Hamilton Post No. 20
American Legion National Champions 1969, 1970, 1971
Late 1945 and early 1946, the
Hamilton American Legion PostNo.20, Senior Drum and BugleCorps was formed by Joe
Sedlack. Members of this new venture were returning veterans of WW 2. Most, having experience with the
Hamilton Squadron (jr. corps)and other junior corps of Baltimore and the surrounding region.
In 1947, the Corps participated in numerous parades in their service uniforms. Later, that same year, the white and gold became their chosen colors. Uniforms were purchased and the Eisenhower jacketed Corps was on its way to becoming a legend. The "Boys in White", in their first American
Legion National contest (Randall's Island Stadium, 1947) although
finishing third by a mere .95.They scored a 29.5 out of a possible 30.0
in the marching and maneuvering category.
The name "Yankee Rebels" was adopted in 1949, and for the first time, carried the Confederate Flag during a contest in West New York. New Jersey. This was the year of the first "Dream Contest", held at the Newark Armory with three V.F.W. and three American Legion senior corps participating. The now, Yankee Rebels finished in sixth place. The point spread was 1.8,
first to sixth.
In 1952, new uniforms of white and gold cadet style became the uniform
of the day. The Corps traveled extensively throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey placing first in several circuit shows.
Following the 1953 season, Joe Sedlack and the staff of the Yankee
Rebels began the organization of an invitational contest in Baltimore
and the "March of Champions" became a reality. This very successful competition was held for 24 consecutive years, 1954 through 1976. Many changes were in store for the Yankee Rebels
organization. Late 1955,George Bull was elected the new director, a
complete change of music and drill which included the blast of "Dixie"
off the line, along with music from the musical "Oklahoma:. The
following few years saw a constant rebuilding of the corps.
In 1962 a new instruction staff, Skip Groff - horn instruction, Tom Garrahy - drill instruction, John Flowers - percussion, with Bill Hooten as coordinator. The corps continued, winning their share of contests. During 1967, Truman Crawford, having transferred from the U.S.A.F. Corps to the U.S. Marine Corps, became the new music director. The next three years of endless work, began to pay off and winter 1969, Charlie Kammer presented the management with a complete program which included North/South Civil War tunes. It was decided, a theme must be established, and this was to be it. They would attempt to perform a battle on the contest field with two armies playing North - South music.
It was said, it took 23 or 24 years for the Yankee Rebels to reach their
summit... They didn't win every contest, but they won more than their
fair share, and in August, traveled to Atlanta for the 1969 American Legion
Nationals. Upon completion of their show, the crowd applauded for over 10
minutes. They won the show, and the hearts of the drum corps world.
The years,1946 through 1977, reflect the effort, work, sacrifices,
disappointments, achievements and glory of every member who ever had
the distinction of wearing the White and Gold, now, the Orange and White.
For several years there was no senior corps in the State of Maryland, but the
Yankee Rebels Alumni Association continued to function. In 1987, the
American Legion announced they had scheduled the 1989 National
Convention in Baltimore. At an Alumni meeting it was agreed to get a
representative group together and march in the Convention parade. That fall, active and inactive alumni members were contacted and a rehearsal was planned for winter 1988. During that period, George Bull and his team had to come up with drums,bugles,flags and some kind of uniform. This was no small project, but with the help of the many Yankee Rebels Friends, this was done, on time and in time for the first rehearsal.
Early in February, 1988 at the Hamilton Post, the first rehearsal was
held. No one was sure what to expect, or how many would show up... to
everyone's amazement, 70 buglers,
more than 30 percussionists, and well over 30 to carry the "Colors". The
average age was about 50 years, with several in their 70's. August 1989, the
corps was ready. The Yankee Rebels, over 90 horns, 40 percussionists, a 32
man color guard with Phil Gentile and Don Conners performing as drum
majors were awarded the best musical unit in the parade.
The rest is history, but might be summed up by a statement made by a
couple of young corps members from competing units. They were heard to
say,"Who are all those old guys around here today?". The other answered, that while he didn't know who in heck they were, "those S.O.B.'s sure can play those horns".
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