We are pleased to announce that the 10th annual U.S.A.R.D. convention will gain be held at the Best Western Genetti Hotel & Convention Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Next year’s convention will be held on April 25th, 26th, & 27th 2019
This year’s convention wrap-up:
Our 9th Annual 2018 U.S.A.R.D. Convention took place at the
Genetti Hotel in Wilkes Barre, Pa. Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, with our business partners Cooperman Drum Company and Calderwood Percussion.
We opened this very energetic and well received event with the Pledge of Allegiance.
The New England Chapter of U.S.A.R.D., was introduced by Gary Gillotti as our first presenters headed by Gary with performers, Joe Gillotti, Mary Saunders, Paul Saunders, Randy Wilcox, Dave Hevrin, and Al Merritt. This group stays with the fundamental concept of preserving rudiments as portrayed buy their routine of rudimental selections. The group never misses target of capturing the essence of why we do what we do at U.S.A.R.D.
Tributes were next along with a moment of silence for that of Bill Boerner of the N.Y. Skyliner’s performed by Joe Fontana, Glenn McCausland of Lancraft with a performance by Al Merritt, Wayne Oien with a performance by Kevin Donka and Gary Gomez, and Jimmy Bowser with a performance by Nick Biscotti and Bill McGrath. There was also an honorable mention of Jimmy Gaboardi of the Danbury Drum Corps who spent 68 years with that one unit, which is a most honorable endeavor.
Mass Drumming was next with our largest amassing of drummers we have ever had and performed the Downfall of Paris, Three-Camps, Old Dan Tucker, Paddy on the Handcar, Crazy Army and the Grey Ghost.
The Saturday Morning part of our convention opened with a Special Presentation by Joe Tompkins who made a presentation on French Drumming. Mr. Tompkins holds a Bachelor of Music with a Performance Certificate from Eastman School of Music, an Master of Music in Orchestral Performance from Manhattan School of Music and currently head of the Percussion Department at Rutgers also on the faculty of the Percussion Department at Mannes. He gave “A brief history of French Drumming, demonstrating traditional works from the French Regimental Guard, and French-American drumming combinations.”
Ray Moran demonstrated Army Camp Duties of the Revolutionary & Civil War communicating the Role of Snare Drum in war times while speaking of fife & drum signals as means of communication also demonstrating “All Non-Commissioned Officers Call”, “Water Call”, “Wood Call”, “Church Call”.
Chet Doboe presented a “Tribute to Camp Black” by way of a musical performance and explanation, paying tribute to U.S. Army soldiers from the Spanish-American War. He also paid tribute to all Veterans in service to our country paying homage to the freedoms that we all enjoy in America today and recognizing those who were U.S. armed forces service member drummers who are still drumming today.
Middle River Ancients presented next with Bill Mojica, Beth Johnson, Charlie Kammer, Bill Strickland, Nick Biscotti, Ron Church, and Bill Johnson performing compositions specifically designed by their own internal member writers. This is yet another group that keeps focus on the main element of a rudimental based presentation.
St. Lucy’s Drum Ensemble with presenter “Chew” Gernandt performed an extremely complex composition with, high content, range and complexity. Performers were Joe Fontana, Ray Schmerin, Dave Richardson, Tommy Terreri, & Chew Gernandt on Snare, and Nick Stefano and Bill Klimowicz on Rudimental Bass. Drum ensembles who played material such as this were the reason that score sheets were later designed to credit composition and content.
Tom Terreri highlighted his father, Duke Terreri, who was well known in the fife and drum community, and his many accomplishments demonstrating that his father’s writings were effective and of great content.
The Air Force drum ensemble with presenter, Bob Zarfoss and members Eric Landis, Bill Mojica w/ Rudi Bass Bill Stricklin still play with great precision and execution. They don’t take much credit for playing hot but believe me these guys “as they say” still got it.
Our Individuals Contest was next with John Flowers judging.
Categories were Individual Snare Drum, Individual Rudimental Bass Drum, Drum Duet and Drum Ensemble and all were Jr. categories.
The Individuals Contest Winners Were
Drum Duet Score
Jason Malli Jr & Matt Cuccia 84
John Paul & Dominick Cuccia 75
Poppy's Gang 81
Individual Rudimental Bass Drum
Matt Cuccia 75
Olivia Handy 72
Dominick Cuccia 70
Miles Malli 63
Individual Snare Drum
Jeff Prosperie Jr 87
Jason Malli Jr 82
John Paul Cuccia 70
The second half of the day was mustered in by Jim Smith playing of the “Drum Call”.
The New York Chapter of the U.S.A.R.D. consisting of Bill McGrath & Bill Putnam played solos from the Emerald Cadets Jr. Corps of Rochester, N.Y. also performing "Paddy on the Hand Car" in original traditional form with Joe Fontana and Danny Magsamen. Joe Fontana joined McGrath and Putnam in performing “The Fifth Measure Treasure” by Bill McGrath.
C.A.D.R.E. with originator Fred Johnson, presenter Paul Mosley, and performers Ken Miller, John Swartz, Jim Kane, Steve McNamara, Ron Meyers, and Josh Jarrell performed a piece called Drum-scape their 2018 Championship Competition Solo.
Since 2003, the CADRE Drum Ensemble has performed for thousands of people and are the current, and 7-time, DCA Percussion Ensemble World Champions. The CADRE Drum Ensemble have been USARD Members since 2009. The USARD thanked CADRE for their years of support and presented them with a plaque honoring their dedication.
John Flowers Presented “The Phoenix Connection” performing recently written rudimental pieces for modern drum ensemble. Their rendition of Tico-Tico was outstanding.
Jimmy Hurley gave a Special Presentation called OLDE SCHOOL-NEW-SCHOOL-PERPETUAL-SCHOOL. All received a copy of RUDIMENTAL SNARE DRUMMER. The sample solo called “PETERSON" delved into the execution element as performed by Ancient, Traditional and Modern drummers. Another piece called "FRANSEN'S JIBE used rudiments to swing NEW ORLEANS style depicting that a drum set could be employed to bring these writings together in a very interesting way.
Wolpe’s Warriors with presenter Artie Shannon and performers, Steve Wolpe, Arthur Shannon, Jill McCutcheon, John Driscoll and Bill MacDonald. This ensemble consists of rope drummers of former competitive field corps who performed standard and original selections. These fellows were a huge hit with their high energy compositions of great skill and strength.
A Special Presentation for and about “Jack” Pratt was by Presenter MSG Jeff Prosperie of the West Point Hellcats with those past and present was delivered as five separate modules and was called Influences on and by Pratt.
Through performance, demonstration, and anecdotal story this presentation explored the influences on former Hellcat, and PAS and World Drum Corps Halls of Fame member, John S. (Jack) Pratt. Furthermore, the influences he had on the rudimental drum community.
Event #1: “The West Point Influence”
Event #2: “Compositional and Technical Breakdown”
Event #3: “Hellcats Current, Past, and Guest”
Event #4: “Influences on and by Pratt”
Event #5: “Finale” Current Hellcat section performs “A Logical Progression into Relevancy” by Cuthbert & Prosperie.
Presentations, Awards, Acknowledgements were next:
Acknowledgment of Lifetime Members Craig Wix & Thomas C. Terreri.
Bill Messerschmidt, Jason Maines, and John “Skee” Derr have upgraded their standard membership to that of a Life Member.
2018 Sonny Lyons Memorial Student Award: Joe Gillotti, on behalf of Matthew Lyons, Jr., presents this year’s Sonny Lyons Memorial Award to Jason M. Malli, Jr.
Special Awards: N. E. Chapter Scholarship Award was shared by Philip Andrews and Mike Riley.
The after-dinner feature presentation was by Kevin Donka, 2013 DCA Champion Individual Snare Drum Champion and the Riverside Brigade followed by Clinic and Demonstration of separate solo selections. This group of outstanding performers not only capture the audience with their playing skills, but Kevin Donka also can speak about drumming in a most fascinating way to capture your full attention.
Bill McGrath, Jr.
and Executive Committee
of the USARD