The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps, based in Wayne, New Jersey, is a junior marching and maneuvering corps organized in the fall of 1990 by founder George Lavelle, Jr. The five founding trustees were George, his father George Lavelle Sr., Trent Smith, Clarence Jackson, and Anthony Bestreski.
After one year of planning and practice, and with only 25 marchers, the Raiders first took the field June 22, 1991. They competed locally in both the Garden State Circuit and Drum Corps East competitions that inaugural year, placing second at the Garden State Championships.
The following year the corps almost doubled in size and made their first trip to the Drum Corps International Division II/III World Championships in Madison, Wisconsin. This was the first of many successes the corps would achieve. In 1993, the corps benefited from an influx in membership, which with just over 60 people required them to compete in DCI Division II. The Raiders remained in Division II where they peaked with 95 members in 1995. 1993 was also the year in which the Raiders won their first of seven Garden State Circuit Championship titles.
The Raiders’ leadership decided to move back into Division III in 1996 in order to stabilize the corps financially. This apparently was the right decision; the Raiders became part of the elite DCI finalist ranks. They also took the award for high brass in 1996 at the Allentown Regional competition.
Since then the Raiders have been DCI Division III finalists four times. Their highest placement came in 2001, with a program entitled “Pictures at an Exhibition,“ when the corps won the Silver Medal at DCI Division III Finals with a score of 88.5, only 0.05 point out of first place. They won special awards for high brass and high overall effect. The corps finished 14th in combined Division II/III Prelims in 2003, performing the music of "Carmina Burana." In 2004, the program was 'Adams: A Sound Journey,' work of John Adams, earning the corps a sixth position in Division III Finals.
The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps was founded with one primary goal: to afford any young adult the opportunity to march in a world class drum corps. With this in mind, every effort is made to keep the membership economical, to the extent that members can take advantage of scholarships and payment plans. No member has ever been turned away for inability to pay. The entire staff is so committed to this ideal that the Raiders is operated 100 percent by unpaid or unsubsidized staff. Every dollar goes directly to the program.
The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps guarantees an experience to young adults unlike any other in the performing arts, an experience in which marchers can combine the intellect of artistic and musical virtues with the achievement and excellence of athletic prowess. Each Raiders member achieves his/her personal best while contributing to the excellence of the entire corps. The benefits of being a Raider transcend competitive success. Members build life-enhancing skills and self-confidence that will support them throughout their adult lives. They will be better citizens, employees, students, parents and friends because of what they learn in the Raiders.