40th anniversary of the year the then Garfield Cadets went co-ed. As we hear from DCI's Dan Potter in today's Field Pass, the entire 1969 Cadets' color guard was inducted into the corps' Hall of Fame over the weekend.
credit Dan Potter, DCI Field Pass: .
The four year period beginning in 1960 and continuing thru 1964 were years of great
forward movement for the Cadets. We had emerged from the dark days following our
separation from Holy Name Church, and the difficult restructuring year of 1959.
During that period of inner reflection and reassertion of our beliefs and values,
the Cadets began to reestablish a reputation among our contemporaries in the drum
corps world, as a corps that was apart from the norm. A drum corps publication writer
during the period labeled the Cadets, the "model corps," and it was a
description that seemed to fit the perception of the corps held by the great majority
of people in the drum corps world at that time.
Following the difficult season of 1959 very few people really expected the Cadets
to reemerge as a force in drum corps competition at the national level. It therefore
came as a bit of a shock when suddenly, at the first competition of the 1960 season,
the corps appeared on the starting line in the traditional Cadet uniform, with an
entirely transformed corps performing a very untraditional field-program. The bulk
of the credit for the reemergence of the Cadets as a major force in competition
belongs to two people: Director, William Kemmerer, Sr. (The "Chief"),
and our newly hired young horn instructor, Donald Angelica. The off-the-line number
in 1960 was "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the Broadway musical
Gypsy. It was a fitting choice.
At the end of the 1960 season the Cadets won their first American Legion National
Championship in Miami, Florida under the Garfield Cadets' banner. Under the
Holy Name banner the corps had won six Legion National Championships, and this was
to make our seventh.
The year before, in Minneapolis, The Cadets placed a weak seventh, 10.2 points under
Blessed Sacraments' winning score of 89.02. The 1960 season came to an end,
and a new era of success had begun.
By 1961 the Cadets were no longer struggling for survival. We were back at the top
of the heap, and reigning National Champions. The Cadets like any other corps enjoy
competition, and especially successful competition; but with renewed success on-the-field
came time to turn attention to using the titles won to enhance the qualities that
had really made us the "model corps" in the eyes of many. The letter below
was written by Glenn Opie, Esq., the Director of the Great Bend, Kansas Argonne
Rebels. Mr. Opie was and is a very distinguished attorney and highly respected citizen
of the City of Great Bend. He is so highly regarded and skilled he was credentialed
to argue cases before the United States Supreme Court. He is also one of the founding
corps directors of Drum Corps International.
The American Legion National Championship in 1961 was held in Denver, Colorado.
Enroute to defend our title we participated in a competition hosted by the Argonne
Rebels in their home City of Great Bend. The Cadets were housed in the homes of
members of the host Corps, and participated in many social activities with the members
of Argonne over the course of the weekend. It was a wonderful experience enjoyed
by all. The Cadets had no idea how much their visit had been enjoyed, however, until
the following letter was received by the Mayor of Garfield, NJ, and read to them
during their welcome home celebration after winning their 8th American Legion National
Championship in Denver, Colorado.
We are very proud of the National Championship Title won in Denver because it
validated our accomplishments on the field, but we are equally proud of the letter
written to us by Mr. Opie because it validated everything we value about being a