DCAT Chorus



The DCAT Purr-spective

Purr-spective logo

The Newsletter of the Drum Corps Alumni of Toronto - March 2018

DCAT (Drum Corps Alumni Toronto) is an organization dedicated to the preservation and joy of Drum & Bugle Corps camaraderie, bringing together past members, relatives, friends, and associates in a social environment for the purpose of companionship and musical activities.

Members' News

by Sandy Hale

Here is the next issue of the DCAT Purr-spective. I am happy to be able to include articles from Annie Watson. She stays 'in touch' with many friends of Drum Corps and is able to offer lots of interesting bits of news and history. A couple of photos taken by Dolly Fox at the 2017 Xmas gathering are posted in this issue, but you can also find more of Dolly's work in the News section of our DCAT website. Thank you Annie and Dolly for your time and energy.

Warmer weather and sunshine might actually happen soon, so if you are 'out and about' and find something or someone of interest to the Chorus, please send the information along and I will post it on the website or include it in the next Purr-spective. Don't forget that Diane Beauchamp is now working our Facebook page so items can be forwarded to her as well. Thanks for taking over, Diane.

Volunteerism Within The Chorus

On March 21, Shirley Lucas, one of our alto singers, will receive a Five-Year Award as a volunteer at Sunnybrook Hospital, in K (Veterans) Wing! Shirley happily brings refreshments to her patients and helps out at special events as needed. A friendly face, patience and the ability to offer a little extra T.L.C. are all very much appreciated by the Vets and their families! I know that June Beaumont also volunteers at a Care Facility on a weekly basis. Our Chorus members are not only talented, but giving as well.

Some Musical Notes

by Sandy Hale

Our Musical Families!

We know of Ben Majerly's (Gord Irvine's grandson) involvement in Marching Bands. Now, we are happy to let you know that the choral tradition also carries on within our DCAT families. Mara Hale (Sandy and Ian Hale's granddaughter) and Parker Gill (Wyatt and Tara Gill's son) are both members of a choir of note - The Young Singers. Mara is part of the Random Notes, the oldest group in the choir and Parker is a member of the Treble Notes, a younger group. Congratulations go to the Random Notes and Director's Choir, who were awarded 2nd place at the first annual North Metro Youth A Cappella Challenge held on February 17, 2018. To learn more about this dynamic choir, check their website.

Sing for Your Life - Canada

This foundation, which originates in British Columbia, "is committed to improving the health and well-being of older Canadians who live at home or in residential care, through music. Our programs create more age friendly communities and improve the life and care of older people, including those affected by dementia, and their caregivers". For more information, see their website. It makes for very interesting reading.

Benefits of Singing

Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, has studied developmental and medical aspects of singing for 30 years and he says the health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological:

"Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting. Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together as well as alone because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour."

WholeNote - The Magazine

This magazine is available free of charge at most music stores, such as Long and McQuade, Cosmos, St. John Music. You might also find copies at music schools, such as those 'store-front' schools found in local plazas. I like to pick one up each month and am never disappointed. I particularly enjoy the regular feature entitled Music and Health. I found an article last spring that outlined the ability of music to temporarily revive some Alzheimer's patients, describing visible results at nursing homes, including Villa Colombo. The DCAT Chorus had the privilege of singing at Villa Colombo and I was able to see first-hand the impact that our music and songs had on some of the patients.

WholeNote magazine is also a wonderful resource for those who enjoy concerts - in all genres - in all parts of the GTA. If you are a collector, there are numerous critiques of recordings, again - classical, jazz, vocal - a wonderful selection. If you cannot find a paper copy of the magazine, you can read it on their website.

Tales From The Tundra

by Annie Watson

Happenings at Christmas Time

On December 10th, fifteen members of the DCAT Chorus attended "A Swingin' Christmas", a performance by The Toronto All-Star Big Band at Flato Markham Theatre. What an amazing afternoon it was! An eighteen-piece band and five singers entertained for two hours, presenting a variety of Christmas music and music from the American Song Book, including repertoire from George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael. Under the direction of Eric Carter, the music took most of us on a "walk down memory lane". The singers were amazing extremely talented and showed great stage presence. We also received a history lesson from the emcee about the composers of many of the numbers performed.

The afternoon concluded with a sing-song of Christmas favourites and a lucky draw. Our Mark Beauchamp won two free tickets to attend another of the Band's concerts, two of which are in Florida at the end of January! The only 'catch' is that he must get himself down there!

This was a wonderful and joyous afternoon and a terrific start to the Holiday Season. We send our thanks to June and Ortie for arranging this event.

The Annual DCAT Christmas Party was held at ATS on Wednesday, December 20th and was well attended. Dolly Fox has already given a detailed report on the happenings of the evening in the Rehearsal Summary but I have a few additional comments. It was great to see some faces not seen for awhile - Ellie Cameron, Dianne Yanoff, John Moffatt plus family members of DCAT singers. June Beaumont was elected into the Hall of Fame (very well deserved). The "bag draw" was again a great success with some winning multiple times. Claire and Shirley did a commendable job organizing and setting up the snacks and Dave Cameron's organizational skills once again were much appreciated.

DCAT knows how to have fun and it was very evident throughout the evening. Here are pics of our Emcee, "Parky", our Fundraiser 'extraordinaire' Linda Carscadden and our Co-Social Directors, Claire and Shirley! Thanks folks, for giving us such a great time.

Parky Linda and Pat Claire and Shirley

The Burlington Teen Tour Band

This band was invited to march in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California on January 1st. Gord Irvine's grandson Ben Majerly, is a member playing saxophone. The band is 200 members strong and the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime event for these talented youngsters. Joe and I were able to watch the parade live on TV and the band did themselves proud. The group with their colour guard of over twenty were an imposing sight as they marched down Colorado Boulevard , sporting red and black uniforms with black busby hats! They also performed daily at Disneyland. Their performances were wonderful tributes to the organization, Burlington and Canada. These young people will have wonderful memories of the experience to treasure. No doubt Gord Irvine's mentoring of his grandson has been rewarding to both of them. Congratulations to all!

G.A.S. 2018

We are fast approaching our annual trip to the G.A.S. reunion in Binghamton in early May and I have been reflecting on the past ones and all of the places we HAVE visited. In 1994 some of us attended G.A.S. in Cambridge, Ontario. It was the first time the reunion was held outside of the United States and was hosted by Scout House. It was fun, entertaining, a learning experience and a chance to hear and meet many new friends from the United States. We came away with "the drum corps spirit" renewed.

The seed was planted and by the fall of that year, the DCAT Chorus was born.

The following spring we traveled to Hawthorne, N.J., then to Boston, Baltimore, New York, Mississauga (x2), Valley Forge (x2), Parsippanney, Hagerstown, East Brunswick, Hamilton, Quincy(x2), Johnston City, Gettysburg (x2), Lancaster, Mahwah and Binghamton (x4). This is an impressive list and with each passing year and reunion our singing ability has improved. Once again Wyatt has "raised the bar" and our performance this year will show that.

My sources tell me that the Bon Bons have replaced two of their numbers with new material and the Skyliner Chorus will once again surprise and delight us with all new selections, one of which could be a sing-a-long number.

The Canadian Brass Ensemble was originally formed in 1999 under the direction of Rick Dixon. The ensemble was made up of members from Drum Corps in the Southern Ontario region and made several trips to the reunion, often including their signature performance of Canadian Sunset. The group disbanded in 2013 and reformed last year as Class Brass, now under the direction of Rick Dixon and Rick Seager. Class Brass is rehearsing alternate Saturday mornings in Hamilton at Legion Branch #58 in preparation for their appearance at G.A.S.

We can all look forward to the returning ensemble of alumni from St. Joe's of Batavia. They were very well received last year at their 'inaugural' performance at G.A.S. and we are very glad to know that they are back again this year.

Who knows what surprises await the eager audience at the Saturday Afternoon Talent Show!!! All in all, another wonderful reunion weekend is planned.

Toronto Signals

The Toronto Easter Parade, Sunday April 1st in the Beaches, will once again include the Toronto Signals. The DCAT members who also perform with the "Sigs" enjoy this annual tradition and as always, hope for good weather!

Odds and Ends

  • A drum corps is being formed to perform at the 50th Anniversary of Oktoberfest in Kitchener/Waterloo on Thanksgiving Day Weekend. Apparently, this will be a "one time only" group.(?) Over 150 performers have signed up to play, including many DCAT members. Good luck to all!

  • From A Musician's Dictionary by David W. Barber

    Ideally, a meeting of musicians (and singers) for the purpose of becoming familiar with the music. In fact, a social occasion where little if any work is done. Most useful for repetition of mistakes.
  • More to come... I thank Sandy Hale for inviting me to contribute to our Purrspective Newsletter.

Until Next Time!! annie in the tundra (aitt)