***** TENTH ANNIVERSARY REPORT *****
1956 to 1966 – HISTORY
The Village Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps was formed in 1956 under the name Village Fire Fifers, as the group was under the sponsorship of the Delmar Fire Company. Its founders and first directors, Mr. and Mrs. Robert McLean, had been members of a corps in New York City (Passett Church Corps). Moving to Delmar and finding no such unit here, they decided to start one. Fall and winter of that year were used for training the recruits to the new organization, which made its first public appearance in the 1957 Tulip Festival in Albany. This was to mark the start of an eventful 10 year history and a group which shows signs of growing even more in membership and popularity. There have been so many memorable events in which the corps has taken part that picking out highlights for this report is difficult, as each member has his own favorites. Most agree that 1959 was one of the best years, as it was the time of the Hudson-Champlain Celebration and saw the corps participate in many special events, beginning with the Governor’s Ball and climaxing in the big celebration parade in Albany attended by Holland’s Princess Beatrix. This was also the year of the parade in Auburn, New York, thought by most to be the best single event in the corps history, so far. The Civil War years of 1960’s saw the corps adding blue Civil War uniforms to its colorful Revolutionary War garb, and taking part in many events connected with the Centennial, including a concert in Albany’s Chancellor’s Hall. In 1962, the corps received much prominence by having its picture, showing the Civil War uniforms, featured in the centerfold of the New York News Sunday Colorfoto Magazine. The year 1962 also saw the Mcleans moving to Syracuse, then later to Florida, and eventually to California. It was at this time that the corps became a completely independent organization no longer under sponsorship. The group was run by a group of officers, with Robert Mulligan becoming the first president under this new system. Ray Hauley, David Gregory and William Frueh also served terms in this office. In the fall and winter of 1965, because many of the senior members were entering college and the service, it was decided to begin a junior corps taking boys and, for the first time, girls, age 10 years and older. The new group, combined with the senior corps made its first appearance on Memorial Day of 1966. This was the largest turnout the corps has had with an attendance of 26. This was one of best years in our history, with the corps making many appearances including a half hour television show on Channel 13. The year climaxed with the 150th anniversary parade in Troy, ranked as one of the best in our history. Other highlights in our ten years of fifing and drumming were our two musters, the first being in 1964 and the second in the following year, participation in several Tulip Festivals, pageants at Fort Klock and Fort William Henry, as well as several appearances at Fort Ticonderoga, along with our television coverage, the corps has also been featured on a record of the 1963 Deep River Muster, and in many newspapers and magazines. Our collection of trophies attests to our skill in playing and marching, and we look forward to adding to this in the future. All in all, the past has been good to us, and we look toward an even better future.
MUSIC HISTORY OF THE CORPS
Music of the corps from its beginning to the fall of 1962 was selected and arranged and taught by the McLeans (Bob & Theresa). Theresa taught the fife and Bob taught the drum. Our repertoire in 1959 consisted of the following:
Blue Bells of Scotland Paddy O’Toole
Bonnie Blue Flag Rally ‘Round the Flag British Grenadiers Road to Boston
Ginger Pop Steamboat Q.S.
Golden Slippers Three Hundred Years
Huntington Willie Weaver
Irish Reel White Cockade
Old Dan Tucker Yankee Doodle
The first medley was Connecticut and included Yankee Doodle, Blue Bells, Golden Slippers, Paddy O’Toole, Willie Weaver, and Huntington. This was used as a competition medley several times.
Our second medley, arranged in 1960, is the Granny Medley. This marked the beginning of the corps’ use of harmony. The main theme tune throughout this medley, is of course, Granny will Your Dog Bite, it also includes: British Grenadiers, Derry Down, Jefferson and Liberty, and a very small part of Mier Somba.
In 1964, a third medley named “Arkansas” was played at many appearances in 1964-6. The main purpose of this medley was to have a 3 minute piece of greater difficulty than in our other medleys, and to include a relatively large number of tunes. This medley, which we played at the Deep River Muster in 1964 and 1966 includes the following tunes: Arkansas Traveler, Dixie, Irish Reel, Kinlin’s Reel, Jay Bird, Rickets Hornpipe, Scotland The Brave, and Sailors Hornpipe.
From the time that the corps was introduced to the Granny medley, it has had a constant build up of single repertoire tunes. During the summer of 1965, the corps had a repertoire of over 60 tunes. The majority of the members could play most of these which are listed on the next page.
REPERTOIRE FOR SUMMER OF 1965
Arkansas Traveler Jay Bird
Bakers Buck Jefferson and Liberty
Battle Hymn of The Republic Katy Hill
Belle of The Mohawk Vale Kinlin’s Reel
Blue Bells of Scotland Marching Through Georgia
Bonnie Blue Flag Moonlight On The Lake
Bonnie Briar Bush Nancy Hanks
Bottle Hymn Old Dan Tucker
British Grenadiers Old l812 Quickstep
Caledonia Old Zip Coon
Chicken Reel Paddy O’Toole
Crown Point Pumpkin Creek
Devils Dream Rally ‘Round The Flag
Dinner Call Ricket’s Hornpipe
Dixie Road to Boston
Dottie Sentry Box
Downfall of Paris Sergeant O’Leary
Father O’Flynn Sailor’s Hornpipe
Fireman’s Quickstep Scotland The Brave
Gary Owen Sisters
Ginger Pop Star Spangled Banner
Girl I Left Behind Me Steamboat
Golden Slippers Three Hundred Years
Grandfather’s Clock Troop
Hanover Willie Weaver
Huntington When Johnny Comes Marching ….
Irish Reel White Cockade
Irish Washerwoman Wrecker’ s Daughter Q. Step
I Want A Beer Yankee Doodle.
After the summer of 1965, the corps experienced a big loss in membership because of the military service, college, jobs outside the area, and other reasons. From this point, the repertoire received several drastic cutbacks because of this loss of members and gain of new members who did not know many of the existing tunes.
The official initiation of a junior corps in the winter of 1965 forced us to limit our repertoire even more. Throughout The summer of ’66 the Village Volunteers paraded in the form of a half junior- half senior corps and so the corps restricted their playing to approximately 12 tunes.
This winter is beginning to mark the gradual comeback of a large repertoire and membership. At present, there are 32 junior members from age 10 to 14.
There is a strong attempt now to improve a new fifer’s ability to sight read music so that tunes may be learned quickly.
COMPLETE LIST OF MEMBERS FOR 1966
SENIOR ACTIVE: Ray Hauley, Buz Olsen, Dave Gregory, William Frueh, Harlan Ives, Audrey Olsen, Tom Gannon.
SENIOR INACTIVE: Richard MacDowell, John Fitzgerald, Lois (Albert) Fitzgerald, Rick Stewart, Greg “Magoo” Warner, Chuck Roberts, Dave Morse, Bob Laraway, Bob Barned,
SENIOR ASSOCIATE: Victor Wing, Connie Burke, Richie Burke.
ALUMNI: Robert McLean, Theresa McLean, AI Olsen, Bob Webb, Bill Webb, Carl VanHoesan, Dave Weinstock, Jay Frank, Colon Campbell, John Noll, Chris Ploetz, Bill Kemp, Robert Mulligan, Robert Tinney, Hank Jewell, Bob Morse, Bill Moore, Brit Brown, Baron Fitzgerald, Dick Arneau, Art Allen, Jim French.
JUNIORS: Chuck O’Hara, Fred Walsh, Willie Nostrand, Nancy Nostrand, Mike Fitzgerald, Dick Fitzgerald, Dan Dalton, David Hulme, Sarah Gordon, Kathy Gannon, David Nostrand, Ken Fraiser, Joe McNamara, Doug Boari, Gregg Boari, Carl Benenati, George Ciaccio, Karen Coons, Valerie Coons, Mike Mauro, Debby Wright, Walter Ooms, Erick McCandless, Joe Buehler, Garry Thomas, Fred Morrow, Bob Rooney, Denise Hofaker, Dave Longley, Mark Mosher, Richard Mason.
The above list of former members includes only senior members who were in the corps at least one parade season and marched in some engagements. Some have been members much longer than others but all have contributed to the well being of the Village Volunteers Fife & Drum Corps.