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History for Northern Aurora Saginaw, Michigan
Inactive Junior Corps founded in 1965 Did you march Northern Aurora?
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Other names: Saginaires
The predecessor corps to Northern Aurora was created in the fall of 1965 by Bob Waskoviak and Thomas B. Sims, under the name The Saginaires Drum & Bugle Corps. This group was formed with the sponsorship of the Saginaires Youth Organization (SYO), an organization that also supported such groups as the Saginaires Youth Band and the Saginaires Eagles, a feeder corps. The corps project was affiliated with the Jaycees, and it helped to earn Mr. Sims local Man of the Year honors.

Starting as a parade corps in 1966 and attired in their red, white, and black colors, The Saginaires moved into the competitive arena during the early seventies. As with most corps at the time, much of their support came from VFW and American Legion posts.

The corps rapidly moved up to become Michigan's all-time highest ranked drum and bugle corps, a distinction they have retained ever since. The Saginaires were VFW National Champions and US Open Class A Champions in 1978, Michigan VFW Champions 1974-1983, and American Legion State Champions 1977-1981.

The Saginaires Drum & Bugle Corps had the privilege of participating in the opening ceremonies at the Republican National Convention in Detroit in 1980, and they played for Michigan native son President Gerald Ford.

Until the early eighties, most of the corps' members had come from the greater Saginaw area, but with the growing strength of DCI and the increased tour scheduling, local membership began to drop. This attrition tended to spell the end for most Michigan drum corps. After 1983-84, only three corps remained in the state of Michigan, and today, no junior corps are active.

Seeing the trend, The Saginaires started recruiting outside the area early on. The 1985 name change to Northern Aurora reflected these new membership realities. New colors reflected the new identity as well: powder blue, lime green, and gray. The green and gray later became dark blue and white, and in 1995 a rainbow sash replaced the dark blue.

And the corps was successful with the new name and colors. Awards included Drum Corps Midwest (DCM) Division III Champions in 1986 and Division II Champions in 1987 and 1992.

An exceptional individual achievement was that of Rusty Bush, the 1991 drum major, who led Northern Aurora even though he had been deaf nearly from birth.

In 1992, The Northern Aurora Drum & Bugle Corps became Michigan's first DCI member corps, a title they proudly retained for two years. In 1996, the corps fielded a new look, once more sporting the red Saginaires' uniforms, along with the rainbow sash. 1996 was the corps' 31st year in competition.

After the 1996 marching season, corps management decided to once again classify Northern Aurora as a parade corps and temporarily withdraw from competition. This move was intended to financially stabilize the corps. The 1997 parade corps' membership was smaller than expected, however, and Northern Aurora officially became inactive.

The Saginaires Youth Organization formed a winter guard in 1988, however, called Northcoast Academy. This group has successfully competed during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, consistently winning awards and competitions.

[; DCW, 7/26/02, p.3]

"In 2002, NorthCoast Academy was re-established as Michigan's newest percussion ensemble in the Independent Open class. While the season was not as successful as they had hoped, NCA turned many heads in their direction and gained tremendous momentum heading into the next season. The momentum continued as NCA blasted their way to a first-place finish in the Independent Open class at WGI's World Championships in 2003. This resulted in a move up to the Independent World class for the 2004 season. Though only two years old, NorthCoast Academy had already become more successful than several units who had been competing for years.

Following in the Saginaires' footsteps, NorthCoast Academy is currently Michigan's highest-ranked indoor percussion ensemble, and with their energetic and demanding shows, NCA continues to turn heads as they compete in the Independent World class in their race to the top."

[From the NorthCoast Academy website]

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