Among the numerous marching bands making their way down Route 9 for Tarrytown’s Halloween Parade is the legendary Tarrytown Vets Drum and Bugle Corps and it's not too late to join them.
That “legendary” title is not arbitrary but well-deserved: the corps is celebrating 80 years of rich history in Westchester this season.
“We've had a tremendous year - undefeated; winning 13 in a row,” said corps president Todd Coleman. “This includes a Best Overall Music trophy in the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firefighter Association Convention Parade, as well as Best Overall Music trophies in the Greene, Dutchess and Westchester County Volunteer Firefighter Association convention parades. I've been around the corps for a long time and don't think we've had this kind of success since the 1980s.”
Their latest victory: the corps just won the Orange County Convention two weeks ago, sweeping the conventions.
Among these award-winners is a guy we all know around the villages – from his Boy Scouting, to his swim instruction at the YMCA and his service saving lives as a now-officer on the Sleepy Hollow Ambulance Corps. Ryan Murray has been a member of the musical corps for about 15 years. He is currently a soprano bugle player, the second assistant drum major and Co-Horn Sergeant.
From their website, a snippet of their history beginning back in 1932:
The Tarrytown Vets Drum and Bugle Corps was established in 1932 as Tarrytowns VFW Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps. The organization was formed by members of the Tarrytown Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1939 during the onset of World War II and consisted of only veterans. While much of the corps’ written history was destroyed in a fire in the early 60’s, the organization continued to grow and evolve as the years went on.
And some interesting facts:
- The corps travels a radius of over 200 miles to parades per year.
- The corps has marched in New York City, Boston, Massachusetts and Newark, New Jersey.
- The corps has held a performance at Yankee Stadium.
- The corps has marched with the Palenville Fire Department in the Greene County Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Convention for 40 years.
- The corps has a repertoire of over 20 songs.
- The corps has 20 living life members (20 years of service.)
- The active membership includes nine life members. Among them are drum majors Bert Garcia (30 years of service), Jim Kovacs, (53-year active member!).
- The active membership includes 8 sets of families (with two or more family members in the corps.)
- One family in the corps is in its third generation with the organization.
- The corps’ youngest members are 14 years old (2 members.)
- The median age of corps members is 38 years old.
- The average age of corps members is 36 years old.
The corps invites you to join their dedicated ranks, or family as they call it, and you don't even need to know how to play an instrument. (They will provide instruction.)
“In our 80th year we have relocated our rehearsals from Sleepy Hollow to Verplanck and hope to recruit some local citizens with and without musical experience to join our Corps,” Coleman said.