Message Archive

Posted by Jeff Heefner on February 28, 2003

A big thanks to Tomm for putting this together. I know there are a lot of guys out there that would like to know about this site. Pass it along to your Cadet friends… help us get in touch with more.

If anyone has a recording of the Cadets from 1964, I would be very interested in obtaining a copy.

In case you’re interested, I ran into Terry Smythe (horn 60 – 65) a couple of weeks ago. He’s still practicing law in Chicago…

I talked with Mike Maas (horn 63-69) about a month ago, he’s still in CR in the musical and entertainment business…

Jon Neighbor (guarde and snare 63-69) is also still in CR, and recently retired from the phone company…

My brother, David, (horn 60-64) is in New Braunfels, TX, teaching…

I talked with Bob Smythe (snare 58-61) a couple of months ago, he’s still in CR (hardware business)…

Last summer a few of us got together in Madison at the DCI championships: Harold Abdo (BD and DM 58-64), Craig Aswegan (horn 60-64), Jim Aswegan (drums ?), Tomm Schultz (snare 58-61 & 65), Jon Neighbor and me (snare, fr. horn, tenor drum 60-66). We had a great time and there are some pictures in the photo section of the Cadets site.

If you get a chance… let us all know what you are doing… and any DC info you can give us.

Posted by Tomm Schultz on June 18, 2003

Just a note to say that Jeff Heefner and I marched with the Royal Airs Drumline in exhibition with a full performance last weekend in Oswego, Illinois. The Cavaliers won the contest but the crowd loved the Royal Airs. This was the first time we have marched together since we were with the Cadets in 1965. What a thrill to do it again and with the best Corps of our era. We have several other performances this summer and the schedule is listed on the Royal Airs Web Site under 2003 information. Send me a note if anyone is interested and cannot find the schedule.

Posted by Al Coonrod (Jr.) on July 01, 2003

I first got interested in drum corps at about the age of 7 (1949) when we lived in Decorah. We moved to Cedar Rapids in 1954. I joined the corps that year. In both the Kilties and the Cadets I played the bass horn. I eventually played the contra bass until I left the corps to join the Air Force in Oct of 1960. I also marched in the winter drill team (loved it) and was an instructor of the B corps in its formative years. I did get to march in competition when on leave in 1961. They let me carry the US flag. Found out later I was out of step quite a bit. I, like most of us, loved and hated the Cavs and the Scouts. How could you not love their shows and music.

Drum corps was a major influence in my life. I love to watch the DCIs each and every year. Hope to make a trip one of these days to see the DCIs in person. If anybody sees or hears from Bob Mick or Dick Reese, tell em “Hi” for me.

Hey Tomm. Thanks. Keep up the good work!

Posted by Jeff Heefner on July 14, 2003

Today I got an email from another Cadet: Wayne Silka. Wanye played Baritone and Base in the late 50’s/early 60’s. His email address is: If you marched with him, he’d like to hear from you!

In case you’re interested… Tomm Schultz and I still haven’t grown up… we’re still marching in a corps: Chicago Royal Airs Reunion Corps. And it has just about KILLED us. We’re not as young as we used to be. Over the 4th of July we marched two parades in the Chicago area,and then practiced all day the 5th… and did a show that night in Racine WI. Do you remember??? Sound familiar??? I had to go to the back cracker… so I could march the next weekend… which was the DCI Midwest show in Dekalb IL. And it finally got to Tomm after this show. It’s Monday, and I haven’t talked to Tomm since I saw him heading for the airport in Chicago to go home. Hope it made it home alright.

You may be wondering what a couple of old broken-down drummers from 40 years ago would be doing in the Royal Airs… especially since they are doing it long distance (Tomm lives in Dallas, I live in Tulsa OK). Mostly to live a dream. A few Cadets went on to march in really good corps. But most of us dreamed how it could be different if we just lived in Chicago, or Madison, or Racine, or New Jersey… Well, marching with the Royal Airs Reunion Corps is our chance to correct this terrible wrong done us… And it has been a great thrill to stand on that starting line again… and be surrounded by 84 of the greatest horn player, 20 of the greatest drummers, and playing some of the greatest drum corps music ever written… Words can not describe the feeling.

But there is more to the motivation to do this. Drum corps is not what it was… In 1965 (considered to be the golden year from the golden era of drum corps) there were some where around 1000 junior drum corps in America (99 in New York alone). Today there are less than 80. And they don’t look, sound or act like what we would remember. True it is that they are more musically skilled and play some very difficult stuff. But the problem is that they play not to satisfy the crowd and the fans; but to satify the judges. They are not in the entertainment business… they are in the please the judges business. As a result, the tunes are usually not recognizable… and nobody is humming the music of their favorite corps as they go to their car after a drum corps show. So, by marching in the Royal Airs today, I can help show people who didn’t live in the 50′ or 60’s what drum corps is suppose to look and sound like. The 2003 Chicago Royal Airs are playing the original scores from some of their very best music: “Chicago, My Kind of Town”, “Bally Hoo March”, “John Brown’s Body” (Battle Hymn in swing), “Birth of the Blues”, “VooDoo Moon”, and “The Shadow of Your Smile”. There are 150+ members, average age is 55, and there is over 3000 years of drum corps experience. The uniform is an exact copy of the white battle jackets, blue pants, red trim, blue/white shako, white shoes, worn by the Royal Airs in the 60’s.

If you’d like to see drum corps like it used to be… you need to go to the Cavie’s show in Des Plaines IL on July 27, 2003. Or you can go to Scranton PA over Labor Day to the DCA (senior) championships. There will be several other alumni corps, but only 2 will have a full field marching show: the Royal Airs, and Mighty St Joe’s.

Hope to see you in Des Plaines!

Note: there is a good chance the Royal Airs will go again next year (50th anniversary). If you are interested, go to the Royal Air website for information.

Posted by Jim Tarbox on August 01, 2003

hey tomm … i’m probably opening myself up to some abuse here, but let me say, as a former fort dodge lancier, i’m thrilled to be marching with you and jeff this year in the royal airs … i marched with them last year, too, and it was a blast … i feel like i’m 17 again (which should give you an idea of what kind of shape i was in when i was 17!) …

this is the most fun i’ve had in the past 30 years — with my pants still on, that is … i know you were finished in c.r. before i got going in fort dodge (i was “b” corps in ’65, so i missed out on almost everything except state legion in sioux city that year; didn’t get to go to vfw in chicago … ratz!), but the past 2 years have been an experience i can’t imagine not having taken part in … i initially went to a royal airs weekend in the fall of ’01 as a favor to a friend; i signed on as a favor to myself and will never regret nor forget it … what a trip this has been …

even with my time involved with minnesota brass inc., you guys are the first former cedar rapids cadets/grenadiers i’ve run into from the old iowa days (except for having met jim mason when we put on brass theater up here some years ago) … and i’ve run into only a couple of others, two gals from clinton with whom i traded insults one year at dcm in de kalb when i was running the mnbrass souvie tent and mike flack from osage, who hung with r/a a couple of weekends last year, including an unbelievable weekend at dci in madison …

this will put things in perspective: in about 2 hours, my wife and i are leaving st. paul for a dog show in la crosse at the old civic center (or whatever it’s called) … last time i was in that place was in ’69 or ’70; we were doing a standstill cuz the field show had been rained out … too bad, too; we were counting on our m&m to bring up our score that year …

great web site; brings back lots of good memories, even if you guys did kick our butts (of course, you did miss out on ’66 and ’67 state legion and ’68 vfw — in fort dodge! as i vaguely recall, grenadiers beat us at ’68 legion — in cedar rapids?! — funny how new uniforms can have that effect …) see you in a couple of weeks in scranton at dca … i been there; you won’t soon forget it …

as always, if ever …

Posted by Harold Abdo on October 16, 2003

I also want to thank Tomm for creating this terrific website. I also want to thank Jeff Heefner for organizing our mini reunion two years ago at DCI in Madison and providing the great Cadet/Crimson Knight shirts. It was great to see everyone and of course to reincarnate the old marching days. Still attend a few shows each summer and although corps is different, it’s still a tremendous activity to watch. Drum Corps memories are something that never leave you, particularly singing the old great songs while in the shower. It is really fun to watch Tomm and Jeff marching with the Royal Airs. Even though they are in pain they look terrific. While attending my 40th high school class reunion in C.R. in August reconnected with Wayne Silka, Dan Ely, and Dave McCoy from the old Cadet days. We didn’t chat about high school, we only talked drum corps. I live in Davenport and have since 1974. Recently retired from SBC Telecommunications and was so bored I took a part time job driving a school bus. Now I appreciate the hassle our old bus drivers with the drum corps went through. What comes about turns about. Greetins to all and would be thrilled to hear from any of our old buddies.

Posted by Harold Abdo on October 16, 2003

I also want to thank Tomm for organizing this website. It has been a labor of love for him and appreciated by the rest of us. Also, I wish to thank Jeff Heefner for coordinating our mini reunion at DCI two years ago in Madison. The Cadets/Crimson Knight shirts were a great touch. Reconnecting with several “old” friends while attending a phenomenal show was indeed memorable. I’ve watched Tomm and Jeff march in a couple of shows with The Royal Airs and even though they claim to be in pain they look and sound terrific. My family and I attend s few shows each summer and even though drum corps is different today it is still a very exciting activity to attend. Of course, many of the old tunes still are heard coming from out of our shower with requests from my family to take my music elsewhere. Recently attended my 40th class reunion from C.R. Washington and ran into Wayne Silka, Dan Ely and Dave McCoy. We didn’t chat about high school, our main topic of converation was drum corps. We live in Davenport and have since 1974. I recently retired from SBC Communications and was so bored I took a part time job driving a school bus. Now I can sympathize with our old drum corps bus drivers. What comes about turns about. I would love to hear from any of our old drum corps buddies. Warmest regards to all.

Posted by Tomm Schultz on October 19, 2003

Thanks, Harold for your kind comments about the website. Jeff and I were very surprised to see you at our warmup in Des Plaines. Our backs were hurting but it was worth the pain to march with the Royal Airs this year. What a thrill. Our season ended up at the DCA Finals in Scranton, Pennsylvannia on Labor Day weekend. We performed in exhibition during the alumni show and had an absolute great time. I think it was our best show of the year and I can hardly wait to see the DVD of our performance. It was also quite a thrill to see Blessed Sacrement, the Cabellaros and the other corps that performed that day. I will probably add some of the pictures of Jeff and me in our Royal Airs uniforms to this site once I decide which ones to use.

At one of our other performances this year, I think in DeKalb, we saw Terry Smythe and his wife. We really appreciate you and Terry coming to see us perform. Please keep in touch and ask our Cadet friends to add to this site. I have a few additions I need to make in the next update.

Best Regards,

Posted by Harold Abdo on October 21, 2003

I want to thank Tomm for organizing and financing this terrific website for the benefit of us “old” Cadets and Grenadiers. Also, want to thank Jeff Heefner for organizing our reunion at DCI two years ago, and also for the great Cadet/Crimson Knight shirts. We looked real pretty. I’ve had the pleasure of watching of watching Tomm and Jeff march a couple of times with the Royal Airs. Even though they are in pain they truly march and play extremely well. Even though drums corps has changed since we were active participants it still is a fabulous activity and I feel like a kid again chasing around to 3-4 shows a summer. Recently attended 40th class reunion from C.R. Wash and ran into Dan Ely, Dave McCoy and Wayne Silka. You can guess the primary topic of conversation. I have lived in Davenport, IA since 1974 and recently retired from SBC Telecommunications. I was so bored I took a part time job as a school bus driver. Now I can sympathize with our bus drivers that hauled us around the midwest. Regards to all! Would be great to hear from old friends.

Posted by Dan Ely on September 02, 2004

Greetings, I saw Harald, Wayne and Dave at HS reunion summer of 2003. Also saw Houstons’ contest this July 2004, that included the Cavies and Garfield Cadets. It was a great show.

I was in the Cadets from 1957,thru 1962, played soprano and had a great time. I was unable to get on the alumni list because of an e-mail glitch. Contact me if you know how to fix this. Thanks to Tomm Schultz for a great web site!