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Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:46 pm
Ok, here is a good place to remineice. I know there is not a lot of older guys and gals who are in these forums, who have an interest in today's marching bands, primarily field show bands. But it would be fun for those who used to be in parade youth bands in California in the 70's and 80's to share their moments in this forum. Practically all of these bands are long gone now. Too bad no pics exist of these bands from days of old, so the current band kids can see what there was before the bands of today.

I, myself, was a member of the Downey City Youth Band (1976), California Cavalry Youth Band (1974), South Gate City Youth Band (1977) and the Long Beach Jr. Concert Band (1977-1982). I can say I marched in a lot of parades in Socal, before the field show competitions became the norm.

So, please share your affiliations to a youth band you used to march with and in what years you marched with them.

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:13 pm
by clarinetking
Interesting posting. I remember the "old days" of the youth bands too.

In fact there was a youth band council that had almost 40 bands in it at one time. Almost every city had a youth band. It was very cool.

I started my days with the Downey City Youth Band. In high school I moved over to the Whittier Elks Cavaliers band from 67-70. I served the last year and a half as the drum major.

In 1970 I founded and directed the California Cavalry Youth Band in Cerritos. We had a good run until about 1977. I also helped to kick start the Commodores Youth Band in Fullerton.

I remember the rich competitions between bands. The Royal Cavaliers from Van Nuys and the Whittier Cavaliers were hard at it for years. Long Beach Junior Concert and the Santa Ana Winds are still at it. There were bands from Burbank, Reseda, San Diego, Los Angeles, and so many others. Hey about the Sound Machine? Woooo hooooooo

Going back to the days of the Robin Hood Band and some of the early LAPD Bands....great groups. We used to hold big performances at Christmas on stage at the Dorothy Chandler. I remember the South Gate City youth band and the "dancing band" from Huntington Park. Los Caballeros, West Valley Youth Band, Norwalk All City Band, and the City of Commerce Youth Band. It was a TON of fun at the time.

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:44 pm
by Wildabeast
I did some time with the Golden Empire Suns Youth Band from Bakersfield during the summers of 1983 - 1989. Not only did we do parades, but we also did concerts. We never did any sort of field competition mainly because of the wide age range (elementary through high school). However, we did exhibition at a couple of the drum corps shows when they were in town at the college (10x's a better venue than where it has been hosted as of late).
Some of the places we went to: East Coast (from Florida to Pennsylvania), Vancouver (Canada, 1986 World's Fair), Australia (1988 World's Fair), Utah, Wyoming, and even SoCal.

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:55 pm
by Ryan H. Turner
I think I had crossed paths with Mr. Campbell as he remembered the same Shrine Auditorium Youth Band "festivals" we used to have. In any event, and quite seriously, this would be a VERY fascinating chapter in Vore's book, but the Youth Band scene was VERY dynamic in southern California. It wasn't, at least in my view, an "answer" to the drum corps scene for those that didn't want to march drum corps. Rather, it was a completely SEPERATE activity that just had a vast amount of popularity. Fortunately, I was involved during a pretty hefty and competitive time in the activity.

I began my youth band career by joining the Boys' Club of Pasadena Youth Band in 1977, or there abouts. David Miller, who is now the director at Pasadena High School, was my director there. I actually credit David with throwing me into the deep end of the "conducting pool" by allowing volunteers to go to the front of the band and conduct the "Star Spangled Banner". I did a great 3/4 pattern...BACKWARDS. My two was the wrong direction. BUT DANG IT I KEPT GREAT TIME! Little did I know that that experience in 7th grade would be a precursor to future DM experiences. Boys' Club Youth Band did parades, concerts, rest homes--that sort of thing. Dues were cheap. Uniforms were even CHEAPER!! LOL!! It was a great experience. I toured with them to La Paz, Mexico (first time out of the country) and spent a week as the Musical Ambassadors of the US. We actually played a village that had not had any outside entertainment in over 14 years. The ENTIRE village showed up, and ate up EVERY minute of our performance. THEN, as an encore, we decided to see what would happen if we played "Zecataces". Well, that song to them is what the "Stars and Stripes" are to us. We almost caused a FREAKIN' RIOT!! They thought we were GODS. It was an unbelievable experience for this 8th grader. Also toured up to Mammoth Lakes, and Mazatlan Mexico and San Francisco. It was really a great experience. They also had a great jazz band program, and I was introduced to Tony Garcia and got to play with some great players, including the incredible Neal Finn. THAT was an eye opener. I grew out of the system by the time I was in 11th or 12th grade and sort of moved on in life.

My next experience was being named the "Director of Marching" for the Burbank Lancers Youth Band. THAT was a great job. It was the season right after I aged out of VK. I thought my poop didn't stink. I had my own little band, I got to write the drill, teach everything, be responsible for a lot of stuff, and I was only 22 and I had no clue what the hell I was doing.

BUT THEY CAME IN SECOND PLACE AT CHAMPIONSHIPS right behind this guy named Jon Steinwinder and his group called.....that's right...the Spirit of Sunnyvale. Little did I know TEN YEARS LATER or so Jon and my paths would cross, and we would team up to produce one of the most popular marching band field shows ever in southern California, and that was of course Fountain Valley's immortal "Waterworld" show.

You know--A LOT of directors in southern California have roots that go back to the massive youth band movement in southern California. I could go on for DAYS about my experiences. But I think two things occurred during my days that affected me later...

1) Gave me a love for marching and for conducting. Obviously that helped me.


2) Got me ready for the VK experience of touring for 3 years with them on the road. A drum corps experience is FAR more intense HOWEVER, I was able to assimilate rather quickly and touring was not an issue. Well, except for that fever I got in Hutchinson, Kansas and I conducted a show with a 103 fever in 95 degree heat. It was HOSPITAL TIME AFTER THAT!!! memories.

Forever live the Shrine Auditorium!!!

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:03 pm
by Wildabeast
Ryan H. Turner wrote: BUT THEY CAME IN SECOND PLACE AT CHAMPIONSHIPS right behind this guy named Jon Steinwinder and his group called.....that's right...the Spirit of Sunnyvale.
My wife was in that band (maybe not at that particular timeframe). They took first at the 1988 Youth Band championships in Seattle with their "New World Symphony" show (the year BEFORE Phantom Regiment's infamous rendition). You could have looked at SoS as a "feeder" group for the Santa Clara Vanguard. Jim Casella was in SoS.

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:42 pm
by LoyalTubist
How many are left today?

The only one I can think of is the Santa Ana Winds.

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:03 pm
by Jakob der ludner
LoyalTubist wrote:How many are left today?

The only one I can think of is the Santa Ana Winds.
There's also the Long Beach Junior Concert Band, and I recently saw the Norwalk All City Band. I'm not sure how many others there are.

Whittier Cavaliers were awesome

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:12 am
by Husky Band Director
OK, who are you calling OLD?!?

I marched with Whittier Cavaliers from '77-'82, and was the drum major in 1980-81. We rehearsed mostly at California High School in Whittier, and later at Pioneer High School in Santa Fe Springs. I marched over 20 parades as drum major, marching with a sabre! I remember watching Greg Rochford as the drum major of the Santa Ana Winds back then, and Tim Benge was in Cavaliers my first year. The first show I marched featured music from Porgy & Bess and A Chorus Line. We competed in parades against the Royal Cavaliers, Long Beach Junior Concert Band, Santa Ana Winds, Torrance Area Youth Band, Los Caballeros, Norwalk All-City Band, and others. We also saw some out-of-state band like the Imperials at field shows. We also traveled to Calgary, Canada, and many weekend overnight trips like the BLYTHE parade...

Greg Haake was my first drum major in Cavies, and later he was our director (and a very good arranger). Greg even had us play Holst 1st Suite on the street. It was very cool.

One of the hilights of my youth band days was when we would open for the DCI shows. A few youth bands would compete first to warm the crowd up for the Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Freelancers, etc. In 1980, we hosted a show at Cal State LA that featured the afformentioned corps AND the Crossmen and the Spirit of Atlanta. (Side note - 1980 Spirit is the loudest corps I have ever heard, and I was on the track for that show!)

In the early '80s youth bands were shrinking in size, so we held what were called "standstill" competitions. Basically, the field was shrunk to the 30-yard lines and the 2nd hash (something like that).

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers folded around '85. Greg started a band called the Commodores, but they didn't last long either. It's just so darn expensive to run a band!

I still have my jacket, but it is several sizes too small at this point. :wink:

Shrine Shows

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:16 am
by Husky Band Director
That's right, I almost forgot about those Shrine Shows. We played a couple of those on that GINORMOUS stage. I remember playing "76 Trombones" from "The Music Man" with the composer Meredith Wilson conducting!

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:04 am
by Bandmaster
LoyalTubist wrote:How many are left today?

The only one I can think of is the Santa Ana Winds.
Only three apparently. The Winds, Long Beach and Norwalk. These are the only survivors left from an era when the high school bands were not very active and kids that wanted more out of band joined extracurricular bands, or youth bands, to get the experience they wanted. There were dozens of youth bands all over Southern California and some in the northern half of the state too. Plus a few in Oregon and Washington along with a large group of them in the Great Lakes area of the mid-west and Canada.

I grew up in the youth band scene and was part of it for 30 years. I joined the Long Beach Junior Concert Band back in 1969, worked my up to music assistant, then became the assistant director of the Los Caballeros and finally founded my own band called the Sound Machine of the Inland Empire based in the Chino/Ontario/Upland area in 1984. But the explosion of activity that the high school bands went throught in the mid 1990's eventually did in most of the youth bands. Kids no longer needed to go outside their high school bands to get what they wanted, the school bands were now trying to do it all. The Sound Machine ended it's run in 1999.

I remember SoCal youth bands like the Paramount Patriots Youth Band, the Downey Youth Band, the Bellflower Youth Band, the Toppers Youth Band, the Torrance Area Youth Band, the Robin Hood Band, the Royal Cavaliers, the West Valley Youth Band, the Reseda Youth Band, the Los Angeles Youth Band, the Los Angeles Police Junior Band, the Burbank Youth Band, the Westchester-Del Rey Youth Band, the Glendale Continentals Youth Band, the Florence Youth Band, the High Desert Rebels Youth Band, the Huntington Park Youth Band, the Long Beach Youth Band, the "Original" Long Beach Junior Concert Band (James E. Sun director), the Whittier Elks Cavaliers Youth Band, the Los Caballeros Youth Band, the Carson Junior Concert Band, the Commodores Youth Band, the California Calvary Youth Band, the South Gate Youth Band, the Inland Empire Royal Knights Youth Band, the San Bernardino Youth Band, the California Knights Youth Band (Riverside), Ozzie's Youth Band, the San Diego Youth Band, plus a few that I have undoubtedly forgotten.....

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 8:17 am
by Ryan H. Turner
Now...isn't that amazing!!!???

Wildabeasts WIFE marched in the SOS the same year I was the director of marching for the 2nd place Burbank Lancers.


It was through the Burbank Lancers that I met officially Dave "Bandmaster" he was the director of Sound Machine by then. ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND, that's where I met a very, very talented drum major of the Sound Machine by the name of Kendall....who would end up years later singing a DUET with my WIFE at a freakin WEDDING....


I first met Mike Gaughn I believe in my senior year (83-84) as he was the lead screamer trumpet for the world famous Herald Trumpets for the TofR Parade and I was an obnoxious trombone player. Mike and my paths would again cross as he was the lead screamer bad ass with The Big Brown Music Machine, and I was once again, a loud obnoxious trombone player...who during a rehearsal of our "concert" number that year "Conga", Marvin Branson stopped the rehearsal, and over the PA system and from atop the TOWER yelled at the top of his lungs, "MISTER TURNER, YOU ARE PLAYING ENTIRELY TOOOOOOOOOOOOO LOUD FOR THIS MARCHING BAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

To which I responded, rather appropriately might I add, "Well, everybody else better start playing louder!!!"

Remember that Mike???

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:58 am
by Chaporch
Oh, the days . . . I will have to sit down and share my memories when I return from Chicago.

I spent over 7 years in the Santa Ana Winds back in the 70's and 80's and now I'm one of the Assistant Directors.

Many, MANY great times in the youth band activity. :D :D


Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:27 pm
by Husky Band Director
I'm sorry, Ryan, were you talking just then? I'm still trying to recover my hearing from marching in front of and next to you and Greg Flores, John Ryther, Phil Mortensen, Dave Weinberg, Vince Banim, Robert Whittaker, and so many other professional band guys.

By the way, that T of R Herald Trumpet section included Kevin Mayse (leader) and Tim Divers (he plays for a living). Not bad for a bunch of teenagers...

Old School

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:00 pm
by Mad City
Does anyone remember a band from Rock Falls, Illinois that toured out here in 75'? I was in that band. We will never forget our toughest competition...Van Nuys Royal Cavaliers. Awsome!

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:46 pm
by clarinetking
Oh HECK yes I remember the Rock Falls Band. I even hosted one of the bands at my school in Santa Ana but can't remember which one that year. Rock Falls was a good band and yes....the Royal Cavaliers were HOT on the field that summer.