The history of the Pointers/Townsmen is more than just a chronology of the ten years they were in existence. The real story is the impact that being a member of this organization had on the numerous young men and women who marched with the Corps. The lessons that were learned at such a young age would serve all of us well as we progressed through life. Lessons about dedication, sacrifice, teamwork, competition, winning and losing were taught to us every time we picked up a horn, drum, rifle or flag. Friendships were made that have lasted more than a half century. No one who marched with the corps can ever deny that the experience served them well in life. It is with that memory that I begin the history of the Pointers/Townsmen. But before I begin I must explain that the information you read below has been provided by a combination of written stories in the local papers and the memories of former members. While I can attest to the accuracy of the newspapers, I must point out that with age, the memory gets a little foggy. So if there are any glaring inaccuracies, feel free to contact me and put me straight.
In The Beginning............
The history of the Pointers/Townsmen is the story of one drum corps with two different names over the course of their existence. In the beginning we were known as The Pointers and in our last years of competition we were known as the Brick Townsmen. This was a result of a change in sponsorship between the VFW and the American Legion. But that is for later. Lets start at the beginning......
The Pointers Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps was organized July 17, 1958, with all personnel from the Point Pleasant area. the Corps was comprised of youths from 9 years of age and up and was sponsored by Point Pleasant Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4715. In the beginning, support for the Corps was through tag days, paper drives, parades and other appearances.
The first instruments that the Corps played with were straight "G" bugles, snare, tenor and base drums. The early uniforms were very simple; black pants, white shirts and black shoes. To say that we were "inexperienced" would be an understatement. Most of us were just learning to play our instruments (I got everything I could out of my "F" Troop bugle), learning how to march and follow direction. We were in the embryonic stage of becoming a drum corps and it was both exciting as well as exasperating. There is no doubt in my mind that no one could possibly imagine that within six years we would be a champion drum corps playing with a consistency that would be the envy of many of the corps we competed against. This would be a good point to talk about the adults who gave us so much of their time and experience. They had the challenge of shaping a "rag tag" group into a disciplined team. It had to be like herding cats but what a job they did! The Chairman of the Executive Committee was James Flores. The director was Lester Schwarz. Les would be the only director the Corps had throughout its time. I can see Les Schwarz like it was yesterday, hat tilted back, stogie in his mouth, and an utter lack of patience. To say he could excite easily would the understatement of understatements. But deep down he was a softy and his love for "his" corps was there every minute of every year we marched. The first horn instructor was Gil Olsen who taught me, as well as many others, how to play a bugle. When it came to patience, he was the exact opposite of Les. Gil was assisted by Bob Johns one of the nicest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Our first drum instructor was John Cronen and the color guard was taught by Carlos Concepcion. Al Hager taught us marching and maneuvering. Our first majorette was Gail Hager and the color guard captain was Gerogeanna Beggs. There were so many other adults who provided assistance that I'm sure I'll miss someone. Althea Schwarz, always by Les's side. Charlie Mould, Mike Durante, and Betty Hager. The names come to me in a blur. There are so many times when I wish I could go back in time and thank them for all they gave.
By 1960 we were making dramatic leaps in growth and experience. We had upgraded our horns to piston valve bugles and added baritone and French horns. We had moved up from the simple black and white pants and shirt uniform to a combination of blue and gold with shako hats. As with much of our early equipment these uniforms came from another corps that had disbanded. Within a year we had progressed to the signature orange black and white uniforms that would be the colors of the corps for it's duration.
Early Group Photo circa 1961
And while we had come a long way from our "straight bugle" start we still needed more to move up from being just a parade corps to a competing, marching and maneuvering corps. We engaged a new horn instructor, Tony Milano and an arranger in Hugh Burbank. We were now beginning to play multi part compositions. What amazes me to this day is that most of us played "by ear" in that we couldn't really read music but once heard we could play back. This is where Tony Milano needs to be singled out. Patience must be a necessary component of being a horn instructor or any instructor for that matter. but Tony had it in spades. His teaching method was very straight forward. He would show up at the beginning of practice, have us warm up on scales then dive into teaching each section their part a few bars at a time. Again, how he managed to pull thirty kids, playing five different parts, together was pure magic. By the end of practice we were actually playing a song and really didn't know how we had gotten there. Thank you Tony M. You were the best!
Pointers on parade 1961
By the middle of 1961 we were beginning to sound like a drum corps. Our music, while still fairly basic in the number of parts we played, was good enough for competition. Our drum line and color guard were solid. We had joined the Jersey Shore Area Drum Corps Council and were ready to enter formal competition. While we still weren't ready for full scale marching and maneuvering contests, we were good enough to compete in standstill competitions. And we faired well:
Early articles on our standstill success and being TV stars
Summer of 1962 parade in Belmar
While standstills gave us a taste of competition our goal was to be on the field marching and maneuvering. In the spring of 1962 we learned and practiced hard on our new 11 minute field drill. I can still recall forming up in parade formation in front of the VFW post and marching the half mile to the Niblick Street School field or, if the field was in use, the parking lot on Arnold Ave. just below the boardwalk. The lot was only wide enough for half the corps to practice at a time so the field was the first option. One might wonder how, since we were an East coast corps with only outside options to practice M&M, we were able to practice in the winter months. Remember, we were young and cold was just a suggestion. I can remember marching on a frost covered field with my mouthpiece sticking to my lips. But hey, we didn't care. We were young and tough and just wanted to get better. And better we became. By the summer of 1962 we felt we were ready to compete in our first full scale marching and maneuvering contest and by late summer we were hosting our first event, "Music by the Sea", a combination standstill and M&M contest. We would be competing in the M&M portion against the Hurricanes from Asbury Park.
Our last competition as a standstill corps before we went full-time M&M
The program cover for our first hosted M&M contest and accompanying newspaper article
Competing against more experienced drum corps on that hot August afternoon in 1962 was a valuable lesson for us both in humility and finding out how far we had to go before we could compete with the "big boys" in our association. If I recall we had our shakos handed to us by the more seasoned veterans of competition. Especially the Hurricanes. And while we wanted to become as good as they were, little did we know at the time that unfortunate events with the Hurricanes would have a significant impact on the long term success of the Pointers.
Junior Drum & Bugle corps in the early 1960s flourished in New Jersey as well as all over the Northeast and Pennsylvania. At times it seemed that every town had their own corps. But drum corps could not survive without three things: members, volunteer parents, and most of all....money. If any of those three components fell out, the corps was usually doomed to disband. And here is where the aforementioned "unfortunate" events for the Hurricanes became the benefit of the Pointers. In the fall of 1962 the Hurricanes disbanded, along with several other junior corps in the area. And to this day I do not know the reason although I think it was probably financial. But nonetheless suddenly a lot of very talented young boys and girls were looking for a corps to march with. Unknown to us youngsters in the Pointers, Les Schwarz the director was in contact with Henry "Hank" Voss, the director of the now defunct Hurricanes. Together, Les and Hank worked out an arrangement, unknown to the Pointers members, to have the remaining members of the Hurricanes join up with the Pointers and create a bigger and better corps. It has been over fifty years since that first meeting of the Pointers and Hurricanes and I can remember it like it was just yesterday. On a Saturday morning at the VFW post, about a half dozen cars pull up out front and all these serious looking kids get out. This is when Les decides to tell the Pointers that they are about to get some new members. Well, as the Hurricanes file in they move to one side of the hall while the Pointers stand on the other. It was a very awkward moment to say the least. One would have to imagine the North and South Koreans standing on each side of the 38th parallel looking at each other to get a sense of what that moment was like. You have to remember that just several months earlier the Hurricanes, a very good and polished drum corps, had kicked our butts at our own contest. But a funny thing about drum corps everywhere is that there is a common bond between those who marched, no matter what the corps. I don't know what broke the silence, maybe an adult introducing the Hurricanes and what positions they had in the disbanded corps, but whatever it was, within minutes we were bonding like we had marched together for years. I think we, the Pointers, knew deep down that having the good fortune of gaining experienced horns, drums, and color guard could only make us better. Another benefit of joining up with the Hurricanes was that members of other corps in the area that were on the verge of breaking up heard that the Hurricanes and Pointers had become one and they wanted to get in on the program. Soon we were getting experienced horn players, drummers and guard members from the Eatontown Rangers, St. Joseph Cadets from Toms River, and the Neptune Shorliners. It seemed like overnight we went from being "the little corps that could" to a polished, well disciplined corps that could compete, and often win, with anyone in our class.
A Coming Out Party............
Hank Voss, who's temperament was as ornery as Les Schwarz's, brought a serious work ethic with him. There was a reason that the Hurricanes were good and that was "work". We increased our practice schedules, added new music (the horn players from the Hurricanes and other corps were good and they brought us Pointers up to their level), beefed up our drum pieces and expanded our color guard. And we got to work. Gone were the shakos and now we were sporting our black cowboy hats. A new look for a new year. Our goal was to come out strong in the summer season of 1963 and to expand our opportunities to compete we joined the National Association of Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps:
Article announcing the Pointers joining the National Association of Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps
By February of 1963, considerably improved to say the least, we were ready to "show our stuff". While we still had not put together our new full scale M&M drill, we were ready to compete in the ensemble portion of the National Association schedule. Now for those unfamiliar with the term ensemble, when associated with a drum corps, it is an indoor, reduced or limited M&M, with a select number or horns and drums. Total number of corps members, not including drum major/majorette, was 21. In our case we had 15 horns and six drums. On a Saturday evening in February 1963 at West Catholic Boys High School in Philadelphia, Penn. the Pointers came of age. Now while that phrase "came of age" may seem a little over the top it may best be explained by setting up the circumstances under which we were going to compete. First off, nobody knew who the Pointers were. We were a new addition to the National Assn. and no one had seen or heard us. Secondly, we were "small". By that I mean we were made up of youngsters that averaged around five feet tall. No special reason, we were just "small". OK, I and a couple of the other "older" (16-17 years old) guys were pushing six feet. But throw in Little Les Schwarz and Mike Durante and we looked "small". When we lined up on the starting line on that basketball court I could sense the crowd wasn't expecting much from the new kids. Well, let me tell you, from the first note of the opening fanfare there was a rush of air from the crowd and then the cheering began. We were LOUD and clean. And you could tell it was infusing us with more adrenaline to play harder. By the final fanfare the crowd was on their feet and I cannot recall ever feeling a greater sense of accomplishment. We didn't know how well we had scored but we knew that the other corps in the National Assn. now knew what was coming to the M&M field. When they announced us in first place and gave us the title of "1963 Philadelphia Area Ensemble Champions" it was almost an afterthought. I think we were still living in the moment of the excitement of the crowd as we went through our routine. But more importantly that night showed that all the hours and hours of practice were worth it. We could win and it set an attitude in us to always go out shooting for first place. And though there would be many ups and downs from there on, we always knew in our hearts that we could win if we stayed focused and practiced hard.
Articles about the 1963 Philadelphia Ensemble win
1963 would be a year of growth for the corps. By the time M&M season started in the summer we had competed in a couple of more ensemble competitions with mixed results but our prime focus was getting in shape for the "real" season. There were countless hours of individual horn, drum, and color guard practice and then full drill practice. Under the stern and watchful eye of Hank Voss, the drill became fluid with the music. It should be noted that the young people who marched with the corps gave all of their time to the corps. Other than the normal routines of youth like schoolwork, and chores at home, our entire lives evolved around the corps. It was our hobby, social life, summer job, you name it. Everything was about the corps. And that is how you became good. Total dedication to one goal, getting better. To say we were fully engaged would be an understatement as the below article shows what our typical schedule was.
Our foray into the world of higher level M&M competition wasn't as successful as our initial ensemble win in Philly but we held our own. One great addition to the corps in 1963 was the acquisition of our own bus. It was old and creaky but it was ours. We painted it black, white and orange (what else?) and it became our signature ride.
Competition results from 1963 and a note about the bus fund raiser
And while our first experiences the National Assn. M&M competitions were not as successful as our ensemble contest in Philadelphia, we gained valuable experience and confidence. But we all knew we had a long way to go if we were to become a championship M&M corps.
Article and score sheet from our first National Assn. M&M contest in Lindenwald, NJ 1963
Not all our initial ventures into M&M were without success though....
Besides our field contest schedule we were active in parades and civic events too. The below photos and articles attest to our hectic schedule.
Included in our busy schedule was the hosting of our second "Music by the Sea" M&M Contest.
We ended our 1963 season with our first appearance in the National Assn. championships. We had be honed by an entire season of competition and we were coming off a recent win in Norwalk, Conn.
The championship was held at Lindenwald, NJ and was hosted by the Lindenaires. We played well that night and put on a very good show but alas we came up a point and a half short of winning and had to settle for second place. While not bad for our first appearance in the Assn. championship, it fell short of our goal of winning. On the bus ride home we vowed to practice harder and come back strong in '64.
1964, A Championship Year...........
The year 1964 would prove to be one of the best years for the Pointers. It would also be a year of mixed emotions for many because some of our members were reaching that age where you made the transition from carefree youth to graduating high school and moving on with your life, i.e. college, military, etc. and by the end of the year we would lose several members. But before that happened we all enjoyed a great year.
We started off the 1964 season with an ensemble win in Middletown Township gathering three trophies for first place corps, horn line and drum line.
As usual, our schedule was filled with parades and local appearances and we were even presented with a new flag to carry with the corps.
As the M&M season progressed we found ourselves usually, if not winning, finishing in the top three.
But our season was not without some humorous events:
As we progress towards the main event for the year, the Association Championship, we suddenly hit a major bump in the road. Nancy Hill, our veteran drum majorette, announced that she was going to nursing school and that she would have to leave in August, a month before the championship contest.
As previously mentioned, we knew that some of our members would be moving on at the end of the year and under normal circumstances we would use the break between seasons to fill the vacancies. But Nancy's announcement put us in a dilemma. One has to remember that Nancy had grown into quite the accomplished majorette. She knew the music, the nuances of the players, the drill and was just, good. Where would we find a drum major or majorette before the biggest contest of our season?
Here is where I beg your indulgence as I tell the rest of the story from a distinctly personal perspective since I ended up becoming the drum major for the remainder of the year. It seems that Hank Voss wanted a male drum major to lead the corps and he had had his eye on me because of my experience as a horn player, i.e. I knew the music. He asked me if I would consider becoming the drum major and I have to admit I was very hesitant. I had been a horn player all of my drum corps career and I loved playing my horn. Going from a group member to standing out in front was moving me out of my comfort zone. But Hank convinced me that I could serve the corps best by leading and I agreed to give it a shot. I know that Les Schwarz was opposed to this happening because he did not want to lose a seasoned horn player. Hank convinced him that there was sufficient talent in the French horn section to cover my leaving. When the announcement was made to the corps that I would be taking over as drum major there was more of a reaction of "Really" than doubt. You see, the corps had only had female majorettes since it's inception and this was a pretty radical change. I set about trying to remove all doubt from the playing members by putting all of my heart into being the best drum major I could. Having no experience in the position was probably a plus as I could go about "doing my own thing" and learn from there. However, there was not much time to learn as the championship was a month away. I'll never forget my first contest out in front, we were competing at the Eatontown Rangers contest at Monmouth Regional High School. Talk about being nervous. I remember the talk amongst the other corps was centered around the fact that the Pointers had a male drum major. What was with that? Well, from off the forward it was great. It is a whole different perspective from being "in the line" to being out in front and hearing the power of the corps. It was incredible. I don't really remember exactly what I was doing other than I was "going with the moment" as they say. The end result was a first place win, a ton of confidence gained by myself, and acceptance by the corps that I could "lead from the front".
I think what was more important to me was the acceptance from Les Schwarz that the corps could compete, and win, with one less French horn player in the line. Les's acceptance was important to me because I admired and respected the man and his opinions.
Tom Adametz and Les Schwarz after Tom's first appearance as the Pointers Drum Major
A Magical Afternoon...........
Heading into the Assn. championship, to be held in Bordentown on September 27, 1964, we practiced very hard. We knew we had a shot at winning the championship but were fighting against long odds because the hosts, The Little Devils, had two things in their favor. One, the contest was in their home court, Bordentown, and two, they were very, very good. We had competed with them throughout the season and whenever we met head to head, they won. They didn't beat us badly, usually less than a couple of points, but still enough to finish ahead. We knew we needed to make that up to win the championship. We knew that evening we would go out on the field and give it our all.
Program Cover and ticket stub from 1964 National Association Championship
As a drum major you can get a sense of where the routine is going from the first note of the opening fanfare. There was no doubt that afternoon that we were "on". It was strong and crisp and when the corps pivoted off the line it was the beginning of something special. You could feel the momentum building with almost every note and drum beat. The color guard commands were as strong and assured as I had ever heard them. My memory is a blur of the eleven plus minutes of the drill but there were specific moments that still linger with me almost fifty years after the event. One, the concert piece, "Charmane" was without a doubt powerful. Moving from multiple chords to the swing beat was a perfect transition and you could feel the crowd moving with the music. The second memory, and I don't think the corps remembers this, but coming out of concert as the corps moved across the field facing away from the stands I was, as they say, "pumped". Maybe a little too pumped as my cummerbund popped and fell off. Didn't miss a beat though and I recall a judge picking it up and trying to give it back to me and I just kept marching. As we completed our routine by marching off to "I Could Have Danced All Night" the crowd was cheering and when the last note of the final fanfare was hit the cheers grew to a roar. It was at that moment that I was so proud to be a member of this organization and I knew we had put on our best show ever. But was it enough to beat the Devils?
As we stood on the field in parade formation for the awards I had this pending sense of disappointment. I knew we had put on a tremendous show but the Devils were there usual strong selves. As the line of drum majors stood and awaited there scores and finishing place I was already thinking of what I would say to the corps to console them. As the announcer came to third place the tension was building. In drum corps you never know what little thing, penalty, hard judge, etc. will affect your score. All I knew at that moment was that we were at least in the top three. I don't recall which corps finished third but when they were announced I knew the moment of truth for our entire year had come. It was down to the Devils and us. I remember thinking of how I wished the contest had been on a neutral field. As my thoughts raced I heard the announcer say, "In second place, with a score of 75.71......". I began to take a step towards the judge, anticipating hearing our corps name. "The Little Devils!". I froze. Did I just hear right? The Devils were second? I glanced over at the Devils drum major and saw he seemed to be hesitant to move towards the judges stand. I think he was in more shock than me. They had absolutely expected to win. Why not? They had beat us all year and why should this afternoon be any different? Well, it was and when the announcer said, "In first place, with a score of 75.9, the 1964 National Association Champions, The Pointers". It was all I could do to keep my military bearing as I approached the judge, saluted, received the trophy, thanked him, saluted and did an about face and headed back to my place in line. It was then when I threw decorum and military bearing to the wind and broke out in the biggest smile I ever had. Holding the trophy high over my head for the corps to see. By a mere .19, less than two tenths of a point, we had beaten our season long rivals in the biggest contest of the year. One less cracked note, missed drum beat, misalignment of a formation. It didn't matter. At that moment all of the work and practice of an entire season was worth it. We would forever know that we had won the championship.
For me, the winning of the championship was bittersweet for that would be the last formal M&M contest I would ever march in. A little over a week after the win, on October 4, 1964, I would leave my beloved corps to join the Navy. I had thought that I would spend one hitch in the Navy and then come back to New Jersey and join up with a senior corps. Little did I know that the Navy would be my home for the next twenty years and drum corps, especially the Pointers, would become a wonderful memory. I did have the opportunity to lead the corps the following weekend in a parade in Red Bank and an M&M exhibition for a Pop Warner football game in Point Pleasant. It was a sweet irony that the exhibition was held at the Niblick Street School field. The same field where we had put in countless hours of practice. Playing before a hometown crowd as my last event before I left the next day was a great sendoff. Still, it was tinged with personal sadness as I realized I would never have the opportunity to shout, "Ready, Move" to kick us off the starting line.
The remainder of the 1964 year was filled with parades and the American Legion State Championship in Wildwood. While we really didn't have a chance against the Blessed Sacrament and Garfield Cadets level of junior corps, we did pretty well finishing in the upper third out of around twenty five corps.
Columbus Day Parade, Long Branch, October 1964
A Time of Change...........
I write the history of the Pointers/Townsmen from 1965 on from an outside observers perspective since I had left the corps before the 1965 season began. My information is based on articles and photos plus the personal anecdotes from those who marched with the corps from this point on.
1965 would be an eventful year for the corps. Coming off their first Association Championship big things were expected for the season and the corps didn't have a let down. Winning most of the contests they entered they were well on their way to claiming another Assn. championship when turmoil entered into the well ordered routine of the corps. The disturbance was caused by a change in sponsorship from the VFW to the American Legion. But more on that later.
Charlie "Shoddy" Brown had taken over as drum major and the corps was teeming with experience. With each year as the members got older, they got better. A good analogy would be that the corps had gone from infancy to adolescence and were now in adulthood. They were good and they knew it. Not in an arrogant way, but in a quiet confidence that comes from becoming a champion.
The corps was having success as it moved into the summer M&M portion of the schedule. The corps entered the NJ VFW state championship in June and finished in12th place. While not as high as they would have liked they did pretty good against some very good corps.
In July of 1965 the turmoil I mentioned earlier took place. While the marching members of the corps were busy concentrating on their practice and competition schedules a controversy between VFW Post 4715 in Point Pleasant and American Legion Post 348 in Brick Township was brewing. The Pointers director, Les Schwarz, was intent on moving the corps to the American Legion for sponsorship while the VFW was intent on keeping the "rights" to the Pointers name as well as their equipment. I often wonder if any of the members knew how this argument almost ended the corps in the summer of 1965. The following article sums up the issue:
While I was not there to go through this I could imagine the mood of the marching members of the corps. All they wanted to do was play. Whatever disagreements the adults were having only distracted from their focus on becoming better. But as most things that happen to us as youngsters, we survive it, in spite of the adults, and move on. In the end the corps moved to Brick and became the Brick Townsmen. It would appear that a "King Solomon" agreement was reached. The corps kept all of it's equipment and the VFW retained the name "Pointers". I guess that was a good thing because the name "Brick Pointers" just doesn't sound right. And as far as the kids were concerned, "when's the next competition?"
The summer contest season progressed under the new name of "Brick Townsmen" and many of the contest programs would acknowledge "formerly the Pointers" as a way of clearing up the question of "who are the Townsmen?" As for the members, the name change didn't slow them down a beat. They continued to win.
And the corps hosted it's annual competition, "Music In Motion" under their new name. Still, they put Pointers in parenthesis so everyone who they were.
The one down note from the 1965 season, and I got this from former members who were there, was the National Association Championship. It would seem that fate, or the drum corps gods, decided to "balance" the ledger when it came to our win in 1964. The corps was the hands down favorite to repeat as champions based on their winning record for the season. But that evening belonged to the Media Fawns and they defeated the Townsmen in an upset similar to what we had done to the Devils the previous year. Ah yes, that is drum corps.
The remainder of the 1965 season was comprised of the usual parades and civic appearances. More so in Brick Township, their new home. Below are some memories of 1965 for your enjoyment.
1965 would also bring a new way of getting information out to the corps and their families, "The Newsletter". Below are copies of two newsletters put out for the corps:
A Tough Year...........
The year 1966 would prove to be a very tough year for the corps. While they were still very good they were beginning to lose some of the veteran members to the aforementioned life's events such as college and the military. Most of the older player would hit twenty years of age during the season and that meant that they only had one more year of eligibility. Still, they moved forward looking to maintain their championship form. And while the year would prove to be successful competition wise it would also be marked by an unimaginable tragedy.
The year began with the usual combination of ensemble contests and civic events.
One high note for 1966 was the emergence of the color guard as a championship unit on it's own. Entering many contests for color guard only, the ladies of the guard were outstanding.
The Brick Townsmen Color Guard - 1966
As the season moved into the summer M&M portion the corps put out a letter to all of it's members:
It is said that there is a resilience in youth that makes us believe we are indestructible. We are impervious to the dangers of life and know we will live forever. But the sad truth is that we are not immune to the unforeseen tragedies of life and on May 3, 1966 tragedy hit the Townsmen. Our color guard co-captain, Lorraine Buraszeski was killed in an automobile accident along with the two young children she was babysitting for. She was just four days shy of her 18th birthday. It was an unspeakable loss to her family and to all or her fellow corps members.
Again, since I was not there I can't imagine the pain of that loss. I was on the other side of the country in Long Beach, CA when I received the news. The hurt was deep and it still remains to this day. Even more unimaginable was what the adults, Les Schwarz, Hank Voss, and all the others who had guided us through our childhood would have to do to explain this to the young members of the corps. What can you say to a group of teenagers who have just lost a family member. The drum corps was family and now, quite suddenly, a family member had died. Whatever they did or said picked the corps up so that they could move forward with their season. For the remainder of the year the corps marched with black armbands in memory of Lorraine. I can't imagine how the corps managed to perform with the memory of that loss but they did.
One article that was sent to me was written to the local paper by a gentleman who had followed the Pointers/Townsmen for years. He was still calling the corps the Pointers in 1966. What he saw may have been the result of the mood of the corps after the loss of Lorraine.
The Final Year...........
1967 would prove to be the final year of competition for the Pointers/Townsmen. A combination of many members reaching the maximum age of 21, others leaving for college or the service, and a lack of new members doomed the corps. But still, the corps carried on as best it could and had some measure of success.
The last ensemble contest sponsored by the corps. The December date was moved to January
Still supporting civic events
The final article written about the Townsmen towards the end of the 1967 season
By the end of the year it was time to say goodbye to many of those who had been there from the beginning. Those who had grown up through the corps. Again, a bittersweet night.
I suppose it would be a fitting ending to the history of the corps to show a photo of Jeff Schwarz, who marched with the corps from it's beginning in 1958 until it's end in 1968, playing taps.
While the Pointers/Townsmen officially disbanded in early 1968 the memory of the corps remains forever with those who marched with it during it's existence. It was so much more than a group of boys and girls playing horns, drums, carrying flags and rifles. It was an experience that allowed us to learn so much about life. Lessons such as winning and losing, competition, friendships, self-discipline, working towards a common goal for the betterment of the group. These were lessons all of us carried forward in life. Today, more than a half century after it all began in 1958, I doubt there is not a one of us who can't look back at our time marching with the corps and not know how that experience helped to make us who we are today. As I said in the beginning, I can never express my thanks enough to those adults who shaped and formed me into the man I would become. May they always be in our hearts and minds.
A Special Thanks...........
I want to give a special thank you to James "Jimmy" Parks, horn player extraordinaire and fellow member of the corps. Jimmy was there from the beginning to the end and without his generous contribution of the photos and articles you see in the above history it could not have been written as clearly and accurately.