02 Jul Arbella makes drum corps history again in Salem.
June 30th was a big day for us. Despite our small size, Arbella made a big impact in the first-ever North Shore Pride Parade hosted in Salem. Joel Dube (’82-’83) led our color guard, consisting of Arbella Alumni, members of the Salem High School Color Guard and one newbie to drum corps, as Arbella brought up the rear of the parade, much to the delight of crowds. On hand were SHS students who passed out Arbella Join flyers to the crowds and some friends who helped carry the banner. Arbella Alumni Parents Mary Ann and Frank Silva, captured the event for us in photos and video.
The guard looked sharp in their nautical uniforms, nearly an exact replica of the uniforms Arbella wore from 1975-1981. Anyone who grew up in Salem and saw Arbella march in the parade recognized us immediately!
When I saw the Colts color guard wearing those uniforms in their 2009 show when they came to Lawrence, I was blown away by their similarity to our old uniforms. I had to have them for Arbella. But at that time, Arbella was just a dream I wasn’t brave enough to share. For years I had thought about starting the corps up again – I had even mentioned it to alumn Doug Gonya when he came to visit that year. I believe he told me I was nuts….and also that it would take years and years to build it up, and he was right – on both counts.
As I was sewing the neckerchiefs in the late hours after work, I thought frequently of our parents who did the same for us all those years ago. I can’t even sew, but I did my best, hoping that nobody looks too closely at them! I thought of all the parents who came on tour with us way back when, and who are on tour right now with our moderns corps, mending, ironing, sorting, cooking…. it is very wierd to be on the other side of the organization. I prefer playing my horn to sewing! But it gives me great joy to be able to even try to put this together with my fellow alumni. We have a long way to go, but Saturday was huge for us. We are no longer figments of our imaginations, or ideas on paper – we are real, and the beginning of something great.
Later that night was the first drum corps show in the area, the Beanpot Invitational at our ol’ favorite field, Manning “Bowl”. Joel and I wore our Arbella shirts and were pleasantly surprised at the reaction from people in the crowd. Everyone we spoke to has such fond memories of the corps. Arbella was, despite such a young membership, such a class act, and that was in my opinion, down to, not just the hard work of the corps, but also the dedication and commitment of the parents and instructors.
So I want to thank the next generation of members, parents, instructors and management, without which we wouldn’t have gotten this far, without which corps doesn’t have a future. It is the passion for this crazy thing called drum corps that lends energy to all who participate. Long may it reign.
A sincere and heartfelt thank you to all.