in various manners. It was fun to watch and the spectators seemed to really enjoy seeing something different. And I remember, from my All Western Band Review and Santa Ana competition (the one the day after Thanksgiving hosted by the Santa Ana winds) days Colton HS using some type of armband letters that covered the forearms. If I remember correctly they were the Hornets and the letters were made of plastic and made to look like wings. The movements the carriers did looked a lot like open-style drum major movements. That was another unique ID unit "back in the day". I'll leaf through the pages of my mind and see if I can remember anything else later.
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Post by maxpowers » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:06 am

Colton HS using some type of armband letters that covered the forearms. If I remember correctly they were the Hornets and the letters were made of plastic and made to look like wings. The movements the carriers did looked a lot like open-style drum major movements
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El Cajon HS - Benton L. Minor

Post by vore » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:06 pm

From "the book".

The very first Southern California parade band to use "individual" shields/letters for the identification unit was................. drum roll.............. El Cajon HS of San Diego under the direction of Benton L. Minor. Benton used this concept for the first time at the Long Beach All-Western Band Review as "something to help give the band an edge in showmanship for that event." He started the entire individual shield/letter concept. I have the year written down in my notes (from my interview with Benton) somewhere in my office, but it was in the late 1950's...

One of the very first (if not the first) Southern California parade band to use "reflective spangles" (eye catcher, solar ray, etc.) on the identification units was the Anaheim HS Band of 1963. Don Wilcox (band director) saw the reflective letters on the back of a truck being used for advertisement. He stopped the driver and asked where he purchased the reflective spangles, and the rest is history. I have the original 1963 template for the AHS shield in my garage..... don't ask.

my head hurts....

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Post by Hostrauser » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:36 pm

Didn't Porterville HS use their DRILL TEAM as their shields at one time? One letter per girl, on their sweaters?

BTW, to the best of my knowledge, the Del Oro umbrellas are still used to this day.

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yup...

Post by vore » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:09 pm

Phantom Phan wrote:Didn't Porterville HS use their DRILL TEAM as their shields at one time? One letter per girl, on their sweaters?
I believe they still do.... whether they were/are drill team members, I have no clue.

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Last edited by vore on Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by PGOK » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:09 pm

Phantom Phan wrote:Didn't Porterville HS use their DRILL TEAM as their shields at one time? One letter per girl, on their sweaters?

BTW, to the best of my knowledge, the Del Oro umbrellas are still used to this day.
Sorry, that was NOT a drill team. The Orange Blossom girls were the best looking girls on campus, and marched flawlesly. How do I know? My cousin was one. Last year CBDA honored Buck Shaffer with a lifetime achievment award, and I had chance to talk with him. He had used the same concept in West Virginia, before he came to California in the 50's. He used them throught his 30 some years at PHS and they are still used today.

Many other schools in California used the same idea. Chowchilla HS had red velvet outfits with the letters on the skirt. They carried "shields" made of feathers for a routine. Back in the 70s early 80s they were one of the best. Other bands included Hoover HS and Lindsay HS.
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Re: El Cajon HS - Benton L. Minor

Post by PGOK » Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:27 pm

vore wrote:From "the book".

The very first Southern California parade band to use "individual" shields/letters for the identification unit was................. drum roll.............. El Cajon HS of San Diego under the direction of Benton L. Minor. Benton used this concept for the first time at the Long Beach All-Western Band Review as "something to help give the band an edge in showmanship for that event." He started the entire individual shield/letter concept. I have the year written down in my notes (from my interview with Benton) somewhere in my office, but it was in the late 1950's...

One of the very first (if not the first) Southern California parade band to use "reflective spangles" (eye catcher, solar ray, etc.) on the identification units was the Anaheim HS Band of 1963. Don Wilcox (band director) saw the reflective letters on the back of a truck being used for advertisement. He stopped the driver and asked where he purchased the reflective spangles, and the rest is history. I have the original 1963 template for the AHS shield in my garage..... don't ask.

my head hurts....

vore :D
That's what I'm talking about. :)

I hate to cause any further strain to your cranium, but..

I have a photocopy of an old picture of El Cajon at the All Western Band Review. Each girl carried an actual letter, each letter getting gradually larger (or smaller) as you went down the line, with a star between El and Cajon. I don't have the photo with me, so I hope I described it properly. Anyway, were those the letters in question, or was that a later version.

One more question, and I'll leave you alone. :wink:

I have picture of Mt. Miguel with what appears to be a spanish hat held on it's side with the letters on the top of the hat. The angle of the picture makes it difficult to tell. I also think I have another picture of Mt. Miguel from another year, with the letters on serapes, like the ones El Capitan used in the 70s.

At the risk of getting too serious, thanks for sharing all of this information. I would hate to see it lost to the ages.
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Arcadia Banner

Post by BariBigBird06 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:15 pm

I heard a rumor that Arcadia's banner used to be double-sided? If this was true, what was on the back?
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Re: Arcadia Banner

Post by PGOK » Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:20 pm

BariBigBird06 wrote:I heard a rumor that Arcadia's banner used to be double-sided? If this was true, what was on the back?
That was the banner they used at awards ceremonies. At the All Western Band Review there were dozens of banners hung in the Long Beach Arena on every available space.

What did the flip side say? Sweepstakes :!:


Do you go to Arcadia? If so, are the green socks still on display?
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Re: Banners, pennants shield and flags

Post by dr » Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:48 pm

PGOK wrote:One of the things that makes California parade bands unique, other then the use of real marches, is the use of banners, ID units (shields) and other "pageantry" items. You will see shields occasionally with bands from other states, but never in the unique manner of many California bands. Examples from the past are The giant VILLA PARK letters, the Mt. Miguel fans, and of course the often copied Loara banners. I have mentioned before the La Canada torches from the 70's. In that same period El Cajon ended a fanfare with a gong. Garden Grove use to have an Argonaut in a chariot with two timpani. Don't get me started on muskets, guns, cannon and other WMDs. :wink:

Of course many bands would go overboard. There would be tiny bands with GIANT banners. One band marched with what looked like a tent, and there was of course the "birdcage".

What I'm looking for here is some history. I know it starts with ID units. Who was the first to go away from a single banner?

How did banners and pennants get started? I once heard that an early influence was the IOF Robin Hood Band. Is there any truth to that?

Yes, I know "it will be in the book" :wink: , but those of you were out and about in the 60's share some of your knowledge.
I don't know that I can add that much to this conversation. El Cajon's banners were before my time. I CAN tell you Chino first changed to indivdual letter banners in 1967. In 1971 I designed a new banner that we hoped would be more showmanship-friendly than the plain 1967 banners.

Monrovia had umbrellas, Mt. Miguel had fans, Inglewood had long spears with feathers, Antelope Valley had (has) that hideously large loud metal contraption, Mission Viejo had this bird cage thing up in the air with dangly things, Loara had the queen's courtiers and all sorts of different kinds of banners and pennants (although I never did understand why the style of lettering on their banners was different from the very unique style of "L" that was on the uniforms), Thousand Oaks tried to march their letters in two rows making it difficult to read (ThOouAsaKndS), Villa Park had monsterously large letters that could be seen for miles (the source of one of the classic stories of the girls marching across the football field backwords, spelling out KRAP ALLIV), Azusa had shields, La Cañada had their torches, Arcadia had the folding arrow, Alta Loma had arrowhead-shaped shields, I believe Baldwin Park also had arrowhead-shaped shields, Arroyo had shields on poles, West Covina had silver shields, Colton had yellow wing-shaped shields to support their yellowjacket theme. The banners I designed for Chino were black velvet pentagons with a silver star and blue glittered letter on each. We were trying to ease out of the "cowboy" theme so we compromised by putting circles on the points of the stars in the manner of a sheriff's badge. How original.

I do remember going to All Western during the 1970s and remarking that the individual shields and banners seemed to be more of a SoCal thing than NorCal. I remember a couple of schools - Selma and Chowchilla, maybe - that had the letters on the banner girls' uniforms, marching through the competition doing dril team type arm movements.

It's also interesting to note that while a lot of these groups did feature flags, the flags were static and not twirled. It was mostly a military marching style at that time and anything other than straight forward motion was frowned upon. There were some exceptions, of course, but the majority of groups simply marched forward. Any routines were usually limited to moving or twirling the banners. Or clacking that darn Antelope Valley sign!

I thought that Garden Grove only used the timpani the year they did Barnum & Bailey's Favorite. They designed the rolloff so that it ended with a timpani roll right into the first note of the march. Very impressive to me at the time. I even have a recording of them at either Hawthorne or West Arcadia (or both) I recorded from the street.

As for WMDs, the band that always comes to mind is Orange Glen, but Mission Viejo also featured a cannon or gun shot at stepoff as did Chino for a few years. I remember quite a rumble of conversation started in the 1970s when the Santa Monica El Primero Band Review directors decided to challenge the judges' impartiality by requiring the music judges to face away from the street and removing any references to the bands thus trying to create "pure" judging since the judges would not know which band they were judging. Don't get me started on the illogic here when most of the top bands had stepoffs that were instantly recognizeable even when you couldn't see them. But the topper was when Mission Viejo scored surprisingly well at the event. They fired off their musket or gun at stepoff for the first time and the judges thought it was Orange Glen. Orange Glen was a powerhouse at the time and apparently Mission Viejo was the beneficiary of Orange Glen's reputation. Even the best intentions can backfire.

Perhaps this summer I'll go through all my old tintypes, er photographs, and remember some others. I have tons of photographs of ID units in the late 1960s and 1970s.
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Timpani

Post by JCYS » Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:51 am

Estancia too had marching (er...rolling) timpani in 72-74. They were built onto a two wheeled cart..with a bar hooked to the band member in front of the timpani player, and a bar hooked to the player himself..sort of a push-pull type thing. We had also jury rigged several old marching toms into "duo-toms." All to try to compete with the awesome Katella HS drumline of the era. I know Santa Monica had percussion competition, but I don't know if others did. And thus it started...

Getting back to obscure marches...oh yeah..that was the topic...

I thought I had pretty much heard every march in the world worth hearing..(OK, I don't really believe that either...), PARTICULARLY in the the way of British marches, when I heard Carry On for the first time in Nor Cal in..I think 1997? I just stood there with my jaw on the ground thinking.."WHAT A GREAT MARCH..How come I've never heard this before!!!" That doesn't happen to me very often nowadays-at least with wind band marches, but when it does..wow!

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Re: Timpani

Post by Hostrauser » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:15 am

jcys wrote:I thought I had pretty much heard every march in the world worth hearing..(OK, I don't really believe that either...), PARTICULARLY in the the way of British marches, when I heard Carry On for the first time in Nor Cal in..I think 1997? I just stood there with my jaw on the ground thinking.."WHAT A GREAT MARCH..How come I've never heard this before!!!" That doesn't happen to me very often nowadays-at least with wind band marches, but when it does..wow!
Same here.

Just for kicks, I fired up MP3s of "Carry On" and "Glorious Victory" the other day. The intros for those two marches are virtually identical, note-for-note. Yet I love "Carry On" and can't stand "Glorious Victory" (likely only from over-exposure). Go figure.

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Re: Timpani

Post by PGOK » Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:50 am

jcys wrote:
Getting back to obscure marches...oh yeah..that was the topic...

jcys
No it isn't. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Banners, pennants shield and flags

Post by PGOK » Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:10 am

dr wrote: I believe Baldwin Park also had arrowhead-shaped shields, Arroyo had shields on poles,

I thought that Garden Grove only used the timpani the year they did Barnum & Bailey's Favorite. They designed the rolloff so that it ended with a timpani roll right into the first note of the march. Very impressive to me at the time. I even have a recording of them at either Hawthorne or West Arcadia (or both) I recorded from the street.
That reminded me of an earlier Baldwin Park banner. It was likea "rack" that you would tie buck skin on to dry. I think the "rack" part was designed to look like it was made from branches. Each letter had it's own "buckskin"

At one point Gustine HS ( a very small Central Valley school) had a large single unit banner that was made to look like a beaded belt. They later switched to single letters that looked beaded, but the "beads" were very large and the entire effect was not as good.

David Anthony was the band director at Garden Grove HS in the Timpani days. He and my hs band director went to college together in Arizona, so he would often clinic us. The first time he told us about doing his first parade in California. It was a Halloween parade, so he had his band dress in costume and play The Munsters and Addams Family themes. he saw the other bands, and was embarrased. Fast forward and GGHS was one of the fine bands of the late 1960s. (I can go on tangents, can't I :wink: )

The year we were cliniced, we marched in the Bellflower Parade and our big competition was GGHS. That was the first time I saw the timpani and the very impressive Argonaut costume. I also heard it on a recording of the 1970 All Western Band Review.
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