2003 ‘Brass Reunion’ features alumni groups

by Gary Dickelman

The evening of April 12 marked an exciting annual drum corps event and, at the same time, a unique occurrence. On the one hand the Archer-Epler Musketeers and Haverford Band Parents Association brought us the 2003 “Brass Reunion.” On the other hand, it was the second weekend in a row for a gala alumni drum corps event — unique because we old-timers do not typically abide back-to-back performances! It was, nonetheless, an evening to remember.

The Bon Bons Chorus returned for its 10th “Brass Reunion” appearance to open the evening singing The Star-Spangled Banner. This fine group is organized by the Audubon Bon Bons Alumni Association and includes members of the great Audubon Bon Bons championship all-girl drum & bugle corps that graced the competition field from 1938-1977. The Bon Bons paid a warm tribute to our troops abroad by singing…

The small but powerful and exciting Lambertville Volunteers of Lambertville, NJ, was the first corps to take the stage. In many ways the Volunteers are the pioneers of the alumni drum corps genre, having continuously featured a parade and exhibition corps since the 1960s. The Volunteers fall into a class of their own, a self-proclaimed “Alternative Drum Corps.” Always a favorite at…

Next appeared the giant and powerful Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights in their familiar gold, black and white uniforms. This year BSGK has raised the bar a notch by not only bringing fans their familiar solid and melodic sound, but also…

The Steel City Ambassadors from Pittsburgh returned to the “Brass Reunion” for the fourth consecutive year with their big brass sound and solid percussion section. Dennis Graham’s crew brought back fond drum corps memories with…

The Yankee Rebels Alumni Percussion Ensemble was next to perform. Not to be confused with the alumni corps of the same name, the percussion ensemble is a separate unit made up of former Yankee Rebels and members of the alumni association. The legacy of the glory days of drum corps is perpetuated in a variety of ways, and the YR Percussion Ensemble is an outstanding example…

The hosts, Archer-Epler Musketeers, provided a truly entertaining all-American show, punctuated with an appropriate touch of patriotism. During their signature Stars and Stripes Forever they were joined in the auditorium by honor guards of the evening’s units…

What can you say about the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni? On a personal note, I close my eyes and think back to my single-digit years, sitting at Roosevelt Stadium and hearing the thunderous “rump, rump, rump” and the exciting Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White. The Cabs were and are what drum corps is all about, and this night was no exception!    The eighth season of this fine alumni unit includes…

The evening was punctuated by the sounds of the Baltimore Yankee Rebels, honoring their recently passed brass arranger and friend, Truman Crawford.   The Rebels are dedicating the 2003 season to Crawford, who died on March 3. They opened with an exciting Dixie Stinger and Mardi Gras March, replete with corps members flinging beads into the audience (for effect, but not, I must emphasize, to evoke the well-known Basin Street traditions)! While not necessarily evident to the audience, perhaps the most moving piece of the evening in the minds of Yankee Rebels was Just a Closer Walk with Thee…

For the rest of this article, check out the June 6, 2003, issue of Drum Corps World!