Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Do you Blast®?

“BLAST!” has open call to cast members for U.S., Europe and Asia tours


Anticipating the casting for several new productions of the highly successful stage show “BLAST!,” an immediate and open call is going out to age-outs of the drum and bugle corps activity to inquire about positions in the brass, percussion and visual ensemble.

A majority of the performers who have been in previous productions dating back to the fall of 1999 have been from the activity and the producers are looking to drum corps once again for tours that will take the show on its first European tour, a third visit to Japan and another U.S. tour. The Asian trip may also include dates in Korea and China.

Because of the on-going need for “BLAST!” and other new productions planned by the organization, a consistent pipeline for experienced and enthusiastic members is being established. Full details can be found by visiting the Web site, An application can be downloaded.

Monday, December 20, 2004 experiment is over

I enthused about the service in this post. However it seems one needs to use it every 30 days or it is deactivated; one can still see it but I can't edit anything. I can re-activate it for a small fee, but since I was using Seedwiki because there were no fees this is unacceptable to me. I have no complaints. One gets what one pays for. I'll keep on the lookout for similar services in the future.

The DrumCorpsWiki still exists and I will hopefully contribute more to the Ambassadors entry in the future.

For now I will keep the Ambassadors web site in its original form. To tell the truth, I was not looking forward to transferring it to the new location and format.

Proposed DCI rules for 2005 [i.e. rules changes]

The proposed rules changes are on the web site here. Don't let Mr. Hopkins' bad spelling and grammar put you off.

There is a whole set of forums set up to discuss them on Drum Corps Planet here. Let the flames commence!

Here's a choice bit from the proposal to allow electronic instruments, taken completely out of context I admit:

Yesterday --- The Classic Audience of 1975 that continues to dominate some of today’s conversation will not like this. These people want drum corps the way they remember it and I am very appreciative of this thought process. I too like drum corps as it was and is, but I am also aware that something needs to change.
This addition would change that product. The problem in catering to these people --- they are a diminishing group in terms of numbers. Personally, I love them, I want to make them leap from their seats, but for the sake of tomorrow, and we cannot use this class of people only as the opinion makers for our performing groups.

Thanks Mr. Hopkins. That opinion explains the work of the DCI Board of Directors recently. :P

Monday, November 22, 2004

Late '60s drum corps blogging

Only geeks my age will get this.

For the rest of you:

I remember when we had nuthin' but cards to program computers with. No fancified flat-screened T.V.-like contraptions like the youngun's use today. Softies. We typed them out at keyboards on huge desks made for the purpose. ALL DAY! and them we went to the computer room where they were read in an' ifn' you dropped the cards you had to sort them again, by hand. and the hallway to the computer room was five flights up, both ways!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Announcement: Elgin Alumni Drum Corps

John Lloyd has e-mailed me the following about a new alumni corps in Ontario.[update: O.K. so they aren't that new. They are looking for members though.]

The corps web site is here:

and soon to be incuded in my Corps Links section.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Ambassadors wiki @(

As I said in an earlier post:

If I had a means of using this software to manage the Ambassadors site, I would do it. It would make things so much easier to manage and allow others to help me out.

Well, now it appears I can do it... for free! Thanks to the folks at I will post here to let you know if I will transfer the Ambassadors site to this site. Don't worry I will go slow and be careful. :)

Ambassadors Remembered (

The Newsfeed for recent changes on this wiki can be found here:

Wire brushes with greatness

It's refreshing that the famous-rock-and-roll-star doesn't feel he has to elbow his way into the snare line. From the looks of it, he took his role seriously and had some fun.

ABC News: Tommy Lee Plays With College Marching Band

Monday, October 18, 2004

The other shoe drops...

As you know, what we need to make a robotic drum and bugle corps was only half fufilled by the robotic horn players. But now there are robot drummers available as well! True to life, they are not as good looking as the robotic horn players. :)

P.E.A.R.T - The Robotic Drum Machine

The above link is for a "mirror" of the site which may become unavailable in the near future. It is a temoprary measure as the original site here:
is being "slashdotted". [Update Nov. 19, 2004: The "mirror" site has been taken down and I have changed the above links to the original site.]

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Welcome to

Scout House is back in the cyber-house. A new web site is now available at:

Welcome back to the web Scout House. Thanks to Dennis Lytle for updating me on this.

The pictures from Oktoberfest in Kitchener, ON look pretty impressive:

[Oops. The webmaster at has moved these pictures. Find them yourself, if you can.]

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Another view of a drum corps warm-up

The Bookish Gardener, a blogger from Madison Wisconsin, shows us how to enjoy a drum corps in your back yard.

How would things have been different for the '79 Ambassadors if the residents of Timothy Street in Newmarket, Ontario had felt the same way?

To be fair:

1. Madison, WI is drum-corps-town and Newmarket, ON is ... not.

2. The Ambassadors of 1979 were not the calibre or size of the corps that the Bookish Gardener heard this summer.

Bookish Gardener: Brass bliss

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

DCI Board Votes To Eliminate Retreats, Caption Awards, Critiques

Drum Corps Planet - DCI Board Votes To Eliminate Retreats, Caption Awards, Critiques

I can't say I like this development, retreats were one of the reasons I enjoyed going to a drum corps show. I guess I am an old f*art but I think some of the traditions should be kept to keep drum corps a unique activity.

I am sceptical of the following statement, coming from the directors of the top Division I corps:

The decision means an end to retreats for non-major DCI tour events, and will do away with all post-show judges critiques. DCI says the changes should create ways for more parity within the activity, namely giving smaller, less competitive corps the chance for more success and recognition.

I am not sure how eliminating valuable feedback to instructors is going to help smaller corps.

Well, this means if my idle dream of running a drum corps show when I am retired ever comes to fruiition, it won't be a DCI show.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The "C" word...

The following thread in the precussion community forums addresses an issue that I have become familiar with when I worked at my last job librarian of the Canadian Music Centre. The "C" word is copyright and in particular the right to perform and/or record copyright music. All the corps that I marched with and almost all the corps I know today use music written by composer not associated with the corps that has been arranged for the corps. Legally this means that the composer needs to be consulted and negotiated with in order to use these works in a drum corps show.

Some things are different in Canada where SOCAN is the only copyright organization however I believe if a Canadian corps goes to the U.S. then U.S. copyright applies to them while they are there.

I find there is a lot of misunderstanding about copyright and some of the posters in this thread are quite knowledgable. This is an issue that directors cannot ignore anymore. Hopefully ODCA ( ) has some copyright material for Ontario corps to peruse. :: View topic - WGI and the "C" word...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


The latest version of my Drum Corps bibliography (MLA format):


Chiefari, Janet. Introducing the Drum and Bugle Corps. N.p.: Dodd, 1982.

DeJournett, Bill. Brass secrets of the drum and bugle corps : a comprehensive guide to outdoor brass technique. Springfield, IL: Focus on Excellence, 1997.

Popp, Jodeen E. Competitive drum corps : there and then ... to here and now. Des Plaines, Ill.: Olympic Print., 1979.

Ross-Robertson, David, and A P. Samuels. The Encyclopedia of drum and bugle corps. N.p.: Allen Co., 1966.

Wilson, J. Richard. The Slingerland complete instructive manual for the piston bugle, including the new rotary slide attachment. Chicago, IL: Slingerland Drum Co., 1935.

Buglers & drummers manual : bugle bands and drum corps : rudiments of music and instruction for the bugle and drum, with regulation duty bugle calls for camp and garrison, including a splendid collection of Bugle-Trumpet marches. Comp. John Slatter. Calgary; Toronto: Waterloo Music Co., 1912.

"Corps-Fax '79." Pickering, ON: Ontario Drum Corps Association, 1979.

Directory of Canadian drum corps. N.p.: Canadian Drum Corps Association,

A History of Drum & Bugle Corps. Vol. 1. Madison, WI: Sights & Sounds, Inc., 2002.

A History of Drum & Bugle Corps. Vol. 2. Madison, WI: Sights & Sounds, Inc., 2003.

Magic on the march : the 50 years history of Canada's famous Preston Scout House Bugle Band. N.p.: Gagne, 1988.


Hurley, Marty. Circle of rudiments : twelve medium to difficult street beats used by the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps ; each includes a mallet part in each of the twelve keys. Hattiesburg, MS: Rudimental Percussion Publications, 1993.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Write Drum Corps History!

Please visit DrumCorpsWiki and consider contributing some information there.

For those of you who don't know what a Wiki is: it's a web site that you can edit and contribute to with just a web browser. The upshot is, if you can see the web site, you can also post and edit things on it. It helps if you know a little bit about making regular pages but it's not required. It works est with text contributions anyway. It's a great collaborative tool. It may seem like it is open to defacement and wrong information but with a good number of editors working on it, it is a good source of information. Every change is logged and available for everyone to see so mistakes are caught quickly. Another example of a Wiki is the Wikipedia, an on-line encyclopedia made up of the work of many volunteers. The DrumCorpsWIki hopes to become a similar site for information about Drum Corps.

If I had a means of using this software to manage the Ambassadors site, I would do it. It would make things so much easier to manage and allow others to help me out.

This particular Wiki is being run by Harlan Landes who has worked for the Crossmen.

For those of you out there who wish you could set up a tribute site for your corps, this is the place to go. You can start with a little as the name of your corps and let others fill the blanks in or do it yourself when you have time. It's free to contribute. The only caveat is that it's not your personal site and the information you input should be from a neutral point of view. (That means no rants about being robbed at '78 Nationals or the like.)

Have a look!

I have already started an Ambassadors section there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Conqueror II / Ridge Raiders Reunion

Found on the ODCA web site:

- FOR MORE INFO CALL 905-578-0580

Links to info on

Ridge Raiders, Hamilton

Conqueror II, Hamilton

DCI 2004 PBS Broadcast

At this link (scroll down) you can find a list of broadcast dates for the 2004 DCI Championships.

WNED, Toronto, Ontario: Thanksgiving Weekend TBD

I guess that means _American_ Thanksgiving weekend in November.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Drum Corps Bibliography

Since I am a librarian type, it is time I started up a Drum Corps bibliography. This is a list of sources of information about Drum Corps. I will list things that I have not necessarily read myself but that I can find in the various library on-line catalogs (OPACs)

This is a work in progress


Magic on the march : the 50 years history of Canada's famous Preston Scout House Bugle Band /
Gagne, 1988

Directory of Canadian drum corps /
by Canadian Drum Corps Association.
Canadian Drum Corps, [1963?]

Corps-fax /
Ontario Drums Corps Association, [1978?].

History of Drum & Bugle Corps [vol. 1]

History of Drum & Bugle Corps [vol. 2]

Introducing the Drum and Bugle Corps /
Janet Chiefari.
Dodd, c1982.

Brass secrets of the drum and bugle corps : a comprehensive guide to outdoor brass technique / Bill DeJournett
Springfield, IL : Focus on Excellence, c1997.

Buglers & drummers manual : bugle bands and drum corps : rudiments of music and instruction for the bugle and drum, with regulation duty bugle calls for camp and garrison, including a splendid collection of Bugle-Trumpet marches / compiled and arranged by Mr. John Slatter
Buglers and drummers manual
Calgary ; Toronto : Waterloo Music Co., c1912.

The Slingerland complete instructive manual for the piston bugle, including the new rotary slide attachment / J. Richard Wilson.
Chicago : Slingerland Drum Co., [c1935]

Competitive drum corps : there and then ... to here and now / written, compiled, and edited by Jodeen E. Popp
[Des Plaines, Ill. : Olympic Print., 1979]

The Encyclopedia of drum and bugle corps / [Editor and publisher: David Ross-Robertson and A. P. Samuels
[n.p. : Allen Co., c1966].


Circle of rudiments : twelve medium to difficult street beats used by the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps ; each includes a mallet part in each of the twelve keys / by Marty Hurley
Hattiesburg, MS : Rudimental Percussion Publications, c1993.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A familiar thought...

I somehow stumbled across Tim's blog. He marched bass drum with the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps this summer. I was struck by a few sentences in one of his posts that I can identify with. It was how I felt after the drum corps season was over in August:

I had a life changing experience while all my friends and family stayed here in Grapevine where it seems nothing has changed at all. It's like I never even left. I dunno, its a weird feeling.

It was always hard coming back to the "real world" after an intense summer.

Bandettes Bingo Bother

BANDETTES could use your HELP!, Bingo Hall closing?

For those who wish to help out the Bandettes from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, have a look at the above post on the Drum Corps Planet forums.

You can write a letter of support for the Bandettes to the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie at the following address:

Mayor John Rowswell
99 Foster Drive - Civic Centre
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
P6A 5X6

759-5344 (Mayor's Office)

541-7171 (fax)

Email: mayorjohn at

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Active Ontario Corps - a comparison of years between 1979 and 2004

Updated: September 28, 2004

I have been thinking about the state of Ontario drum corps and have recently recanted my opinion that there aren't any more. (I have been preparing an entry melodramatically called The end of Canadian jr. drum corps.)
Recently, when discussing the 2004 DCI preliminary competition in Colorado, CO with my wife I mentioned the Kiwanis Kavaliers ( Ambassador vets: "boo!" ) were competing in Division I. She said: "I thought you said there were no more Canadian corps." I had to admit, I was wrong. There are 7 Canadian corps competing at the DCI World championships (Kiwanis Kavaliers, Dutch Boy, St. Johns, Bandettes, Blue Saints, Les Stentors and Fusion. 4 from Ontario! ) and undoubtably more who didn't tour to Colorado. So it's time to come up with some data to see if drum corps in Ontario is really declining. I will start with the number of active corps in Ontario compared over a set of years that I have some information about. Later I will look at the number of contests occuring in Ontario over the same period.

This is a work in progress. I will keep adding corps as I find evidence of them.

Active = appears in parade or contest at some time that year

1979 (22)

Ambassadors, Aurora, ON
Bandettes, Sault Ste, Marie, ON
Blue Saints, Sudbury, ON
Bluewater Buccaneers, Sarnia, ON
Canadian Knights, Peterborough, ON
Cardinal Cadets, Scarborough, ON
Durham Girls, Durham, ON
Dutch Boy Cadets, Kitchener, ON
Georgian Lancers, Owen Sound, ON
Imperials, London, ON
Kiwanis Kavaliers, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Krescendoes, Peterborough, ON
Leamington Townsmen, Leamington, ON
Rebels, Oshawa, ON
St. Andrews, Cambridge, ON
St. Johns All Girl, Brantford, ON
Simcoe Golden Lions, Simcoe, ON
Ventures, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON


Royalaires, Guelph, ON
Regionnaires, Niagara Falls, ON
Hamilton Firefighters, Hamilton, ON
Second Signals, Toronto, ON

1983 (19)

Ambassadors, Newmarket, ON
Bandettes, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Blue Saints, Sudbury, ON
Bluewater Buccaneers, Sarnia, ON
Cadets of Dutch Boy, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Canadian Knights, Peterborough, ON
Cardinal Cadets, Scarborough, ON
Conqueror II, Hamilton, ON
Dutch Boy, Kitchener, ON
Emerald Cadets, Mississauga, ON
Kiwanis Kavaliers, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
St. Andrews, Cambridge, ON
St. Johns, Brantford, ON
Rebels, Oshawa, ON
Ridge Raiders, Hamilton, ON
Ventures, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON


Royalaires,, Guelph, ON
Hamilton Firefighters, Hamilton, ON
Second Signals, Toronto, ON

2004 (12)


Bandettes, Sault Ste. Marie
Blue Saints, Sudbury, ON
Dutch Boy, Kitchener, ON
Kiwanis Kavaliers. Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
H.Y.P.E., Hamilton, ON
St. Johns, Brantford, ON


Grenadiers, Kingston, ON
Optimist Alumni, Toronto, ON
Kawartha Kavaliers,
United Alumni,
Hamilton Firefighters, Hamilton, ON
Second Signals, Toronto, ON
Scout House Bugle Band, Alumni

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Corps, darned Corps, and statistics

I have been following with some interest the Drum Corps Scores and Rankings mailing list (a Yahoo group, so you have to register with Yahoo to see the archives of the list). What's interesting about it is that as well as the scores from contests it also posts an aggregated score and ranking of all the Division I, II and III corps on major tours this summer. The idea is to make an average of a corps scores over the season and compare them with the same averages of al the other corps. I am not sure if it's a running average for a few weeks or it uses scores for the whole summer. Here's a link to an example for August 1, 2004. (It's on Google's archive of R.A.M.D. newsgroup post. The paranoid conspiracy theories about slotting are just a bonus for reading it on R.A.M.D. :P ). There is also a nice graphic depiction of the Division I averaged rankings here made by James Meister.

It is effectively a running set of rankings something like the positions of baseball and hockey teams over the season. It's a calculated version of something that drum corps fans like to do in their head during the season. I personally don't think this ranking is much use for predicting the winners at Denver, CO this week. The analogy with sports doesn't hold for drum corps.

When I marched we used to hear about the scores other corps were getting early in the season before we "met" them in competition. We would hear about a rival getting higher or lower scores than what we had received that year so far and then there would be much debate and anticipation of the rankings of various corps together. The thing I noticed was that these anticipated rankings never held up when we actually met the corps in the same contest.

This happened and still happens because the scores from different contests are generated by a panel of different judges each time and it doesn't mean anything to compare scores from different contests directly even if they are contests that occur on the week. The only way to tell if a corps is better than another one is to have them appear in the same contest.

I acknowledge that the scores from different panels will probably agree within 2 or three points as they try to make things as standarized as possible but in the end it's a judgement about art and it's difficult to get people to agree about such things, even people trained to do so.

So DCI Worlds is still up for grabs and there are probably some surprises in store. The further away from the top scores you get, the more room there is for change in my experience anyway. The Kavaliers aren't going to win DCI but they may move up two or three rankings from that predicted by this ranking thing.

Don't use the average rankings thing as a reason to claim: "We wuz robbed!".

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The incident that must not be mentioned - part II

The story of the "incident" during the Ambassadors 1983 season. The beginning of the story is here (scroll up to get to the top of the entry).

Events came to a head on July 23, 1983, the day of the Ontario Provincial Championships (scroll down the page for this show) in Brantford, ON. The Provincial Championships were, at the time, the second most significant show of the season to an Ontario drum corps next to the National Championships. We didn't go to DCI that year so it wasn't in the picture for us. We had yet to beat our rivals, the Kiwanis Kavaliers. Yes, _those_ Kiwanis Kavaliers. They were Class A or Div. III back then too. We never did beat them in 1983. As Don Daber said in Drum Corps World in a review of our show on July 16, 1983, Scarborough, ON, we were "having a hard time getting on track".

With this sort of tension simmering we were in rehearsal on the day of Provincials in Brantford on a football field somewhere within city limits. The Ambassadors were a weekend and evening corps with extended rehearsals only during the short tours we did in the US Midwest so we were pressed for time at the best of times. It was a drill rehearsal and I think only da guard and horn line were present along with our gaurd and drill instructors. It was a hot day, not too humid as I remember but plenty hot. Some of the instructors were standing atop one of the school buses we had arrived on as a makeshift press box to observe the drill forms. Did I mention that it was hot?

In the drum solo that year I marched close to my friend, I'll call him Bill, who played baritone. Bill wasn't the best horn player in the line but he was a good guy and we got along fairly well. He was a little younger than me but both of us were on the older side of corps members, as the average age in the Ambassadors at that time was around 14.

In rehearsal, we had been working on the section of the drum solo that involved the horn players and their flags for at least an hour and a half, starting with the proper distribution of the flags to the horn players and then, finally, the flag work itself. At this point Bill began to get agitated. He had been having problems with the flag work since it had been introduced a week or two before and it was evident to me that he hadn't practised it much either. So Bill had a problem and he decided to deal with it in his own way. He began complaining about how the flag work was stupid and too hard and how we were supposed to get it together in so short a time. Since I was hot, tired and had spent a lot of my own time preparing my flag work, I was unsympathetic. In fact I told him to get it together and reminded him that Provincials was a matter of hours away. He kept complaining. I couldn't understand why he couldn't just leave his complaining and do the best he could under the circulmstances and I said so.

At this point Bill snapped. I'm not sure if the pressure or the heat was responsible but he started loudly complaining that I had said that he couldn't march that night because of his bad flag work. I had said nothing of the kind and protested this to him. Then he made a rash and fateful decision: he dropped his flag and began walking off the field reiterating his complaints all the way.

In retrospect, the rehearsal had gone on too long without a break for water or rest for corps members or the instructional staff. We were under the gun to make the this sequence work in time for Provincials and we needed as much rehearsal time as possible. At some point though, there should have been a break to save everyone's baking brains.

I didn't actually see the our drill instructor leap off the yellow school bus that he had been perched on up to then but I heard him hit the ground. He then advanced on Bill, yelling at him. Bill started yelling back, repeating his accusations about me as an excuse for leaving the field and this served to further enrage our instructor. I saw what was coming and grabbed Bills horn as they closed on each other and started wrestling. The rest was incoherent yelling, scuffling and rolling around with Bill getting the worst of it. Eventually the other instructors and older corps members pulled them apart and a much-chastened and quiet corps continued our drill rehearsal without the company of Bill or the drill instructor. I don't think anyone else ever complained about the having to do flag work again.

My followup may be frustrating for the reader as I don't remember much of what happened later. In the end I am not sure if Bill marched the show that night but I think he did. I also don't remember if he did a good job with his flag although I nailed my flag work. I am not sure if the instructor in question was with us for the rest of the year either although he may have been. We didn't win Provincials but we did a good show that we were satisfied with. The horn flag sequence stayed in the show, much to my relief as I had put a lot of work into my part of it.

That part of the show was a success, and as I have written before, effective when we managed to keep it together. The average drum corps fan watching from the stands however, would have no idea what had gone into it.

Wither the CDCA?

Does anyone know what has happened to the CDCA? I must assume it has folded up as there are no longer Canadian Championships held. I don't think there is a Canadian Judges Association (CJA) either. Email me if you have any information about these organizations.

Thanks, Sam

The incident that must not be mentioned - part I

I think in every drum corps summer season there are incidents that are of note that will never be recorded in the corps yearbook or promotional material. This is one of them. I have changed the names of the principals to protect the mostly innocent.

I have often thought that this incident would make a nice addition to the Blast! show that the Star of Indiana morphed into some years ago.

First, some background: In 1983 the horn line of the Ambassadors used half-sized flags in the drum solo section of the show. It was suprisingly effective. (No offense to '83 vets but we weren't the strongest corps that year. The scores bear me out.)
See pics:

This is a picture of a rehearsal at Summer's farm in Aurora. You can see the pale yellow flags in the horn players right hands if you look carefully.

It's hard to see what's going on here but this is a shot of the horn flags in action. This is a scan of a black and white photo from a 1984 program.

At any rate, I spent a great deal of time in my back yard practising with my flag. It was all straight-armed work and I found it difficult to get the flag into position in time at first. I am sure our neighbours in Aurora thought I was nuts.

A big challenge for a corps of our scale, (we would be considered Division III these days), was the logistics of getting the flags to all the horn players. It seem to take half the drum solo to get one in everyone's hands.

It was a tough sell for Janice Bouwer, our head guard instructor, to get the horn players to put the moves together but eventually the line was able to make it work if not perfect it. We implemented it mid-season so there was a rush to get the drum solo with horn flag work added presentable for the Provincial Championships.

Enough background, on to the story.

To be Continued (scroll up to get to the top of the entry)

Old Timey Drum Corps

Kenosha memories

From the web site, here's a great description of life in an "old time" drum corps circa 1968 in Wisconsin. The following quote reminds me of my experience in the Ambassadors from 1979 to 1983. Of course even then the school music programs were less than they were in the 60s and local support in the Aurora and Newmarket was good but not overwhleming. I remember that the music teacher at Huron Heights S.S. in Newmarket said of drum corps: "They play at two volumes: loud and louder". He was enlightened; he knew what a drum corps was.

At that time, for those more "schooled" in music, drum corps was considered not "real" music, and the participants weren't considered "musicians." It was more of a "blue-collar" activity for kids who would otherwise have had little else to be involved with, or had gotten themselves into trouble. There was far less variety in the musical selections and the corps had far inferior equipment and no big name arrangers or instructors - those jobs were usually filled by former corps members who stuck around after they aged out.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Mysteries and Applause Meters

The DCM web site now has recaps (.pdf) of the July 17 show in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. This indicates the Blue Saints were at this show rather than Kitchener, ON. So who was at Kitchener? Did anyone out there attend the show?

Interestingly, the recap seems to indicate that the show was not judged by DCM judges but by a slate of VIPs, a sort of elite style competition by applause.

Aside: As a marching member in the Blue Devils in '84 I learned to hate those awards given out to the corps that garnered the most applause when the crowd was polled at retreat. I know it was mostly an exercise to keep the crowd happy while we waited for the real scores to be tabulated, but after working so hard through the spring and summer it was a bit much to get beat by the Troopers in these applause-meter things after we had walked all over them in every caption. I like the Troopers too, but they weren't a contender for the DCI championship that year.

Yes, yes I know: "There are all winners to me." :-P

Monday, July 19, 2004

Another Drum Corps Blog!

In looking into the Blue-Saints-in-two-places mystery, I stumbled across a web journal by a current marching member of the Blue Saints:

The Journey of a Lifetime


RSS 0.91
RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0

Scores for Dutchboy show in Kitchener

Hmmm. How can the Blue Saints be in Kitchener and Sault Ste. Marie on the same day? Super powers? A fleet of executive jets?

Saturday July 17, 2004
Kitchener ONT
Position Corps Score
0 Blue Saints
1 Lake Erie Regiment 68.90
2 Dutch Boy 65.50
3 St. John's 64.60


Missed one...

I missed reporting this show as upcoming. It didn't occur to me to check the DCM web site for Ontario shows. My apologies and keep on marching northern Ontario corps!

Saturday, July 17
Sault Ste. Marie, ON Canada
Bandettes Home Parade and Contest
Location: Queen Elizabeth Field, 280 Elizabeth Street
Tickets/Info: (705) 942-9674
Parade: Simpson Street, step- off at 11:00AM
Contest: 7:30PM
* Bandettes Small Corps
* Blue Saints
* Americanos
* Kingsmen
* Blue Stars
* Racine Scouts
* Pioneer
* Bandettes


Scout House domain is AWOL, again.

The link below to is broken as of this post and brings up a generic page from a domain name seller. :P

My cheapo policy of not registering a domain name for the Ambassdor site is starting to look pretty good.

But bad knees are still a problem...

I have noticed an interesting trend in Ontario drum corps. Consider the following lines ups for two of the three shows in Ontario this summer (Geek disclaimer: I copy and pasted this from the the Canadian Open and Belleville Festival Sites and to my surprise the HTML code was copied too. I therefore take no responsibility for ugly HTML in the copied parts following. All other ugly code is my own):

Canadian Open 2004
Dutch Boy
St. Johns
Les Stentors
Lake Erie Regiment
Hamilton Youth Performance Ensemble
Hamilton Fire Fighters
Toronto Optimists Alumni Corps
Toronto Signals
Scout House Alumni Band
United Alumni Corps


Belleville Waterfront & Ethnic Festival Program

Notice anything interesting? The Senior corps are dominating the scene! Well I suppose two shows are hardly a scene. In my day the senior corps were something of a joke in Ontario. They were more drinking clubs than competing corps. This seems to have changed by all reports. Let's see if this is a trend.

Speaking of reports, did any one attend the Kitchener or Belleville shows and would they drop me a line about them if so? Thanks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Drum Corps Amplification discussion

The business of amplification being used by DCI drum and bugle corps this season is being discussed in the following forums:

Drum Corps Planet Forums

Discussion is also turning up in R.A.M.D. news group. For those of you who are not old school, (there was a time when newsgroups and e-mail _were_ the internet) you can read this group through Google at the following link. WARNING: people can post to newsgroups like this in a more or less anonymous way, this lends itself to bouts of extreme not-niceness.


I found the first link through Matthew Briddell's "Keep the Amps out of Drum Corps" web site.

Friday, July 09, 2004

128 please. Here's your 135.

DCI FAQ - How is a corps' division determined?

Apparently there are now a maximum of 135 members in a DCI Drum Corps rather than 128 when I marched in the early '80s. When did this change? I remember seeing references to this on the web earlier this year but I haven't followed up on it until I saw this link on Drum Corps Planet. Does this mean squad drill is gone too?

Monday, June 28, 2004

No more amps?

There is an on-line petition set up to protest the inclusion of amplification in the Drum Corps activity, specifically in DCI ( ):

I am starting a movement to make drum and bugle corps an ACOUSTIC musical activity once again. I took the first step by creating the Keep the Amps out of Drum Corps petition at You can view and SIGN the petition at this address:

Thank you for supporting us.

Myself, I am waiting to hear what an "amped" corps sounds like live before I join such a protest.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Belleville Drum Corps Show

The Belleville show is an exhibition and mostly a senior corps show! I found that out thanks to google. Here are the details:

July 10, 2004
Zwick's Island Soccer Pitch, Belleville, ON
gates open at 5:30 p.m., the show will start at 7:30 p.m.
The Festival Hotline: 1-613-969-1980

Unfortunately it's not clear from the show sponsor's web site which of the three days the show will occur. However as I noticed the Optimist Alumni Corps will be at the show I checked their site and confirmed that the show is on Saturday, July 10. Kudos to the Optimists web site team for keeping an up-to-date site. That's no mean feat.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Canadian Open 2004

Further to the Dutch Boy show mentioned below:

Saturday July 17th, 2004
Centennial Stadium - Kitchener, ON
Times TBA
For Tickets call: 519-745-0303 or 1-800-265-6368

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The ODCA speaks!

Well Tom Bigas does anyway. Tom has written me back with information on the following Drum Corps contests that will occur in Ontario this summer:

Belleville Show July 9th, 2004
Dutch Boy Show, Kitchener July 17th, 2004
Kiwanis Kavaliers Show, Kitchener July 29, 2004

He also tells me of a show upcoming in Buffalo, New York with the following details:

Buffalo on July 26th, at Dunn Tire Park
275 Washington St.
Buffalo, NY
Ticket line: 716-846-2002 Info only: 716-867-1618

I will follow-up with some links to these shows when I can find them. Tom promises that the ODCA calendar will be updated with details on these shows soon.

Alumni Corps Report

Toronto Optimist Alumni debut at St. Joe's Classic

The Optimist Alumni Corps 2004 has debuted to a good review in Drum Corps World. Follow the link above for the entire report of the St. Joe Classic show in Greece (?) New York on April 24, 2004. There are links to photos of the event on Mighty St. Joe's site. The Optimists seem to have polished the show that I saw in Toronto last summer to good effect. Practising makes you better. Who knew?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ambassadors, now field is yours,

Looking about for the F.A.M.Q. (, I found this article from 2002 in the Drum Corps World web site:

FAMQ plans changes for 2002

in particular:

"With only four corps, it is impossible to hold a contest proper," he said. "Corps directors therefore voted to abolish the rule that forced all events to be of a competitive nature." The new ruling will allow for various types of presentations to take place at Quebec's drum corps events during the 2002 season.

"No more timing and penalties, no more minimum or maximum," Labelle said. "Corps can add features such as charts they play in parades, individual presentations, choral pieces. Corps can now do anything they want."

I had wrongly assumed that the F.A.M.Q. was doing better than corps elsewhere in Canada. Things could be worse for the ODCA it seems.

That was no band! It was a ... ah nevermind.


Looking at the T.V. commercial as opposed to the graphics in the papers, I thought the snare line was a bit hard core (as it were) to be a band. I also thought that there seemed to be a lack of woodwinds. Now my suspicions are confirmed.

It's too bad that the Ontario Lotto Corporation couldn't have looked a little closer to home, but perhaps they did and were not able to find any that could fit the bill.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Jerry Seawright, Founder of The Blue Devils, 1925 - 2004

From the Blue Devils web site

The Blue Devils have the very sad news to inform all that our Jerry Seawright has passed away on May 16, 2004. There are no words that can describe the life changing impact that this man has had on all of us.

Jerry founded the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps in 1970 and set the tone for the professionalism and excellence for the organization that has since been its trademark. He has positively influenced thousands of lives worldwide, within and outside the Drum Corps community.

This is the saddest time that The Blue Devils have ever experienced. Jerry will be forever loved. The Blue Devils as of today are changed forever. His spirit will now live through all of us. Jerry, we will miss you more than we can ever express. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gwen and the entire Seawright family.

Jerry recently returned to his home town Danville, Il to visit with his High School Buddies. Dick Van Dyke and his three old friends - Bob Hackman (Gene Hackman's uncle), and Harold Brown - They had a chance to chat away, trading wisecracks, swapping old stories and performing old songs. Read story


This isn't directly to do with Ontario drum corps, but I know there are Blue Devil alumni in Ontario and I am one of them. - Sam

Friday, May 07, 2004

Scout House is in the ... umm... house. - Preston Scout House Alumni - Preston Scout House Alumni Band

The Scout House domain, is working once more. Apparently it was a temporary problem. i

In2corps is still missing in action but I will continue to look for this Canadian Drum Corps history site. I hope it has just been relocated under a generic domain name.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

"Ten?" "Here!"

Well, I found out where the Scout House will be on July 3rd if not where their web site is:

Bugle show coming this summer -

Port Clinton's Cochran Majorettes reunion also part of the festivities

News Herald reports

PORT CLINTON -- A chance telephone call last fall has triggered the upcoming reunion of a Canadian bugle corps and a local majorettes group whose members first met a half century ago in Port Clinton.

The reunion will be punctuated with a July 3 performance of the Preston Scout House Bugle Alumni Band at True-Lay Stadium. The 7 p.m. field show will be free to the public.

"It'll really be something to see," said Betty Wood, of Hickory Grove Road, Port Clinton, who is helping coordinate the event.

Monday, May 03, 2004

"Three!", "Here!", "Nine!", "Yo!", "Ten! Ten! ... Ten?"

The domain names and seemed to have changed hands recently. Right now both of these domains point to a placeholder page.

I have found old copies of these pages in the Wayback Machine: [July 24, 2003] [June 23, 2003]

If anyone knows what has happened to these two Ontario drum corps sites, please let me know.


Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Canadian Corps report

Allegiance Elite Drum & Bugle Corps

With the alliance of the Edmonton Strutters and Allegiance Elite marching under the name Fusion, came a strong sense of unity for the supporters of Drum & Bugle Corps here in Alberta. Already the new corps has made strides far and beyond some years that most can recollect. The success that Fusion is producing each month is re-enforcing the strength that this activity will have in years to come and will set the stage for future members of Drum & Bugle Corps. The combined staff have proven to be effective in their instruction and the members have been equally responsive. Music is learned and drill is on the way. The colorguard have been concentrating on a very successful Winter season with their last competition in April. All in all, the atmoshere at Fusion Drum & Bugle Corps is extremely positive and confident. Everyone is looking forward to the summer months when Fusion begins to "fuse" its complete package together and embark on what is being anticipated as the most successful showing of an Alberta drum corps to date.

Web Posted Mar / 12 / 04

History is not kind to 'corps mergers. Good luck 'Fusion'.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

... twenty, bop, twenty-two, bop, bop, twenty-five ...

Kiwanis Kavaliers Tour Day-by-Day

There appears to be a home show for the Kiwanis Kavaliers on July 29th. Details are sketchy so far.

There is no sign of this show on their schedule on the site.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Lot's of time to water the lawn

As of today there is one (1) drum corps show listed in the ODCA calendar. :P

No word on the 2004 Canadian Open as of yet.

Problems at Drum Corps Planet resolved

I believe they were fixed within 12 hours of me posting about them being down.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Problems at Drum Corps Planet

March 31, 2004

12:15pm ET

Dear DCP members and visitors,

Please pardon the service interruption.

You may have noticed the site speed has taken a turn for the worse since about 6:30 ET last night. The server is currently experiencing profound technical difficulties and our host, NDC Technologies, is taking immediate steps to bring us back online as soon as possible.

We expect to be fully operational again within 24hours.

Thank you for your patronage and your patience.

... fourteen, bop, sixteen, seventeen, bop, nineteen...

Robot Drum Corps unveiled in Aurora, Ontario

The Shallot, Snowball Corner, ON

March 30, 2004, last update: 2:32 p.m.

AURORA, ON - Marching bands entered the twenty-first century today with the announcement by the management of the newly resurrected Ambassadors Drum and Bugle Corps of Aurora, Ontario that they will present their 2004 band made up soley of robot musicians.

Corps director, John O'Fline, said that the move was made possible by a government grant for projects supporting a new Olympics bid in Ontario for the year 2020. He said that his organization decided on this unusual proposition as they found it difficult to find young people, who would normally make up such a band, willing to join the organization. "No one wants to sleep on gym floors and practise in the rain anymore. I blame the video games the young people play these days" said O'Fline.

The purchase of the more than 100 robots necessary to fill out the band's ranks is of great cost . Critics have noted that this cost is probably greater than the value of the initial grant and have speculated that funds from a local political candidate looking for promotion have made up the balance. Director O'Fline denied this: "The rumours of a name change to the Stronach Ambassadors are completely false".

The Ontario Drum Corps Association which oversees the competition and judging of drum corps in Ontario has be apprised of this move by the Ambassadors and has responded with several rule changes for its association for the 2004 season. The ODCA executive have decided that the robot corps will be judged under a new classification or league called Division VI or "Division six" and that any robot corps will be judged by robot judges. "We feel that this is the most elegant solution to this new development in drum corps competition" said an ODCA representative. "It would be unfair to have them compete with the corps that field 'real' members".

The Ambassadors have elected to field a human drum major or conductor and it is unclear how the new ODCA rules will apply to the corps because of this. "We couldn't find a robot that could execute the complicated salute that is traditional for our corps although our robot supplier has told us that they are working on it" said O'Fline.

[Does anything about the above post seem odd? Have a look at the post date. April Fool!]

Sunday, March 28, 2004

... eight, bop, ten, eleven, bop, bop ...

I am thinking an automated drum corps! I guess they still walk pretty slow from what I have seen of previous robot models so that means slow tempos for marching. How to get one of them to hold a contra? Perhaps some sort of frame could be rigged up on that one in the foreground. Possible savings on equipment trucks and buses if they are the wheeled model. But then they couldn't "march" technically speaking. The mind boggles...

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It's not raining. I'll tell you when it's raining. ... Okay, it's raining.

I hope you are sitting down: I have updated the site! Long ago in 2002, Michael Marcotte labouriously scanned the pages of the 1986 Out of the Blue corps yearbook and e-mailed them to me. I thanked him and promptly miss-filed them. At long last I have dredged them up from my hard drive and placed it on the site. The scans may be a bit hard to read in places but you can get most of it. I may enhance things in my creaky version of photoshop if I ever get the time. But for now, enjoy!

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Drum Crop

I remember travelling with the Ambassadors in the summer of 1980 to the American mid-west. I think our first stop was in Michigan. We had come to the end of a long, long trip in coaches from Newmarket but the excitement of being "on tour" was still with us. It was late, dark and raining when we arrived at our quarters in small town community centre. I still can see the hastily scrawled sign taped on the door of the arena as we stumbled through carrying sleeping bags and suitcases.

It read "Drum Crop". Welcome to the big time kids. Wheee.

Fortunately, things got better from there.

Yes, this "goofy-looking thing" is a french horn.

I am experimenting with using Furl to keep my drum corps web links up to date (see to the left under "links"). Furl is a great service that lets you save particular web pages and share your links with others. It's hard to describe; give it a try. I am using it as an on-line place to keep my web links of all kinds. For those inclined to use RSS feeds there is one for my Furl page here.

It's also relatively easy to include your list of links on Furl in a web page as I have done here on the blog. So far there is no way to keep them ordered as I would like them to appear in section like my link page in the Ambassador site.

Clicking on the "#" beside the links takes you to my page on Furl that includes any comments and ratings I made have made for this particular link.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

...and in second place,

Well no geek points for Tyler as he doesn't make the site mentioned below, Drums, Chicken, and Poop although he does seem to contribute to it in some way as there is a lot of material about him there. That's alright. Not everyone can be Wil Wheaton.

The Bare Naked Ladies do have a blog of their own here:, but there doesn't seem to be many entries from Tyler there.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Where are my gaunklets?

Time to stop feeling sorry for myself and link to Tyler's crazy mad wicked web site: Drums, Chicken, and Poop. There's an interview there with another Ambassador alum, Steve Pitkin. The last I heard Steve was playing jazz in the Newmarket area. He has now moved on to Rock megagod. [UPDATE: Steve can be seen in the row of '81 snare players on the Ambassador home page near the top of the page. He is the second from the left.]

Friday, February 27, 2004

Gee outa da way!

The Bare Naked Ladies played Toronto last night. See: Mid-life Ladies aging well

As many of you Ambassador alums who marched in '80 and later probably know Tyler Stewart is an Ambassador who marched in 1980, '81 and '82. I remember I had a rather disastrous brush with him when the band was still relatively new. At least it was new enough that Andy Creaghan was still at UofToronto Music at the same time I was there.

I was at a bar in Toronto one evening (yes Andy, that is hard to believe) with my friend and fellow horn player Darcy when he recognized some of the 'Ladies there. It was just Andy and Tyler there. Darcy and Andy were friends at the time. It came out that I knew Tyler and I was prompted to greet him. Unfortunately I was a more excitable fellow then and the best I could come up with was: "Tyler! You so-and-so!". Except is wasn't "so-and-so" that I said.

I am not sure what I was thinking. Perhaps I thought I should attempt some Drum Corps style camaraderie via strange humour. At any rate, Tyler took this wrong, if there is a right way to take it. I should have apologized profusely but unfortunately I ducked out like a coward. Tyler and I probably never would have crossed paths again but I am always reminded of this incident when I hear them on the radio and feel badly.

It's too bad. I remember I was happy and proud of Tyler and I wanted to somehow communicate that to him, but the moment passed and now I doubt he's in much need of support from me. I ought to buy a few 'Ladies albums if I feel that badly I suppose.

If you should somehow read this Tyler, please accept my sincere apologies. I don't know what I was thinking.

- Sam

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Hey Rookie!

I missed my blog anniversary! This all started on Feb. 17, 2003. It's debatable wether its been a contribution to the drum corps world but it's been fun so far and I plan to keep it up. - Sam

Monday, February 16, 2004

Don't do that or I'll have to drop you on your head

The business of adding amplification to pit instruments has been around for some time. In my age-out year, my second, with Blue Devils in 1985, we toured with some equipment on loan from Yamaha (I think it was Yamaha... old brain cells) that included electronic keyboards and drums. The pit people mostly used it to play "Axel F" whenever they had a chance to plug the stuff in. I am guessing that it was packed with the drum gear. I am not sure if it survived the fire we had on tour to Madison. At any rate, there was discussion about this almost twenty years ago. I remember that it was a small issue in '79 or '80 with Ambassadors too as there was some debate wether true vibraphones, with the little rotating disc dohickys to effect vibrato, were legal on the field. The consensus at that time I believe was that if it had batteries it was not legal in ODCA or DCI.

We seem to have come a long way. Although I am an old geezer when it comes to rule changes, this one seems to have been considered for a long time and I suppose it should be given a chance.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Who's Using Amps in 2004?

Ay Carumba! Amps?!?

Drum Corps Planet: Who's Using Amps in 2004?

By Staff
Jan 28, 2004, 11:12

(Snip from

"After a weekend during which corps debated, learned and listened to presentations about amplification, Division I corps are split almost evenly on whether or not they plan to use it in 2004, with an equal percentage still undecided.

An informal poll conducted by phone and e-mail earlier this week found that six Division I corps plan to use amplification, nine do not plan to use it, and seven corps are undecided thus far.

Corps planning to use amplification:
Blue Knights
Boston Crusaders
Magic of Orlando
Seattle Cascades

Monday, February 02, 2004

News Feed from Drum Corps Planet

Drum Corps Planet does a better job of keeping up with Drum Corps news than me and they have kindly set up a method of posting their headlines to any web site. So you may now see the latest on the column on the left.

[You will have to have a javascript-capable browser and hove that capability turned on for it to work. If it doesn't work for you, try the link to the DCP site. They are doing a good job there.]

CSS fun

I am playing with the style of this blog to hopefully make it more readable. I have made some progress on the left column.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Their beat goes on,1426,MCA_521_2596100,00.html

The elite Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps revies a World War-I era tradition, giving young musicians a chance to play and compete.

By Michael Lollar
January 25, 2004

At first glance, it looks like a band on the floor of the Cordova High School gym, but the marchers sometimes look like they're in an Olympic sprint instead of marching.

A traditional Sousa march moves at roughly 120 beats a minute, but the Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps is marching to a jazz and blues intro that moves up to 180 beats a minute.

A good article about the Memphis Sound Drum and Bugle Corps, which was put together by a former member of the Memphis Blues Brass Band, a corps around briefly in the Ambassadors' day. The reference to Sousa is a bit tiresome but it does a good job of explaining 'corps and the kind of work people put into it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

CBC News: Stronach jumps into Conservative leadership race

CBC News: Stronach jumps into Conservative leadership race

Last Updated Tue, 20 Jan 2004 13:34:22

AURORA, ONT.- Belinda Stronach ended weeks of speculation Tuesday by announcing that she will run for the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada.


Things have changed when national news stories are coming out of Aurora.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

RSS feed: part deux

I think I have a working RSS feed now for those of you who are into it. Thanks RSSify at Wytheville Community College!

- Sam

Toronto Eatons Santa Claus Parade 2004 "Super Corps"

Ted Brazier is trying to put together a "super corps" for the upcoming Santa Claus Parade in Toronto, ON. It's not clear wether old-timers can participate unless they are already associated with a 'corps. See this post on the ODCA site for more info.

What I remember about the parade from my Ambassadors days is "no hymns or religious music is to be played". The proximity to the Christian holiday is purely coincidental. :-P

- Sam

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Gaffe, gaffe...

Oskaloosan to march in the Rose Bowl Parade

By MIRANDA PEARSON - The Oskaloosa Herald 12/30/2003

Twenty years ago Oskaloosan Terry De Jong played the snare drum and marched with the Santa Clara Band Guard, a drum and bugle corps out of Santa Clara, Calif. Recently, Terry got news that he, as well as the current Santa Clara show corps, the cadet corps, and additional alumni, was invited to march in the Rose Bowl Parade New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif.

Oops Miranda! I think you misheard that corps name. Oh well, at least you know it's a drum corps.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Comments are implemented!

You may now add your own wisdom to the Ambassablog by using the comments function supplied by the nice folks at Haloscan. Thanks Haloscan!

Features and more features! Perhaps I will get time to edit the CSS at some point!

- Sam

Monday, January 05, 2004

Fan Mail

Here's an e-mail from Brad:

> From: "Brad"
> Date: Sun Jan 4, 2004 2:31:26 PM Canada/Eastern
> To:
> Subject: good job
> Hi Sam ...Don`t think we ever met but my name is Brad, I marched for
> the ambassadors drum line from 1977-1999
> (tenor drums)I may have some old photos from that time that i can
> email to you....... hello to all
> take care and nice work on this site....Brad bjdcarpet at

and Happy New Year to all!