The Ambassadors competed in the Ontario Drum Corps Association (ODCA) circuit in C Class (Cadet Class), B Class and A Class at various times and sometimes beyond into the US mid-west.
The Ambassadors Drum and Bugle Corps was formed in September, 1973, in Aurora, Ontario, as a junior corps by Paul Ranson and his wife Bev. The corps, initially performing only in parades, first appeared publicly in the Maid of the Mist parade in Niagara Falls, New York, in the summer of 1974. They were voted "Corps Most Likely to Succeed" there.
The early uniform consisted of white shirts, neckerchiefs, black pants or skirts and gold cummerbunds, and white cowboy hats. Later styles included royal blue shirts crossed with white, black pants, and white shakos.
The Ambassadors took part in their first contest in August, 1975, appearing in the Canadian National Junior E (Novice) class, which they won. That novice win was followed up by the championship of the Canadian National Junior D (Bantam) class in 1976.
The corps moved to Newmarket under the sponsorship of the Newmarket Lions Club in 1977. In this year the corps made its first tour of the Chicago, Illinois area, visiting the Schaumberg Guardsmen. Unfortunately the Ambassadors also experienced it's first break-in and theft at the corps' accomodations there.
The Ambassadors won the Canadian National and Ontario Provincial C (Cadet) Championship in 1978, the Canadian National and Central Canada Circuit C Championship in 1979 and 1980, and the DCI Canada C class Championship in 1980.
The year 1980 saw the Ambassadors embark on another mid-west tour to Illinois. That year Ken Taylor, a Canadian ambassador, had smuggled six American citizens out of Iran. American crowds in Chicago cheered the corps as surrogate heroes during parades in Chicago. The Canadian National Championships were located in Jonquiere, Quebec that year and the Ambassadors journeyed there, along with many Ontario corps, to compete in what was been the largest gathering of Canadian corps in that decade.
Not free of the political arena, the Ambassadors performed at the Progressive Conservative (a Canadian federal political party) leadership convention in 1983 in Ottawa, Ontario and were labeled by one parent as “Brian Mulroney’s personal band.”
Ambassadors’ best year may have been 1984, when they marched in the Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C., placed second in the Canadian National A Class Championship, and were a finalist in the A Class/Division II American International Open in Butler, Pennsylvania.
A large turnover in corps membership in 1985 limited the Ambassadors to only two competitions, including the Canadian Nationals in which they appeared in Class A. They also hosted a home show in Newmarket that year.
The Ambassadors merged with the Oakland Crusaders in 1986 to form a new corps called Out of the Blue. This corps traveled to the DCI Division II Championships (then "A" class), but were announced and recorded as the Oakland Crusaders. They finished 13th.
First Show Surprise
At the Ambassadors' first competition in 1975, the new and relatively young corps members had not been warned of the use of a timing gun (to indicate the beginning and ending of field execution judging) that was in use in the ODCA and other circuits at that time. As a result, when the gun was fired after the new corps' first note, many of the rookies stopped dead in their tracks and had to scramble to catch up when they recovered their composure.