The Appleknockers, formed in 1928, was a senior marching and maneuvering corps based in Geneva, New York. They initially operated under the sponsorship of the Geneva Winnek American Legion Post 396 and the leadership of Jack Gleason and T.J. Comiskey. Known, not surprisingly, as the Winnek Post 396, they competed in the Penn-York Circuit.
The Appleknockers' unusual name is said to have derived by 1947 from the fact that they hailed from apple-picking country in New York (and therefore were rural yokels), and that they “knocked” around the country to different events.
One of the earliest corps to use jazz arrangements, the 396 made finals in the 1941 American Legion Championships before that event closed down for World War II. Some famous names associated with the 396 were arrangers John Kinyon and Jack Bullock, soprano soloist Frankie Farr, who improvised his solos on the field, and Hall of Famer John S. Pratt. The corps is credited with having featured the first individual horn soloist, a man named Ken "Ace" Peterson, and they also used a bass fiddle once for a standstill concert in Carnegie Hall.
The corps’ colors were green and white.
The Appleknockers placed in the top ten of every American Legion Nationals they ever attended. Known for their jazz charts, the Appleknockers performed sit-down jazz concerts during the off season.
The corps folded in the mid 1960s, giving way to the Appleknockers junior corps.
[Encyclopedia of Drum and Bugle Corps, 1966; Drum Corps World 12/92, p. 13; 3/3/89, p.9; Bernie Gaffney; Geoffrey Whiting]