Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps

The History of The Philadelphia Police Cadets PAL Drum and Bugle Corps

Formed in September of 1965 by James Bell and Frank Rhiel. The Philadelphia Police Cadets were American Legion Junior National Champions in 1974. After the 1984 competitive season the corps merged with the Jersey Shore Windjamers to compete as the PAL/Windjammers in the 1985 season. The PAL Cadets are currently an inactive drum corps.

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1968 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps

The Police Athletic League's Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps was also sponsored by the Corporal Frederick Reilly Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7947 and the Continental American Legion Post #263.

1968 was a rebuilding year and recruitment started in October of 1967 from local high schools and former members of various inactive corps' like the Yearsley Blackhawks and the Rising Sun Cadets.

The musical and marching program started in March of 1968 and the corps entered the first field competition on July 18, 1968. PAL fielded 29 horns, 9 in the drum line and 15 rifle and flag bearers in the color guard.

The repertoire for the 1968 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps kicked off with the "Sound of Music" followed by "Bill Bailey" and "Good News". The concert number was "Sweet Marie" and then the colors presentation of the "Jubilee March" followed by "It's Him", "Downtown" and exiting the field to "Our Day Will Come".

Here's a 1968 PAL Drum & Bugle Corps press release (pdf file).

1968 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps
1968 PAL Drum & Bugle Corps

PAL Corps Director: Officer James Bell
Bugle Instructors: Bob Adair and Don Adair
Drum Instructor: John Dowlan
Marching Instructor: George Hildebrandt
Drum Major: Michael Grabor

Philadelphia Police PAL Cadets were members of the Eastern States Circuit. PAL competed mostly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1968 the Corps made its first trip to Lynn, Massachusetts to compete in the annual World Open Championships. By drum corps standards of 1968, the Corps was a medium size drum corps of the Class B type.

PAL wore cadet/military style uniforms in 1968; which consisted of: white jackets with the PAL logo over the heart and a blue band accross the front and back with a gold sash, blue pants with a gold stripe down the sides, white bucks (shoes), and blue shakos (hats) with a gold plume.

The PAL Drum & Bugle Corps was not very successful back in 1968 but, it helped to show the members back then how much hard work it was going to take in order to develop PAL into a winning drum corps.

It takes Pride, Determination, and Desire to make a champion. Interestingly enough in later years the Corps started its own newspaper and it was called the PDD (Pride, Determination, Desire).

1969 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps

The 1969 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps were again sponsored by the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Corporal Frederick Reilly VFW Post #7947 and the Continental American Legion Post #263. Officer Jim Bell was the Corps Director

PAL was a member of the Eastern States Circuit and were judged by the National Judges Association.

1969 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps
1969 PAL Drum & Bugle Corps

The PAL instructional staff for 1969 included:
Horns: Don & Bob Adair
Drums: John Dowlan & Ed Gibbons
Drill: George Hilderbrant

The Police Cadets had 80 marching members in 1969, fielding 32 horns, 19 in the drum line and 26 rifle and flag bearers in the color guard, one Drum Major and 2 Guard Captains.

The corps still wore the cadet style uniforms. The uniforms were damaged while in Pittsburgh. During the American Legion State Championship Parade it started to rain and the corps was told to put the plumes inside the uniform blouse in order to protect the plumes. The only problem was that the yellow dye from the plumes started to run and stain the white jackets yellow.

The repertoire for the 1969 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps kicked off with the "Stars & Stripes Forever". The concert number was "Masquenada", the colors presentation was "It Must Be Him", production number "Laura" and exiting the field to "May Each Day".

1969 PAL Drum Corps Schedule

From May 24th to the 25th, 1969 the Corps made its first attempt at a full weekend practice. It was held at Camp Green Lane, located near the Pocono Mountains. During those two days, the Corps had accomplished all that it had set out to do.

The first field competition of the 1969 season was held in Feasterville, Pa. on June 14, 1969. From information received, The Philadelphia Police Cadets won their first drum and bugle corps field contest ever in June of 1969 in Emmaus Pennsylvania. July 18th and 19th was the Pennsylvania American Legion State Championship Parade held in Pittsburg, Pa., PAL finished in 4th place tie with the Catholic Daughters of America Drum and Bugle Corps from Butler, PA with a score of 62.15, only 7 points behind the Brookhaven Crusaders.

Regardless of placement, the Philadelphia Police Cadets earned respect in the drum corps community. 1969 Scores

From August 12th through the 15th, 1969, the Corps made its second trip to Massachusetts. This time to compete in the Cavalcade of Champions, sponsored by Cardinal Chusing Pharish. The show was held at Everett Memorial Stadium, in Everett, Massachusetts. PAL second in line to take the field of competition right behind the Anaheim Kingsmen. While on the starting line awaiting our turn to compete, you could hear rumblings up and down the line. Such comments like, "What the heck are we doing here?" Tony Arena remembers Russell Whaley saying something like, Let's get out of here, we don't belong here. Back then all drum equipment was carried on the field by the members, noting gets grounded on the front side lines, like you see today. Anaheim had 3 tympani players that were all as big as Russell, in fact their entire corps was scary looking. The Corps didn't feel like we were in the same class as these drum corps'. Then the results came, PAL finished in last place wit a score of 43,20, just 25.50 points away from the first place winner, the Boston Crusaders. Drum Corps News had almost a full page write up about the show with a column or so just about PAL in which the writter stated that the Corps and its show wasn't very good but, he enjoyed watching our young cymbal players twrill around the field.

Those 10-11 year old cymbal players were Jimmy Bell, Bobby Widmeier and Mike O'Leary. They later formed the foundation for the National Champion Drum Line of 1974.

August 18th through the 20th was the VFW National Championships held at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pa. PAL kicked off at 8 am on Wednesday morning, the performance left alot to be desired, and finished in 48th place out of 50 competitors.

September 6th the Corps competed in a contest in Media, Pa., where during PAL's performance all the stadium lights went out. The Corps finished their show without any lights. The job wasn't all that great but, when the lights went back on PAL had come in first place and won the show. This years schedule was much improved over 1968.

The 1969 version of PAL was bigger and better than the previous year, in membership and competitively. PAL was on its way up the ladder of success.

1970 PAL Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps

The 1970 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps consisted of: 24 horns, 12 drums, and 12 in the color guard.

The Administrative staff consisted of Bert Board and Jim McDevitt. The Instructional staff included: Music - Chuck Smith, Percussion - Bert Adamson, Drill - Jim Bell and Frank McCormick.

The Corps' repertoire was: OTL - El Toro, Color Presentation - Shenandoah, Concert - Traces and Stormy, Production Number - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Drum solo, and the Exit - By the Time I Get To Phoenix.

The 1970 season began with an exhibition at a color guard contest held at Paramus High School in Paramus, NJ. This was towards the end of May. This was the first time the police style uniforms were worn in public. The only difference was that the Corps wore gray shirts, later changing to white. Everyone in the auditorium was stunned with the Corps' new appearance. People thought the Corps was from some sort of military academy.

June 7th was the first field show of the 1970 season. The competition was held at Parsippany High School in Parsippany, NJ. Here are the results of that show:

  1. Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights 74.65
  2. Garfield Cadets 74.40
  3. Warriors N.Y. 65.60
  4. Poughkeppsie Pacers 61.70
  5. PAL Cadets 38.10
  6. Conn. Vanguards 28.50

On June 13th the Corps traveled to Atlantic City, N.J. for a competition parade and a day of fun in the sun. PAL placed third in the parade. June 20th was a show in Schuykillhaven, PA. the Corps placed 4th with a score of 44.00. The following weekend, the 27th and 28th was a somewhat successful competition weekend score wise. June 27th in Pomton Lakes, NJ. saw the Corps place 4th with a score of 59.15. Then the next day, the 28th, in Stafford Springs, Conn. PAL placed 4th again with a score of 55.09.

On the 4th of July the Corps had several parades, beginning in Downingtown and Pennypack, PA. The Corps then traveled to Harve De Grace, MD. for a late afternoon competition, which consisted of only three drum corps', PAL finished 3rd with a score of 55.20. PAL was scheduled to take the field first. The contest surface was a tar lot. The Corps was for what ever reason forced to stand on that hot, very hot black tar lot for almost an hour before kicking off the show? The shoes were melting and sticking to the tar and that made for a difficult time trying to perform the drill. The day was not over yet, a final parade in Sharon Hill, PA. later that evening, much cooler by then. That fourth of July 1970 was a very long grueling day.

Continuing with the years events, July 17th was a contest in Harrisburg, PA., the Corps placed 8th with a score of 44.00. July 18th was a show in Gloucester, NJ. PAL finished in 6th place with a 58.00. The next weekend, July 25th was the show in Hazelton, PA., the Corps finished in 3rd place with a score of 58.00. The competition season for 1970 concluded with an evening show in Poughkeepsie, NY. with PAL coming in 6th place with a 49.35. The year was not yet over; there were more parades to march.

Thursday, November 26, 1970 was the Thanksgiving Day Parade, it must have been about 20 degrees below zero but, the Corps still performed admirably. The Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer the following day.

1971 PAL Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps

The 1971 Philadelphia PAL Drum and Bugle Corps consisted of: 33 horns, 14 drums, and 16 in the color guard.

The Administrative staff consisted of Jim Bell, Bert Board and Jim McDevitt. The Instructional staff included: Music - Chuck Smith, Percussion - Bert Adamson, Drill - Jim Bell and Frank McCormick. The Corps' repertoire was: OTL - Wonderful Day, Concert - Mod Squad, Production Number - Big Spender, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and the Exit - Shenandoah

Here is a look back at PAL's 1971 schedule. This is all we have on the 1971 season for Philadelphia PAL Cadets.

1972 PAL Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps

The 1972 PAL Cadets Drum Corps consisted of: 33 horns, 20 drums, 35 in the color guard and 2 drum majors.

1972 Corps Roster

The Administrative staff consisted of Director - Bert Board, Assistant Director - Mike Lafferty, Financial Director - Mickey McPoyle, and the Quartermaster was Jim McDevitt. Handling all equipment and vehicle repairs was two marching members: Dave Oechsle and Alan Ryzinski.

The Instructional staff included: Music Arranger - Jim Bell and Chuck Smith, Horn Instructor - Ray Eyler assisted by Rich Fee and Michael Cobb, Percussion - Rich Widmeier, M&M - Jim Bell assisted by Ted Sciarra and both drum majors Frank Whitely and Barry Carter.

The PAL Cadets 1972 repertoire was: OTL - Stars and Stripes Forever, 148 count drum solo, Color Presentation - Dead End Street, Concert - Street Scene & Mod Squad, Production Number - a medley of Nursery Rhymes, which included: Sailing-Sailing, Row-row-row your boat, London Bridge & Britania, Teddy Bears Picinic, Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Pop Goes The Weasle, and Three Blind Mice, Second Color Presentation - God Bless America, and the Exit - Yankee Doodle Dandy.

PAL rehearsals were held every Tuesday and Friday nights at Lincoln High School, located at Rowland and Ryan avenues in Philadelphia.

A few highlights from the 1972 season included: forming the Corps Council on March 26th, PAL made the cover of the Drum Corps America magazine, PAL took top hornline honors at the World Open Championships, PAL was awarded top M&M at the Garden State Championships, PAL was crowned the 1972 American Legion State Champions, PAL maintained it's best scores, so far, for the 1972 competition season, and taking the Garden State Title in the Bronx, NY by defeating the finest corps' in the circuit. 1972 PAL Drum Corps Scores

Here is a look back at PAL's 1972 schedule.

1973 Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps

The 1973 PAL Drum Corps consisted of: 41 horns, 23 drums, 48 in the color guard, 2 drum majors and 1 color guard captain.

The Administrative staff consisted of Director - Bert Board, Coordinator & Business Manager - Jim Bell.

Financial Director - Mickey McPoyle, and the Quartermaster was Jim McDevitt.

Tour Director's were: Dave Oechsle and Alan Ryzinski.

Corps Council consisted of: Chairman - Rich Widmeier, Co-Chairman - Mike Cobb, Secretary - Allan Ryzinski, and the Treasurer was Dave Oechsle.

The Instructional staff included: Program Coordinator - Ted Sciarra, Music Arrangers - Jim Bell and Chuck Smith, Music Instructor - Ray Eyler and Chuck Smith, Percussion - Rich Widmeier, Vince Hurley Drill - Jim Bell assisted by Ted Sciarra, Color Guard - Frank Whitely and Mike Brady.

Drum Majors were Frank Whitely and Mike Brady, Color Guard Captain was Karen Norton.

The Corps' 1972 repertoire was:
OTL - Stars and Stripes Forever, Color Presentation - The Lord's Prayer, Concert - Slaughter on Tenth Avenue & Mod Squad, Production Number - a medley of Nursery Rhymes, which included: Sailing-Sailing, Row-Row-Row Your Boat, London Bridge & Britania, Teddy Bears Picinic, Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf, Pop Goes The Weasle, And Three Blind Mice, Second Color Presentation - Taps & God Bless America, and the Exit - Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Winter PAL Corps rehearsals were held every Tuesday and Friday evenings at Lincoln High School, located at Rowland and Ryan avenues in Philadelphia. Summer rehearsals were at State Road.

PAL maintained a 60.00 score or better for the 1973 drum corps competition season. Click here for a list of the 1973 Drum and Bugle Corps Contests that Pal competed in.

1974 National Champion Philadelphia Police Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps

The 74 National Championship Corps consisted of: 35 horns, 20 drums, 30 in the color guard, 2 drum majors and 1 color guard captain.

National Championship Medal

The Administrative staff consisted of Director & Business Manager– Jim Bell, Assistant Director - Bert Board, Contest Coordinator – Dave Oechsle, Financial Director - Mickey McPoyle, and the Quartermaster was Jim McDevitt.

Tour Director's were: Dave Oechsle and Alan Ryzinski.

Corps Council consisted of: Chairman - Rich Widmeier, Co-Chairman - Mike Cobb, Secretary - Allan Ryzinski, and the Treasurer was Dave Oechsle.

The Instructional staff included: Program Coordinator - Ted Sciarra, Music Arrangers - Jim Bell and Chuck Smith, Music Instructor - Chuck Smith and Mike Dennis, Percussion – Eric Landis and Rich Widmeier, Drill - Jim Bell assisted by Ted Sciarra, Color Guard - Frank Whitely and Mike Brady.

Drum Majors were Frank Whitely and Mike Brady, Color Guard Captain was Karen Norton.

The Corps' 1974 repertoire was:
OTL – Trolly Song & Philly Traffic, Color Presentation - The Lord's Prayer, Concert - Slaughter on Tenth Avenue & Mod Squad, Production Number - Medley of Nursery Rhymes, which included: Sailing-Sailing, Row-Row-Row Your Boat, London Bridge & Britania, Teddy Bears Picinic, Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf, Pop Goes The Weasle, and Three Blind Mice, Second Color Presentation - Taps & God Bless America, and the Exit - Yankee Doodle Dandy.

The highlights of the 1974 season include: winning the American Legion and VFW State Championships and the American Legion National Jr Drum Corps Championship in Miami, Florida on August 18 and 19, and a special invitation to perform at Walt Disney World in Orlando on August 20th.

Also while in Florida, PAL Cadets played in front of a sold out stadium crowd in the Orange Bowl for a World Football League pre-game show.

The PAL Drum Corps was a member to both the Garden State Circuit and the Atlantic Drum Corps Conference Circuit.

Some Scores From 1974 -:- Here is a look back at PAL's 1974 schedule
Here's a Daily News article about the trip to Florida

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