Ontario Drum Corps
About the Reunion
The Reunion is a non-profit group of Ontario Drum Corps Alumni who schedule and run fundraiser events to fund annual scholarship awards for emerging musicians in the name of all Ontario Drum Corps Alumni. (Scholarship program)
A Brief History
From the early 1960's through the 1990's, Canadian drum and bugle corps have had great representation and successes. The majority of those corps being from the province of Ontario. The long list of corps reaching levels of notable success or fame were Ventures all girls, Oakland Crusaders, Seneca Optimists, Toronto Optimists, Seneca Princemen, Dutch Boy, Cardinals of Precious Blood, Etobicoke Crusaders, Michael Power Knights, Emerald Knights, Blue Saints, Kinsmen, Canadian Knights, Guelph Royalaires, Jolly Jesters, Canada’s Marching Ambassadors, St. John’s/Brantford Girls, Durham Girls, Windsor Guardsmen, Northstars, Cadets of Dutch Boy, Ambassadors, St. Andrew’s, Oshawa Rebels, Northwind/Northwind Rebels, Cardinals, Bandettes all-girl, Bluewater Buccaneers, Conqueror II, Flying Dutchmen, Kawartha Kavaliers, Hamilton Conqueror, Les Diplomates, Les Metropolitans, St. Mary's of Toronto, Sarnia Lions, Midlanders, Commanders, Sarnia Marching Angels, Kiwanis Kavaliers, Ridge Raiders, and many more.
The Oakland Crusaders were the most successful Canadian corps within DCI Open Class coming in 6th place in 1975 finals and 8th in 1976. The Seneca Optimists also arrived on the scene in 1976 after a merger of the Toronto Optimists and Seneca Princemen. That year was the only year in DCI history that two corps from the same city were in the finals. In 1977, the Seneca Optimists and Cardinals of Precious Blood both won the US Open title in their respective classes, again both from the same city.
The prevalence of drum corps in Ontario gradually succumbed to the increasing costs and the competition with more affordable youth activities, but drum corps fandom has never ceased. Ontario drum corps alumni nearly religiously make the cross-border trek to Allentown and Indianapolis (many would prefer the return to the closer venue of Buffalo). Anyone in or around drum corps knows it forms a special bond with others from the art and forever carries a place in our hearts. It's because of this magic that some Ontario drum corps alumni decided it was time for a "Long Awaited Retreat", to bring together as many Ontario drum corps alumni as possible in one large reunion event. Additionally, it would help to fund a music scholarship in the name of Ontario Drum Corps.
Having held a few golf tournament fundraisers over the pandemic years and secure sponsorship donations, the Reunion has been able to award 3 deserving university/college students a $500 scholarship award each. The first large scale reunion banquet event was successfully held on September 23, 2023 in Oakville, ON. Over 250 people attended. The event featured performances from several alumni corps/bands, memorabilia, and a very long slide show. This has helped to secure additional years of scholarship awards.