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INTERSTATESMEN

Senior Drum & Bugle Corps

1959 – 1967 

Formed in the fall of 1958 by a merger of the Empire State Grenadiers, Cohoes NY and the Berkshire Marauders, Pittsfield MA, the name “Interstatesmen” was chosen to represent all the members coming from NY & MA.  The idea for the merger came from legendary drill guru, Vinnie Ratford, who was instructing the Marauders at the time, and who had instructed the Grenadiers in the past. The uniforms were a combination of red and black pieces from each corps.  The Interstatesmen competed in the Northeastern Circuit.  Our original Director was Walter Wood, followed by Lionel “Canal” Des Champs, then Al Richards. 

Ever increasing excellence saw the Interstatesmen invited to compete in many prominent open-class contests throughout the United States and Canada.  The corps performed at the original Drum Corps News sponsored “Evening With The Corps” in NYC’s Carnegie Hall. The Interstatesmen, with soloist Ron Ghetti, was the first senior corps ever to perform in this hallowed hall.  Drum corps had arrived! 

The Interstatesmen introduced a new-sounding brass instrument, having never before been used in drum corps.  It was called the mellophonium, later shortened to the “mellophone”.  This instrument eventually replaced the French horn in modern drum corps arranging.  Dom DelRa designed and had produced, by Whaley-Royce of Toronto CA, his mellophones, first used during 1963-1964.  If you can ever find one, it will have the name “Interstatesmen” engraved above the bell. Today, mostly all corps and marching bands use the mellophone, thanks to the I-men. 

The Interstatesmen, now referred to as the “I-men” by fans, employed many excellent instructors during their rise to prominence, but the mainstay staff that guided the corps through their most successful period in the 1960’s were Dom DelRa, brass; John S Pratt, percussion; “Wild Bill” Hooton and Alan Smyth, marching and show design. Their efforts and those of others produced a corps that began their climb to the top.  The I-men earned victories over every major senior corps in the US and CA, except one, they being the Hawthorne Caballeros.  Oh, how we wish they had become a member of DCA early on.

 In 1964, the Interstatesmen, along with a group of other major senior corps, except the Caballeros, started an organization and voted to name it “Drum Corps Associates”.  These corps, as charter members, pioneered the governing of the drum corps activity by the corps themselves.  New rules were established, prize money increased, and the DCA added new contest sponsors, and the Caballeros eventually joined. The Interstatesmen are very proud that DCA is such a successful entity today and that DCI followed suit in the early 70’s.

Due to lack of local interest, other local corps disbanding, and the fact that many were called to serve in Viet Nam, this great senior corps ceased operations in 1967, despite the gallant efforts by some to keep the corps operating. 

Throughout the years, many Interstatesmen members were called upon to instruct the many corps that existed in NY and MA.  Pittsfield MA, alone, had 7 corps.  Others continued as marching members, judges, corps directors, instructors, arrangers, drum majors, and volunteers.  Connie Keado judged marching at the VFW Nationals and became Chief Judge of the NYS All-American Judges Assn. Our soprano soloist, Butch Anderson, became drum major of the Marksmen, Brigadiers, and most notably the NY Skyliners.  Our world-champion drum major, Alan Smyth, became drum major of the Rochester Crusaders under Vince Bruni.  Ron Ghetti and Jeff Perkins founded Avant Garde in 1975 and moved them into DCI’s top 25 during their first year of competition.  Others still are playing in various alumni corps, and Bill Hoyt is still marching in DCA and hopes to break the Hurricane’s Harvey Olderman’s record of becoming DCA’s oldest marching member.

 Four Interstatesmen members have been inducted into the prestigious World Drum Corps Hall of Fame:

      Richard “Butch” Anderson – Soloist, brass instructor, drum major

     Dominick DelRa – brass arranger, instructor, mellophone bugle designer

     Alan Smyth – drill designer, instructor, drum major

     Walter Wood – director, instructor, judge

 One member has been inducted into the Drum Corps NY Hall of Fame (junior corps):

      Jeff Perkins – director, instructor

 Surely, the Interstatesmen have much to proud of.  That I-sound will never be forgotten.

(submitted by Jeff Perkins, Interstatesmen Alumni)


Mid-Sixties Interstatesmen Write-up on

Historical Drum Corps Publications

 

Article on Middle Horn Leader,

crediting Dom Delra and I-Men, for the Mellophone Bugle

(scroll down about 2/3rds of the page, for the section: EVOLUTION OF THE ....MELLOPHONE BUGLE)

 



 

This Site Managed by Brass-O-Mania! Productions
With permission from Joe Scarchilli, Founder of the Original Interstatesmen.Org website.

Contact Information:
 Tom MacDonald
 48 Deerheaven Lane
 Rensselaer, NY  12114

518-286-3148
tommacd@nycap.rr.com

NOTICE: This web site conforms to the Standards of the Association of Ethical Treatment of Drum Corps Elements.
No lip-trills or paradiddles were used or harmed in the creation of this web site.