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The Raiders are a junior drum corps based in Wayne, New Jersey. They compete in DCI Division III, where they are six-time Finalists, 2001 Silver Medalist, and 2005 World Champions. The corps is primarily housed at the Police Athletic League building in Wayne.


The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps was founded in 1990. Originally meant to be akin to the return of the Bayonne Bridgemen, the corps has since come into its own and its current identity is much unlike the Bridgemen. They mostly competed in Drum Corps East Shows, although they did compete in the US Open Championships, in their inaugural season, 1991. They made their first appearance at the DCI World Championships in Whitewater, Wisconsin in 1992. The corps competed in Division II the next three years. After a disastrous 1995 season, rumors abounded that the corps would fold. They made a surprising comeback, however, and 1996 would be their breakout season, making Division III Finals for the first time, finishing in seventh place. They would be finalists another six times, including winning the bronze medal in 2006, the silver in 2001, losing to the Blue Stars by five hundredths of a point, and finally winning their first DCI Division III Championship in 2005.

Another example of the corps resilience is the 2000 and 2001 seasons. In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd, by then downgraded to a tropical storm, pummeled New Jersey with heavy rains. Lodi, which was the corps's base of operations at the time, was completely flooded. The flooding damaged all of the corps's equipment and left their food truck completely unusable. That following January, then-Executive Director Karen Leffler resigned. The corps was left with badly damaged equipment and was in debt. Although this situation would completely cripple most organizations, the corps still managed a complete season, placing 12th at DCI Division III Prelims. There was much turnover that fall, but even with a corps that was at least 80% rookies, the Raiders still managed to come within five hundredths of a point of their first Division III World Championship the following year.

The Raiders take 1st place in 2005

In 2005, the corps captured their first gold medal in Division III with their show "Jesus Christ Superstar". The Raiders finished with the 2nd highest score in Division III history, an 88.8.

In their 2006 season, The Raiders once again overcame odds to complete a full season. Around mid-April, one bass player and one tenor player quit, as well as the entire snareline with the exception of one member. The drumline cycled through several last-minute fill ins before settling with a 3-member snareline, knocked down from the original 6. The 10 man drumline consisted of 2 veterans. The hornline also lost a lead trumpet early in the season, leaving a rookie to stand in for the position. Members also suffered through a broken down truck and numerous practice cancelations due to lack of housing. In addition, the corps found themselves once again without a drum major. The primary drum major had to leave on a family emergency when a veteran from the previous year filled in the spot until after the corps' Death Camp (week of rehearsals directly preceding tour, where they "work the show to death," hence the name). Even the elements seemed against them when the Raiders were forced to outrun a hurricane while in Canada. However, 2006 proved to be a meetable challenge, as the corps went undefeated and in 1st place until their western tour and finished with a bronze medal in Division III, as well as hornline member Steven Benkhe taking 1st place in Individual and Ensemble competition for mellophone.


From the Raiders website: "The mission of the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps is to provide young adults, ages 14 –21, from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, with musical, educational and character-building experiences through the vehicle of the performing arts.

The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps, founded in 1990, is a nationally competitive drum & bugle corps, based in Wayne, NJ. As a non-profit 501c(3) Organization, The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps was founded with one primary goal; to afford any young adult the opportunity to march in a world class drum corps. The Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps guarantees an experience to young adults unlike any other in the performing arts. Here they can combine the intellect of artistic and musical virtues with the achievement and excellence of athletic prowess. The benefits of being a Raider transcend competitive success. They build life enhancing skills and self-confidence that will assist them throughout their adult life. They will be better citizens, employees, students, parents, and friends because of all they learn."


The Raiders at attention
  • The current Raiders uniform has been in use since 1998. It consists of a blue jacket with a black and white sash from the right shoulder to the left underarm. The members also wear a black shako with a white feather plume. Raiders also wear black pants and plain black Dinkles marching shoes, as well as white gloves and a set of gauntlets that are white with black tracings.
  • The Drum Major wears a black jacket as well as black pants, Dinkles, shako, and plume. The gauntlets, instead of white traced by black, are white traced by blue. The sash is black and blue instead of white and black.


  • The corps marches with rolled heel technique, stepping off with the left foot. The Raiders use a loose version of straight-leg technique.
  • The snareline plays with traditional grip, stressing the importance of firm grip on the stick. The tenor line playes matched grip as well. The bassline stresses fulcrum and flow with all strokes, keeping the focal point between the thumb and second knuckle of the index finger while keeping a liberal grip with the other fingers. All members of the drumline are told to play with high velocity and instensity, regardless of dynamic volume.

Shows by year


  • Repertoire:
    • Russian Sailor's Dance (from The Red Poppy)
    • Hymn To The Last Whale
    • Victory At Sea
  • The corps did not perform at DCI World Championships


  • Division III
  • Repertoire:
    • Victory At Sea
  • Placement: 19th
  • Score: 54.70


  • Division II
  • Repertoire:
    • Queen
      • Who Wants To Live Forever
      • Flash Gordon
      • Bicycle Race
      • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Placement: 15th
  • Score: 69.10


  • Division II
  • Repertoire:
    • Jesus Christ Superstar
      • Overture
      • Heaven On Their Minds
      • I Don't Know How To Love Him
      • Simon Zealotes
      • Superstar
  • Placement: 14th

Score: 74.40


  • Division II
  • Repertoire:
    • A Chorus Line
      • I Hope I Get It
      • At The Ballet
      • Music And The Mirror
      • One
  • Placement: 11th
  • Score: 77.30


  • Division III Finalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Sidewalks Of New York
      • East Side, West Side
      • Take The "A" Train
      • Harlem Nocturne
      • Central Park
      • Autumn In New York
      • I'll Take Manhattan
  • Placement: 7th
  • Score: 79.00


  • Division III
  • Repertoire:
    • It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
    • Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me
    • En Fuego
    • What A Wonderful World
    • Air Mail Special
  • Placement: 16th
  • Score: 79.50


  • Division III Finalist
  • Repertoire:
    • A Winter Solstice
      • My Favorite Things (from The Sound Of Music)
      • Sometime In Winter
      • O Holy Night
      • Snow
  • Placement: 8th
  • Score: 81.50


  • Division III Finalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Trilogy Of Darkness
      • Complex City
      • Master Of Puppets
      • Jazzhattan Suite
      • Trilogy
      • Stampede
  • Placement: 6th
  • Score: 84.40


  • Division III
  • Repertoire:
    • Traditions And Innovations
      • Bangkok
      • Wherever I May Roam
      • Piano Concerto No. 2, Mvmt. 1
      • Kashmir
      • Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
      • Terrapin Station
      • Sunrise
      • Fractured Mirror
  • Placement: 12th
  • Score: 80.75


  • Division III Silver Medalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Pictures At An Exhibition
      • Promenade
      • Gnomus
      • Tuilleries
      • Catacombs
      • The Old Castle
      • The Hut On Hen's Legs
      • The Great Gate At Kiev
  • Placement: 2nd
  • Score: 88.50


  • Division III Semi-Finalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Balance
      • Festive Overture
      • Masque
      • Symphony No. 5, Mvmt IV
  • Placement: 8th
  • Score: 78.30


  • Division III Semi-Finalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Carmina Burana
  • Placement: 5th
  • Score: 81.50


  • Division III Finalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Adams: A Sound Journey
      • Wild Nights (from Harmonium)
      • Short Ride In A Fast Machine
      • Harmonielehre, Mvmt. III
      • Fearful Symmetries
  • Placement: 6th
  • Score: 79.650


  • Division III Champion
  • Repertoire:
    • Jesus Christ Superstar
      • Overture
      • Heaven On Their Minds
      • John 19:10
      • Garden Of Gethsemane
      • Simon Zealotes
      • Superstar
  • Placement: 1st
  • Score: 88.800


  • Division III Bronze Medalist
  • Repertoire:
    • Coast To Coast
      • Awayday
      • Letter From Home
      • Strawberry Soup
  • Placement: 3rd
  • Score: 80.500


Corps Songs

  • Before every performance, members and Director Tom Maiello huddle and sing the corps song, "One More Time," from the movie Sarafina!
  • The corps listens to "Right Now" by Van Halen just before leaving their bus for every show. Select members, usually drum majors or age outs, will perform an impromptu dance to the first half of the song.
  • Since 2002, while marching back to the equipment truck after most performances, members will sing themes from the video game Super Mario Bros.

The Clap

  • "The Clap" is a common act which serves as a form of public humiliation for someone who has done something wrong or incorrectly. The corps begins to clap in rythm and chants a traditional insult at the wrongdoer.

Finals Traditions

  • The corps has a traditional Thanksgiving dinner the night before their preliminary competition every year. The dinner is meant to symbolize appreciation towards the staff and members, as well as respect towards previous seasons who never made it past prelims.
  • During Finals week, the corps holds a "Rookie Talent Night," as well as "Story Night," where the corps director and staff re-tells the history of the corps to all the members.


  • A reccurring meal has been a tradition for several years. The corps has dubbed the meal "Raideroni" and it consists of ground beef, pasta sauce, and leftovers from the past few days. Raideroni is traditionally served with Raider Blue Gatorade.

Post- and Pre-show Traditions

  • Just before warming up prior to a show, the drumline does 27 jumping jacks and performs what is reffered to as a "clap party", though it has nothing to do with the previously mentioned "Clap".
  • When leaving each show, the corps sings traditional chants and songs passed down from previous years, begginging with a call-and-response based piece entitled "We're out of here!" or "Oh F___in' A". This is followed by "The progression" or "Ya Ho!", a pirate themed chant. Several others songs may or may not be sung. The songs originated from previous events and are occasionally used as inside jokes from one member to another.


  • The corps always rehearses with matching attire. Traditionally the brass and drumline will both have plain white shirts and different colored shorts, respective to their own sections. In death camp, the color guard has a new theme for each day of practice.

Death Camp Meal Themes

  • During death camp, the support staff perpares a differently themed meal for every day. Themes range from "Mardi Gras" to "South Of The Border", as well as "Winter Wonderland" and "Happy Birthday" themes.

"They're always ready!"

  • Just before beggining the show, when the announcer asks "Drum Majors, is your corps ready?" a fan member, usually Joseph Kay, father of a color guard member and member of the support staff since 1999, will almost always reply "They're always ready!"

"Do you know why?"

  • A standing cry at rehearsals and pre-show hype, this tradition started around 2004. Instructors will often end speeches with "This is the greatest corps in the world, and do you know why?" with which the corps responds back "Because we're the f___ing Raiders!"

The Corps Song

The primary corps song, "One More Time", is sung in uniform by the corps members moments before taking the field. The song is used to influence and motivate the members, as well as bond and unify the corps. Members are inspired to remember all the effort that was put into the show to get them up to that point. The lyrics are as follows.

Don't look back / Don't be scared / We've got dreams and we're still young / Just think about how far we've come /

Think of all / We have shared / It's a wonder we survived / But here we are and we're alive /

Can we hold on, hold on? / Take a moment to celebrate / Now before we are gone / Take a moment to celebrate /

There's music in the wind / Let's dance one more time / There's a rhythm deep within / Let's dance one more time /

One more time / Sing a song / There's a power in our voices / Hopeful and strong /

Years from now / Somewhere down the line / We'll remember and we'll all sing / One more time


  • The Raiders are the first corps to use music of heavy metal band Metallica. In their 1999 show, Trilogy of Darkness, they featured the song "Master of Puppets."
  • In 2001, the Raiders used homemade tenor drums during "The Old Castle."
  • In 2006, the drumline discovered a large wooden log in their downtime in rehearsal. The members dubbed it "Jamie", and the log was stored on the equiptment truck. There is no explanation to the connection (or if one exists) between "Jamie" and the bassline instructor, Jamie Szeinberg.

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