A tribute to a legend...drum majors please read

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Ryan H. Turner
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A tribute to a legend...drum majors please read

Post by Ryan H. Turner » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:44 pm

(Sorry...I'm in a VERY VERY nostalgic mood right now--so if you're sick and tired of Turner's Trips Down Memory Lane, bug off--but I'm inspired...)

Some folks--maybe MANY folks--have never heard of him. This man with a strange last name. However, he has been more than just a business owner and supporter of the marching band activity in southern California and abroad--he's been and is and will be forever an ICON to those of us in the know. He's been an inspiration, a guide, a teacher and a leader to the greatest of us who ourselves were leaders...and went on to become even better leaders in whatever path life took us.

I of course am referring to Tom Peacock, owner of Peacock Enterprises. For those that have no clue who he is, the short of it is that he's been providing maces and batons and other uniform supplies to southern California (and beyond) drum majors for well over 35 years. And tonight, I had the distinct honor of being asked to crank up the old "Voice of Southern California" and MC the SPECTACULAR Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Band Pageant. Tom was honored for his countless volunteer hours assisting the drum majors of the district, both junior and senior high, over the last at LEAST 20 years. I don't know about Tom's background to give you a exhaustive "bio" on him, besides, I believe he's too humble to really care if I would.

But I think what's more important to remember--at least it was to me tonight--is how important some folks are and their impact they've made in this activity we so love. I had a great opportunity to hang with Tom this evening and just say hi and share some old stories with him. And here he was, the man that provided for ME back in 1978 my VERY first mace, still at it, still being the leader and inspiration to drum majors all over this region. And we talked and talked. I could have talked to him for hours. I reminded him of my trip to his house in 1979. I reminded him of the time I competed for the first time at a Katella High School "L" Pattern Competition, being judged by the legendary Brian Fox, and after doing my roll off and starting forward to beat time, SPIT MY WHISTLE OUT because I didn't know any better to TAKE IT OUT OF MY MOUTH and make it a part of the routine (non-drum majors reading that are probably thinking--"WTF is he yammering about????" Trust me, drum majors get it!). I reminded him of the letter I wrote to him because I thought I saw a loop hole in his rules and I wanted to compete in THREE different divisions--and he politely wrote me back and told me to cool my jets drum major boy and stop pushing the envelope! :lol:

And on this trip down memory lane this evening, I related to him how I went to his house in the summer of 1979 and bought my first American mace, when I was just 14 years old because I KNEW I was going to be a drum major some day, and I had to get to practicing. And as I talked to him tonight, I INSTANTANEOUSLY transported myself back to the day I walked out of his garage with my mom and dad in tow with my first mace. And I told him tonight--little did I know in 1979 standing in your driveway, that I would one day be the drum major of Pasadena High School, then Pasadena City College, then the Official Tournament of Roses Honor Band, and then, finally, the Velvet Knights--where yes, I DID USE AN AMERICAN MACE FROM TOM PEACOCK in the Corps on Parade we had around the state capitol in Madison in 1987. And from there...where I've gone (or arrived???). Who would've known in 1979 standing in Tom Peacock's driveway where I was gonna go.

And I guess that's what's so amazing. There are some in this activity that come and go--but others, either just keep hanging around ("Yeah, when ARE you gonna get a life, Turner???") or become legends... icons... institutions.

Tom is taking his successful business and leaving the state. He's still gonna do what he's been doing, but in a state that's a tad friendlier to businesses than our mess we call California. It's not like he's retiring or moving to Zimbabwe. But we will be losing a presence. An icon. The man who provided the means for dreams to come true.

And I'm grateful I had the opportunity--and I'm grateful that Tom Peacock was a part of my success.

Thank you Tom. And good luck in Arizona!!

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Post by guardthepiccolo » Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:30 pm

He's moving to Arizona!?!? Crazy! When i was 15 I went to Peacocks Marching World, which, in my band-nerdy state, was about the epitome of amazingness, and he gave me a tour of the warehouse and showed me how he ran his business, and I was in awe. He's an amazing person and I hope he'll be happy in Arizona! What would the band world do without Tom Peacock? Long live the bird! :lol:
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Post by ZJH » Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:46 pm

Tom Peacock has got to be one of the most down-to-earth, friendliest businessmen on this planet. From the countless times I've called his store asking him pesky little questions about how to fix the chain to placing orders on three different maces, various bags and crowns, more chains, I've never met anyone else more patient than the man himself. He has definitely made the financial part of my drum majoring much less hasslesome and even enjoyable. You'll be greatly missed in Cali, Mr. Peacock. You'll get the Arizona DMs to love you just as much as we do, if not more. :)
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Post by jgehring » Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:33 am

The cost of doing business in California just got too much for Tom. In order to expand, he has to move to Arizona where warehouse space (and everything else) is much cheaper. Tom's exploring ways that he can ship overnight to Southern California so those of us that know Tom through email or the phone can still get our fix.

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What???

Post by airons0678 » Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:56 am

Look at all this free advertisement Tom is getting! Don't go, Tom!

I was not a drum major, but I remember going to Peacock's Marching World with my brother to get his mace! Tom was truly a classy an friendly guy, and FULL of history. (I believe he was Savanna's Drum Major "back in the day"?)

Alan Irons
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Post by PGOK » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:13 am

I was never drum major (my best friend beat me out) but I did compete. I was in that same driveway in 1973 (or was it 72?). SO I would say it's closer to 35 years that's he has been assisting drum majors.

You could also say hi to his wife at the Disneyland personel office. She too was a very friendly person.

Like band reviews, military and mace drum major performance has become pretty much a California thing. Yes, I know there are exceptions, highland games, etc. but I'm afraid a valuable resource will go underused.

:(
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Post by JRZ » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:19 am

Ok Ryan, now you got ME going in the way back machine! :oops:

I remember when I met Tom in a room at Francisco Torres center back in the summer of 1972 when I attended the Santa Barbara drum major camp. He had set up a shop where drum majors could bring their equipment for repairs or to buy anything that was needed. He was just as helpful and smiling back then as he is now.

Tom has come a long ways from his humble beginning. His first "catalog" was a corner stapled yellow brouchure with pictures of his products that he sold at the time. I also got a chance to see, with envy, the prototype of what was to become his "American Mace". You see, at the time, the ONLY mace available was PREMIER. I eventually did purchase and American Mace...FIRST GENERATION. (this was with the crude U-shaped assembly inside under the dome).

Tom has, thorugh the years help me and many other directors and drum majors out through our "dilemmas". He is always there to answer questions or just give you his honest opinion.

Good luck to you Tom. Arizona is getting lucky to be getting a fine, suscessful businessman like you. I'll still be calling him if I need help or if I "went and did it THIS time". I'm glad I've known him professionally for a long time.

James R. Zuniga
former drum major, Watsonville High School 1972 - 73
former drum major, San Jose State University 1973 - 75
Last edited by JRZ on Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tom Peacock

Post by JLGORMAN » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:27 am

I had the opportunity to compete with Tom when we were in Hlgh School and March with Tom and Vore in the Fullerton College Band. Tom was the winning Drum Major at All Western with Savanna High in 1965. They played Joyces's 71st Tom's leap and throwing the Mace in the Air really started the Mace Drum Major movement in CA from other than the British Style Bands, Vista, Helix, Glendora, etc. If you want to see what a Drum Major should be able to do, look at Tom Peacock. I am sorry that he is leaving CA, howver the folks in AZ need good people to work with their programs. Tom, Best of Luck
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Post by Brich » Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:05 pm

I remember Tom Peacock as an excellent mace drum major and quality person going back to the summer of 1966 when we drove him up to the University of Redlands drum major camp (I was prepping to be DM at Western HS that fall). Tom definitely commanded with grace and style (and made no small number of females swoon at his presence). He also was DM for a time with Don Gunderson's Orange County Optimist Youth Band.

Great memories, and best of luck to Tom Peacock.

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Re: A tribute to a legend...drum majors please read

Post by Bob Powers » Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:29 pm

I became assistant DM of my high school band (Phineas Banning High School in Wilmington, CA) in the spring of 1972. My parents ordered a military baton from Tom Peacock Enterprises and Tom the man himself brought it to our home in Wilmington. Later that summer I attended drum major camp at UCSB and got a good score from Diane Cornwell, whose husband Wayne was a co-worker of mine a few years later. I had no special gift for being a DM but it was fun, and I got to lead the band at one football game that fall. Even in those early days there was no question of who to buy the baton from!
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