San Jose Raiders

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The San Jose Raiders were a junior drum corps based in San Jose, California.


The San Jose Raiders were formed from the disbanded "Knight Raiders". The first season of the San Jose Raiders Drum and Bugle corps was the 1979 season. The uniforms were black and yellow "Bridgemen" looking uniforms and the color guard wore very short versions of the same. In 1979 the corps took 43rd place as an open class drum corps and under the direction of Rocco Oliverio. The corps even practiced on the way home from DCI championships! After the California shows it was a straight shot tour, traveling from San Jose to Birmingham, AL for DCI with no shows in between.

Personnel for the corps in 1979 consisted of:

18 horns - 7 sopranos, 6 baritones, 2 mellophones, 2 french horns, 1 contra
14 percussion - 4 snares, 4 basses, 2 tenors, 2 cymbals, 2 pit
10 color guard
1 drum major

The corps increased size and kept the same look through the 1980 season. In 1981 they changed to a latin-style uniform with the hornline wearing all-black uniforms and flamenco looking hats, and the drum line sporting white puffy sleeved silk shirts with colorful arm bands! They were also unique in that they replaced their snare line with a marching conga line. Tenor drums were replaced by marching timbales.

The final season the Raiders fielded a full field ensemble was 1983. Their highest score was a 72.60 at the 1981 World Open Prelims in Lynn, MA, where they placed third ahead of corps such as the Seattle Imperials, Boston Crusaders and Suncoast Sound. At World Open Finals that evening, however, their score dropped to 67.15 behind Seattle Imperials, but still ahead of Boston Crusaders by .05. Their highest placement at DCI was 23rd in 1982. The 1983 season was fraught with problems, including having the director, Rocco Oliverio, fired by the Board of Directors. Several members left the corps in protest, but many members returned before the corps went on tour.

The staff included some illustrious names commonly associated with DCI finalist corps, with music arranged by the likes of Jim Ott, Wayne Downey, and music instruction by Frank Dorritie, Ralph Hardimon and Bob Kalkofen.

Rocco and subsequent staff members pushed the corps really hard and many people went on to be section leaders and soloists in the Santa Clara Vanguard and Blue Devils and even today some are still soloing in the SF Renegades.

After the full corps folded the organization continued, but as a winter guard only competing in WGI under the direction of Tom Andrews, who began with the Raiders as a marching instructor, nicknamed "Sasquatch".

1979 Hornline - The Eighteen

This 18-person hornline in 1979 carried a large responsibility, sometimes marching at 8-step intervals to cover the field. Several members of this hornline stayed and became the heart of the corps. In 1979 only the sopranos received 2-valve horns, the rest used rotor-piston horns. The Raiders did purchase a full set of new 2-valve horns in 1980.

7 Sopranos

  • Frank Greene - Lead, soloist, went on to become a professional trumpet player for numerous groups, including the bands of Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson, his professional career began while very young, almost immediately after marching in Raiders
  • Glenn Tirado - Lead, had a broken tooth, wild hair, and sometimes lived in a large 70's car with a doghouse bolted to the top of the trunk, yet his girlfriend Yvette was one of the most attractive in the color guard
  • Albert Mendoza - Lower Lead, incredible endurance in marching, parents were constant ardent supporters
  • Gilbert Mancillas - Lower Lead, went on to march in the San Francisco Renegades senior corps
  • Steve Dunton - 2nd, with the other Steve developed a language only the two could understand
  • Steve Kinoshita - 2nd, the only member of the entire San Jose Raiders organization (including staff) to stay with the Raiders its entire 5-year life 1979-1983, marched in Santa Clara Vanguard as one of the "Mighty Four in '84" mellophones of 1984
  • Kevin "Cave-In" Carr - 3rd, every corps has one of these guys, seemed like he couldn't make it at first, but stuck with it to the end

2 Mellophones

  • Rick Reynolds - became Raiders drum major in 1980, drove a beast of a 70's car that once carried the entire hornline and part of the drum line
  • Ron Arellano - switched to soprano in 1980, became soloist

2 French Horns

  • Drew Dunham - lyricist of many rude corps bus songs
  • Susan Pelmulder - only female in the hornline, toughest and most dedicated person, had a llama as a house pet

6 Baritones

  • Greg Gilman - after Raiders went on to march Blue Devils, later became drum major and corps director of the San Francisco Renegades
  • Tony Signorelli - after Raiders went on to solo in Blue Devils, "Signorelli" became a musical term meaning louder than fortissimo
  • John Smeltzer - after Raiders dyed his hair orange and went to Velvet Knights
  • Nelson "Ned" Bosik - "NED" sometimes taken as an acronym meaning Never Enough Drugs, but he was actually one of the nicest guys in the hornline, tolerated years of jabs by other members
  • Byron - last name unknown, he was rather reserved, but an excellent horn player
  • George King - corps Philosophical Leader, became a firefighter, brother Bill in the drum line, older brother Chuck became a DCI judge

1 Contra Bass

  • John Lowe - as the only contra he improvised much of his own drill, chasing down judges trying to knock tick sheets from their arms, known for his ability to snap his horn up and play in the same instant

Shows by Year


  • Repertoire:
  • Love For Sale (from Night and Day)
  • Laura
  • Ritual Fire Dance (from El Amor Brujo)
  • Last Dance
  • Just the Way You Are
  • Placement: 42
  • Score: 46.75


Image of 1980 Raiders at Birmingham, AL

  • Repertoire:
  • Come Back To Me (from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever)
  • The Typewriter Song
  • Get Out of Town
  • Artistry in Rhythm
  • Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
  • Placement: 31
  • Score: 59.50


Image of 1981 Raiders at Lynn, MA

Image of 1981 Raiders at Whitewater, WI

Image of 1981 Raiders at Montreal

  • Repertoire:
  • Carnaby Street
  • Roller Jubilee
  • Salsation
  • Macarena/Ole
  • California Dreamin'
  • Placement: 26
  • Score: 65.60


Image of 1982 Raiders at Montreal

  • Repertoire:
  • Momotombo/Oye Mama
  • Dance to My Mambo
  • Samba de Orfeu
  • Little Sunflower
  • Manteca
  • Imagine
  • Aquarela de Brasil
  • Placement: 23
  • Score: 67.35


Image of 1983 Raiders at Miami

Image of 1983 Raiders at Miami, crazy shot

  • Repertoire:
  • Copacabana
  • Late in the Evening
  • Theme from "I Love Lucy"
  • Placement: 26
  • Score: 59.85


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