Arbella Independent Helps Celebrate the Cardinals Drum & Bugle Corps’ 70th Anniversary

Arbella Independent Helps Celebrate the Cardinals Drum & Bugle Corps’ 70th Anniversary

After Saturday’s event was over, Joel and I were reflecting on how we really were the very last generation of “kids” to go through the “old school” drum and bugle corps experience.  At the time we were the literal babies of the organizations we were in – he in the Beverly Crusaders, and I in Arbella – at a mere TEN years old.  It is unbelievable to think we had that experience at such a young age – I can’t imagine sending my kids off to travel in a bus across the country with kids sometimes twice in age!!  Sigh, it was a different time.  But I’m so glad we just got in there just in time to experience drum corps – some will say “at it’s best” – but I will just say “of that era”.

To compare the two eras is simply impossible and is always the subject of great debate on facebook!  but I daresay a few things remain the same: the agony of working extremely long hours over months and months to put on a production to take to the field, the thrill of performing that show with everything you have, the excitement of competition, working tirelessly to get better for the next competition, and the life-long friendships that are forged along the way – yeah, I think kids of both eras will agree: there’s nothing like the drum corps experience.

So what a thrill it was for Arbella Independent to be invited to be a part of drum corps history this past Saturday night in Beverly on the occasion of the Cardinals Drum and Bugle Corps 70th Anniversary!  The Cardinals put together an 80-member Tribute Corps to perform at the reunion.  Cardinals alumni – and alumni representing a total of 76 drum and bugle corps over the years – practiced under the direction of Joe Nuccio over the last year to perform some of the Cardinal’s most beloved pieces (“Tropical Heat Wave”, “The 62 Solo”
drum solo, “Manhattan Beach”, “Speed Kills” street beat, “Nights in White Satin”, “Shuggadup” Street Beat, “No Other Love”, “Mr Wonderful” and other drum features
) for the crowd – and boy was it well received.  There was literally standing room only for this event!

Linda O’Connor, Cardinal Alumna and Arbella Independent Instructor, coordinated with Arbella Independent to have a few members be a part of the production as the Honor Guard – with a special treat for the crowd.  Members Maddy, Hannah, Brianna, Cassie and Em, and Joel, “represented” on the night, marching in honor guard style during the last piece.  The closing piece, “Mr Wonderful” was a crowd favorite back in the day and featured a JFK flag which, at a certain point in the show, was presented with special flourish to the crowd.  Phil Dennesen, Cardinal Alumni, actually  created a wonderful replica flag, and Linda choreographed the moment for it to be unfurled during the performance.  Needless to say, that was a special moment of drum corps history there and at the end the crowd jumped to its feet.  A very special thank you to our members for volunteering to be a part of this special event.

Thanks also go to Joel for helping with the Honor Guard and the 50/50 raffle, Linda O’Connor for making everything happen (as she has a knack for doing!), Phil Dennesen and the Cardinals Reunion Committee for allowing us to be a part of this very special event – AND for letting Arbella run the 50/50 Raffle (the winner got over $700!).  Thank you to BOD members Sue Prideaux and Kimberly McCoy for running the 50/50 Raffle, killing it selling tickets, organizing the girls, and your amazing help and support.

Arbella has long been the benefactor of Cardinals support and talent over the years.  Back in the day, Cardinals made up most, if not ALL, of our staff back in the 70s and 80s, and it was our Cardinal-alumni instructors who helped Arbella achieve DCI All-girl champions back in 1979. Today Arbella is STILL on the receiving end of Cardinals talent and generosity – our greatest gift being Cardinal Alumna Linda O’Connor 😉 –   but also, the generous support of the Cardinals Alumni Association.  We couldn’t do what we do without you and we look forward to helping out at the Beanpot in the summer!  Bring on the summer drum corps season!

As I was approaching the rehearsal on Friday night, I heard a familiar sound – the sound of a drum line practicing in the distance.  The goosebumps solidified what we already know:

You can take the kid out of drum corps, but you can NEVER take drum corps out of the kid.

Here’s to drum corps nuts everywhere!

With gratitude,



Images are here:


Arbella Alumni at the Event:  (if I missed anyone let me know!)
Tribute Corps: Denise (Berube) Pantenella, Mike Pantenella, Instructor Jim Trefry, Doug Gonya, Joel Dube
Instructors: Linda O’Connor, Jim Trefry, Mike and George D’Iorio, Donna Herlihy-Diorio, Dick and Bob Pelletier, Joe Nuccio, Danny and Jimmy Lutz, Marty Grant, Henry Wodarczik, Peter Furnari’s Mum!, Tom and Jim Dennesen
Just In Attendance: Me, and there were many ladies there in the Comets and Rockettes…but I didn’t catch their names!  somebody please fill me in!

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