‘Beat Goes On’series has 16 new CDs

by Drum Corps World staff

Drum Corps World is pleased to announce “The Beat Goes On” series has 16 brand-new CD releases, continuing the historic drum corps recordings from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. As always, these recordings are digitally remastered from the original tapes of Stetson D. Richmond and Alf Wateska, two of drum corps’ most prolific recording engineers.

The new batch leads off with the heavy-hitting volume 3 disc from the 1953 American Legion Nationals, featuring the top three seniors in attendance that year. Hear Reilly Raiders, Hawthorne Caballeros and the New York Skyliners in this head-to-head matchup.

History buffs will recall just how contentious an event this was, as the top three were separated by a mere 0.13 in prelims. The Reilly Raiders prevailed in the finals scoring, but were later disqualified for not meeting the mandatory percentage of Legionnaires in their ranks, thus passing the official 1953 title to the Caballeros.

If you liked the bold, in-your-face sounds of the 1956 Dream Contest CD, you can now hear five more corps from that event on a second volume. These recordings raised the state-of-the-art in terms of recording quality for the day.

Favorite names from the late 1950s senior scene were hand-picked for inclusion on the 1958 American Legion Nationals CD.

The New York-Canadian Circuit was home to a surprising number of skilled corps in both the junior and senior categories. Top corps from that 1960 championship are captured in crisp fidelity by Stetson D. Richmond.

Stetson D. Richmond, Jr. made drum corps recording a family affair in the early 1960s, helping his father cover the ever-growing activity of that era. His work at the Barnum Festival in 1961 was highlighted by a recording of the Princemen at the top of their game, with full dynamic range preserved for all to hear.

The 1965 American Legion Nationals appeals to both junior and senior fans. The Royal Airs, heralded as having the finest horn line of the era, traveled to Portland to complete their triple-crown of national titles that year. Meanwhile, the Rochester merger of the Grey Knights and Crusaders broke the Hawthorne Caballeros’ stranglehold on the Legion senior title in one of the closest title bouts in Legion history.

The 1969 season’s “Brass Impact” presents an excellent cross-section of DCA corps in some of Alf Wateska’s finest-quality work. DCA’s favorite names are covered one year later by Stetson Richmond in the flattering ambience of the 1970 March of Champions. These were two unforgettable years for the Yankee Rebels, included on both of these volumes.

The depth of activity in the upstate New York area is apparent in the Penn-York Circuit Championship of 1971. Volume 1 features class A (the top Penn-York class), while volume 2 covers the class B finals. The class B champion Squires raised many eyebrows by outscoring several class A finalists in a year of unprecedented improvement.

Some of the most innovative sounds of drum corps are found among the 1972 World Open field. Stetson D. Richmond was in rare form that day. Rarely does a recording capture the full presence of St. Rita’s Brassmen or the CMCC Warriors horn lines — these do.

While the 1975 RCA Championships were not recorded, some of the circuit’s corps were covered at the Independence Day Celebration in Midland, PA, including a rare visit from Minnesota Brass, Inc.

Alf Wateska did a fine job at the open class events of the American International Open in 1976, as did the corps. The entire 24-corps field is presented on four CDs, making available many fine corps of the period that cannot be found anywhere else. Collectors of 1970s drum corps will have a field day with this set.

These CDs, as well as those previously released are currently for sale in issues of DCW, and the full set of 50 CDs will be available online, beginning July 25, 2004.