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NEW PHOTOS ADDED 5/19/06 CLICK ABOVE
Thanks to the assistance of Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame Inductee and
seniors alumni baritone Jerry Foley, a web site honoring the memory
of the IC Reveries Senior Corps is being added. Please stay tuned
as it develops and any former members who would like to submit
pictures, materials, memories, etc. please email myself or Jerry.
The Reveries Memory Lives On!
Email Mike Merrett Email Jerry Foley
The IC Reveries were founded in 1957 as a Class C drum corps with the Immaculate Conception parish of Revere, Massachusetts under then paster Father Lawrence Sullivan and corps director John Brown. After winning their first show and the division that year, the corps ascended to Class B in 1958 winning that division as well. In 1959 the corps jumped to Class A where they would continue to compete throughout the 1960's. Their first appearance at the VFW Nationals was in Detroit and the year was 1960.
Sporting cadet-style uniforms, the instructional staff was made up of Ted Mcnaught on marching and manuevering, his brother Joe Mcnaught on brass and Cliff Fisher headed up the percussion staff.
The corps competed in both the Eastern Mass. and CYO circuits against the other drum corps "heavies" on the Massachusetts scene including the Boston Crusaders, St. Kevins Emerald Kinghts, and St. Mary's Cardinals.
Director John Brown retired in 1964 and handed over the reigns to George Bonfiglio and the staff was also replaced as Jim Wedge took over on brass, Paul Dibasio on drums, and Wally Curtis on marching and manuevering. John Shea also assisted Bonfiglio sharing the directors duties.
Father Sullivan also retired in 1964, and after a number of short term pastors, Father Gallagher took over and remained in the positon through the corps final year in 1967.
At the conclusion of the 1965 season, the Reveries were a respectable local corps but lacked the size to have a significant impact upon the National scene. It was at that time that the Malden Cavaliers disbanded and many of their members joined up with the Reveries and the corps almost doubled in size heading into the 1966 season. It was during that season that the fate of the drum corps would be irreversibly altered forever.
The Reveries achieved some of their greatest success during the 1966 season and as they headed into the VFW Nationals competition in Jersey City, New Jersey, they were coming off a week of victories over their Massachusetts rivals the Crusaders, Cardinls, and St. Kevins including a third place finish at the World Open, elevating them to the top spot in the state at that time. As Reverie baritone player Jerry Foley remembers, "We didn't do our best job in the prelims at VFW but it should have been good enough to make finals."
The corps placed 14th in the prelims, two positions out of the finals and right behind the Racine Scouts. Both corps had received many tenths in penalties which had kept them out of the finals.
But this was pre-Drum Corps International, and politics still played a large role in final results. As the drama unfolded, apparently someone from the Scouts was in tight with one of the show's sponrors and their penalties were overlooked. When members of the Reveries staff protested that if the Scouts penalties were going to be overlooked, so should the Reveries, their protests were dismissed and ignored. The corps was infuriated. George Bonfiglio and John Shea, along with other members of the support staff decided they were not going to take this lying down. Against the protests of people like horn instructor Jim Wedge who cautioned against any rash behavior fearing long term consequences, the directorss instructed drum major Richard "Guss" Provist and color guard captain Sandy Mcleevey to march the entire corps up to the metal gate where the corps would enter for finals. In doing so, the Reveries had to get past St. Joe's of Batavia, New York, a finalist corps with a fierce reputation at the time. When St. Joe's drum major Joe Eduardo discovered why the Reveries were pursuing this course of action, he decided to offer the services of his corps and not stand in their way.
As the corps reached the large metal entracne gate to the stadium, a voice from inside asked who they were, and when Provist answered "St. Kevin's", a corps that had made finals, the gate went up and the corps marched onto the field and into the drum corps history books. The entire corps sat down on the starting line and refused to leave until they were allowed to perform.
As the story goes, Reveries quartermaster Frank Grayson was credited with holding up the gate for the corps to enter and wouldn't allow anyone to close it. After a tense fifteen minute standoff during which police were called to the scene, the show sponsors reluctantly allowed the corps to go on but they would not be judged and they would not be counted in the final results. The crowd, which initially seemed hostile began to swing to the corps side after word began to circulate through the stands that the corps was not treated fairly by the shows' sponsor.
To our knowledge, no such incident has ever been witnessed in the drum corps activity. It was an incident that would be talked about for years and as Wedge and others feared, the brazen act, though justified in the minds of many, would come back to haunt them in a big way.
Upon their return to Massachusetts for the Eastern Mass. and CYO circuit championships, the Reveries' scores dropped significantly and they were all of a sudden scoring well behind competitors they had beaten soundly just two weeks earlier.
Father Gallagher, the Immaculate Conception parish pastor was not pleased with the action either and tension between himself and the corps directors began to mount.
The Reveries suffered through a disappointing 1967 season which saw them "blackballed" by many corps sponsors. And it was clearly apparent that the infamous "sit down strike" would be their undoing. At the end of the 1967 season, Father Gallagher informed the corps they would no longer receive the support of the parish and the Reveries were summarily cast adrift by the parish. There were reasons other than the "sit-down strike". The corps had begun accepting members from outside the parish and the pastor did not approve of the image the corps was now adopting.
By a strange act of fate, the parish had basically driven the final nails into the coffin of the Senior Reveries, but had unknowingly set the stage for the birth of a new corps that would go on to become one of the most successful in Drum Corps International history...the 27th Lancers.
Bonfiglio would not accept the parish's decision to disband the corps so he approached the remaining members with the idea of starting a new independent unit with a whole new identity and new uniform. And they would take their name and image from the famous poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade". The members liked the idea and on Columbus day in October of 1967, the 27th Lancers exploded on the drum corps scene. The dark cloud that followed the 1966 Jersey City incident would continue to hang over them until 1969 when the Lancers became too darn good for anyone to deny any longer. As the 27th Lancers, the corps would enjoy huge success until 1985, when the corps faded into drum corps history due to failing membership and financial concerns.