News of Our Corps
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NEWS FROM THE MARCH 5TH GATHERING OF THE MAROON
MARCH 6, 2009
Last night’s well-publicized gathering-of-the-maroon proved to be a historical occasion; the first-ever state-of-the-corps report by our Corps Director, George Hopkins, to a gathering of alumni with cross-generational representation. Cindi (Carozza) Devivo officiated at the meeting, assisted by George King and Ken Shedosky. They did an outstanding job.
The room was packed, and the atmosphere very congenial. George arrived with a large number of staff members from the YEA offices, and an extremely well prepared power-point presentation.
Opening business for the gathering was offered by John Avella regarding changes in the schedule for the Memorial Day 75th Anniversary celebratory events. After careful consideration of input from a large number of alumni that the split between the Memorial Day program and the July 30, August 1-2 program was forcing people into the position of having to choose to attend either one or the other primarily due to the economic climate, a down-sizing of the Memorial Day weekend events was announced.
The additional advantage of this decision is that now all Cadet Alumni, friends, and supporters will be able to gather together in celebration of our history and heritage at a single weekend of events, July 30 August 1-2.
The changes for the Memorial Day weekend events are as follows: Cancellation of the Saturday, May 23rd cocktail party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, along with cancellation of the Sunday, May 24th banquet at the Westmont Country Club. The block of rooms at the Crowne Plaza Hotel have been released.
Events remaining on the schedule are: The Memorial Mass to honor all deceased Cadets at the Church of The Most Holy Name on Marsellus Place (corner of Passaic Street) in Garfield. The Mass will begin at 10:30 AM. On Sunday morning, May 24th. All Alumni and friends and supporters of the Cadets are invited to attend.
Following the Mass there will be an informal, inexpensive brunch for anyone wishing to attend. Details on this event will be released as soon as they are finalized.
The evening of Sunday, May 24th the 2009 Holy Name Cadets will present an outdoor concert at a high school field in the area. Further information on the location of this event will be released as soon as they are finalized. All are invited to attend.
On Memorial Day, Monday, May25th, The 2009 Holy Name Cadets will parade in Carlstadt, NJ and Rochelle Park, NJ in the morning, followed in the afternoon by a third parade in Hawthorne (starting time 1:30 PM – please check www.yea.org for confirmation of parade start times). Following the Hawthorne parade there will be a pizza party and reception at American Legion Post #199 in Hawthorne (site confirmation pending) for Alumni and friends to intermingle with our 2009 marching Cadets. A gift from the alumni to each Cadet will be presented at that time.
It is anticipated that the Alumni Corps will also participate in the Hawthorne Parade (tentative). The Alumni Corps made their first appearance of the year at the indoor show sponsored by The Skyliners on Saturday, February 28, and from all reports they were enthusiastically received by the audience in attendance. In fact, they were so well received additional invitations to perform at several other events were received.
Following John Avella’s presentation, Dr. Joseph Cinzio outlined the plans for the Memorial Mass at Holy Name Church. He indicated that the Pastor of Holy Name, Msgr. Reilly has enthusiastically embraced this project, and is providing complete support. Flyers will be distributed to parishioners at Masses in the weeks preceding the event, and lawn signs will be posted outside the Church several weeks in advance of the event as well. Cadet Alumni will play key roles in the Mass, which will conclude with the singing of The Holy Name Hymn. Here too, all are welcome.
The main event of the evening was George Hopkins’ report to the gathered alumni. This was a first in the history of the corps, and hopefully will not be the last. George indicated that in a meeting with Pat Vazquez several weeks earlier he had come to realize that many alumni were not aware of many key elements in the structure and operations of the modern-era Cadets. This presentation was designed to acquaint everyone with the challenges that he, his administrative staff, the Board of Directors, and the marching Cadets face every day. For many in attendance it was a real eye-opener.
In a two hour presentation George covered just about every aspect of Cadet, YEA, and USSBA operation, in addition to community youth programs sponsored by YEA in the Lehigh Valley area.
Just to hit on a few of the topics covered: budget & expenditures, the current financial health of the YEA organization, fund-raising, plans and prospects for the future, the relationship of the Cadets to DCI, partnerships with commercial sponsors, the financial demands of being a touring corps, staff responsibilities, the close ties between the Cadets and the USSBA, his focus on emphasizing preparation for life experience over all else, where current Cadets come from, the auditioning process, the financial obligations of Cadet membership and the reasons behind them, the composition and backgrounds of the young men and women attracted to The Cadets, the reasons for the departure from New Jersey to Allentown, and much, much more.
It was an amazingly comprehensive and open presentation that offered a lot of pertinent information, and corrected a great deal of misinformation,
Following a short break to sing the Holy Name Hymn at 8:30 PM EST, and stretch our legs, George responded to a number of questions from the floor. The sentiment expressed to me by many attendees was how George’s total dedication to the Cadets was strikingly obvious. All I spoke with felt his business operation of the corps was professional and solid. George was also extremely frank in addressing aspects of his personality that he knows do not serve him well , and his realization that many in the activity have framed him as a villain. Very few of us would have the courage to be so open about ourselves at any time, let alone in a public forum. His ability to step outside himself and look in the mirror was applauded in conversations around the room.
I was told that George came to this monthly gathering-of-the-maroon somewhat apprehensive about the reception he would receive from the alumni in attendance. While I’m certain there are individual exceptions within the Cadet Alumni family who might differ, most alumni view George with total respect and gratitude for the immense contributions he makes on a daily basis to ensure the continued existence and success of The Cadets. Our collective interest is in the long-term survival of The Cadets and the quality of the experience each new Cadet receives during his/her marching years. George gets very high marks in both these area.
On behalf of the alumni fortunate enough to attend this March 5th Gathering-of-the-Maroon I would like to thank George and his staff for traveling so far to provide information that put to rest many concerns, and answered so many questions.
On a personal note I would like to comment on one of the statistics presented during the power-point presentation. Fund-raising is a necessary and very important aspect of the Cadets’ long-term survival. I was shocked to learn the vast majority of contributions to our corps during 2008 came from outside friends and supporters, with only 222 out of thousands of alumni contributing. This is only my opinion of course, but I find it hard to believe that every single Cadet Alumnus, regardless of personal financial circumstance, cannot contribute at least a few dollars to the corps we all love so much and from which we received so much. I am on a fixed income, but helping to keep the Cadets operating is one of the major priorities in my budget. I cannot give big bucks, but if all of us gave a little something, each year, the Cadets, OUR Cadets, would be safe and secure for many more generations of young men and women to add their contribution to our history and heritage. Think about it my fellow alumni. A donation, even the smallest of donations, means that the Cadets live on…both on the field, and in our hearts.
Just a few final notes: George announced that he has invited Tony Bartello, our 1957 National Championship Drum Major (the year of the last American Legion National Championship won under the Holy Name banner), to visit the Cadets’ open-house camp on March 15th to teach the 2009 Holy Name Cadets the musical majesty of The Holy Name Hymn sung in the traditional manner. Can you imagine….during our 75th Anniversary Celebrations the weekend of July 30, Aug. 1-2, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Cadet Alumni joining with the 2009 marching Holy Name Cadets in this enduring symbol of our pride, our history, our heritage, and our bonding... as we raise our many voice in the singing of The Holy Name Hymn. The thought alone takes my breath away.
As you might already have heard, this same weekend following the Cadets’ home competition in Clifton Stadium, a number of Cadet Alumni will join with our 2009 Cadets on the field to play a combined finale performance. If you’re a Cadet Alumnus interested in participating read the information posted on the YEA website, www.yea.org
For additional information on all July 30, Aug. 1-2 Diamond Jubilee Bash events, along with ticket orders, contact Caryn Goebel, YEA Director of Special Events and Alumni Coordination at firstname.lastname@example.org, 610-821-0345 Ext. 21.
We have also been informed by Dee Dee Imbro-Queen that she is restoring the ten American Legion National Championship Flags for use in the 75th Anniversary celebrations. Hopefully our nine DCI World Championship flags will be on display during our anniversary events as well.
FOUR BANNERS! ONE CORPS! ALL CADETS! ALL HOLY NAME! FOR HOLY NAME SHALL ALWAYS BE…
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