Truman Crawford of Marine Drum & Bugle Corps Passes Away

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Mr Pageantry
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Location: Anaheim California

Truman Crawford of Marine Drum & Bugle Corps Passes Away

Post by Mr Pageantry » Tue Mar 04, 2003 12:07 pm

I just received this message from the director of the Yankee Rebels Alumni Drum Corps , Col. [ret.] Joel Leson. Truman was the current musical arranger and instructor , along with Rick Gabriel.

He was a M/Sgt.. NCOIC of the USAF Drum & Bugle Corps, and rose to be a Col. in the USMC in charge of the USMC Drum & Bugle Corps, "The Commandant's Own ".

I repeat the message as received. Both Bob Zarfoss and Rod Burg who normally handle these messages, are on vacation in Florida.

In fact, you may have known that the Crawfords were in Florida these recent weeks at their condo when his already poor health took a turn for the worse. He was taken to a local hospital, and then apparently flown on a private [ambulance ?] plane just days ago direct to the Hershey Hospital where he went previously for special testing.

He passed away today March 3.

I have no other word at this time. As further family plans are made known to us, I will try to make contact with all. If you know of other USAF Drum Corps/Bagpipe Band members not on e-mail or who may not be aware, please contact them.

We all will mourn his loss, along his wife , Lucille and his family. May he now find the peace he so well deserves.

Warren Cooke


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Mr Pageantry
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More on Truman Crawford

Post by Mr Pageantry » Thu Mar 06, 2003 9:29 am

From: "Jim & Beverly" <>
To: Everyone
Subject: In Fond Memory
Date: Thursday March 6, 03

In Fond Memory

Retired USMC Colonel Truman W. Crawford
Once, in a rare moment, you meet a person whose name is
not exactly a household word, whose face has never graced
the front page of the New York Times, but who, nonetheless,
profoundly affects the lives of thousands upon thousands
of other human beings. (Remember George Bailey in the
Frank Capra movie It's a Wonderful Life?) Retired Colonel
Truman Crawford was one such person. Born April 1, 1934 in
Endicott, NY, Crawford began his musical career as a
youngster, playing the fife in a colonial fife and drum corps.
While music would be his calling, drum and bugle corps would
be his passion. During his 50-year love affair with drum and
bugle corps, Crawford wore the hats of performer, instructor,
arranger, director, conductor, and mentor. But those who would
come to know "The Colonel" and his music would never allow
those titles to be said, read, heard or remembered without
first prefacing them with the words "inspired and inspiring."

Crawford took a serious interest in drum and bugle corps in
his senior year of high school when he watched a performance
of the U.S. Air Force Drum & Bugle Corps. Upon graduation,
he joined the USAF Drum Corps. Two years later, he was
appointed corps musical director and two years after that, he
was promoted to master sergeant, non-commissioned officer in
charge of the entire unit. He was still in his early 20's.
Following a 10-year stint with the USAF Drum Corps, Crawford
went on to become a musical director and arranger for several
competitive junior drum corps, including the championship
corps Chicago Royal Airs as well as the Argonne Rebels,
Yankee Rebels and McHenry Viscounts. His spirited, jazz and
swing-inspired arrangements literally broke (and buried forever!)
the mold of the traditional "marching band-style" music that
characterized competitive drum corps in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Roll over, John Philip Sousa! By the mid-1960s, Crawford helped
the Chicago Royal Airs craft a strong signature horn sound
with soloists that added the right amount of sass, style and
sizzle. For the first time, drums could enhance, and even
dominate, a "musical" number with "music" of their own. Need
proof? Listen to Crawford's arrangement of "Watermelon Man"
or "Voodoo Moon". Such imagination and versatility generated
widespread change within the drum corps arena. Gradually, it
was the music - and not just the marching and maneuvers -
that drew new recruits to corps across the country and packed
stadiums with loyal spectators each summer.

In 1965, the musical vision and richly textured arrangements of
Truman Crawford also helped shepherd the Chicago Royal Airs
to a three-way sweep of the major national championships (VFW,
CYO, American Legion) - a feat that had never before been
accomplished by a junior Drum and Bugle Corps. By the late
1960s, every major Drum and Bugle Corps in North America had
performed one or more of Crawford's arrangements - another
milestone that has never been reached by any other musical
director in the history of Drum and Bugle Corps.

In 1967, Crawford became the commanding officer and musical
director of the United States Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps,
known as "The Commandant's Own." Dubbed the "oldest Marine
on active duty" when he retired from that position in 1998,
Colonel Crawford's contributions to Drum and Bugle Corps
had, by that time, filled several successful professional
careers. He gave Drum and Bugle Corps a lifetime of commitment
and great music, and no one could have done more, said more,
or worked harder to uphold the lessons, values, and "all-for-one,
one-for-all" spirit of camaraderie espoused by Drum & Bugle Corps
members. The Colonel and his corps have performed before
all the Presidents since Dwight Eisenhower. He was also invited,
at President Jimmy Carter's request, to play at the Peace Talks
at Camp David.

In 2002, at the age of 68, Crawford once again returned to his
beloved drums and bugles - this time as musical director of
the Chicago Royal Airs Reunion Corps, an impressively large
subset of the original corps that disbanded after its 1968
season. While most of the Corps members had not held, much
less played, an instrument in 30+ years, "The Colonel" worked
his musical magic, turning back the hands of time until it
felt - and sounded! - like 1965 again. The 2002 Royal Air
Reunion Corps was nothing less than spectacular!

On the heels of this triumph came news that stunned Drum Corps
members and fans alike. Crawford was diagnosed with amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis - Lou Gehrig's disease - a progressive,
neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells in the
brain and spinal cord. He passed away on March 3, 2003.

The Royal Airs will proudly take the field again in 2003 to
honor Colonel Crawford, who remains, for this corps and so
many others, a symbol of musical excellence and inspiration.
As a special tribute, the Royal Airs will perform the
repertoire the Colonel arranged for the "Big Blue."

Colleen M. Karuza
Director, Public Affairs
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Voicemail: 716.845.5747
Fax: 716.845.4565

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