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|History for The Cadets||Allentown, PA|
|Active Junior Corps (World Class) founded in 1934||Did you march The Cadets?|
|Other names: Holy Name Cadets, Cadets of Bergen County, Garfield Cadets, Holy Name Cadets|
The Cadets, based in Bergenfield, New Jersey, was organized in 1934 as the Holy Name Cadets by Charles Mura and Michael Koeph, along with Rev. Edwin Garrity. |
The corps became one of the top three corps in the country almost immediately. They won their first national championship, the American Legion Nationals, in 1940. Between 1940 and 1964 the Cadets won ten Legion crowns, more than any other junior corps, retiring the championship trophy twice (meaning they twice won three times in a row). And they captured the National Dream Championships from 1949 through 1954.
World Drum Corps Hall of Famer Arthur J. Mura played snare with the corps from 1937 to 1950.
Credited as being the first touring corps, the Cadets traveled three weeks by bus to Los Angeles in 1950 for one single show, to defend their Legion title. That tour ended on a dramatic note, when the corps' bus broke down in Wagon Mound, New Mexico, on the way home. Owing to a dispute between corps members and locals, the whole corps was run out of town at gunpoint.
In 1958, the sponsoring church declined to underwrite further travel, and it kept the uniforms and instruments when the corps disbanded. The corps members thereupon individually bought their own uniforms, paid for their own transportation, and borrowed horns from the Cavaliers to compete in Legion Nationals in Chicago. They became the Garfield Cadets in 1958 under new sponsorship.
On a lighter note, a 1958 LP record entitled "John Philip Sousa's Greatest Marches" featured a full-color photo of the Garfield Cadets.
The Cadets appeared in the movie "Crazy Joe" in 1974.
There was one season when the corps had to wear white shirts and shorts instead of traditional uniforms. However, the Cadet uniform of cream-colored trousers, maroon jackets, and gold sashes has remained essentially unchanged from 1934 into the 21st century.
The all-male Garfield introduced girls into the corps in 1969. 1969 was also the first year they returned to VFW finals after a number of years. They placed 11th that year, tenth in 1970 and seventh in 1971. Their 1971 show was one of the first theme shows, 'No More War,' although the VFW expressed its discomfort over the peace sign that the corps formed on the field. (The corps tried to convince them that it was a Mercedes emblem.) The Cadets are one of the five original members to attend every DCI Championship.
The Cadets of Bergen County (the name was changed in 1989) are 21-time finalists and eight-time DCI champions, including being one of only two open class corps to win three consecutive DCI titles (1983-85). The 1984 show garnered a then-record 98.0 points in Finals. Since 1983 they have won more DCI titles (seven) than anyone else with some of the most innovative shows of all time. The corps put together a run of 19 consecutive seasons of ten or more contest wins per year from 1982 through 2000. A special favorite was the 1984 "West Side Story" show.
In the 1990 timeframe, the corps had good sponsorship support from CPC International, the parent of Best Foods.
In the wake of 9/11, many 2002 drum corps shows built on patriotic and heroic themes. The Cadets' show celebrated New York, and was augmented on Finals night when corps director George Hopkins persuaded a firehouse near Madison's Camp Randall Stadium to wind its siren right on cue, clearly audible to fans. The Cadets finished third.
In 2003, their 70th anniversary, the Cadets' 'Favorite Things' show placed them third at DCI finals, with a score of 97.10. That year, rather than be said to hail from any particular city, the corps introduced itself as being sponsored by Youth Education in the Arts, a group that also supports the Crossmen and a high school band competition circuit.
In a bit of a departure, the Cadets' 2004 show was called 'Living in the Past,' and featured music of Jethro Tull. The group won ten contests during the season, and took fourth place on DCI Finals night. The has not been out of the top four at Finals since 1991, winning three times.
The Cadets (the name was changed again in 1998) has been at the forefront of drum corps innovation throughout their life, under the leadership of George Hopkins: bus touring, the contra bass bugle, the conversion of color guard to horn players. Compton’s Encyclopedia included the Cadets within their pages, the first drum corps to be so honored. They were elected to the Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1965, and were a charter member of DCI in 1972.
[Competitive Drum Corps, Popp, 1980; Drum Corps World (various issues)]
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