The Iwanowicz sisters at the Georgia Dome.
Back in July, the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship in Atlanta attracted a wide range of corps fans; students, parents, and a continuing host of demographics that covered a wide breadth of Americana and beyond. While we were unaware of any famous Hollywood royalty in attendance, there were some bona fide "Socialites" in the Georgia Dome stands. Theresa Halasi, Lee Hoskins, Katie Mastromarino and Mary Jayne Shadden are originally from Saugus, Mass. At one time, they all had the last name of Iwanowicz. That's because they're sisters who get together every year to attend a Drum Corps International event as a group. Along with a fifth sister who wasn't in Atlanta, from 1963 through 1972, members of the former Iwanowicz clan all marched as members of the Saugus Socialites, an all-girl field corps from their hometown. According to the sisters, that was "way back in the day when corps dues were only 50 cents a week." Theresa, who performed as part of the rifle line and was also the corps' drum major, and Lee, who performed as part of the flag line, both moved to Knoxville, Tenn. They were excited to find a Drum Corps International contest in Sevierville, Tenn. back in 1975, and they've been attending that show since. Katie, who played snare, and Mary Jayne, who played tenor drum, both moved to Jacksonville, Fla. and regularly attend DCI shows in Florida. Mary Jane was the first member of the family to join the corps, having been introduced to it by friends. She then pulled in the other sisters. She refers to their annual DCI get-together as "our pilgrimage." She still notices how many elements of drum corps have changed over the years, saying, "There is no formal inspection anymore, so even though the corps perform with so much attention to detail, there is not as much military precision." Theresa agrees. "Even though the corps have become more dramatic, there is less regimentation. It took me awhile to get used to it, but I like it." "Everything has changed," says Lee who remembers when all the corps had to start on one side of the field and end on the other. The biggest change for Katie is the front ensemble. "The pit is a whole different thing. We only had snare drums, tenor drums, bass drums and cymbals. I like the pit; it's got every sound you can imagine in it. The sound is so much more detailed and intricate." Look for the Socialites at future Drum Corps International events during the 2009 summer season. They'll be easy to recognize by their laughter, enthusiasm and that magical aura that only "Socialites" can bring to a gathering.