***** CORPS HISTORY – 1959 *****
January I, – Governor Rockefeller’s Inaugural Ball, Albany, N.Y.
The inauguration of Governor Rockefeller saw the corps on stage at the Washington Avenue Armory playing tunes for the state’s top dignitaries. Other music was also supplied by the Yankee Doodle Band of Fort Crailo, Cappellano’ s Italian Union Band, and Myer Davis’ Dance Band.
To practice for this event, we went to the Washington Avenue Armory the previous weekend, where we talked with planners of the affair in an effort to decide what the corps would be doing that following Wednesday night (New Year’s Eve), The Armory was quite busy that Friday night, as many workmen were running around trying to get equipment, and decorations set up in time for the presentation. We finally got to see Leon Mitchell, the director of the music of the ball. After quite a bit of discussion, it was decided that we would march on stage to the music of Myer Davis, (playing Yankee Doodle). Then after playing a few numbers on stage, we would march off the stage, across the floor and out the front door of the armory. On New Year’s Eve, we went to the Armory early and practiced for a final time before going on that night. After eating at the Weinstock’s house, we traveled to the Armory and did our bit for which we received $100. Mrs. Weinstock, who managed to get a ticket to the ball was present with her husband and they seemed to be enjoying the entertainment that was offered on this televised program. When it was all over, Bob Mulligan was quoted as saying, “Now I just have to grow old so I can tell my grandchildren.”
May 16, – Tulip Festival, Washington Park, Albany, N.Y.
This year playing members included: Theresa McLean, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley, Bob Mulligan, and Dave Weinstock on the fife. Drummers were: Bob McLean, Bill Webb, and Jack Noll. After marching across the park lawn to the small decorated platform , where we played tunes appropriate for the day, we watched the coronation of Carol Surl as Tulip Queen. Bob Webb majored and Robin twirled. We appeared on the 11 O’clock news that night via Channel 10.
May 30, – Memorial Day Parade, Delmar, N.Y.
As usual we met at the Elsmere Fire Hall at 9:30 a.m. and by 10 o’clock we were marching down Kenwood Ave. to the four corners and then down Delaware to Servicemen’s Park. There we put on our annual concert for the town. After eating at the fire hall, we headed for Rensselaer for an afternoon parade there. Upon arriving in Rensselaer, we parked cars, and marched to the spot where we were to form for the parade. ~Throughout most of it we spent marching across bridges and going up hills. As usual we stopped at a building following the parade, where we were able to get something to eat and drink and also relax. Some of us were more interested in playing tunes while firemen joined in by singing. Members were the same as those at the Tulip Festival.
July 4, – Parade, Auburn, New York.
This was the first trip that we made in our bus, a veteran of the Bethlehem Central School lines. We were to use this bus for the next year and a half until it burned in April of ’61. Our driver was Bill Webb. Leaving from the fire hall, we set out on the 155 mile trip with the following: Mr. and Mrs. McLean, Robin, Shawn, Sheila Mulligan, (Baby sitter), Bob Mulligan, Dave Weinstock, Joan and AI Lipshitz, Don Decker, Elaine Weinstock, Bob Barned, Bob Tinney, Ray Hauley, Bob Webb and his family, and Jack Noll. Upon arriving in Auburn, we ate and than went to a motel for the night. The next Morning we ate and then went downtown where we watched the
parade and entered it toward the end. Once we got going, the applause seemed to roll through the crowd all the way down the main street. The Parade was fairly long but due to the crowd’s response, it seemed no time at all before we were at the town square where refreshments were served and a 21 gun salute was being presented in relation to Alaska’s statehood. Later we made a special request performance which was filmed and taped for a nation wide television hookup. We also were able to play tunes in the building across from the square and chat with fireman. Unfortunately, some members wanted to leave early, so things came to an end quickly and we left for the bus parked a few blocks away and then rode home with many good memories.
July 18, – Deep River Muster, Deep River, Conn. This was not attended by the entire corps, however, certain members (Dave Weinstock, Bob Mulligan, Bob Barned, Bob Tinney, and Ray Hauley) decided they wanted to see what a muster was like. Early Saturday morning they left in Dave Weinstock’s old Plymouth. We packed sleeping and camping gear inside the car and then tied a tent and poles on the top. Unfortunately, before we could leave, we also had to borrow a belt to tie the exhaust pipe down since it was falling apart, as was most of the car. Despite all, we made it to Deep River in good time ( 4 hours), and had no difficulties on the way. We pulled into a parking lot at the edge of town at about noon, just before the parade of ancients. Since we only had our Revolutionary War Hats, we felt it better not to march alone. The Plainsville Corps suggested we march with them, so this was done, with informality seeming to be the prevailing attitude. Several of the Plainsville members seemed to know most 0f the town folk and were waving as much as they were playing. Upon arriving at Devitt Field, the paraders were saluted, the “Star Spangled Banner” was sung, and ‘then the rest of the afternoon was spent listening to the playing of the various corps. Toward the end of the afternoon, Bob Mulligan and Dave Weinstock got together and decided to form a group. Before long, we had about 8 fifers and as many drummers, with experience ranging from “old pros” like Bobby Thompson to us with only a couple year’s experience. Because of this, we had some difficulty in deciding the tunes that would be played. Battle Hymn was one piece that finally was agreed upon. We had less trouble thinking of a name. We called ourselves the “Last Minute Men,” and it fit us to a “T”. Although much enjoyment is derived from the afternoon playing, the best was still to come, as we were to find out. We went up the road from the ball park to a building where food and beverages were being served in -the basement. Outside were dozens of members of various corps all playing together. It wasn’t long before we too were moved by this atmosphere, and joined in with them, even though many of the tunes were strange to us. It couldn’t have been much after 6 p.m. after eating some of the delicious food donated by the members of the host corps, (the Deep River Seniors and Juniors), when we began participating in the jam session itself, drinking the refreshments served below in the basement and at a stand outside, and also talking to some of the old timers, who informed us of many of the events that had taken place in the past. It was hard to call it day, because we were having such a good time, but finally around 2 a.m., we pulled away and went to the town library, which we were able to acquire for the night thanks to the host corps. Before bedding down most of us drove to a nearby town where we found a place to eat. After this we went upstairs in the library, which had the reputation of being haunted. As we entered the room we were to sleep in, it was soon discovered that there was only one bed. This was finally awarded to Ray Hauley in a close battle with Bob Tinney. Needless to say, we all slept well into the morning. Bob Mulliigan did get up early enough though to walk about the town before most were up, and he was able to gather several posters etc., in connection with the muster. These items now hang in his room, as mementos of a fabulous memory. Later in the morning, after a few chess games, and a futile attempt to find a fife and drum picnic, we left Deep River and came back to Delmar with a little better idea of what the “Spirit of ’76 “ was all about.
July , – Parade, Greenwich, New York.
Attending this parade were Mrs. McLean, Robin, Bob Barned, Dave Weinstock, Ray Hauley, Mr. McLean, Bill Webb, Jock Noll and Buz Olsen (the latter returning after a year’s absence). Bob Tinney was flag bearer and Bob Webb was the drum major. Traveling with the corps was Ray Miles, who managed to get several nice photos of the corps during the parade. After marching, we went to the fairgrounds, where refreshments and entertainment could be found.
July , – Parade, Schuylerville, New York.
Held Sunday, following the Greenwich parade, this event saw the same members present. Angelo Gentilie, director of the Valiant Crusaders, helped us get this job. After forming near the high school, the corps marched through the town. At the end of the parade, we got refreshments and also viewed the many floats and bugle corps present.
July , – Parade, Waterford, New York.
This parade is remembered most for its extension out into the “boondocks”. Bob McLean later said, “Somebody important must have lived out there.” At any rate we marched a good deal that day and were thankful when we reached the end and could grab something to eat. Afterward, we went down by the Hudson River and enjoyed a firemen’s picnic. We played some tunes for them and they sang along. Many of the tunes had to be played by ear. They included Colonel Bogey March and I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. We made quite a hit with the group and several people felt compelled to dance including our usually quiet drum major, Bob Webb. In return for our playing we received a good meal. We left about 9:30 p.m. Drivers included the Webb brothers and Bob McLean.
August , – Ancient Fife and Drum Muster, Rhinebeck, New York.
This was our second muster and was attended by the entire corps. Bill Webb drove us down in the bus. The muster was sponsored by the Son’s of Liberty of N.Y.C. After a parade through the town, we all played tunes at the fairgrounds. The Regimentals were there and played a medley of “0ld Time Reels,” and also had a few members (Veteran Fife Club) play the William Tell Overture over a microphone. We played the Connecticut Competition Piece, as we did at the contest in Waterbury the previous year. Following this, we went to a pavilion where a jam session had started, as well as eating and talking with old cronies. The day came to an end too soon, but we did participate in a massed band, with all corps playing together. We paraded all around the area, and even drew attention from spectators who were watching a stock car race at a nearby track. One thing about musters, many tricks can be picked up from the oldsters, such as balancing a can of beer on the top of the bass drum while playing a tune, or jamming a cigar in one end of the fife when feeling the urge to play, rather than smoke.
August , – Firemen’s Parade, Hunter, New York.
The trip south was made thanks to drivers, Bob McLean, Bob Mulligan, Mrs. Weinstock, and Jay Solomon. Although we left early for this parade, the hills leading into Hunter slowed us down considerably. After arriving there we went to a motel and changed into our colonial uniforms. Before we lined up, Mr. McLean drilled a fairly new color guard consisting of Jay Solomon, Don Decker, and a recruit who lived above the Weinstocks. After parading, we entered a drum corps contest and received more applause than most of the bugle corps. We may have received a trophy, however most judges are not familiar with how to score the ancients. Such things as beat and style confuse them.
August. , – Church Parade, Schenectady, New York.
This Sunday parade was strictly a procession of German Catholics up State Street to their church by the town park. After the service, we played Dear Guardian Mary and The Bells of St. Mary by the steps, as the people exited. Those pieces were both new, and many people had to learn them on the way over. We then marched the people back to the Van Curler Hotel, where they were to have breakfast (all part of their annual convention) . Drivers included Jack Noll, Bob McLean, and the Webbs.
August 16, – Bennington Battle Day Parade, Bennington, Vermont.
We led the parade this year. Bill Webb drove us over in the bus. After lining up along the main street, we marched to the fairgrounds. We got to see the entire parade, as everyone was behind us. Some groups hadn’t even started yet when we reached the end of the route. Such groups as this Spirit of ’76 led by Peter Mietzner of Manchester, Conn. joined us in a jam session later in the afternoon. After this, we marched back to the main part of town, where the bus was parked by a small park. We had no sooner gotten to the main street, when an automobile accident occurred less than a block from where the bus was parked. After watching the series of events to follow, and a few wrestling matches in the park, we got in the bus and headed for the Capital District.
August , – Airport Performance, Albany, New York.
This event was attended by Bill Webb (acting drum major for his brother ), the McLeans, Dave Weinstock, Jack Noll, Ray Hauley, Bob Barned, Bob Tinney, and Robin. Since it was an afternoon bit during the week, many of us had to get out of work for the few hours it was to take. Dave Weinstock must have been in a hurry, because when he got on the bus, it was discovered that he had forgotten his white shirt. He finally wore a white one with blue stripes, which wasn’t too noticeable, as he was placed in the middle of the corps. After playing at the airport for the winning essayists in the Hudson Champlain writing contest, we went to the Thruway Motel for refreshments. Afterward, we left for Delmar. Unfortunately, Bob Tinney had the keys to the bus, however, he left with Bob McLean, who drove over. Bill Webb finally got the bus started by crossing wires. We then headed home, reaching the Delmar Fire Hall around 4:00 p.m.
August 22, – Sesquicentennial Parade, Schenectady, New York.
This parade was attended by the McLeans, the Webb brothers, Ray Hauley, Bob Barned, Dave Weinstock, Jack Noll, Buz Olsen and Bob Tinney (in charge of the color guard). After parking the cars off State Street, we marched down to the city park. We received an honor in the parade which pleased everyone. We won a plaque for “Best Senior Drum Corps.” Other corps in contention included: The Inter Statesmen, The Schenectady Pipe Band and The Fort Edward Pipe Band, to mention just a few. Mr. McLean later sited this event as a high point of the year.
September 5, – Chatham Pair, Chatham, New York.
To make this trip, we took our “semi-faithful” bus. Bill Webb drove. Passengers included. Bob Webb, the McLeans, Dave Weinstock, Joan, Marcia and Allen Lipschitz, Ray Hauley, Bob Barned, Bob Tinney, Bob and Sheila Mulligan, Art. Allen, Jack Noll, and Buz Olsen. The parade vas heavily populated with firemen and drum corps. The parade ended in the fairgrounds. All members enjoyed various rides and the midway. we were also able to eat and take helicopter rides (only for the rich and daring).
September 11, Cohoes Parade, Cohoes, New York.
We took the bus to this Friday evening affair. Bill Webb drove the following the McLeans, Bob Webb, Buz Olsen, Jack Noll, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley Dave Weinstock, Bob Tinney, Allen Lipschitz, and Jim French (the latter 3 were in the color guard ). After the parade, we ran into members of the Hoosick Valley Fife and Drum Corps. Although this was a modern corps, we still had a common interest. We later attended one of their meetings and invited some of the boys to our annual Christmas Party.
September 12, – Hudson – Champlain Parade, Delmar, New York.
This one started at the Delmar Fire Hall. We went through the Four-Corners and ended up at the Elsmere Fire Hall. Besides the regular corps, we also supplied a float with a fifer and a drummer for the “Spirit of ’76”. They were Bob Tinney and Buz Olsen. Ralph Brooks also played the drum. The one disappointing factor of this parade was that the home town folks did not seem as enthusiastic as some of the crows had been at other parades. That night, while in Albany, we were happy to note that the “Spirit of ’76” float was pictured in an early addition of the Times Union.
September 13, – Church Performance, South Bethlehem, N.Y.
This occurred on a Sunday afternoon and was in connection with the Hudson – Champlain Celebration. Members included: Bob Tinney, Jim French, Art Allen (color guard), Bob Webb; Robin, Theresa McLean, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley, Bob Mulligan, Jack Noll, Bill Moore, Bob McLean, Dave Weinstock, and Buz Olsen. After playing several tunes on the lawn, we went inside to a wing of the church and played some more. Following this, we took it easy by listening to a guy play some fancy tunes on an organ. He not only played corps pieces, but also the William Tell Overture. While listening to him, we also enjoyed the food and refreshments made available by the women of the church.
September I8, – Arrival of Princess Beatrix. Albany, New York.
Occurring on Friday afternoon on the Hudson River near the Dunn Memorial Bridge, the corps played for the Princess as she stepped off the boat. She was in this country for the celebration of the discovery of the Hudson River by fellow countryman, Henry Hudson. This was Bob Tinney’s first time to play a fife with the corps. Considering he only joined in June, his progress set a new record. Other playing members included: the McLeans, Bill Moore, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley, Bob Mulligan, Jack Noll, and Buz Olsen. Other than a bad fall suffered by Bill Moore
(sustained while hurrying to get ready for the performance), everything went quite well.
September 19, – Hudson – Champlain Parade, Albany, New York.
Early Saturday morning we went to Manning Blvd. and Washington Ave., where we waited for the parade to start moving. We busied ourselves by sewing buttons on some of the uniforms, fixing cockades on hats, and walking around viewing the various floats and drum corps. Marching in the color guard were: Dave Gregory, Art Allen and Jeff Forbes (a last minute recruit). Besides those present the previous day, we also had the services of the Webb brothers. We marched down Central Ave. and State Street, where we were reviewed at the plaza by Mayor Corning, Governor Rockefeller, and Princess Beatrix After waiting by the plaza for the drivers to get the cars, we then headed back to Delmar. Before leaving, we did get a chance to talk to some of the members of the Castleton Fife and Drum corps and especially to an old chap named “Shorty”. That night, most of us viewed the corps on television on the late news.
September 25, – Performance for Slingerlands Players, Delmar.
After one week day rehearsal, we made this Friday evening performance playing a medley of tunes, with a solo by Mrs. McLean. The name of the play was Amid The Alien Corn. 0ur part was to recapture the rhythms and melodies of Old New York State. We played the following: The Star Spangled Banner, The White Cockade, Belle of the Mohawk Vale, Jefferson and Liberty, Battle Hymn of the Republic, A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight, and a “Modern” Medley (tunes from the 1900’ s). We put on good show, and the crowd seemed to especially enjoy the solo by Mr. and Mrs. McLean. Leaving in our bus driven by Bill Webb, we headed for Rensselaer, where we were to play on the Hudson, for Princess Beatrix. Bob McLean was the only person not to travel with us, due to a drum solo in the play itself. When we got to the shore of the Hudson, we learned that the Princess had come early and had already left. We were not blamed apparently, as we still received $100 for the engagement. We marched back up an old dirt road to the highway, where we met Mr. McLean. We played a few tunes by the bus, then went across the street to a service station, where members got some pop and candy bars, then we traveled home.
October 17, – Competition, Babylon, Long Island, N.Y.
We traveled to this contest in our bus driven by the volunteered services of firemen, Henry Klinke. Upon arriving in the town, we headed for the football field, where we were to compete. The cold fall weather, made it necessary for us to wear something over our light colonial uniforms. After listening to several bugle and drum corps, we went on the field playing The Granny Competition Piece (for the first time), followed by the Connecticut Contest Medley for Robin. There was supposed to be another ancient corps present, however, none showed, so we walked off with the trophy for best ancient Fife and Drum Corps. Robin also took a trophy for best little majorette. It was a special award, and all girls under 18 were in contention. Robin was then six. We came back the same night, and most of us grabbed blankets and slept most of the way, waking up only for stops made along the N. Y. State Thruway. Photographer Jim French was the only additional passenger.
November 14, – Competition, Yonkers, New York.
We traveled to this competition in our bus, with the Webbs sharing the driving chores. Members were: the McLeans, Dave Weinstock, his mother, girl and his sister, Bob Mulligan, and his sister Sheila, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley, Buz Olsen, John Fitzgerald, Dave Gregory, Bob Tinney, and Jack Noll. Upon arriving in Yonkers, we ate, and then registered at the armory. Time passed and soon it was time for us to get ready to go on. Busily everyone put his uniform on. Thanks to Mrs. Weinstock, no one looked sloppy. The corps went on the floor playing a competition piece. It was followed by the Connecticut Piece, which was played for Robin’s twirling number. Although we showed signs of difficulty in our playing and placed 2nd to the regimentals once again, we did tie for best appearance, beating 30 some drum corps. We came back the same night on the bus which was quite cold.
December I8, – White Christmas Festival, Delmar, New York.
We practiced for this event the week earlier, and learned several new tunes. The new tunes played included: The 12 Days of Christmas, and an arrangement of Silver Bells, by Mrs. McLean. Finally after sufficient practice, we performed in the Bethlehem Central High School Auditorium for the entire school district, with Bob McLean and Buz on the drums and Theresa, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley, Bill Moore, Bob Mulligan, Dave Weinstock, and Bob Tinney on the fife. Those connected with the program who the corps worked with included: Mr. Roland Truitt, head of the choral group, and Mrs. Smith, director of the program. We played both while on stage, and while marching in and out of the
auditorium. After our Saturday evening performance, we went into Albany, and caroled for about an hour around the capitol. After nearly freezing in the cold December air, we went to the Weinstock’s home for coffee. After warming up, we left for Delmar.
December 29, – Drum Corps Christmas Party, Delmar Fire Hall.
Held on Ray Hauley’s birthday, many people were. surprised at this the last event of ’59. Besides surprising Ray with singing of “Happy Birthday”, the McLeans were presented (by Bob Tinney dressed as Santa Claus) a set of dishes from the corps and Don Decker, home on leave from the army was given special attention. Held in “banquet-style”, everyone present (including parents and guests) had plenty to eat. Afterward the parents had the treat (or treatment) of hearing the corps play “after dinner music.” According to statistics, over 25 people were in attendance.