World of Pageantry

Legendary Drum Majors
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Author:  clarinetking [ Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:21 am ]
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Even before Fred there was Brian Fox. Pasadena High School and then CSULB. He was just awesome.

Author:  clarinetking [ Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:28 am ]
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This goes WAY back to the early 60's but in my mind there was this one guy.....from Helix High School in San the name of Gene Corporan. Gene was the first kilted drum major to use a Mace baton. He certainly started something didn't he?

Gene went on to major in music at Cal State Long Beach. He was my clarinet section leader when I first got to the "Beach" in 1967. He wasn't drum major at the Beach but he did do one guest appearance at one half time show.

Gene has gone on to have a pretty good career. He's now director of bands at North Texas State University. He is considered to be one of the top, if not THE top, college band directors in America. I'm proud to say "I knew him when".

FYI...Gene didn't want to screw up his Clarinet "chops" during marching he played Bass Drum. This has always been an inspiration to me....a drummer that made it in the band world (j/k). Gene was and is a fraternity brother from Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. I knew him as a great guy, friend, and musician.

Author:  clarinetking [ Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:34 am ]
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God I remember Walt White. He was awesome. He had such a presence on the street. He spun that mace like it was a twig.

Ahhhh....back in the glory days of the Youth Bands of So Cal. Long Beach Jr. Concert Band, Santa Ana Winds, Royal Cavaliers, Whittier Cavaliers, Burbank Police Boys Band, Los Caballeros, Sound Machine, LA Police Band, The Robin Hood band?, my group the California Cavalry.

The youth band association of so cal had over 30 youth bands in it at one time. Of course the drum corps circuit had almost 20 in so cal at that time too.

I miss the good ole days. Walt White.....he is a legend.

Author:  flippy [ Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:45 am ]
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Paguio brothers
Anderson brothers

Author:  only4years [ Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:10 pm ]
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This guy needs some mention. He started spinning the end of his sophomore year (maybe even the beginning of his junior year...?) and ended his senior year with multiple mace masters, military masters, and field two awards. Apart from his astonishing skills, his leadership abilities were so highly developed that one might call him a kind of "drum major idol." He was the hardest working individual I'd ever know and the most patient with those who couldn't keep up with him (which was mostly everyone, lol). I believe he teaches some kids now in the san diego area.

Tye Kelly (RBV) is a legendary drum major.

Author:  thedarkwally [ Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 am ]
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Wow, I never noticed that we had so many "Legendary" Drum Majors; I've been around the band since Preston's brother was the DM, and he said he wasn't as good as Preston, who says his dad "made him look like a fool with a stick." Kinda scary...

And ya, our DM's are really tall for some reason; I think Joe is 6'3", unless I'm really mistaken.

Author:  wayback [ Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Old times

The Glendora guys are great, and ya gotta give credit to the guys that started the tradition of strong DM's there - it goes way back! Arcadia, too.

When I was DM at John North (the first 2 years as BSR - '80 & '81), and for years prior to that at Peacock's L comps, the 2 guys fighting for every trophy were Randy Hage from Villa Park (who I believe was actualy a baton twirler[!!], and who went on to be DM at UCLA) and Bob McClure from Glendora (who I went to school with at CSUF, and marched with in SCV).

They went back and forth for a long time, and I think Randy was a stronger spinner - flashier - and probably edged out Bob in total # of wins. Randy won All-Western, I think. This, however, highlights the difficulty in scoring DM's: I think Randy was not a musician in any way, and could not have been an instructional help to his program much (correct me if I'm wrong!). He was a performer! Bob, on the other hand, was (and is) a monster french horn player and a legendary hard-ass - competent, demanding, but funny. A real asset to his program.(and he has one blue eye, and one brown - freaky) Who's better? What's important?

I think the DM's whos work is primarily conducting get forgotten. Many never get scored, but their contribution to their programs can be huge - almost more instructors than DM's (and many do go on to instruct).

some other names:

Rick Clough - Arcadia
Rick South - SCV
Kent Gould - John North
Madison Scouts ('80 - '81?)
Andy Love - Cal Poly/instructor
George Parks - Reading Bucs/UMASS-Amherst
John Parkinson - Redlands

Author:  Ryan H. Turner [ Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:03 am ]
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Hamiltonbandman wrote:
Even before Fred there was Brian Fox. Pasadena High School and then CSULB. He was just awesome.

Mr. C...I referenced Brian in my "Most Embarrassing DM Moments" post. He was my very first ever judge in the Peacock Circuit, spring of 1982, Katella High School--first time I ever competed. Got second place in whatever division I was in first time out. Since I was such a history freak, on the wall at PHS was a plaque listing the past DM's. So I knew who he was when I knew he was going to be judging. And we also had a police officer that would stop by our rehearsals to watch every so often. Finally, one day, I had the courage to walk up to him, and ask who he was. His name was Walter "Bud" Ireland, and was one of the legendary PHS drum majors.

And for Wayback--I have a drum corps story, in case you're still reading. I'll never forget this night. VK in 1987 (the year we came in 7th and tied Star of Indiscretion with a 90.0 at finals) had just finished a performance at Star's home show in Indiana. It was at the soccer stadium across the street from the big Indiana University bowl--whatever name it is. I was milling around by the fence waiting for retreat to start, and Santa Clara had just finished performing and was marching out. This guy in a SCV jacket came up to me.

"Hi. You're the drum major for VK, right?"

"Nope--I just walk around in a white tuxedo and red high tops to pick up chicks. Yeah's me. I'm the drum major. You caught me." I said something silly like that. We both chuckled.

He said, "Well, I just wanted to shake your hand and meet you. I think you are probably one of the best most energetic drum majors I've ever seen in my life. You really know how to keep the corps going AND get the crowd behind you. VERY difficult to do." And we shook hands while I was thanking him for being so cool. And with that, he walked away.

A couple of friends from VK came up to me and asked what happened--nervous bunch we were, hanh?? I told them what he said, and they said that was cool. I then went up to one of our marching guys, and said, "Do you know some guy from Vanguard by the name of Rick South?" He looks at me and says, "Yeah...he's like THE legendary DM from SCV that everyone else TRIED to be. He set the standard for SCV DM's. WHY???? WHAT DID YOU DO????" hahahahaha...I told him what he told me, and the instructor said, "Wow. You got a compliment from a legend, dude. Good job."

I absolutely LOVED reading Harvey's list and Dave's story about Walt! And yes Mr. C, I was a wee child back in the old Pasadena Boys' Club Marching Youth Band (if you could call what we did marching), and I remember fondly the days of the Shrine Auditorium concerts! REMEMBER THOSE? I have old programs showing just how unbelievable summer bands and corps were out here in the region at one time.

Thanks for the memories...oh....and Wendy Tye!!! GREAT drum major!! Forgot about her. And Tye Kelly! And let's not forget the legendary Matt Armstrong from Poway--who himself is now a band director. CRAP I'M GETTING OLD!!!!!!!!!!

Author:  clarinetking [ Sun Nov 27, 2005 5:53 am ]
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Wow...yeah....some old times....

Wendy Tye....still up and running. Judged at the Lincoln Band Review last weekend and had a chance to work with her. I used to work at USA Camps with her years ago. She's great.

Shrine Auditorium....GOD I still have color slides of a couple of those shows. I do, of course, remember the Pasadena Boys Club Band. I started off in the 60's...(that dates me huh) with the Downey City Youth Band. Their director, Ceaser Mattei, lived to be 100!! I drum majored in high school at Warren High in Downey and later with the Whittier Elks Cavalier Youth Band.

I went to Drum Major Camps at the Univ of Redlands. Brian Fox and Gene Corporan were on staff. I remember it was HECKA hot out there in the summer.

I started the California Cavalry in Cypress and did that for a few years. I taught at Santa Ana Valley High School and a lot of kids, including my ex-wife, were members of the Santa Ana Winds. One of the freshmen from my first year of teaching was a kid by the name of Richard King. He later joined the VK and was one of their drum majors. He's now the band director at Lincoln High School up here in Stockton where I live. In fact he's directing the county honor band this year and I am hoping to have some of my kids at Hamilton play in his honor band. Funny how things turn out.

The shows at the Shrine were awesome. I also remember the combined bands at Christmas at the Dorothy Chandler stage on live TV.

John Combs was the director of the Royal Cavaliers back in those days and he's still active as director of Norte Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.'s one for you. One of my best friends in College at CSULB was a guy by the name of Steve Abrams. Steve started out in the LA Police Boys Band but he also was a drum major of the VK back in the 60's. He's still judging in the LA area.

Do you remember the old Robin Hood Band? I met a guy that used to play drums in that band. He lives up in Vacaville and plays in the Solano Winds Community Band.

Youth Bands and old Drum Corps....I was the assistant corps director with the Diplomats from Lynwood back in 1969. I knew Don Porter from the Kingsmen and his son....Donnie Jr. Lots of drama back in the Pre-DCI days in so cal......

Wow....the trivia one can think of.....

Author:  Ryan H. Turner [ Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:49 am ]
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See what small world we live in? I credit Richard King and Dave Weinberg for both opening the big wide door into teaching and designing shows out here in southern California. Richard and I worked very closely together for a few years, and would regulary teach 3 band camps a day. We'd start off early in the morning at Kennedy with Ziggy Kanstul, get in the car, drive down to Carlsbad, hook up with Rick Lorenzen (now at Diamond Bar) and teach his band camp in the late morning/afternoon time, then get in the car, head down to Poway and teach there late afternoon into the night. THEN, we'd drive back to Rich's house in Tustin by 11pm, then get a few hours of sleep, and start over the next day! His wife thought we were NUTS. I miss those days--that was fun.

And yeah...Steve Abrams and I go way back. I didn't realize he was a VK drum major until a VK alumni website had gone up and I saw the list of drum majors dating back to day 1. Steve was VERY active in winter guard adjudication at the same time I became the Vice President of Contests for the WGASC back in (gulp!!!) 1990?? 1991?? Can't remember exactly when. But I announced every single weekend for WGASC for about 10 years. Steve and I just shared the pressbox a few weeks ago at the Big Orange Classic in Riverside--he was judging for WBA, and I was announcing.

And I FORGOT about the Chandler Christmas Eve stuff!!! Boys' Club Band EXCELLED at sitting down and playing (versus all that marching crap everyone else did so well--hahahaha), and I did several of those Dorothy Chandler concerts. THAT was fun, and what a thing to be able to say you played the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion AND The Shrine Auditorium. I was hot stuff back then, me and my trombone, I'll tell ya!!

Sorry for the thread drift--I know I've morphed into non-DM talk here. I'm blaming Mr. C!!!

Author:  devilishtrumpet [ Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:43 pm ]
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DM's with legendary status at MC-

Jo-Lawrence Bigcas
Gerard Fernando
Joleine Bigcas

ya most drum majors from mc dont normally compete in L comps. these were strictly parade if im not mistaken.

Author:  clarinetking [ Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:19 am ]
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So yes....hearing choruses of "it's a small world after's a small world after all...."

David Weinberg was in my California Cavalry Youth Band. How's that for small world.

I'm gonna assume you also know Kevin and Noreen Roberts. I met both of them in the Diplomats. Noreen at the time was Noreen Kompleski and was the guard captain. Kevin was playing soprano. When I started the Cavalry I hired Noreen to be the guard instructor and Kevin did drill. Little did I know that they would become famous WGI people later.

Looks like you made it thru some of the Anaheim district bands and I remember Ziggy real well. I was working with Alex DeLaO at Katella when I interviewed for the Fairfield High School job in the middle of the year and left town. He had an awesome band.

Maybe we should start a thread about the "good ole days". We sure have strayed off of this one.

I guess I must have left town before I knew you. Maybe some day we will get a chance to meet.

Author:  Apache_1979 [ Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Old times

wayback wrote:
Rick Clough - Arcadia


Now that brings me back.

I tormented him mercilessly. :wink:

They actually let me dress up as Hitler at the annual Spaghetti Dinner and drill him down in front of the audience. (He was a junior, and therefore, open to a "razzing" from the seniors.) What a good sport he was.

We actually had letters from the vice principal at one of the junior high schools, First Avenue, that said we were guilty of bad taste for spotlighting a mass murderer in a humorous manner. When the former director, David Aldstadt, and the director at the time, Dan Allison, forced me to meet with the woman, I told her that Rick had never murdered anyone.

She was not amused but Aldstadt and Allison laughed themselves sick.

Rick could be a bit of a "martinet" but he sure had the look of "being pulled on glass" when it came to fronting the band.

A great guy!

Author:  Ryan H. Turner [ Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Old times

Apache_1979 wrote:
When the former director, David Aldstadt, and the director at the time, Dan Allison, forced me to meet with the woman, I told her that Rick had never murdered anyone.

She was not amused but Aldstadt and Allison laughed themnselves sick.

THAT was funny! You must have been quite the wise acre!!

GOOD JOB!!!!!!!!!

Author:  Apache_1979 [ Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Old times

Ryan H. Turner wrote:
You must have been quite the wise acre!!

Just a tad! :wink:

As befitting the proud winner of "squirreliest sophomore" at [band] Camp Buckhorn in 1976.

The annual Halloween halftime show was a source of many ulcers for all the adults back then. A few of us could be a bit "over the top."

(...drag was definitely not as accepted as it might be now. Heck, if it was good enough for Shakespearean theatre, then all the better for the field, especially when you looked like Cher doing "Half-Breed.")

Thank goodness some of the banner girls wore the same size as me. * :blonde:

(*: picture darker hair on the emoticon.)

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