***** CORPS HISTORY – 1961 *****
February 6 – Concert Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, New York.
This was a concert for the Monday Musical Club and was part of a program titled: “Parade of American Music.” The corps had the services of professional drum major Earl Allen for this event. He led the corps into the hall playing Battle Hymn and Dixie. During our performance we also played our “theme song” the “Volunteer.” The corps was given many compliments on the fine playing at this event.
March 11, – St. Patrick’s Day Parade Albany, New York.
This parade was held on a cold wintry Saturday and during lulls in the parade everyone put their hands in their pockets to warm their fingers. Fifers had some trouble with notes and the rifle bearers in the color guard nearly froze their fingers to the guns. In this parade, pieces like Patty O’Toole and Irish Reel were common.
April 12,13,l5 – Civil War Celebration, Latham Shopping Center, Latham, New York
In this event the corps added color to a North South rifle shoot sponsored by the Shopping Center. Beginning in the Boston Store on Wednesday night with a mock attack on Fort Sumter, the event included a parade around the Center on Thursday night which appeared on the TV news. On
Saturday, the corps paraded the shooters to the Latham Driving range, where they competed for $300 in prizes, most of which was won by the Dragoons from Virginia. A humorous sidelight occurred at the awards ceremony. During a moment of tribute to the Civil War Dead, drum major Bill Moore removed his hat to reveal a pack of cigarettes sitting jauntily on his head.
April 17 – Concert @ Chancellors Hall, Albany, New York
This concert was held at a meeting of the New York state Civil War Centennial Commission. The Corps played before Civil war author Bruce Catton and other dignitaries. Besides the concert in Chancellors Hall, there was a ceremony at the Philip Sheridan statue in Capitol Park in which the corps participated. The New York Guard displayed Civil War Flags in the hall used by actual units in the war. This is one of the first events connected with the State’s Civil War Celebration.
April 23 – Opening Day of Summer Season, Farmer’s Museum, Cooperstown, New York.
This event saw the corps Joined by Ray Hauley, a former member, home from college. The corps marched around the restored pioneer village several times to attract and entertain the tourists. For this event the Revolutionary War uniforms were worn. During the day, we toured the buildings to see the many interesting exhibits, especially the print shop where the newspaper is printed. The man in the shop was helped with his type by printing “expert” Buz Olsen.
May 1 – May Day Parade, Albany, New York.
The success of this parade was marred by a tragedy which occurred before it began. Just as the corps was about to step off, drum major Bill Moore accidentally struck Robin Ann, our majorette with his baton. It was feared that her eye had been hit, but after examination, it was found that the cut was above her eye. She was immediately taken to Albany Hospital by her parents while the corps carried on, with Buz Olsen taking over on snare and Bill Frueh on bass. After the short parade through Albany, many of the corps members rushed to the hospital to check on Robin, while Bob Tinney and Bill Frueh hunted for Sheila Mulligan and Shawn, the McLeans’ son, who did not know of the accident. They were finally found and were returned to the group, all got together,and everyone was relieved to learn that Robin was all right, although she did require several stitches.
May 13, – Tulip Festival, Washington Park, Albany, New York.
The corps participated in this event for the fourth year in a row under the title of the ”Queen’s Own Fifers.” As in previous years, the corps played as an escort to the Queen, who this year was Pat Ponticello. This took place on a slightly rainy afternoon and there was mud on the field into which Shawn, the McLeans small son, fell flat. A picture of the corps and Shawn in his moment of falling appeared in the paper. The corps also played as an escort to the queen at the Tulip Ball, which was broadcast over radio station WOKO.
May 20 – Little League Opening Day Ceremony, Delmar, New York.
The corps provided a touch of color to this ceremony, opening the season at Magee Park, putting on a concert of Civil War tunes in salute to the Centennial. After the introduction of officers and players, during which the corps stood in formation near the pitcher’s box as the first ball was thrown out. The catcher went wild in returning the throw, however, and nearly hit Mrs. McLean and the others in the first row of fifers. After this, the corps marched the players off the field and the first game began.
May 22 – Concert for New York lOth Regiment, New Scotland Ave. Armory, Albany, New York.This was an open house for the regiment, with the corps marching into and around the Armory several times during the night as well as playing several of our concert pieces standing still. There were also free refreshments and all had an enjoyable evening.
May 24 – Senior Citizen’s Ball, Washington Ave. Armory, Albany, New York.
This was an affair held for the people in the community who are over 65. We marched into the armory and played several tunes, again as an escort to the Tulip Queen and her court. We had to march without a bass drum as no bass beaters could not be located. However, the old people enjoyed the music very much and many sang along as we played.
May 30 – Memorial Day Parade, Delmar, New York.
As usual, the corps marched with the Delmar Fire Company in this parade. After marching through Delmar, we formed at Memorial Park on Delaware Ave. for a concert there along with the Fort Crailo Band. After the parade, some of the group went to the Elsmere Fire Hall for refreshments, while others went home to eat. We then went to our cars for the trip to Stamford.
May 30 – Civil War Celebration, Stamford, New York.
When we arrived at this little town we played a few numbers at a chicken barbecue served by the town, and then sat down to eat ourselves. Since we had eaten a short time ago, many of us could not do justice to the delicious meal, but we all did our best. After this we paraded around the town a little, then headed for the local ballpark for a North South Shoot. We had to wait for a ball game to finish, then we played several tunes and the shoot began. Since it was a cold and windy day, we took turns sitting in the cars to warm up. Following the shoot, we went to the home of a Mrs. Stewart, whom we knew, where we were treated to cake and cocoa, which helped to warm us up. We then went to the gym, where the awards were presented to the shooters. A concert followed, given by the corps. After a buffet supper given to us by the town in a local restaurant, we returned to the gym for the North South Ball. Most of us left shortly, but the McLeans, Ray Hauley, and a few others stayed for the entire ball with the McLeans leading the Grand March.
June 2 – Concert, Voorheesville, New York.
This event was designed to raise money for the bazaar to be held at the Voorheesville Methodist Church in the Fall. The corps played two half hour segments, which included one drum solo each and two special pieces: The Downfall of Paris, and The Barren Rocks of Aden, which was played by Mrs. McLean, Ray Hauley, Mr. McLean and Buz Olsen. Along with the corps on the program, based on a Civil War theme, were two guitarists, a singing group, and a film on the battle of Gettysburg. There was also a display of Civil War items, some of which were contributed by corps members. To help this worthy cause, the corps donated its fee to the bazaar fund.
June 17 – Firemen’s Field Day, Delmar, New York.
This parade was to have been held the week before, but was postponed because of the rain. This parade is held annually with a firemen’s competition following. All the activities are sponsored by the Delmar Fire Company. After meeting at the Fire Hall, the corps marched down Adams St. to the Bethlehem Junior High School, where the parade was forming. On the way over, our playing was interrupted by one of the firemen, informing us that the parade was starting in minutes, and since we were leading it, it was imperative that we be there on time. To speed things up, the whole corps piled into the fire truck and traveled to the Junior High. The corps included: fifers: Mrs. McLean, Bob Tinney. Brit Brown, John Fitzgerald, Rick Stewart, Bob Barned, Dave Gregory, Ray Hauley. Drummers were: Mr. McLean and Buz Olsen. Our Drum Major was Bill Moore. After playing a tune or two and moving for an occasional fire truck, we stepped off. The color guard (not connected with the corps) that was just ahead of us didn’t know where they were going and ended up taking a left down Kenwood Ave. instead of going straight down Delaware Ave. By the time they got straightened out they were out of step, and Mrs. McLean had to run up ahead to get them back in. After we reached Delaware Ave. we marched straight through the Four Corners to the Delmar Fire Hall. The applause by the fire hall was disappointing, but characteristic of Delmar crowds. We ended up marching by the Fire Hall twice, having circled the block. Ironically, we received more applause the second time around. Afterward, we were able to enjoy the various forms of entertainment to be had at the carnival. Before we left, we put on a concert featuring the playing of the Volunteer. Since we didn’t play this as well as usual, most of us called it a day. Although Buz and Bob McLean knocked out the Downfall and other ancient pieces on the drum. Buz was especially happy, since he got a chance to play the snare drum while Bob played bass.
July 15 – Deep River Muster, Deep River, Conn.
The corps met at the Fire Hall on Saturday, July 15, at 7:30 a.m. By 8 a,m. drivers Mr. Olsen, Mr. Morse, and Mrs. Roberts, with passengers Dave and Bob Morse, Bob Tinney, Jim Colfer, Dick MacDowell, Dave Gregory, Baron and John Fitzgerald, Chuck Roberts, and Buz Olsen left for Deep River via the New York and Massachusetts Turnpikes and then roads from West Springfield going south through Hartford to Deep River. The McLeans picked up Ray Hauley, and then went into Albany to pick up Bob Barned, who had worked all night at a Mobil station. By 9 a.m. the McLeans were also heading for Deep River; the ride down went quite well, with the only trouble being the McLeans’ radiator overheating about 35 miles outside Deep River. The first three cars arrived there at 12:30 p.m., just before the big parade of fife and drum corps. The McLeans arrived a few minutes later, Just as the host corps, Deep River Senior Ancients led 34 other corps behind them down Main Street to Devitt Field. The corps was able to see almost all of the parade and also tune fifes while waiting at the Cities Service Gas Station. Finally, the Volunteer’s stepped into the parade to the tune of Dixie marching third from last, with only Connecticut V.F.W. Post Corps and the New York Regimentals behind us. The light rain that fell throughout the day might have dampened the corps uniforms a little, but not their spirits, as both the parade and the individual performances at Devitt Field went very well. The Volunteers played well both in the parade and on the field. The Volunteer and the Granny medley were played by fifers: Mrs. McLean, Tinney, Gregory, Fitzgerald, Barned, Hauley, and Morse (who was carsick but played anyway). After we finished playing, it was time to set up the tent on the field. Both Barned and Hauley brought tents, but Hauley’s would not stand up, because the poles were warped. It took fifteen minutes or more to put this tent up because it was put up upside down the first time. Barned’s tent went up better, however. After the tents were up, we went up the hill for dinner and a jam session. The jam session had been going on during the tent operation, but we still played for an hour or more after having eaten. We found that, unlike other years, more familiar pieces were being played, and we were all able to participate. When the rain got out of hand, some 60 to 100 fifers and drummers were drawn to the dining hall, where they could once again continue playing, as no one wished to stop their fun at such an early hour because of bad weather. For a couple of hours the playing continued, but slowly the banging of the drums drove most of the fifers out. By 10:00 p.m. the room was turned into a practice hall for drummers. The McLeans arrived toward the end of the Jam session. They had left for Essex after the corps had played on field, to change their damp uniforms and get their belongings into the inn where they were to stay for the night. Unfortunately, it was after 10:00 p.m. before they got back to the hall in Deep River due to car troubles. Since they got back so late they were unable to take part in most of the jam session. By 10:3C the McLeans left, taking Hauley,
Barned, and Gregory back to the tents. However, it took about 10 or 15 minutes before the Renault would start, and then only after an adJustment to the distributor caps. With Barned and Gregory safely in the tents, Hauley still had not located his sleeping bag, so the McLeans took him back to the hall to see if Mrs. Roberts had it. During the trip, the car broke down a block away from the hall and would not start again. Hauley went to the hall where Mrs. Roberts was dragging her unwilling son away from the jam session at which he was having a ball. She told Hauley that his sleeping bag was in Mr. Morse’s car, which was parked for the night near the tents. With everything o.k. except for Mr. McLean’s car, Hauley went back to the car, finally pushing it to get it going, To find out what was wrong with it, Bob McLean drove it into an American Gas Station, where he was told that he needed a heavier engine oil and a new head gasket. Meanwhile, the Olsens were expecting the McLeans to join them for dinner. After a while AI Olsen decided to find out where the McLeans were, finally locating them at the service station. Everyone was then claiming how fortunate it was that the Olsens had come, since they not only would be able to chauffeur the McLeans around, but also could help the gas station attendant get parts for the McLeans’ car by driving to Clinton, Conn. on Sunday morning thus allowing the McLeans to leave a few hours earlier Sunday afternoon. After leaving Hauley off at the tents, they left Deep River for Essex. Just outside of Deep River, they unfortunately met head on with another car that had skidded on a hilly curve and ended up in Mr. Olsen’s lane. Luckily the damage done was mostly to the cars, however, Robin McLean did suffer a chipped tooth along with four loosened teeth and a bruised neck, and Mrs. McLean received a wrenched back, which she realized only after a sedative (given to her by a nurse to get her to calm down) had worn off. After the accident the McLeans and Olsens had to wait for the policemen to investigate and find that the other car was responsible. After getting to the inn they were so tired that they managed to sleep despite effects of the accident. The next morning was starting early (7:00 a.m.) back at the tents, with the chattering of some early birds waking everyone up. After getting dressed and washed, Mr. Morse drove the boys to Old Saybrook for breakfast. There were so many it took him two shifts to get everyone there. After breakfast, we went to Essex, where some of us attended church. Others either walked around the quaint old town, or went with Mr. Morse to New London to see the atomic submarine, Triton. By 12:00 noon, most of us were in Essex, while the others were back in Deep River taking down the tents. After making plans for the trip home, Mrs. Roberts took the boys back to the tents where we joined Mr. Morse. After loading the cars, we headed back for Delmar. We got in a little after 6:00 p.m. with no complications. Back in Deep River, it was found that there was more wrong with the McLeans’ car than anticipated, as the engine block was cracked. Seeing that it would take not only a lot of money but also time, the McLeans and the Fitzgerald boys came back on the train Sunday night, with Mr. McLean having to foot the entire bill. Although the trip was marred with ill fate, most members had an extremely good time, realizing just how much fun fifing and drumming is to many people. Special performances, such as that by the Veteran Fife Club, also stirred many of us and gave us a better idea ot what can be done on the fife. Records and souvenirs gave us tangible evidence of what is being done in this field.
July 22, – Parade, Mechanicville, New York.
The corps marched for the Delmar Fire Company in this parade. At noon we met at the fire hall, and by 12:30 Hauley, Barned, and McLean were driving the corps to Mechanicville. We arrived in this town a little after 1, with the only difficulty being a red light. which was stuck. We had to wait about an hour before the parade started, so we all got something to eat at a nearby store, and then practiced various tunes. At 2:15 we lined up under the railroad bridge and entered the parade, leading the third division. The color guard consisted of Don Wright, Dick Kemp, (both firemen), Jim Colfer, Barron Fitzgerald, Dick MacDowell, and Scott Radley. Playing members were led by Bob McLean and consisted of Bob Tinney, Ray, Gregory, Barney, Brit, John Fitz, Buz, Bill Frueh, and Chuck Roberts. We played The Girl I Left Behind Me by the reviewing stand, and then swung into such tunes as Downfall and Grandfathers Clock later on. We finished the parade by the Mechanicville Fire Hall with the playing of the Volunteer. Other tunes were played in a jam session which followed. Many people collapsed during this parade due to the heat. The rain which fell later on didn’t seem to cool things off much either. We got back home around 6:3O p.m.
July 27, – Parade, Schenectady, New York.
The corps met at the fire hall at 6 p.m. and left for Schenectady with drivers Mr. Brown, Barney, and Bob McLean. On the way over, the McLeans’ car stalled. Ironically this occurred while filling up at a gas station. After getting a push from Mr. Brown, we continued on to Schenectady, only to find that the parade started at 7, instead of 7:30. We got to the flag raising ceremonies five minutes late, but we were well received, and we were paid the full $100. The color guard consisted Barron fitzgerald, Jim Colfer, and Dick MacDowell. Bob McLean led the following: Bob Tinney, Brit, Ray, Barney, Greg, Bill Moore; and John Fitz ( all fifers). The drummers included: Buz, Bill Frueh, and Chuck Roberts. During the ceremony, we played a drum roll, British Grenadiers, and Yankee Doodle. While we played, various flags were raised. All of the flags were a part of Schenectady’s long history. Another band, Cappellano’s, also played for the ceremony. As we marched back to the cars, we played tunes and were well received by all. Back at the cars, a card was signed by all and Sent to Bob Morse, who was recovering from an operation on his foot. Before we broke up, we played the Connecticut Comp. Piece. Some members then left the city and headed back to Delmar, as Bob Barned had to go to work that night. The rest of the group went to the museum for punch and sandwiches and a little entertainment.
August 6 – Brattleboro Firemen’s Parade, Brattleboro, Vt.
We met at the fire house at 9 a.m. and left for Brattleboro, with drivers Mr. Barned, Mr. McLean and Ray Hauley. Members included: John and Baron Fitzgerald, Rick Stewart, Dave Gregory, Bob Tinney, Bill Frueh, Bob Morse, Jim Colfer, Dick MacDowell, Buz Olsen, and Bob Barned. The entire McLean Family traveled with the corps for the parade (the first time since their retirement, July 17, 1961). Bob McLean, as usual was our drum maJor. We got to the town at about 2:30, but the trip was a tough one for the drivers, as the hills were very steep and bumpy. The parade was already lining up when we arrived and it started promptly at 1 p.m. Being in the 5th division, we were able to watch the entire parade from a park area just off the parade route. By 2 p.m. we stepped off to the tune “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” The reviewing stand came quicker than expected and we had to Jump from the piece that we were playing into “Dixie.” The parade was short but was complicated by a small but steep hill at the end of the route, leading into the fire house, where food and drinks were served. When we reached the hall, we ate sandwiches, drank pop, and by 3 p.m. we were marching to the tune of 300 Years. We played tunes all the way back to the cars, including such rare ones as the Belle of the Mohawk Vale. After we reached the cars, we made plans for the trip back. The Barneds and Dave Gregory decided to go straight home, since Bob had had little sleep (having worked the night before and having to go to work at 11 p.m. that night). The McLeans decided to eat on the way back, and also stop at some ot the picturesque Vermont gift stands. The McLeans were followed by Hauley. The eating place turned out to be Hog Back Mt. Ski Resort.
We ran through a few numbers by the cars, just for fun. After this we headed home, with the only interruption being the taking of a wrong turn by both cars in Bennington. The boys seemed to be enjoying themselves, as evidenced by the rollicking tunes coming from the cars. By 8:30 p.m. everyone had been driven safely home.
August 12, 13 – Civil War Shoot, Fort William Henry, Lake George, New York.
This was not a pay performance, and all members got to the fort as best they could. Most members went up Friday night, August 11, in a Trailways bus. The following members spent the night in tents set up on the grounds adJacent to the fort: John and Baron Fitzgerald, Rick Stewart, Bob Tinney (acting leader), Bob and Dave Morse, Dave Gregory, Jim Colfer, Buz Olsen, and Dick MacDowell. The shoot got under way the next day, with the corps providing the music for the parade which opened activities for the day. Bob McLean and Bob Barned Joined the corps about the same time as the cannon firing was going on. Ray Hauley also Joined the corps that afternoon. These fellows had to work and could not make it Friday evening. Saturday afternoon was spent swimming in Lake George, playing miniature golf etc. Before McLean and Barned left, we had an evening parade around the fort. At night the Civil War Ball was again held with a maximum of success. After this, members went to bed or continued the activities of the day long into the night. The following day, the corps was joined by Bill Frueh and his family. Bill, a base drummer, was a welcome sight, as there had been no trained bass drummer, although Dick MacDowell (a fifer) had tried his luck at the difficult task with some success, considering it was his first try. Jim Colfer also played the bass drum and showed signs of someday becoming a first line bass drummer. Most of the rifle events occurred on Sunday and the corps played for the shooters as they were awarded for their performance. After this, the corps packed their tents and cleaned up the grounds, then headed for the Trailways Bus Terminal where they boarded a bus and headed back to Albany.
September 2 – Schaghticoke Fair, Schaghticoke, New York.
Ray Hauley, Bob Barned, Mr. Colfer, Mr., Brown, and a friend ot Jack Noll drove to this event. Fifers were Theresa McLean, Brit Brown, Bob Tinney, Dave Gregory, Bob Barned, Ray Hauley, John Fitzgerald, while drummers were Mr. McLean (who also drove his car) on snare, and Bill Frueh and Jack Noll on bass. drum major was Bob Webb. It was very nice to have both Jack and Webber back. The evening parade again consisted of marching around the track. We played The Girl I Left Behind Me, by the reviewing stand and it sounded so well that our instructor, Mrs. McLean complimented us. The bad weather which threatened all day hit us on the way over in the car, but it seemed to go right around the fairgrounds. This parade marked the reentry ot the McLeans as full time members. Because of family problems, they had retired temporarily on July 17. We were glad they had returned since their value in recruiting and holding the corps together while many of our better musicians were away in the service or at college was well known by all.
September 10, – Fort Klock Historical Pageant, St. Johnsville, New York.
Transportation was the big problem in this event. Unlike the previous event, it appeared that Bob Barned would be the only driver. He took Rick Stewart, Dave Morse, and Ray Hauley to the fort a day early, so that he would have more time and room for the rest the following day. As it turned out, Mrs. Roberts and Mr. Colfer could drive and Mr. Frueh also said that he would help out by picking members up in the afternoon. The McLeans were not present because of a previous engagement. This year the muzzle loaders celebrated the Civil War Centennial by putting on a Civil War skit as an extra. The fifing of Ray Hauley and the drumming of Buz Olsen was used in this skit to portray the music that period. The regular Revolutionary War re–enactment was participated in by the entire corps consisting of Hauley, Bob Tinney, Bob Barned, the Fitzgeralds, Rick Stewart. the Morse boys, Jim Colfer, Buz Olsen, and Chuck Roberts. The corps played on the street to attract customers to the pageant. Later in the afternoon Bill Frueh arrived, and although he had missed the pageant, he still participated in the Jam session. After this, the boys got into the cars and headed back to Delmar.
October 7, – Church Bazaar, Voorheesville, New York.
The parade was a part of the “Civil War Days” celebration and bazaar at the Voorheesville Methodist Church. The corps marched through the town and around the church grounds where the bazaar was being held. This took place about three times during the day. There was a little trouble as the horses hitched to the stagecoach, a children’s ride, were frightened by the sound of the drums and fifes. Thus, whenever the horses passed us, we had to stop playing immediately. Drivers for the event were Mrs. Frueh and Mr. McLean. Members included: Jim Colfer, Dick MacDowell, Baron Fitzgerald, Dennis O’Neill (color guard), Mrs. McLean, John Fitzgerald, Rick Stewart, Morse brothers, and Bob Tinney (fifers), Mr. McLean, Bill Frueh, and Chuck Roberts (drums). The two bass drummers played with one beater each as the other pair of beaters could not be located. An added feature of the day was listening to the World Series game on the portable radio in the car in-between our playing bits.
December 2, – Parade, Latham Shopping Center, Latham, New York.
This parade was the Christmas parade of the Shopping Center and included floating balloons and Santa Claus. For this event the Revolutionary War uniforms were worn. The only drawback to the parade was the cold, which makes fifing difficult. This parade marked the return of Robin McLean, as majorette and she too suffered from the cold air. A friendly store manager let the corps wait in his store for the parade to begin which helped warm them up. For the parade, Christmas Carols were played exclusively, such as Joy to the World, Adeste Fideles, and Silent Night (a fife solo). Members present were the McLeans, Bob Tinney, Brit Brown, Rick Stewart, the Fitzgeralds, Jim Colfer, Buz Olsen, Chuck Roberts, and Dick MacDowell.
December 23, – Christmas Caroling Exhibition and Party, Delmar, New York.
We met at Bob McLean’s home at 6:30 pm., and then proceeded to Bob Tinney’s new house at Van Wies Point to pick him up for our caroling in Albany. While at his place we played tunes for his mother, who was celebrating her birthday. From here we traveled into the Capital City. We parked the cars by the river and then proceeded to march into the city. Unfortunately, the stores were closed and it was almost deserted, however we did have a small receptive audience in front of the bus terminal. We then traveled back to the Tri-Village area, where we played at the Four-Corners in Delmar and also at various homes of clergymen. Following this, we headed for Bill Frueh’s house for a party, where refreshments and more important, warmth, could be found. Mr. McLean and his family were presented with a floor lamp from the members of the corps in appreciation of their services. Mr. McLean thanked the corps for their generosity, and expressed the hope that the corps would live up to its potential in the upcoming months. After this, the party broke up (around 10:00 pm). Those in attendance included: besides those mentioned above: Bob Barned, Dave Gregory (Dave and Bob shared the driving chores with Mr. McLean), Rick Stewart, Fitzgerald Bros., Morse Bros., Dick MacDowell, Jim Colfer, Buz Olsen, Scott Radley, Chuck Roberts, and Ray Hauley. Brit Brown attended the party only, due to a cold.