Pittsfield Monarchs

Pittsfield, MA United States
Founded: 1958

Inactive Junior

CORPS Photos

The Monarchs Junior Drum and Bugle Corps of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was organized in 1958 by a group of interested parents. It was initially a self-supporting, independent group.

Primarily a parade corps in 1958, 1959, and 1960, the corps entered marching and maneuvering competition for the first time in 1961. Starting with fewer than 30 members in 1958, the corps fielded 54 marchers in 1961. One of the highlights of the ’61 season was an exhibition at the Mardi Gras of Champions senior contest sponsored by the Interstatesmen Senior Drum Corps from Pittsfield/Troy, New York. The corps instructional staff was mostly members of the Interstatesmen at the time. The Monarchs capped a successful inaugural M&M season with a close second-place finish in the Hudson Berkshire Circuit Championships.

The 1962 edition of the Monarchs represented Post No. 68, American Legion of Pittsfield. They fielded a competing corps consisting of 33 horns and nine drums under the direction of drum majors Judy Dion and Dick Ward. The corps also featured an outstanding 17-girl color guard commanded by captains Aline Faucher and Diane Laurin. Musical selections included “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “My Romance,” and “Somebody Stole My Gal.” In 1962 the corps placed fourth in the Massachusetts American Legion State Championships and the Hudson Berkshire Circuit Championships, and they beat their cross-town rivals Cavaliers and the Holy Trinity Cadets from Boston.

The Monarchs continued to grow in 1963, with 36 horns, 12 drums, and 23 in the color guard. A number of Open Class shows found them competing against some of the finest corps on the East Coast. The corps finished third in the Hudson Berkshire Circuit.

In 1964 the corps purchased new cadet-style uniforms, contra bass and mellophone horns, and a new equipment truck. They continued to improve with most of the members now boasting four or more years of experience. They finished fourth in the New Hampshire American Legion State Championships.

The Monarchs merged with the Pittsfield Skyhawks in 1965. They also purchased a new set of Pearl drums and were ready for their best year, with 39 horns, 12 percussion, and 24 in the color guard. The corps moved to the Yankee Circuit with mostly New England drum corps in 1965. The number and quality of competing corps at this level became evident with the groups trading places ever week, St. Rocco’s being the corps to beat. The Monarchs was still led by drum major Dick Ward and color guard captain Debbie Hebert. The corps took a third-place finish in the Vermont VFW State Championships and a fourth in the Yankee Circuit.

1965 was the last full year of competition. The Monarchs disbanded in 1966, as members went off to college and the Vietnam War. A number of the remaining members joined the Pittsfield Cavaliers, helping to make them one of the better corps in the East.

Some of the corps instructors through the years were Ronald “Rock” Ghetti and Al Hollenbeck (horns), Art Nelson (percussion), and Conrad Keado, Bud Curry and Doug Shirley (drill). Corps officials included manager R.D. Shirley, director Angelo Avanzato, assistant director William Dunn, treasurer Louis D’Ascanio, and quartermasters John Raymond and Ray Wells.

[Mike Cahill]

Members (6)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Cahill, Mike Drum Line 1961 to 1965
Dunn, Bill Drums 1960 to 1965
Giannone, Pat color guard 1960 to 1966
Hebert, Debbie Color Guard 1961 to 1965
Martin, Bill Horn Section 1958 to 1966
Pedroza, Michael Horn 1959 to 1965
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