The life journey of the (Garfield, Bergenfield) Cadets

by Dave Shaw

This article originally appeared in the May 2007 edition of Drum Corps World (Volume 36, Number 2).

It’s amazing how quickly 75 years can slip by while you’re busy giving thanks for your good fortune in having the opportunity to begin your life journey as a Cadet.

One minute, it seems, we were teenagers, all wrapped up in our personal Cadet adventures. The next, the young men who were my closest friends in the world, suddenly have grey hair (or no hair) and I marvel that after so many years they all remember every detail of their Cadet experience, right down to the number sewn on the inside of their uniform jacket.

I suppose it’s pretty much the same with any corps, especially those that have been around for awhile. The Cadets just have been at it a little bit longer than most. We’ve been blessed beyond measure and now, as Cadets from the age of the dinasours look at the young, modern-era Cadets wearing their uniform for the first time, we pause and smile, remembing. We were once them . . . and now, they are us.

Times change, the world changes, drum corps changes, our lives change. The world we knew has blown away on the breezes of today and tomorrow, yet there are still young hopeful faces wearing the uniform that we once wore, dreaming the dreams that we once dreamed.

I see many faces now in my dreams — Cavalier faces, Madison Scout faces, Trooper faces, Blue Stars faces, Scout House faces. So many corps and so many friends I was privileged to know because I was a Cadet. So many great corps I was privileged to compete against and share memories with, because I was a Cadet. So many golden moments, so many shouts of joy, so many tears of agony.

This is our alumni list of Cadet Milestones. I’m sure you all have yours as well, from the corps you marched with and the people you cared about.

• 1917 — Holy Name Field Music group founded. Became inactive following the declaration of
America’s entry into WWI.

• 1934 — The Holy Name Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps founded in Garfield, NJ.

• 1936 — The corps is renamed as The Holy Name Cadets.

• 1939 — Cadets change to West Point-style uniforms.

• 1940 — Cadets win their first national American Legion Championship, Boston, MA.

• 1948-50 — First national champions 3-peat
* 1948 — Miami, FL, 96.50
* 1949 — Philadelphia, PA, 89.55
* 1950 — Los Angeles, CA, 93.083

• 1950 — First Cadet transcontinental tour, New Jersey to California. The trip was by bus, before the interstate
highway system was constructed; fourth national title; honored guests at Boy’s Town in Nebraska enroute.

• 1950 — The Cadets’ hymn, The Holy Name Song is written .

• 1953 — fifth national championship, St. Louis, MO.

• 1957 — sixth national championship, Atlantic City, NJ. This was the last title won under the Holy Name Cadets

• 1958 — Cadets involuntarily leave Holy Name Church, reorganized as the Garfield Cadets.

• 1958 — Cadets compete at the 1958 American Legion Nationals, Chicago, IL, as the Garfield Cadets; uniforms were
improvised to resemble the Scout House uniform (with the express permission of Scout House); corps competed
with flags and drums loaned to us by the Chicago Cavaliers and bugles loaned by the Hawthorne Caballeros; lost
our title by .3 to the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights.

• 1959 — The Cadets change to a new uniform, designed to be a stepping stone to the return of our traditional
uniform; consisted of a Cadet-style shako and plume, uniform pants of the traditional design and colors, maroon
drop sashes, white shoes and white satin blouses with maroon collars and neck inserts; this uniform was worn to
compete at the American Legion Nationals in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; later that same year we lost our young
drum major, George Petrencak, under very tragic circumstances; his name will be sewn into a Cadet uniform in

• 1960 — Cadets return, for the first time since leaving the Church, to their traditional uniform when they appear on
the starting line at the first contest of the season in Fair Lawn, NJ; it was observed that a great many spectators
in the stadium were in tears; their off-the-line number was Everything’s Coming Up Roses.

• 1960-62 — Second American Legion National 3-peat and the first national titles won under the Garfield Cadets
* 1960 — Miami, FL, 84.983
* 1961 — Denver, CO, 87.45
* 1962 — Las Vegas, NV, 87.75

• 1962 — Cadets introduce contra bass horns and are the first junior corps to use them in regular competition; the
Caballeros introduced them in senior competition the same year.

• 1964 — Cadets win tenth National American Legion title (a feat never equaled) and retired the fabled American
Legion Silver Drum Permanent Trophy, Dallas, TX, 79.916.

• 1965 — The Cadets are the first corps elected to the Drum Corps Digest-sponsored Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

• 1969 — Cadet Director Jim D’Amico admits girls to the Cadets, breaking the gender barrier (color guard).

• 1970 — The Cadets perform to the music of White Rabbit while forming a peace sign on the field; this was during
the Vietnam War and was extremely controversial.

• 1971 — Cadets perform for the halftime of a Miami Dolphins / 49ers game in the Orange Bowl, the first time a
professional football half-time show was not cut into by commercials, by prior agreement with the Dolphins
Promotion Department; unfortunately, the entire show was televised during a torrential downpour.

• 1971 — The Cadets present the first fully-integrated theme show, “American the Brave – 1776” in conjunction with
the program, the first librettos utilized in drum corps were distributed to spectators, the concept was well-
received by audiences, but the drum judge community was convinced that the program was designed as an
attempt to hinder percussion evaluation and they heavily penalized the corps throughout the season on the basis
of that misperception.

• 1971 — The Cadets become the first drum and bugle corps to be included in a major American encyclopedia,
Compton’s Gold Edition.

• 1972 — Cadets appear in the movie “Crazy Joe,” filmed on location at Columbus Circle in New York City.

• 1972 — The Cadets presented the famous “No More War” abstract theme show to dramatize the concept, a poster-
sized giveaway was passed out to spectators that was designed by Dave Shaw and formatted by Don Daber, the
poster had three panels — the first panel was two children holding hands and smiling at each other, the second
panel has a teenage couple in Cadet uniforms in a pose duplicating the first panel, the third panel showed the girl
from the second panel, still in uniform, placing a flower on a flag-draped coffin.

• 1972 — Cadets, by a slim margin, miss making finals at the first DCI Championship in Whitewater, WI; the penalty
was given for overtime, which was caused by a last-minute drill change at the final rehearsal before competing;
following the competition, it was discovered that the entire staff had departed without notice.

• 1972 — Tragic loss of beloved Drum Major Richard Chirichella, following injuries sustained in a football game with
another area drum corps; his name will be carried onto the field this year, sewn into a Cadet jacket.

• 1975 — Cadets’ first DCI Finals appearance, tenth place, 80.55, Philadelphia, PA.

• 1977 — Cadets introduce two-valve soprano horns into ensemble.

• 1977 — The girl color guard, wearing hot pants that were very similar to the Cadets’ uniform pants, picked up
bugles near the end of their program and joined in playing the final production number, I Don’t Know How to
Love Him, they actually played the horns, in a company front of 80 horns (see photos at top).

• 1983 — Cadets’ first DCI World Championship title, Miami, FL, 94.4; George Zingali’s skills as a drill designer
emerge to astonish his contemporaries.

• 1983-4-5 — DCI Championship 3-peat
* 1983 — Miami, FL, 94.40
* 1984 — Atlanta, GA, 98.00
* 1985 — Madison, WI, 98.40.

• 1984 — The 50th Golden Anniversary of the Cadets’ founding; the corps presented a production of “West Side
Story” that set the standard for change and is considered even today as one of the best programs ever presented.

• 1986 — Cadets perform at rededication ceremonies for the Statue of Liberty.

• 1987 — Fourth DCI World Championship (perfect percussion score), Madison, WI, 97.90.

• 1988 — Cadets leave Garfield and are renamed the Cadets of Bergen County (CBC).

• 1990 — Fifth DCI World Championship, Buffalo, NY, 97.70.

• 1992 — First female Cadet drum major.

• 1993 — Sixth DCI World Championship, Jackson, MS, 97.40.

• 1994 — Cadets perform at the World Soccer Cup opening ceremonies.

• 1996 — Cadets perform at the closing ceremonies of Atlanta Summer Olympic Games.

• 1998 — Seventh DCI World Championship, Orlando, FL, 98.40.

• 2000 — Eighth DCI World Championship, Westminster, MD, 97.65; an undefeated season; title was shared with the
co-champion Cavaliers.

• 2003 — Cadets awarded high percussion award at DCI for third year in succession.

• 2004 — Cadets celebrate their 70th Anniversary.

• 2005 — Administrative offices move to Allentown, PA.

• 2005 — Ninth DCI World Championship, Foxboro, MA, 99.15; tie for record high score, first in all captions.

• 2007 — 50th Anniversary of 1957 American Legion National Championship, Atlantic City, NJ, 91.30; this was the
last national championship won under the Holy Name Cadet banner.

• 2009 — COMING EVENT: 75th Anniversary of one of the oldest and most famous drum and bugle corps in the world.