REILLY RAIDERS
  
ALUMNI DRUM  BUGLE CORPS
  WILLOW GROVE, PA

 

The year - 1946 - America's young warriors were wearily returning from both the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. A small number of those returning veterans had been members of a long-standing junior corps in Philadelphia before the war, the A.K. Street Post.

First, they welcomed each other home, and then . . . . made plans to reorganize as a senior corps. The then-current members of 'A.K. Street Post Junior Corps' were offered an option: they could march with the veterans, but only for parades and exhibitions. (The VFW and American Legion competition rules, at the time, required documented age and veteran status for membership in a competing senior corps.)

Russ Murphy was the music arranger and bugle instructor. Bob Cotter Sr. instructed and wrote for the percussion. They both awaited the return of the former A.K. Street Junior Corps Drum Major, William "Wild Bill" Hooton, to be 'their' Drum Major and to write and instruct the drill.  Word soon spread of the 'new' senior corps and age outs from Osmond, Yearsley, Olney Legion, DAV, East Germantown, and other Philadelphia Junior Corps migrated to the new senior corps.


The original A.K. Street Post Senior Corps was outfitted in khaki uniforms with white pith helmets.  However, thoughts of a unique uniform were top priority, whenever funds would become available.
It was general consensus the German Officers, and, in particular, the 'SS Troops' were, beyond any doubt, the best dressed military of all nations in WWII. The dominance of the color black carried the message of strength, mystery and class.

The hat was the "coup de grace," exhibiting power and stature the likes of which no other drum corps had ever imagined. Reilly wore the black visor cap leveled two fingers above the nose. This cap position required a slight backward tilt of the head for vision. This posture was admired, and then duplicated nationwide, as other corps copied the design. Wearing of the cap has been duplicated and imitated many times, but no other corps could ever capture the true essence.   Street Post did not want to be like 'everyone else,' and this uniform certainly would set them apart from all others.

The members then decided to honor a fallen comrade, Cpl. Frederick W. Reilly, by naming the new senior corps after him. When they adopted the Reilly name, the word 'Raider' was a natural, and well. . . . the two, combined, indicated to the drum corps world that there was a new force in town.


But, the name Reilly also implies an Irish connection, hence, the addition of 'bits of the color green, laddie' (in just the right places) and, with a 'Gaelic' music theme to match, this molded it all together in one complete package.

All this was not a one person decision. Typical of Reilly, it became a democratic effort by all members and the rest, as they say, is history. It took a while before the uniform was accepted by other veterans and non-veterans alike who remembered the Nazi war atrocities. There was some ridicule in the early months following the war, but this was to eventually fade when the Reilly Raiders would soon be known as the Notre Dame of Drum Corps.

The corps eventually formed their own VFW post, Cpl. Frederick W. Reilly Post, #7947, Reilly Raiders. The post home was located at the corner of 5th Street and Venango St in Philadelphia. The motto over the door read "Through this door pass the best damn bugle corpsmen in the world".

During the war and for a short time thereafter, new bugles were not manufactured as the factories formerly producing war effort materials had to retool for musical instruments. This required a year or two before new horns began to slowly trickle down. Meanwhile, the seniors had to use the same bugles that were manufactured in the 1930's and most were in pitiful condition at best.  Intonation was one of the major problems. The cause was due to air escaping from the many tiny pin holes appearing along the tubing. This was due to the thousands of brass polishing during the contests of the 1930's and early 1940's.  The Reilly Raiders, always known for their creativeness and "firsts", came up with a very unique fix. In 1947 they decided to paint all of their bugles "green" to match their brand new uniforms. But it turned out to be a three-fold solution. The automobile enamel was not only a colorful idea but it covered the pin holes improving intonation and the only polishing  necessary was the inside of the bell. Many drum sticks were also polished with A-1 once buglers found out they became an excellent ram-rod tool for the bell.  Reilly used these "green bugles" until the arrival of their new horns, and as they say, 'the rest is history'.

In 1948, Reilly was invited to Webster Music Hall in New York City to make several recordings on the Palda Record label. These would be the first professional recordings ever produced of a Drum & Bugle Corps. There remain a few in existence to this day.

Reilly, a distinct underdog, was the winner of the very first Dream Contest held at Roosevelt Stadium in 1949. It eventually had to be moved indoor to the Armory in Jersey City because of inclement weather. Competing against the National Champions of the VFW, Lt. Norman Prince, Boston, MA, and the National Champions of the American Legion, Jersey Joes of Riverside, NJ the Reilly Raiders, were crowned the Dream Contest Champions. This set the stage for their phenomenal winning record that was to follow in ensuing years

Reilly won their first National Championship in 1950, a sentinel accomplishment, from formation to the ultimate prize in only 4 years. Two years later, under the leadership of their Hall of Fame Drum Major, "Wild Bill" Hooton, they became the only Senior Corps in the United States to hold both the VFW and American Legion Championships. They eventually won 7 National Championships and 16 Pennsylvania State titles. From 1946 to 1959, they entered 129 contests with a phenomenal record of 90 first places, 31 second places and 8 third places. This enviable record and their competition accomplishments combined to catapult them to their highest honor, induction into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1965 as the Senior Corps of the 1950's.

Reilly lost many members in 1967 due to the war in Vietnam and ceased competing. But, such was the 'esprit de corps' that existed among the members, they were reborn as an alumni corps in 1994.  In April of 1994, the Reilly Raiders Alumni Corps was formed, consisting of a majority of members from the past, complemented by a younger breed of Reilly families and friends, reaching down into three generations of Reilly Raider families, to keep the Pride of Reilly alive. The Corps presently fields 55 Brass, 23 Percussionists, a Silk Line of 12, 4 Guideons, and an Honor Guard and Banner Section of 14 members. As time goes on, the Corps will be keeping the Reilly Raider Tradition alive by complementing our heritage with the challenge of the twenty-first century, while never losing sight of our traditions to make the Reilly Raiders distinctively Reilly.

REILLY RAIDERS LIFETIME MEMBERS

 

LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP AWARD RECIPIENTS BY NAME

 

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

YEAR

 

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

YEAR

Jakubowicz Edward   2014
Kates Steve   2016
Kaufmann Chas   2016

Kaufmann

William

2001

Keim

William (Itchy)

2003

Keller

William

2004

Lanzillotti Evelyn   2014

Lanzillotti

Anthony (Tony)

2005

Ledwith

Joseph

2002

Lundell

John

2004

McCardle

Robert

1957

McCloskey*

Eugene (Beany)

1999

McCloskey

Joseph

1998

McCormick*

Frank

1949

McCormick

Thomas

1948

McDermott Cheryl   2012

McDermott

Kevin

2010

McDevitt

Diane

2005

McDevitt*

Dot

2008

McDevitt

Jack

2008

McDevitt

James

1996

McFadden Al    2015
McQuiston Tom   2011

Metzger

Joan

2002

Mitchell*

Richard

2002

Mitten

William

1996

Monacello*

Louis

1996

Mukalian*

Edward (Mukie)

1964

Muller Rob   2011

Murphy*

Russell

1952

Neill

Frank

2000

Neill

Maureen

2010

Neill-Knopf*

Mary

2008

Newman

Kenneth

2009

Nigro Richard   2012

Orehowsky

Ronald

1996

Patrick

Leon

1949

Penderghest Carol   2013

Penderghest

William

2007

Penrod

Josephine

2006

Penrod

Richard

1997

Place

Carl (Govvy)

1965

Place

Vivian

2002

Pomeroy*

Daniel

2004

Powell

Allen (Froggie)

2002

Price*

Donald

2006

Price Robert   2015

Pugliese

John (Murphy)

1997

Pusey

William (Bill)

2009

Schmids Joe   2008

Scirrotto

Louis

2008

Scott, Jr.

Lawrence

2002

Scott, Sr.*

Lawrence

1956

Seigfried

Frederick

2003

Smith Dan   2014

Smith

Donald

2002

Sneidinger

Joseph

2001

Taylor*

William

2002

Thornton*

Frank (Tex)

2003

Tully

John

1997

Visek* Albert   2002
Watts William (Bill)   2013

Wicks

George

1996

Wildemore*

William

1951

Young

Edward

2006

Young Linda   2014

Adair*

Robert

1956

 

Adams

Richard

2002

 

Alletag*

Joseph

1996

 

Arena

Tony

2008

 

Assal

Daniel

2002

 

Assaro

Frank (Bubbles)

1996

 

Bac

Marian

2003

 

Baker*

Albert

1961

 

Bell

James

1996

 

Beohmer

Karen

2007

 

Bowser

James

2000

 

Breittigan

Merry

2009

 

Bridge

William

1996

 

Brisiel

David

2005

 

Brown

Jay

1996

 

Bunting

Eugene

1996

 
Campbell Wayne   2015  

Carney*

Robert

2004

 

Cheminitz*

Robert

1956

 

Christy*

George

1996

 

Cicippio

Joseph

2007

 

Cornelius*

Charles

1956

 
Crowell Jim   2016  

Daggett

Robert

1996

 

DeHaven*

Howard

2008

 

DeMara

Philip

1999

 

DeMara

Sherry

2003

 

DeMarco*

Blackie

1996

 

Deiner

Carl

2002

 

Dowlan

John

1997

 

Esposito*

Nicholas

1951

 

Evans

Pat

2010

 

Finley

Mary Ellen

2008

 

Foltz

Richard (Dick)

2009

 

Force*

Harry

1957

 

Gaff

Robert

1997

 

Gallagher

James

2002

 

Gerner*

Edward

1998

 

Giles*

James

1962

 

Ginther*

Harry

1949

 
Graham Erda   2013  

Graham

Marge

2000

 
Graham Michael   2012  

Graham*

William

1996

 

Guess

Charles

2008

 

Hackett*

Jack

1965

 

Hackett*

Elsie

1997

 

Hagen*

Walter

2002

 

Hennessey*

James

2006

 

Hollis*

Peter

1996

 

Homan

Carl

1956

 

Hook

Harry

2007

 
Hook Kathy   2011  

Hooton

Carol

2008

 

Hooton*

William

1948

 
Hoover Christopher   2012  

Huhn*

Walter

1961

 
Iovine Richard  (Rick)   2013  

Jacobs*

Morton

1952

 

Jacobs*

Robert

1948

 

 

 

*Deceased

 

LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP AWARD RECIPIENTS BY DATE

 

YEAR

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

 

YEAR

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

  YEAR LAST NAME FIRST NAME

1948

Hooton*

William

 

2002

Adams

Richard

  2011 Hook Kathleen

 

Jacobs*

Robert

 

 

Assal

Daniel

    McQuiston Tom

 

McCormick

Tom

 

 

Deiner

Carl

    Muller Rob

1949

Ginther*

Harry

 

 

Gallagher

James

  2012 Graham Michael

 

Patrick

Leon

 

 

Hagen*

Walter

    Hoover Christopher

 

McCormick*

Frank

 

 

Ledwith

Joseph

    McDermott Cheryl

1951

Esposito*

Nicholas

 

 

Metzger

Joan

    Nigro Richard

 

Wildemore*

William

 

 

Mitchell*

Richard

  2013 Graham Erda

1952

Jacobs*

Morton

 

 

Place

Vivian

    Iovine Richard

 

Murphy*

Russell

 

 

Powell

Allen

    Penderghest Carol

1956

Adair*

Robert

 

 

Scott, Jr.

Lawrence

    Watts William

 

Cheminitz*

Robert

 

 

Smith

Donald

  2014 Jakubowicz Ed

 

Cornelius*

Charles

 

 

Taylor*

William

    Lanzillotti Evelyn

 

Homan

Carl

 

 

Visek*

Albert

    Smith Dan

 

Scott, Sr.*

Lawrence

 

2003

Bac

Marian

    Young Linda

1957

Force*

Harry

 

 

DeMara

Sherry

  2015 Campbell Wayne

 

McCardle

Robert

 

 

Graham

Marge

    Price Robert

1961

Baker*

Albert

 

 

Keim

William

    McFadden Al

 

Huhn*

Walter

 

 

Seigfried

Frederick

  2016 Crowell Jim

1962

Giles*

James

 

 

Thornton*

Frank

    Kates Steve

1964

Mukalian*

Edward

 

2004

Carney*

Robert

    Kaufmann Chas

1965

Hackett*

Jack

 

 

Keller

William

       

 

Place

Carl

 

 

Lundell

John

       

1996

Alletag

Joseph

 

 

Pomeroy*

Daniel

       

 

Assaro

Frank

 

2005

Brisiel

David

       

 

Bell

James

 

 

Lanzillotti

Anthony

       

 

Bridge

William

 

 

McDevitt

Diane

       

 

Brown

Jay

 

2006

Hennessey*

James

       

 

Bunting

Eugene

 

 

Penrod

Josephine

       

 

Christy*

George

 

 

Price*

Donald

       

 

Daggett

Robert

 

 

Young

Edward

       

 

DeMarco*

Blackie

 

2007

Beohmer

Karen

       

 

Graham*

William

 

 

Cicippio

Joseph

       

 

Hollis*

Peter

 

 

Hook

Harry

       

 

McDevitt

James

 

 

Penderghest

William

       

 

Mitten

William

 

2008

Arena

Tony

       

 

Monacello*

Louis

 

 

DeHaven*

Howard

       

 

Orehowsky

Ronald

 

 

Finley

MaryEllen

       

 

Wicks

George

 

 

Guess

Charles

       

1997

Dowlan

John

 

 

Hooton

Carol

       

 

Gaff

Robert

 

 

McDevitt*

Dot

       

 

Hackett*

Elsie

 

 

McDevitt

Jack

       

 

Penrod

Richard

 

 

Neill-Knopf*

Mary

       

 

Pugliese

John

 

 

Schmids

Joe

       

 

Tully

John

 

 

Scirrotto

Louis

       

1998

Gerner*

Edward

 

2009

Breittigan

Merry

       

 

McCloskey

Joseph

 

 

Foltz

Richard

       

1999

DeMara

Philip

 

 

Newman

Kenneth

       

 

McCloskey*

Eugene

 

 

Pusey

William

       

2000

Bowser

James

 

2010

Evans

Pat

       

 

Neill

Frank

 

 

McDermott

Kevin

       

2001

Kaufmann

William

 

 

Neill

Maureen

       

 

Sneidinger

Joseph

 

 

 

 

       

*Deceased


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