Col. Truman W. Crawford
The first Hall of Fame induction was bittersweet for the Bands of America family, with the recent passing of Col. Crawford, who died March 3, 2003. Col. Truman W Crawford was commander of the "Commandant's Own" Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps from 1973 until retiring in 1998. Col. Crawford's influence extended well beyond the Marines. At points in the 1960s and 1970s, virtually every championship drum and bugle corps in the country was playing one of the hundreds of arrangements he made.
Shortly after high school graduation in 1953, he auditioned for the U.S. Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps and was accepted as a baritone bugler. In short order, he became the corps' musical director and senior noncommissioned officer. But the unit was disbanded in 1963, and he moved to Chicago to run a music store. He continued to arrange and consult with civilian drum and bugle corps. Based on his reputation, he was asked to join the Marines in 1967 as a chief music arranger. During his tenure there, he jazzed up the playlist with show tunes and other popular music, and instituted a "slide-and-glide" style of marching that was a cool display of military efficiency. He also was influential in persuading manufacturers to produce bugles with two valves instead of one, allowing a greater range of notes. Both of these innovations helped shaped drum corps and marching band as we know it today.
Col. Crawford performed before nine presidents, many of whom he knew on a first-name basis. When he retired, he was the oldest Marine on active duty.
"For a drum and bugle corps, he was our John Philip Sousa," says Michael H. Gardner, who had been the corps' drum major under Col. Crawford.
"Tru:" A Man Easy To Love
Larry McCormick remembers his friend and college Col. Truman Crawford My personal memories of Colonel Truman Crawford date back to the fifties when the late Colonel was simply "Tru" to his friends, and a marching member of the Air Force Drum & Bugle Corps," says Larry McCormick, founder of Bands of America. "I was a young drummer marching in the Cavaliers, in the Washington D.C. American Legion Parade, marching to the Capitol building as "Tru" and his buddy Bob McGee (former Cavalier) from the Air Force corps joined us, and marched along inside our ranks, in their Air Force uniforms, playing our Cavalier music.
My next memories of Tru were when he left the Air Force corps (about 1962) and moved to Chicago to teach the Royal AirsJunior Drum Corps. I was teaching the Cavaliers at the time and the Royal Airs, under Tru's teaching rapidly became our most competitive cross-town rival. Over many years Tru and I developed a long and mutual respect for each other. We became close friends as we taught together, wrote music together, and judged drum corps together.
Truman was known for his famous swing style arrangements for the Royal Airs and the Baltimore Yankee Rebels. He had special gifts in arranging and sharpened his skills while serving as arranger and director of the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps and hanging out with other great arrangers in D.C. like Sammy Nestico. Truman left the Royal Airs to take up the role as Director of the U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, in D.C. where he worked his way up to the rank of full Colonel in the Marines before he retired in 1998.
Truman (the Colonel) and I became even closer friends as he brought his renowned Marine Drum Corps, starting in 1978, to annually perform and clinic at our Bands of America National competitions and workshops. The Marines, his Corps, always brought a very special high level of quality to our Bands of America events. My wife and I had the pleasure of being able to call Truman and his beloved wife Lucille our personal friends for over 30 years. We were proud to attend the Marine special events in D.C. and Colonel Crawford's retirement celebration at the Marine Barracks. We were greatly saddened when we visited his home in Gettysburg this past July, to discover that Tru had just been diagnosed the day before with Lou Gehrig's disease.
"Tru" was named to the first Bands of America Hall of Fame this March, and I felt blessed to be able to attend his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery where he was buried with full military honors on a hillside overlooking the Washington Monument. He was greatly loved, will be sorely missed, and was indeed a "Tru" friend and brother in Christ.
My Father, Truman Crawford
I feel sorry for people who lead ordinary lives. Mine was anything but! Having been born in 1957,to Truman W Crawford(Bones) and Lucille Edna Ellis, Crawford, I can still remember his time with the Air Force drum and bugle corps. My memories go back to my crib.Dad job had him traveling world wide constantly. But when he was at home, we often had musicians around our house. Right up until he became an officer in the U.S.M.C. My father loved to entertain. The Air Force D&B traveled all over the world, performing before Kings and Queens and foreign dignitaries. Since the Eisenhower administration. Most military families have to deal with being transfered, but we were always stationed in Washington D.C.during his times with the Air Force and the Marine D&B's. My family traveled constantly, due to Dads involvement, in Drum and Bugle corps. From the time we moved from Wash. D.C to Chicago Illinois, my mother made a new family law, WE DO EVERYTHING, AS A FAMILY! Dad had opened a Drum and Bugle Corps music store,SOUNDS AND SONGS, and he had a van. He went to Sears and purchased a tent and some aluminum bunk beds to strap to either side of the van and we began our drum corps adventure as a family. Dad would spend all his free time arranging music. Either at his desk in the den, or sitting in his favorite chair in front of the t.v. with the family. Here is a list of some of the drum and bugle corps he arranged for and taught.
Altoona Mariners,Amboy Dukes,Archer-Epler Musketeers,Becker-Chapman AL Post#138,Belleville CardinalsBlack Eagles,Blue Notes,Boys of 76,Brockport Grenadiers,Canadian Commanders,Cheverly Cavaliers,Chicago Diplomats,Chicago Royal Airs Alumni,Commonwealth Edison,Cortland Matadors,Crusaders Sr.,DuquesneDukes,Empire State Grenadiers,Empire Statesmen,Erie Cadets,Erie Thunderbirds,Freestatesmen,Gardener Guards,Garfield Cadets Alumni Corps,Gloversville Yellow Jackets,Grey Knight Crusaders,Hamilton Viscounts,Hanover Lancers Alumni Corps, Harvey Seeds Rebels, Hawthorne Caballeros,Interstatesmen(Troy N.Y.),Interstatesmen(Pittsfield MA),Joaquin Caballeros,Jolly Jesters,Keesler A.F.BBlue Knights,Kentucky Colonels,Kilties Sr.Corps,Latrobe Colonials,Les Diplomats,Marching Ambassadors,Marion Cavaliers,Massachusetts Legends of Drum Corps,Memorial Lancers,Men Of Brass,Midshipmen,New Bedford Whalers,Pittsburg Rockets,Presidents,Preston Scout House,Privateers,Red Devils,Red Raiders,Rochester Crusaders,Royalaires senior,Santa Clara Alumni,Scott AFB Jetnotes,Sharpsburg Cadets,Skokie Indians,Southern Tier Vagabonds,Spirit Of '76,Steel City Ambassadors,Syracuse Brigadiers,Toronto Sygnals,Townson Raiders, U.S.A.F Drum and Bugle Corps,U.S.Naval Academy,U.S.Marine D&B,Westmoreland Esquires,Westshoremen, White Roses,Yankee Rebels,Yankee Rebels Alumni.
1st Canadian Regiment,2nd Signals,76ers,Alouette,Anaheim Kingsmen,Andrew Jackson Presidents,Angels,Angels of Ohio,Argonne Rebels,Arnprior Lions,Auburn Purple Lancers,Bleu Raeders,Blue Devils,Blue Star Cadets,Bluecoats,Cambria Cadets,Canadaires,Cheverly MD Cavaliers,Chevaliers,Colts,Commodores,DeLaSal Oaklands,Diplomat Junior,Dundalk Cadets,Dutch Boy,Emerald Cadets,Emerald Knights,(NY),Florida Vagabonds,Garfield Cadets,General Butler Vagabonds,Gladiateurs de Montreal,Grenadiers of Broome County,Imperial Dragons,Kankakee Blackhawks,Kenwood Cadets,Kiltie Kadets,Kingsmen(NY),Lancers(DC),Lancers(MD),Les Cadets,Little Flower,The Men of Brass,Minonimee Northernaires,Millstadt Crusaders,New Orleans Cadets,New York Lancers,Nisie Ambassadors,Norwood Park Imperials,Oakland Crusaders,Ottawa Cadet,Pinole Princemen,Police Boys and Girls Club(Wash.D.C.)Racine Scouts,Rebel Devils,Royal Airs,Royalaires,Royal Lancers,Santa Clara Vanguard,Seneca Optimists,Shamrocks, Sharpsburg Cadets,Silhouettes,Southwind,Spartans(IL),Squires of Ontario,St.Josephs of Batavia,Stardusters,Starlighters,Toronto Optimists,Vaqueros,Velvet Knights,Velvet Viking Cadets,VIPS,Virginia Lancers,Washington Royal sabers,Weimei,White Knights(MD)Wynn Center Toppers.York White Roses.
A year and a half prior to Dads passing, I began spending 4 days out of every week at home with him in Gettysburg. I knew before he'd retired that there was something wrong with him. Even without a diagnosis,I had a bad feeling. In the time I spent with him I began cataloging his music arrangements and compositions. Music which I've listed in myspace.http://www.myspace.com/cin4057.I asked what should become of his arrangements. His reply was that "he wanted his music arrangements, to be given to any school music program, or any drum and bugle corps, that had little or no funding. Free of charge." Currently his music is being stored in The Marine Corps Museum Archives, in Quantico VA.Where it will forever be safe.
From the time I was born, I spent my whole childhood listening to him arrange and teach, his music. I laughingly remark, that I learned the music before the drum corps did. Truman Crawford was someone who drew your eye. Someone who everyone wanted to be around. Every person who knew him has a plethora of memories and anecdotes about Tru Crawford. I count myself as the luckiest daughter alive to have had Truman Crawford for a father. From the time I became old enough to sit still, shut up and don't speak until spoken to, he allowed me to sit in the rehearsal hall, to watch him teach. How could I not! He was mesmerizing. He constantly whistled, hummed or sang. At the commissary on Bolling A.F.Base, where he shopped for so many years.He was quite popular. He also surprised many people. Picture yourself doing your shopping and suddenly this tall fellow, strolls past you and starts singing out loud, to the piped music. He sang or hummed constantly. It was always a different genre. Anything from Broadway show tunes to barbershop. He had a silly falsetto opera voice, that always made people laugh. He was ever the entertainer. I don't ever remember a time that I felt embarrassed by him doing such a thing. I do the same thing myself.
My father and mother raised 6 children. Bob, Cindy, David, Truman Jr, Lisa and Cain. Never, did we complain about going to a rehearsal,drum corps contest or parade. Drum corps was just as much in our blood as it was his. My brother Bob, was in high school band and was a member of the Yankee Rebels drum line. He played cymbols and tympani. David played a horn for a season. I(Cindy)was in a baton corps as a child. The Carroltones. I spent time with the White Knights honor guard. I didn't last long because of my fathers schedule, prevented me from doing much. He'd need to be in one place and I, in another.It was most unfortunate,for me, that the Yankee Rebels was all male. It wasn't until my father passed away, that I became a member of a drum corps. I learned guard work with the Reading Buccaneers all age corps from November 2003 till June of 2004, when my body gave out. I began teaching myself, to play a baritone bugle, in November of 2004, when I joined and continue to play with the Yankee Rebels Alumni corps. I've also played with The Music Express, for 2 years. I've sat in on rehearsals and performed with the Royal Airs Alumni and the Westshoremen. I just began playing with the Hawthorne Caballeros. Having spent so many years listening to Dad teach at drum corps rehearsals, I learned a great deal more than I was aware of. From the time I began learning how to play, I could remember his lessons. I had listened right along with the musicians from the time I could walk. Time and time again. We all need a fulfilling hobby in our lives. I followed my fathers example and made playing in a drum and bugle corps mine, and I've never been happier. I do it all, in memory of My Dad, Truman Crawford.
Dad coined the phrase"I'm A Drum Corps Nut" back in the 1960's. From the time Dads high school band teacher, Mr. Stall,gave my father his beginnings. Until the day he died. Music, Drum and bugle corps,and the U.S. Marine D&B Corps, were his life. The Marine Drum And Bugle Corps, are honoring Truman W Crawford, by re-naming Phillip Sousa Hall, at Marine Barrachs 8th & Ist. Wash. D.C, Truman Crawford Hall. Truman Crawford touched the lives of countless people in his life. He will always be remembered.
- “Taps for Truman:” By Colleen Devitt Karuza www.chicagoroyalairs.com
- “If It’s To Be, It’s Up To Me”: A tribute to Colonel Truman Crawford by Michael Boo dci.org 3/06/2003