The Cadets

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The Cadets

The Cadets are currently based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania. They, along with the Crossmen, are sponsored by Youth Education in the Arts. The corps' director is George Hopkins. The Cadets are members of Drum Corps International and they compete within DCI Division I.

The Cadets have been awarded nine Drum Corps International Championship titles.


The Cadets logo

"The Cadets is the oldest and most honored drum and bugle corps in the world with performing members from all over the country and world." Source: The Cadets Official Website

The Cadets, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, were organized in 1934 as the Holy Name Church Fife, Drum & Bugle Corps by Charles Mura and Michael Koeph, along with Rev. Edwin Garrity. The corps became one of the top three corps in the country almost immediately. They won their first national championship, the American Legion Nationals, in 1940. Between 1940 and 1964 the Cadets won ten Legion crowns, more than any other junior corps, retiring the championship trophy twice (meaning they twice won three times in a row). The corps also captured the National Dream Championships from 1949 through 1954.

Credited as being the first touring corps, the Cadets traveled three weeks by bus to Los Angeles in 1950 for one single show, to defend their Legion title. That tour ended on a dramatic note, when the corps' bus broke down in Wagon Mound, New Mexico, on the way home. Owing to a dispute between corps members and locals, the whole corps was run out of town at gunpoint.

In 1958, the sponsoring church declined to underwrite further travel, and it kept the uniforms and instruments when the corps disbanded. The corps members thereupon individually bought their own uniforms, paid for their own transportation, and borrowed horns from the Cavaliers to compete in Legion Nationals in Chicago. They became the Garfield Cadets in 1958 under new sponsorship.

On a lighter note, a 1958 LP record entitled "John Philip Sousa's Greatest Marches" featured a full-color photo of the Garfield Cadets.

The Cadets appeared in the movie "Crazy Joe" in 1974.

There was one season when the corps had to wear white shirts and shorts instead of traditional uniforms. However, the Cadet uniform of cream-colored trousers, maroon jackets, and gold sashes has remained essentially unchanged from 1934 into the 21st century.

The all-male Garfield introduced girls into the corps in 1969. 1969 was also the first year they returned to VFW finals after a number of years. They placed 11th that year, tenth in 1970 and seventh in 1971. Their 1971 show was one of the first theme shows, 'No More War,' although the VFW expressed its discomfort over the peace sign that the corps formed on the field. (The corps tried to convince them that it was a Mercedes emblem.) The Cadets are one of the five original members to attend every DCI Championship.

The Cadets of Bergen County (the name was changed in 1989) are 22-time finalists and nine-time DCI champions, including being one of only two open class corps to win three consecutive DCI titles (1983-85). The 1984 show garnered a then-record 98.0 points in Finals. Since 1983 they have won more DCI titles (nine) than anyone else with some of the most innovative shows of all time. The corps put together a run of 19 consecutive seasons of ten or more contest wins per year from 1982 through 2000.

In the 1990 timeframe, the corps had good sponsorship support from CPC International, the parent of Best Foods.

In the wake of 9/11, many 2002 drum corps shows built on patriotic and heroic themes. The Cadets' show, entitled "An American Revival", celebrated New York, and was augmented on Finals night when corps director George Hopkins persuaded a firehouse near Madison's Camp Randall Stadium to wind its siren right on cue, clearly audible to fans. The Cadets finished third.

In 2003, their 70th anniversary, the Cadets' "Our Favorite Things" show placed them third at DCI finals, with a score of 97.10. That year, rather than be said to hail from any particular city, the corps introduced itself as being sponsored by Youth Education in the Arts, a group that also supports the Crossmen and the United States Scholastic Band Association

In a bit of a departure, the Cadets' 2004 show was called 'Living in the Past,' and featured music of Jethro Tull. The group won ten contests during the season, and took fourth place on DCI Finals night. The corps did not place out of the top four at Finals from 1991-2005, winning three times. Their 1993 win was considered one of the most controversial of all-time. They beat Star of Indiana by a tenth of a point, though it is widely agreed that Star of Indiana had the better show.

In 2005, The Cadets tied the record of highest score all-time with a 99.15, and became the first corps to place first in every caption.

The Cadets (the name was changed again in 1999) has been at the forefront of drum corps innovation throughout their life, under the leadership of George Hopkins: bus touring, the contra bass bugle, the conversion of color guard to horn players. Compton’s Encyclopedia included the Cadets within their pages, the first drum corps to be so honored. They were elected to the Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1965, and were a charter member of DCI in 1972.

The Cadets were originally known as The Holy Name Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps when they were founded in 1934. They were sponsored by the Church of the Most Holy Name in Garfield, New Jersey. In 1936, the group became known as The Holy Name Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. When they lost their affiliation with the church, they became the Garfield Cadets. Following the 1988 competitive season, they became the Cadets of Bergen County. Their final name change thus far was following the summer of 1999, when they became simply The Cadets.


For Holy Name Shall Always Be

The members of The Cadets sing their corps song (O Holy Name) before every performance. The words are sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum. The words are taught to rookies as an oral tradition.

The Z-Pull

The Z-Pull

Created by and named after George Zingali, the "Z-Pull" is a marching maneuver that first appeared in 1983. It astonished viewers that first time, and ever since then The Cadets have modified that "basic" move almost every year.

While relatively tame compared to drill moves today, in 1983 the sheer field coverage of the "Z Pull" was highly impressive and, for the time, state of the art. Zingali's drill innovations continued and other drill writers played catch-up for several years.

To see the "Z Pull" at the end of the 1983 opener, "Rocky Point Holliday", go to and scoll down near the bottom.

Cadillac of the Skies

This could be considered another corps song. It has been performed by the brass since 1993. It is a Jay Bocook arrangement of a piece of music from the movie, Empire of the Sun, composed by John Williams.

The Uniform

The Cadets have worn the same uniform design since 1939. It is a West Point Cadets style uniform. There have been some slight changes over the years, however. In the 1990s, the shoulder patch was removed from the uniform, and later, the wool unifroms were replaced by lighter material in the same design.

In 2003, the uniform was slightly redesigned by Michael Cesario for better management; fewer pieces meant it was easier to care for the uniform. The designs were removed from the end of the lines on the front and the buckle was replaced with a mirror. The cummerbund is now mostly hidden underneath the jacket, and the corps now wears gauntlets.

In 2005, an inverted back look was added to go with the production "The Zone". The look velcro'd onto the backs of the uniforms and were inverted colors, full white with Red, as opposed to the full Red with white.

In 2006, The uniforms were the standard Full Marron with white, but had a different design than previous years or 2005 it. In 2007, The Cadets will return to the traditional maroon West Point unirorms.

What a Maneuvah!

On many official Drum Corps International Championship recordings, people can be heard yelling "What a maneuvah!" during a mostly silent part of The Cadets' performance. This may be a reference to a comment George Zingali made during a rehearsal. (Can someone give positive verification?)


  • World Drum Corps Hall of Famer Arthur J. Mura played snare with the corps from 1937 to 1950.
  • In their 1978 the corps color guard picked up horns and played them for part of the show.
  • On July 4, 1986 The Cadets performed at the Statue of Liberty Centennial celebration.
  • The 1987 Cadets are the only corps to ever record a perfect percussion effect score on finals night.
  • On June 12, 2000, The Cadets performed on NBC's Today Show with five high school bands from the US Scholastic Band Association. They performed The Mission (the theme to the NBC News) and God Bless America in conjunction with VH1's Save the Music program. [1]
  • The corps performed at the 1996 olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Cadets were the first corps in DCI history to have accomplished a "three-peat", winning Finals in 1983,1984, and 1985.
  • On August 13, 2005, The Cadets won the DCI World Championships with a score of 99.150. They are now tied with The Cavaliers for the highest score in DCI history. Also on this night they became the first junior corps in DCI history to win every caption and sub-caption in a World Championship finals performance.
  • On November 24, 2005, The Cadets appeared in the 79th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, New York.


External Links