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 Post subject: USARD 2015 Summary
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 7:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2003 4:17 pm
Posts: 4831
Location: Princeton Tx
Greetings members, I received an email from USARD with a summary of this year's convention, and decided to share. The USARD convention should be on the bucket list of any rudimentalist.
The 6th Annual 2015 USARD Convention
at the Crown Plaza Hotel, in Danbury Connecticut on April 17 through 19, began in proper fashion with the rendering of the national anthem from the Danbury Ct. Drum Corps presented by corps members and director Sean Bigham. They followed up by performing a four piece medley.

This is what traditional drum corps is about. They don't need to have 100 plus people in their ranks they are a straight forward uncomplicated community drum and bugle corps. Well done Danbury, well done indeed. Your respectful and accurately performed rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" was a great start to our 6th Annual 2015 USARD made us all proud.

Next was a presentation of absolute delight by the Cuccia "Family Drum Ensemble" presenting a "Salute to the Troops." This ensemble took to the floor as "The Great American Fife & Drum Band" featuring Dominick Cuccia on snare drum, Therese Cuccia fife & drum, Grace Cuccia fife, little Dominick Cuccia drum, John Paul Cuccia drum, Tess Cuccia fife and young mascot Francis Cuccia, just 2 years old. This family is a slice of what America is and where America came from. At the very least we have to say...little Francis stole the show. More about the Cuccia family later.

Next was our U.S.A.R.D. welcome with announcements, participant needs, coffee and a description of the weekend. We highlighted the use of our programs identifying the flow and format of the convention.

The New England Chapter of the U.S.A.R.D., with presenters Joe and Gary Gillotti, was introduced by Phyllis Gillotti. Phyllis who does a wonderful job at keeping this New England Chapter on track does so with the utmost of sincerity, diligence and pride.

Performers for the N.E. Chapter were Gary Gay, Gary Gillotti, Joe Gillotti, Mary Saunders, Paul Saunders, Randy Wilcox, Roger Hunnewell, Dave Hevrin, Hattie Hevrin, Denise Ciastko, Al Merritt, Toni Noach, and Lee Caron. They kicked off Friday evening with a family theme -- that being Joe and Gary Gillotti performing "Belmont Boys", "Off to Danbury" and "Road to Bethel." Mary and Paul Saunders played Stillman's reel followed by a very intricate and visually pleasing back-sticking solo.

The Connecticut Rebels drum line, performing with the New England Chapter, played a piece known as "Heat Wave". Performers for that and other selections were Paul and Mary Saunders, Gary Gay, Tony Noach and Al Merritt. Al Merritt who instructed many of the players in the New England Chapter in his earlier days of instruction played with them. It was a real treat indeed to see mentor and student playing right next to each other in this setting.

A father and daughter duet that of Dave and Hattie Hevrin was accompanied by Denise Ciastko on fife. They performed two standard and well received selections known as Frog in the Well and Mifflin Guard.
The N.E. Chapter concluded by playing the "Downfall of Paris" and combined with all in a tribute to John Hanewich recent Past President of the Company of Fifers and Drummers in the playing of the "Yellow Rose of Texas" ("Connecticut Half Time"). A fine job New England Chapter as you are indeed the pillar behind the success of the U.S.A.R.D.

Frank Zappone, another steady supporter of the U.S.A.R.D., performed on two rod tension drums and two high tension pipe snare drums to bring out the diverse sound created by these particular instruments. Titles of selections were “Back In the Day” and “Crazy Drumming.” This highly skilled drummer displayed texture, complexity, back-sticking, speed and agility to produce a very interesting performance.

Frank’s experience includes the Torrington Vagabonds, St. Peter’s Drum Corps, Ct. Alumni, Drum Company Percussion Ensemble and the Ct. Hurricanes. He enters his sixteenth year as a solo drummer at local parade and charity events. One can easily see that Frank was sincerely engaged in delivering a high level performance and performed with great accuracy.

Next on the agenda was a tribute and moment of silence for recently departed members: Rodney Goodhart, Eric Perrilloux, Leo Ehrhard and John Hanewich, also mentioned was the sudden passing of Karole Green, wife of West Point drummer Harold Green.

John Hanewich, the recent President of the Company of Fifers and Drummers and drummer with Civil War Troopers and Black River Fife and Drum Corps, was saluted for his endless efforts in the promotion and preservation of Ancient Rope Drumming. Mr. Hanewich was directly involved in the lives of many of the performers who were in attendance here this weekend. One who gives his unending respect for John Henewich is Joe Gillotti, as Mr. Hanewich was a mentor to Joe and an early instructor as well. Seeing that Mr. Hanewich passed away during the planning of the 2015 Convention we intend to have more about this fine statesman of rudimental drumming at next years event.

Showing respect for drummers who are no longer with us, we wanted to render suitable recognition in the form of a tribute to Rod Goodhart performed by John Flowers and Bill Mojica, a tribute also to Leo Ehrhard again performed by John Flowers and Bill Mojica, a solo tribute to Rod Goodhart performed by John Flowers and a solo tribute to John Hanewich performed by Dominick and Therese Cuccia playing a Civil War Troopers drum duet piece.

The first clinic of the weekend was presented by the incomparable Jeff Queen a four time DCI snare drum solo champion and original cast member of the Tony and Emmy award winning Broadway Show "Blast!" Jeff demonstrated a variety of well crafted drumming selections entitled "The Double Flag, Modulation, Tax Time and Tribute", all written by Jeff. He also performed two selections known as "Equinox" by Skrillex and "Third Rail" by John Ling performed on a snare drum, frame drum, and what Jeff calls, a launch pad. Amplification techniques were used on these last two selections in order to enhance the overall quality of the selections. His mastery and speed was a delight to watch with pin point accuracy and entertainment as well.

We added a different structure to the mass drumming this year. Only three selections were chosen to be played this time around, "Yankee Doodle", "Three Camps" and "The Downfall of Paris". We wanted to put our best foot forward for the sake of appearance and quality as we were video recorded for showing at the Fredrick Fennell 100 year Tribute on May 2 at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

The Saturday morning session began with rehearsal time for all in the main ballroom, which was also open for vendor displays. Rio-Drums and Cooperman had a variety of very interesting instruments, implements and sticks, as well as CD's for sale, repair or trade. The sponsors were very interesting and are always a encouraged to be a welcomed part of our weekend to say the very least.

Our second clinician was that of Andrew Adams and the North East Pipe Band. His five piece drum ensemble, consisting of Andrew Adams, Jameson Grout and Ryan Firmbach on snare, Seton Helwig on tenor and Tamara McLendon on bass drum, was very entertaining and was of great value in our better understanding of the pipe drum arena. The first half of Andrew's lecture and discussion was on the differences between pipe band drums of snare, tenor and bass and how they are used. His accompanying group performed one of the most famous pipe band drum solo ever known called “The Salute to Max Rayne” by Alex Duthart.

The third clinic was presented by Lee Caron of Fairfield, Ct., an educator, clinician, American rudimental and Swiss rudimental drummer who performed two Berger solos. This is truly one of the best and most accurate drummers we have seen. He had a smooth way of delivering the Swiss style of drumming which was absolutely flawless. His drum was tuned in such a manner that the softest or loudest stroke still produced a fully recognized snare sound. His command of Swiss rudiments was a treat to hear and see as this is one of the highest quality drummers here this weekend.

The Western Connecticut State Percussion Ensemble was presented by Dave Smith with performers Dave Smith, Kevin Thompson, Steve Niemitz, Dave Pelaggi, Gabe Bacewicz and Tom Morris. Much appreciated in a room full of rudimental drummers was the fact that this collegiate percussion ensemble played rope snare drums, rope bass drums, as well as several standard concert percussion instruments; they incorporated these instruments of earlier times right into their writings. Titles of the pieces played were “Contents are Flammable” by Dominick Cuccia in which he took rudimental figures using them as rhythmic cells that overlap much like that of other music written by percussion writer Steve Reich.

“A Little Bit of This / A Little Bit of That” is a piece written to combine both traditional rudimental and classical drumming percussion techniques. It was written by a member of the President’s Own Marine Band, Glenn Paulson.

The Old Guard Alumni Drum Ensemble was presented by Ed Asten. Performers on snare were Ed Asten, Brian Pentony and Jim Stickley; bass, Jim Coffee and Mike Flaherty. Selections were "The Adventures of Joe 90" and "Evolution". The two pieces that they played with the Air Force group are The Army 2/4, and Crazy Army.

The Air Force Drum Ensemble presented by Bob Zarfoss consisted of former members of the USAF Drum and Bugle Corps formerly of Washington D.C . Performers were John Bosworth, Eric Landis, Bill Mojica, Bob Zarfoss, John Flowers and rudimental bass player Bill Stricklin. Selections played were the Lancers street beat, Jimmy Dinkins street beat, Stars and Stripes solo, AF flam solo, and Shade 83 solo. Once again this United States Air Force Drum Ensemble, a long time U.S.A.R.D. associate, displayed excellence in their performance skills which is synonymous with the high standards of the Air Force, a military organization of great prominence.

The "Middle River Ancients of Maryland" were next up. Nick Biscotti, Ron Church, Charlie Kammer, Bill Hartman, Bill Mojica and Bill Strickland were the performers. Their selections included “Thunder and Lightening,” “Black Pearl” and “Just Having Fun.” AUSLESE by Charlie Terzi, is followed by a medley of solos: "Drums and Guns", "Empty Pockets" and "President Garfield".

These Middle River Ancients, who are all past members of the three time American Legion National Champion Yankee Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps, now perform in Ancient Rudimental drumming exclusively so as to promote and preserve the tradition of this type of playing. They are a fine example of the excellence that it takes to play this highly demanding and unique style. This was a great performance indeed fellows.

Joe Fontana and the Skyliners Alumni Drum Ensemble, played “A Tribute to Wes Myers”. Performers on snare were Joe Fontana, Jack Murray, Kyle Murphy and Ken Burbulak; on cymbals were Karen Cox, Evelyn Krejci and Barbara Rogers; on bass drums were Steve Turner and Ed Burns; on the Quad - Tenor and Jack Stein. Triple bass drums was Chet Figurski.

"There is a long list of drum corps for which Wes Meyers has written and taught the drum book, but it is his iconic work with the New York Skyliner's that he is best known. Anyone who has played in a drum line lead by Wes quickly realizes that the parts are musical, challenging and most importantly, fun to play, and that is the key, it's fun to play in a Wes Meyers drum line. During practice, in a performance or just hanging out after a show, the laughter and good times are the reasons so many of us in the Skyliner's Alumni Corps have been a member for so many years. It is for that very reason that all of us want to dedicate our 2014 percussion ensemble piece to Wes. A great majority of the tribute pieces are actually made up of parts from Wes's solos or Wes's drum parts from songs played by the Skyliners through the years. For all of us in the ensemble, it was fun putting the piece together and working hard to execute the piece to the best of our ability. At the 2014 DCA I&E, we were all very excited and grateful to win the percussion ensemble championship. It's because of Wes that all of us are together, enjoying what we love to do. So as always, let's do this for Wes." Jack Murray.

St. Lucy’s Alumni Drum Ensemble was presented by Chew Gernandt. Performers were Chew Gernandt, Ray Schmerin, Dave Richardson, Joe Fontana / snare, with Nick Stefano & Woody DeTrolio/bass. They played a two minute warm up followed by a four minute piece by Chew Gernandt. These are high quality drummers with a great deal of range and complexity built right into their show. There execution and endurance of this not so easy of a piece was evident throughout.

The New York Drummers Association "NYDA" was represented by Bill McGrath performing four solos from a Jr. corps of the late 50’s-60’s; known as the "Emerald Cadets", of Rochester, N.Y. These solos were written for this field competition corps by Doug Kleinhans and were enhanced by Bill McGrath Jr. which is something that Kleinhans encouraged his drum students to do. This presentation ended up being a solo endeavor as two of the three intended performers could not be at the convention. These selections are dedicated to Doug Kleinhans, the McGrath family, Arlene Putnam and all corps members.

Also, in keeping with the original intent of the N.Y.D.A. and the U.S.A.R.D. "Paddy On The Hand Car" was performed in its original written form without variations, extensions or modifications. This is done to encourage drumming groups to include a solo in their repertoire of an ancient style and promoting a piece with as much original authenticity as possible.

C.A.D.R.E., also known as the Canadian Association of Drumming Rudimental Excellence, was presented by Paul Mosley and Fred Johnson. Selections played are intended for individual and ensemble competition later in the season. Paul Mosley, Brian Fazackerley, Gary Gomez, Jim Kane, John Swartz, Cliff Blundell, Ron Meyers and Josh Jarrell. Selections from our 2015 competition arrangement entitled: “Boy in a Red Barchetta” ‘barchetta’ being a small, Italian sports car. CADRE also played a medley of well known rudimental drumming classics from championship corps. The CADRE performance was followed by John Flowers and Paul Mosley playing a very intricate snare and bass drum duet.

A special presentation from the Connecticut Patriots with presenter Don Mason was next. On snare was Brendan Mason, Matt Thompson, Peter Mason, Dave Sady, Joe Sastre and Lee Caron; on bass was Colin Mason, Scott Bousquet, Don Mason. Fifers were Laura Degree, Rob Randall, Tishka Musco, Phyllis Thompson, Pete Degree, Lois Lafrance, Paul Mason, Melissa Burritt, Cherri Costa, Michael Andrews, Amanda Avery, Kathy Hutchinson, Michelle Randall, Kathy Bousquet and Sara Brown. The very impeccably squared away and military appearing Drum Major for the group was Joe Campbell.

The Connecticut Patriots Sr. Ancient Fife & Drum Corps performed in full ensemble highlighting fife, snare, and bass. The focus of the presentation was on performance with an emphasis on the interface between segments of the ensemble. The Patriots were founded in 1978 with members coming from the Connecticut Yanks, the Connecticut Blues and the Yalesville Seniors Fife and Drum Corps.

Over the past 37 years, a number of members have come and gone, but the unique, driving sound of the Corps remains. Most medleys in our repertoire are written or arranged by members or friends, with custom harmonies on the fife and complex rhythms and high demand in the drum parts. Pay special note to the interplay between the snare and bass drums, coupled with the melody line on the fifes.

Performance pieces from the Ct. Patriots were that of Southern Comfort a medley including Dixie, Kingdom Coming, the Girl I Left Behind Me and Ruben Ruben. The next selection was that of Stillman's Reel/ When We Go Down to Washington which includes drum beat Crazy Monumental by Lancraft Legend Jack McGuire. When We Go Down to Washington was arranged by Eleanor Borek and Robert Redican for the Connecticut Yanks. The March Past of the Kitchen Utensils is a 6/8 Standpiece based on the 3rd Movement of Vaughan Williams' The Wasps and arranged by Brendan Mason. When Sick Is It Tea You Want? which is another 6/8 Stand piece and arranged by former member and instructor Jim Shea. That medley takes it's name from the Irish Jig a popular fiddle tune.

Anther selection was Yankee Doodle the Connecticut state song and is a crowd favorite and includes a drum score by Paul Cormier with a pedal tone arrangement on the fifes by Jim Shea. Edinburgh Castle is the Connecticut Patriot's Signature Standpiece, arranged by Mal Karwoski and Jim Clark, the first instructors of the Corps. It has remained relatively unchanged, and played continuously throughout the Corps existence. Red Wings is a folk song written in 1907 by Kerry Mills and Thurland Chattaway. It was sung by John Wayne in three different movies, and now arranged by Bill Hart and Brendan Mason for the Patriots. Drummony-4 This harmonized drum solo begins with an Ostinato bass part in the first movement that resolves at the end of that movement. This second section included traditional fife & drum parts "with a twist" ending with an exciting accelerando leading to a hard driving finale arranged by Brendan Mason. This outstanding Connecticut Patriots Corps was the epitome of high performance skill. They were excellent in every aspect of their presentation and a delight to be with.

We then went on to the Saturday evening festivities, with cocktails in ballroom followed by dinner, and speakers. Presentations and Acknowledgements commenced with a moment of silence and acknowledgement for Rod Goodhart, Eric Perrilloux, Leo Ehrhard and John Hanewich.

Lifetime Achievements were posthumously awarded to Frank Arsenault, Hugh Quigley, Bobby Redican, Bobby Thompson, Sanford Augustus "Gus" Moeller, Les Parks, Billy Reamer, and Rodney Goodhart. The newest acknowledgement of Lifetime Membership was Ron Church. Gary Gillotti, of the N.E. Chapter and the Connecticut Rebels presented two awards for the Sullivan Scholarships. This years recipients are Jessica Wahlers of Western Connecticut State University and Hattie Hevrin of Johnson State College. Joe Gillotti, 1st Vice President of the U.S.A.R.D., introduced Mathew Lyons Jr. who presented the 2015 Sonny Lyons Memorial Student Awards. This year's recipients were Giovanni Colavolpe and Robbie Myers. The President's comments were that promoting drumming in high schools and colleges, as well as connecting the philosophies of the NARD, the former APRDC, the current NAfME, and the USARD is what is going to keep rudimental drumming alive and on track.

An after dinner performance was by "Jeff Prosperie, section leader and principal drummer of West Point Hellcats. Jeff is the only individual to capture a "Triple Crown" which is that of DCI, PAS, DCA. He performed his award winning solo. He displayed a mastery of speed, agility and execution in his very highly fascinating performance. He is obviously one of the most tasteful and refined drummers in the country. Jeff, by example, sets a high standard for excellence and is a fine model of leadership and commitment for his country, community and family. To say the least we were most impressed.

Jeff also brought along son Jeff Prosperie Jr. to the convention. We were proud to have young Jeff participate in the massed drumming. He shows the distinction of early refinement as a performer and certainly is on track to being a good drummer in his own right. We were pleased to see the progress of this fine gentleman playing along with his dad as well as the rest of us.

The second after dinner feature, and forth clinician, was Dominick Cuccia. His presentation was "The Groove and Interpretation of traditional and not-so-traditional rudimental drumming." He shared thirty minutes of exercises and music that help teachers work with students of traditional style rudimental drumming, as well as people looking to participate at a fife and drum muster.

It was a delight to see Terese Cuccia perform on fife, then on rudimental bass drum, then stand next to Dominick and play snare drum just as well as he did. Terese was truly the hidden jewel in this drumming convention as shown by her dedication to her performance, her effort to coordinate the presentation and do all of that with the simultaneous stewardship for her children along the way. Another real treat was to see their kids participate in all levels of the presentation with purpose and highly polished stage presence. Little Francis stole the show with his rudimental bass drum contribution all while being in time with his hands and in step wit his feet. All of these young ones were a real treat.

By the time we were to the third "Massed Drumming performance," of “Yankee Doodle,” “Three Camps” and The Downfall of Paris we executed to a high level of performance and it was enjoyed by all who played.

The very last thing we did was to hold our U.S.A.R.D. annual meeting for all those in attendance. We spoke of things that went well and things that could be improved on as well as thinking about a date and place for our next convention which is likely to be held in Danbury again. Overall it was well received and a very nice time. Our highest thanks and recognition goes to our Executive Committee and Board of Advisors listed below as they did a fantastic job of securing detail and making the this convention a pleasurable time for all.

Past Vice President of External Affairs Gary Rockwell
Vice President Internal Affairs Joe Gillotti
Treasurer Charlie Kammer
Secretary Gary Gillotti
Bill McGrath President

Advisory Board
Nick Biscotti
John Bosworth
Ron Church
John Flowers
Bill Hartmann
Bill Mojica
Doug Morrow
Bob Zarfoss

"If rudimental drumming were easy..."

 Post subject: Re: USARD 2015 Summary
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:05 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 9:13 am
Posts: 324
Location: Connecticut
Thanks for sharing that, Rick!

 Post subject: Re: USARD 2015 Summary
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 6:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 2486
Dominick's family performed this salute to the troops. Dominick, your young son on the small bass drum up front is TOO cute!
And what a masterful job you displayed on the snare drum. Such a fluid and effortless style. Congratulations! ... roops.html

 Post subject: Re: USARD 2015 Summary
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 9:22 am
Posts: 2162
Location: Mobile, AL
I agree with Dennis, Dominick-great job, and great salute to the armed forces, and yes, the little bass drunmer is super-cute! Now I'm all 4th of July'd up!

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