Drum Corps International
More About Jerry Seawright and George Bonfiglio

More About Jerry Seawright and George Bonfiglio

by Michael Boo

Two of my favorite people to write about in drum corps are Jerry Seawright and George Bonfiglio, founders and long-time directors of Blue Devils and 27th Lancers. After writing about both in the past, I received the following contributions. The last Fanfare exclusively about Jerry Seawright was "Further Memories of Jerry Seawright" on Nov. 12, 2004. We last read about George Bonfiglio in "George B. as I Know Him," on Jan. 14, 2005. My dear friend Bob Fields contributed the following. For those who don't know Bob, for many years, he had a regular column in Drum Corps World that brought fans together like none other. He's also been honored as a DCI Volunteer of the Year. As a kid I marched with the Richmond (California) Hawks Drum and Bugle Corps, but later set that aside for a lucrative career playing drums in rock bands. I had not seen drum corps for a number of years until 1974, when I saw a TV ad for Santa Clara Vanguard's Pacific Procession. We had been in parades for years with the Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bell Corps and other marching units—but no drum and bugle corps. My, how things had changed, because what I saw that day at the show got me fired up to volunteer any way I could. I later called a number listed in the show program and spoke with Jerry Seawright himself. He encouraged me to come out and see the corps rehearse. I later traveled with the corps in 1975 to some of their local shows, but in 1976 came the big tour that started it all for me. The local newspaper, the Concord Telegraph, was looking for a correspondent to cover the Blue Devils tour to the east. I volunteered and spent four weeks writing and taking pictures for the newspaper while on tour. The kids nicknamed me Clark Kent and presented me a Superman glass while on tour. Suddenly, Concord was aware that they had a World Champion when the corps came home that year. This led to volunteering to help at camps, help run their annual drum corps show, do public relations for the corps, become the only non-parent in the parents club and eventually even drive buses on tour for a number of years. My heart still belongs to the Blue Devils thanks to Jerry. But what he taught me most was the lifelong drive to volunteer wherever I could to help the activity continue on. That has taken me to quite a number of corps like the Conquistadors, Freelancers, San Jose Raiders, Archer-Epler Musketeers, Illusion, Crossmen and many more. In 1997, Lou Mauro of Illusion nominated me for the DCI Volunteer of the Year Award, which was presented at the DCI World Championships in Orlando. Standing on the field at the time of the presentation was Jerry himself! It was thanks to Jerry and his urging to become involved that I have now been a writer for Drum Corps World for almost three decades and have been awarded my most prized possession in the drum corps activity. I could not have been more proud that day. It brought tears to my eyes. Jerry was always there for you, would always take your call, and was always a good friend and was willing to listen. I will miss him, as I know so many others do as well, and will always thank him for getting me involved in this lifetime voyage. I hope others will continue to do it for someone in the activity that they respect. In my writings, thanks to Jerry, I have always urged people to get out there and become involved. We need more people who are willing to get out there and make things happen to keep our activity afloat. Thanks, Jerry, for giving me my direction in life! Jay R. Marks contributed the following thoughts about Jerry Seawright. Since meeting Mr. Seawright in the summer of 1970, I've developed many memories of him over the years, but none sticks out more prominently than the memory I'm about to relate. It was 2000 at the DVC show in Pleasant Hill. It was my second year as a Renegade baritone player and we were scheduled to perform our field show in an hour or so. We were in the lower parking lot, near the tennis courts, and were slowly getting dressed and were preparing to begin migrating up the hill to warm up. As several of us were talking, Mr. Seawright appeared from the direction of the stadium and walked toward us. I thought this unusual as we could hear another corps performing in the stadium and it was unlike Mr. Seawright to leave during anyone's performance. He came over to us and was immediately greeted with handshakes and hugs. We were genuinely happy to see him as he so rarely appeared at a drum corps show. He had come our direction, he said, to watch us warm up. He said he thought we (the Renegades) were, "... fantastic." Now, being that he was talking to a group of Blue Devils alumni, he had to know that we would know when he was pulling our legs. He was sincere in his flattery this time. He really did think we were good. Denise Bonfiglio, now a guard instructor for Santa Clara Vanguard, shared some thoughts about being in the Bonfiglio family. Our home was always home (at that time) to 128 members of the Lancer family. Growing up, our baby sitters were cousins, aunts or uncles, who were all involved in the drum corps; either marching, managing or helping out in some way. Our lives revolved around the drum corps. All three of my sisters—Patty, Darlene and Janine—and my brother George Jr. marched in the Lancers. My older sister marched in the IC Reveries, which is the organization in which my father first became involved. When my father formed the 27th Lancers, I was marching with the IC Reveries junior corps as I was too young to march with the Lancers. My dad worked endless hours to establish his new founded drum corps, create a management structure, find uniforms and horns, and secure somewhere to rehearse winter and summer. Somehow, the family continued to strive. With the formation of the Lancers, there was this newly created family that just never went home! No matter what time, what day, there was always someone at my parents house on South Cambridge Street in Revere; writing music, laying out the structure of a show, working though ideas, designing uniforms, sewing uniforms—the tasks were endless. In the mist of all this positive energy, it wasn't unusual to see my sisters, my brother and myself with one of the corps members helping us with homework, or helping us with a school project. Since drum corps was such a significant part of our lives, my family was not into sports; except for my mom. My mother has been a Red Sox fan all her life. When baseball season was active, my mom was glued to that TV rooting for her Red Sox. The Red Sox winning the World Series was the best present she could have had in 2004. I personally taught the Lancers from 1976 to 1986, which was their final year in competition as a drum corps. My early years teaching the corps, I was a weapon technician, working with Peggy Twiggs. She and I created the foundation of technical excellence for the 27th Lancers color guards. In the late 1970s early 80s, the Lancers color guard was unbeatable. My father was the greatest supporter of the color guards' efforts when brass and percussion were still the dominating force in the drum corps activity. My father pushed the Drum Corps International board of directors to recognize the value of color guard in DCI back in the early 80s, to which DCI responded and allotted points to color guard. My father was very active with DCI throughout its early years. Not only was my dad dedicated to running a high quality drum and bugle corps, he was just as determined to help create and develop Drum Corps International. My dad, along with DCI's other founding fathers, worked hard to promote drum corps around the country and to establish Drum Corps International. It was not unusual to see the 27th Lancers on the west coast promoting drum corps, or to see Santa Clara on the East Coast. Drum corps fans could not get enough of the 27th, SCV, Cavaliers, Troopers, and Anaheim Kingsman, to name a few. The fans would line up to get autographs from their favorite performers. This was a special time in the drum corps era, never to be repeated. In the mist of running a drum corps and working on the board for DCI, my dad's real job was a schoolteacher. In his early years, my father taught automotive mechanics at a public high school and later taught sixth grade for a number of years. His career with drum corps and his teaching career both blended together so perfectly in that he was constantly working with young adults. He was continuously in that teaching mode, and although retired, teaching is still part of his life, as his grandchildren can attest. Tom Lizotte taught brass for George for three years and contributed the following. I have always admired George and his wife, Patsy. Their love for the activity, corps and members was as passionate and sincere as I have ever experienced. Their life was the Lancers. I'll never forget the first show of 1985. Eric Reasoner had taken over the horn line in February and we were hurting for personnel. You could tell they were going to be fine, but it was pretty rough at the beginning. Frank Levy, one of the brass judges, called George over during the critique and said, "Be good to these guys. They know what they are doing!" George took Frank's words to heart and was incredibly patient with us. The next year, he gave me my first-ever opportunity as a caption head. He was so supportive at a time that took every ounce of his energy (and probably the family's finances) just to get the corps on the road. George and Patsy changed my life. Drum corps owes George more than it will ever know. He is still an inspiration to me!


Fanfare archives Michael Boo has been involved with drum and bugle corps since 1975, when he marched his first of three seasons with the Cavaliers.

He has a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music theory and composition.
   
He has written about the drum corps activity for over a quarter century for publications such as Drum Corps World, and presently is involved in a variety of projects for Drum Corps International, including souvenir program books, CD liner notes, DCI Update and Web articles, and other endeavors. Michael currently writes music for a variety of idioms, is a church handbell and vocal choir director, an assistant director of a community band, and a licensed Realtor in the state of Indiana. His other writing projects are for numerous publications, and he has published an honors-winning book on the history of figure skating. His hobbies include TaeKwonDo and hiking the Indiana Dunes. But more than anything, Michael is proud to love drum corps and to be a part of the activity in some small way, chronicling various facets of each season for the enjoyment of others.