March 14, 2006

Mark Twain Cadets

Mark Twain Cadets

I just stumbled upon the above photograph of the Mark Twain Cadets Junior Drum & Bugle Corps of Elmira Heights, NY. (Yes, my corps.) Now, this photo is a bit of a mystery to me because the webpage where I pulled it from says that the photo is from 1974. Now, it's possible that this photo *is* from '74, but I can't say for sure. The 1974 season was my first year with the Cadets, and I don't recall off-hand our having had our picture taken in front of the American Legion Post. If this really is a photo from '74, then it was taken very early in the summer because these are the old uniforms that the Cadets wore from the late '60s through June '74, when we switched to the newer woolen jackets (the old uniform was made of a thinner, synthetic material). So, if this photo is from '74, it was taken by June '74 at the latest.

Zooming into the photograph doesn't help either. The photo is too blurry when zooming in to make out any details, such as people's faces. I remember the black girl kneeling in front with the rifle line, but I don't believe she was with the corps in '74 (I thought she left after '72 or '73). The drum major, to the right in the white uniform, seems a little short to be Tom (I forget his last name), who was drum major in '73. I don't remember who the Cadet's drum major was in '72 (Debbie Check?); in '74, it was Chris (I also forget her last name), but the detail is too blurry to see the DM's face.

So, a minor mystery. The corps in the picture is definitely the Mark Twain Cadets, wearing the original uniforms, in front of American Legion Post #154, but the year is uncertain. Possibly 1974, but in my mind also maybe '72, '73 or even '71 (in that order of likelihood). If it is '74, then I'm somewhere in the picture, clutching my baritone, but it would be near impossible to point me out.

BTW, to help with the color scheme (seeing how this is a B&W photo), the jackets were orange, the pants were navy blue with orange trim, and the shakos were blue with white trim (with orange plumes for the horn line and color guard, blue for the drums, and white for the DM). The rifle line and the rest of the color guard wore an orange dress-type uniform with blue trim; I believe the color guard captains on the sides of the rifle line wore blue dress-type uniforms with orange trim. The drum major's uniform was white with orange trim.


b. said...


Very cool. :) ( and

JD said...

Blue and orange were chosen for the corps colors because the corps was based in the village of Elmira Heights, NY. The colors of the only high school in Elmira Heights, Edison HS, are guessed it ... blue and orange. As membership in the corps went down (dramatically) in '76 and '77, we corps members thought that maybe the corps colors needed to be changed as we felt that prospective members might think the corps was too strongly tied to Edison and the Heights. (Of course, the problems were much deeper than that.) When the Cadets merged with the Grenadiers (whose colors were red, white and blue), the Empire State Express (the resulting corps) had colors of light blue, white, silver and black (with a yellow streak added into the flags later to give an extra dash of color).

As for blue and orange, I never minded the color scheme. Think Denver Broncos. :)

Rick Palmer said...

The picture was taken in 1973. Another picture was taken the same day in front of the Mark Twain Study at Elmira College.
The Corp pictures for 1974 & 1975 were taken at Butler,PA>
The Drum major in 1972 & 1973 was Tom MaKinster. Debbie Check was the Drum major for the Watkins Glen Squires latter on. Drum major for MTC in 1974 was Julie W.(I can't spell her last name). Chris Washcezyn was Drum major in 1975.

JDsg said...

Rick: John Dunne of the baritone line here. ;) I agree with everything you wrote except for the two drum majors of '74 and '75; I still think it was Chris in '74 (whom I had a puppy love-sort of crush on) and Julie in '75. Debbie Check, I think I confused in the respect that she had left the Cadets at the end of the '73 season (along with everyone else) and became the Squires' DM in, what, '75? (I met her around '86; she was working as a dental hygienist in Elmira at the time.)

What's up with you?

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Julie Wisniewski (now Callahan). I'm not sure I can spell my last name either anymore. Thanks for your blog. This certainly brings back a lot of memories. I found you after doing a search on Google. There's a MTC group on Facebook where we've been sharing photos and memories. Now I've got to go and dig up my old photo albums to see what I can find...

delsegno said...

Looks like a 1969-70 picture to me

Ed Hager said...

Rick is correct. I have the the very first picture of the Cadets taken in front of the lodge on a Saturday before the very first show at the Edison field if anyone wants a copy.
Ed Hager

Anonymous said...

This looks like some of the cadets that I remember. I was a soprano bugler, Joe Wilson. I had a few of our pictures and it is possible that I can find some. But I did have a photo with Ronald McDonald Majoring for us at an opening. I think it is 1971 or 72, because a boy rifler with long black hair had a brother that I hung out with named Robin.