Fitchburg Kingsmen


Other Names:St. Joseph's Cadets, Black Hawks

Fitchburg, MA United States
Founded: 1952

Inactive Junior
Division III

CORPS Photos

Nearly sixty years ago, about 1954, a parish priest and a few of his parishioners got together to form a productive activity for the boys of their Massachusetts community of Fitchburg. This new musical group was the St. Joseph's Cadets, the first ancestor of today’s Fitchburg Kingsmen. In the early years, under the auspices of the church, the corps traveled throughout the city, entertaining the community and marching in parades.

After a few years, when it became apparent that church funding alone would not be able to sustain the corps, a few adults took over its management, changing the name in the process to the Black Hawks. Although youth interest remained high, costs soon demanded a more stable sponsor; that sponsor arrived in the form of the Fitchburg Order of Eagles. A name like the Black Hawks seemed inappropriate for an Eagles-sponsored group, so the corps renamed itself the Fitchburg Kingsmen.

The corps remained an all-male unit throughout its early years, and grew in reputation and respect. The adults wrote bylaws and established a full-fledged non-profit organization in 1950. More and more people were becoming involved over the seasons, and numerous fundraisers kept the corps in operation.

By the early seventies quite a crowd of young women was following the corps wherever it traveled. The corps clearly had to become more inclusive, and girls were welcomed into the Kingsmens’ ranks. Again the corps grew in size and respectability. With the assistance of the Massachusetts State Lottery, a weekly bingo game began to help the corps’ finances keep pace with its needs; the new funding purchased three used Silver Eagle buses to transport the corps.

And the corps’ travel schedule was growing heavier. They were now competing on a national level in Drum Corps International with travel taking them as far south as Florida, as far north as Canada, and as far west as Colorado. No matter where the corps went, they were warmly received and enthusiastically applauded. The young people became young ambassadors of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, wherever they went, and brought home many citations and trophies. The Kingsmen's highest DCI finish was fourth in Class A Finals, in 1979.

In 1988, 1989, and 1990 the Kingsmen competed as a senior corps. Many of the men and women who had marched with the corps as youngsters put on their marching shoes once again under the direction of the late Pepe Notaro. They finished 12th at DCA Finals twice, in 1989 and 1990.

The Kingsmen returned to the ranks of the junior corps in 1993, but rising costs limited travel, shortened itineraries, and eventually grounded their buses. But their competitive spirit endured. The corps still paid for professional instruction, uniforms, equipment, insurance, transportation, repair of instruments, and utilities at the hall. Even with bingo games every night of week, costs continued to challenge the continued survival of one of the activity’s oldest continuing drum corps. The corps finally disbanded in January of 2000.

[http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Park/1219/history3.htm]

Members (19)

Member Name Section Years Involved
(Progin) Grifffith, Cindy Brass 1988 to 1989
Bastien, Dick Percussion 1968 to 1970
Bastien, Mike Drum Line 1966 to 1969
Beauregard, Edward Soprano/Baritone 1956 to 1960
Comeau, Karen Color Guard 1973 to 1977
Courtemanche, Dave Contra Bass 1965 to 1971
Grelle, Frank Instructor 1997
Jeffrey, Mike Drums 1963 to 1976
LaQuire, John drumline 1978 to 1981
Maguy, Cheryl color guard and horn 1970 to 1977
Mallard, Brett Brass/Drum Major 1967 to 1977
Pelletier, James Drum Major 1969 to 1970
Richardson, Ann color guard 1969 to 1975
riley, kathy brass 1996 to 2000
Roy, Donna French Horn 1972 to 1978
Smith, Dave Drumline 1970 to 1975
Smith, Marshall drumline 1966 to 1975
Sturtevant, Sharron drum line 1972 to 1975
Wiles (Brouillet), Beverly Color Guard/Flag 1st yr/Rifle the following yrs 1970 to 1977
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