Legendary Drum Majors

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Post by Ryan H. Turner » Thu Jan 20, 2005 3:34 pm

Legendary drum majors...for any old fogies hanging around lurking...

The drum major that single handedly put it into my small 4 yr old brain that I someday would be a drum major myself was a chap by the name of Carl Anderson, drum major for the Pasadena High School Marching Band in 1970-71, and 71-72. In the "old days", some bands would actually cut albums and it was a big deal back then. This guy's picture was on the front of one of those albums and of course, I used to tag along to all the competitions back then so I was always watching him and wanting to be THAT guy. Pretty funny that about 8 months ago, I got an email from my brother that he sent out to a bunch of people (probably some lame joke or something), and in the mass of emails that he sent it out to, I saw an email address for a Carl Anderson. So I emailed the guy, asked him if this was the same guy that I remembered from back when I was a kid, blah blah blah. And it was!!! He's some big exec now for a pharmaceutical company. Neat to make contact with him--he was pretty impressed with everything I had done, and didn't realize he ever had an effect on me.

Another legendary drum major was a guy named Robert Suh from Pasadena HS. He was drum major after my brother graduated in 1974, I think around the 1977 or 78 years. He was a Grand State whatever Champion. HE was the one that did a mace maneuver that at the time was supposedly the hardest thing on the planet....it was called a "full moon". Some kind of finger twirl on one hand and then pass off to the other hand while bringing both arms up in arcs away from the body and then up and above your head. I could do it...but when I won the Arcadia Band Review in 1983, I had a "half moon" in my salute routine. In any event, he was legendary.

There was a guy that used to be drum major at Los Altos HS back when I was in high school--I believe his name was Tom Pope. Tom went on to be one of those super duper hype master instructors at USA, and I got to meet him in 1982 I believe at the Santa Barbara camp. He perfected this weird way of doing mace work on the field called "show drum majoring". Something I never really liked--but he was really good at it. Another legendary drum major was the drum major from Savanna about the same time I was drum majoring up at Pasadena HS. I very cool cat named Richard Carpenter--he unfortunately died shortly after graduating from high school.

Oh yeah...and drum majors from Glendora are ALWAYS the best. Ben Schroeder--what a talent. I had the luck of being drill designer when he was drum major, so I got to see him work. WOW!!! Blew ME away!! And I think it's a prerequisite for all Glendora drum majors to be like 6ft 6 inches minimum!! They are ALWAYS the biggest most bad-a$$ looking DM's at parades.

Anyway...that's it...

Oh wait...one more legendary I almost forgot. The drum major that took over for me after my 2 year stint with the Tournament of Roses Honor Band was a Dargin Springfield. I think he was drum major for 3 or 4 years. HE WAS GREAT!!! I don't think he cared too much for me, but from a drum majoring standpoint, I couldn't do anything but give him credit. VERY entertaining, very good with the TofR Band...I don't know whatever happened to him. I think he's in the military.

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Re: Old Time Greats

Post by FD » Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:51 pm

Wow, Dave - thanks for the plug. Anyone in the military drum major ranks in the early 70s should also remember Dick Shunk from Arcadia (which was a DM factory at the time, maybe it still is). Dick won the All Western in '72 and he and I battled each other that entire band review season (he was a senior and I was a junior). Dick used a traditional large wooden military baton and he was amazing! He was a machine.
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Re: Old Time Greats

Post by Spin Doctor » Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:20 pm

FD wrote:Dick Shunk from Arcadia (which was a DM factory at the time, maybe it still is). Dick won the All Western in '72
What is the "All Western"?
Ryan Turner wrote:Another legendary drum major was the drum major from Savanna about the same time I was drum majoring up at Pasadena HS. I very cool cat named Richard Carpenter--he unfortunately died shortly after graduating from high school.
Can you tell us more about this guy?
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Re: What is the All Western?

Post by FD » Fri Jun 24, 2005 12:36 pm

Sorry Spin Doctor and the rest of you kids...The All Western was the premiere band review in So Cal at one time (until it was cancelled in the 1980s?) There were 80+ bands from all over CA in different classes. It was held on Ocean Blvd in dowtown Long Beach and the awards were held that night in the Long Beach Arena with all the bands in the audience. The Arcadia Band Review was probably more competitive at the time, but the All Western had the prestiege. Winning that review as a drum major was a big deal.
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Post by KalElOfKrypton » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:20 am

Looking through this whole discussion, I didnt see the name that I definately thought I would see. George Parks is probably one of the most legendary drum majors in my mind. He is now director of the Umass Amherst Bands. He was an excellent DM, and is now an even better teacher.
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Post by ZJH » Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:02 pm

Wow, reading through these posts and seeing some familiar names was fun. I'm in NorCal, so the only real names I recognized were Kathleen Jones and Rick Wilson. I actually studied under Kathleen when I was in Silver Lake Band Camp last week, and she studied under Rick, who I currently study under. Two very cool instructors, I might add. Too bad I have to drive all the way to Folsom to get lessons from Rick. x_X
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Here Are Some Off The Wall Mentions

Post by Mr Pageantry » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:46 pm

I DO ATTEND TOM PEACOCKS CALIFORNIA STATE GRAND CHAMPIONSHIPS AND HAVE DONE SO FOR YEARS...
HERE ARE SOME NON PARTICIPANTS I KNOW THERE ARE MANY MORE... BUT I THOUGHT THESE WERE NOTABLE

MEL LEE.. SAN FRANCISCO 'KNIGHTS OF CATHAY' CHINESE DRUM CORPS
ED TURNER OF THE ANAHEIM KINGSMEN DCI'S 1ST CHAMPS
PETE CALHOUN OF THE VELVET KNIGHTS MILITARY UNIFORM
DARREN POLM OF LOS CABALLEROS YOUTH BAND IN CARSON CA
KEITH MYATT OF THE BURBANK POLICE YOUTH BAND
RYAN TURNER OF THE VELVET KNIGHTS RED SNEAKERS WHITE TUXEDO
THE TRIPLE THREAT DRUM MAJORS OF LOCKE HS LA SOUTHERN STRUT
THE HORN MAJOR FROM THE MEXICAN BANDA DE GUERRA FROM THE COLLEGIO BACHERRAS THEY APPEAR 6 TIMES A YEAR IN SO CAL..HE USES HIS HORN AS A BATON
MARY DOOLITTLE OF THE SEATTLE CASCADES
AARON MAHI NOR RETIRED.. ROYAL HAWAIIAN MARCHING BAND
THE EXCELLENT MILITARY MAJORS FROM THE SANTA ANA WINDS YOUTH BAND
THE NATIONAL CHAMPION DRUM MAJORS FROM LIVE OAK HS NOR CAL
THE CAVALRY CLAD NATIONAL CHAMPION DRUM MAJORS FROM INDEPENDENCE HS IN SAN JOSE
BILL CHISOLM OF AMERICAS LARGEST ADULT MARCHING BAND PORTLAND OREGON'S 'ONE MORE TIME AROUND AGAIN BAND WITH 1,000 MEMBERS
ALL OF THE LEAD DRUM MAJORS FROM THE LA ALL CITY ROSE PARADE BAND
MANY OF THE MACE DRUM MAJORS FROM THE LONG BEACH JR CONCERT BAND WHO LED THE ANNUAL ALL WESTERN BAND REVIEW
KIPPY WROTEN OF CHINO HS.. FIRST FEMALE MAJOR TO WIN ALL WESTERN.. WENT ON TO BE A GREAT BAND DIRECTOR
THE JR DRUM MAJORS FROM PICO RIVERA'S JR HI ROSE PARADE BAND
THE GREAT 'TROJAN' DRUM MAJORS WHO HAVE ALWAYS LED USC AT THE COLISEUM USING THEIR SWORD AS THEIR 'BATON'
OF COURSE THE EXCELLENT MILITARY MAJORS FROM UCLA
PAUL HORD OF THE LA POLICE JR YOUTH BAND
FINALLY THE DRUM 'SHOW MAJORS' FROM THE DISNEYLAND BANDS INCLUDING 'DAVE WARBLE...YEARS AND YEARS OF EXCITEMENT AND SHOWMANSHIP

C.MON FOLKS ADD TO THIS LIST......





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Post by EMT-911 » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:41 am

hmmm..... I would have to say Kiel Sinninger, West Hills
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Re: Here Are Some Off The Wall Mentions

Post by Undertaker » Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:42 pm

Harvey Berish wrote:I DO ATTEND TOM PEACOCKS CALIFORNIA STATE GRAND CHAMPIONSHIPS AND HAVE DONE SO FOR YEARS...
HERE ARE SOME NON PARTICIPANTS I KNOW THERE ARE MANY MORE... BUT I THOUGHT THESE WERE NOTABLE


THE EXCELLENT MILITARY MAJORS FROM THE SANTA ANA WINDS YOUTH BAND
THx I was Drum Major in 95-96
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DM's that I looked up to.

Post by bmk » Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:04 pm

Just came across this site. Congrats to those who put it together. Well done.

Just a few names that I looked up to in my competitive time within the DM world:

Richard Wilson, Scott Thomsen, Wendy Tye, David Cubberly, Kris Harper, Kathleen Harper, Chris Bender. All had a wonderful influence on my experience...

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Post by Bandmaster » Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:41 pm

This one is kind of an old story, but some of you younger DM's might like it anyway. When I was in high school, in 1969, I joined the Long Beach Junior Concert Band and they had a guy that became a Legendary Drum Major as far as we were concerned. His name was Walt White. Over the last several years that he was drum major, he never lost a parade... 1st Place Mace Drum Major at every single parade. It must have totaled over 40 parades in a row without taking less than the 1st place trophy. But he never competed in the Drum Major circuits of the day. He was also the band's top marching instructor and was in total charge of all marching rehearsals. So he was a great leader as well as a performer.

He had a very unique style because he was basically self taught. I would have to call it "power spinning". His spins were the fastest I have ever seen, and they had awesome power. He had a way stopping a spin that would just blow you away. When he stopped one of his "power" spins the mace would flex and bow wildly at each end and the chain would rattle like crazy. I saw him snap his mace in two at least six times that I can remember, and probably many more that I didn't see. I still remember the first time. It was near the end of a parade and he was getting ready to give us the command for a column-left turn. He went into his spin and when he stopped it, to give us the command, the shaft of the mace snapped, right where the screws attach the chain, and the ball end of the mace flew OVER the crowd on the side of the street. That was a good 10 or 15 yards. So he just threw the remains of his mace to the carb and went on without it.

I also remember his very last parade before he retired as our drum major. It was the big Salinas Rodeo Parade where they had 8 reviewing stands in a row, one every block for 8 blocks. They would put one judge on every stand, but not tell you which judge was on which stand. So you had to perform your routine 8 times in a row or you could risk receiving a zero score for a caption. Right near the end of our 4th performance his mace broke, again at the screw holes. He put the two pieces together and gripped them in his left hand to make it look as if the mace was still in one piece. He proceeded to alter his routine and just beat time and salute through the next 4 reviewing stands. No one knew his mace was broken until we finished the last reviewing stand and he handed off the pieces to a parent and went on without it. He still won the 1st place trophy. I know he made a huge impression on me, he was a class act.

This is the only old photo I have of him in action c. 1970:
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Last edited by Bandmaster on Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by mkosbie » Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:51 am

Bandmaster wrote:I also remember his very last parade before he retired as our drum major. It was the big Salinas Rodeo Parade where they had 8 reviewing stands in a row, one every block for 8 blocks. They would put one judge on every stand, but not tell you which judge was on which stand. So you had to perform your routine 8 times in a row or you could risk receiving a zero score for a caption. Right near the end of our 4th performance his mace broke, again at the screw holes. He put the two pieces together and gripped them in his left hand to make it look as if the mace was still in one piece. He proceeded to alter his routine and just beat time and salute through the next 4 reviewing stands. No one knew his mace was broken until we finished the last reviewing stand and he handed off the pieces to a parent and went on without it. He still won the 1st place trophy. I know he made a huge impression on me, he was a class act.
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
That's pretty impressive...
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Post by ZJH » Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:14 pm

Not only is that just impressive, but that is flat-out astonishing. I can barely even hold onto my mace when spinning it sometimes...wow. Just, wow.
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Post by dcibarra » Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:39 pm

Jason Paguio no hands down. He's my private instructor. 8-)
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Re: Old time greats....

Post by SRDM » Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:25 pm

Bandmaster wrote:Fred DiLuzio from West High in Torrance about 1973-74 and Conrad Lucero of Colton High School about the same time. Both great Military style drum majors. Fred went on to be the drum major with the fabulous Long Beach State Big Brown Music Machine. Conrad was drum major at Colton for three years and won countless first place awards. The band director at Colton used to leave Conrad in charge of the whole band in the formation area of major band reviews and walk up the competition zone and wait for them. How many band directors would dare to do that today? Remeber that back in those days bands didn't have big instructional staffs, it was just the band director and the auxiliary instructor to manage the whole band.
Fred DiLuzio taught me all I know in the field. Freshman year, end of the cul-de-sac, baton baton baton. Signal and thin, I did it all. He is the best, plus he's an extremely charming guy! I passed on most of this knowledge to my apprentice at Kennedy, and it looks like he's doing quite well!
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