Reunion 2000 – June 3, 2000

On June 2nd and 3rd, 2000, the Yalesville Senior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps and more than 40 alumni of both the senior corps and well renowned Yalesville Juniors participated in Wallingford’s Jubilee 2000 parade. Former members came home to Wallingford, Connecticut from such places as Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and New Mexico. All for a chance to relive a few moments from the past, renew old friendships and even to make some new ones. Many of the alumni brought their spouses and families for the chance to show off their talent and to give them the opportunity to see how they spent their earlier days. It seemed that, at every turn of a corner along the route, there was a familiar face cheering us on. You could feel the excitement and sense of pride – not only in those of us marching, but in all those who had supported us during our early drum corps days, and who now came to watch us, sixty strong, as we proudly marched in Yalesville’s hometown of Wallingford.

We started our reunion with a rehearsal on June 2nd at the Yalesville VFW (a long time practice site for our corps). After separate section practice, the reunion corps practiced together. It was an emotional experience for many. To appreciate the sense of emotion, we witnessed Eleanor Borek, fife instructor of the Yalesville Juniors for thirty-three years break down in tears, overwhelmed with pride and honored at how well the corps was playing together. Doug Quigley, fifer and son of well-respected drummer and drum instructor, the late Hugh Quigley, wrote in a letter after the reunion, “…There was another moment that moved me. At the Friday night rehearsal when the drummers joined the fifers, they sounded just like my dad’s drumming. The power, the sharpness, and the clean execution so much like Hugh. It was as if he was communicating to us all through those drums. I fifed very little of the first two songs. Through the sounds of those drums, I felt very close to my father in a way I never have since he left us. I thank you for making that moment possible…”

The late Hugh Quigley taught the Yalesville Junior corps from 1968 until 1988 when the junior corps disbanded. Eleanor and Hugh also instructed the senior corps for a period of time.

Under the instruction of Eleanor Borek and Hugh Quigley, the Yalesville Juniors garnered the Connecticut Junior Ancient State Championship nineteen times between the years 1961 and 1985, often competing against ten or more junior ancient corps. The Yalesville Juniors then went on to capture fourteen Northeastern Championships competing against champion junior ancients from other area associations. Having won it seven times, the corps earned the honor of keeping a St. Francis trophy, a perpetual trophy awarded to the senior or junior drum corps with the highest playing and appearance mark of the day at the Connecticut Fifers and Drummers Association Annual Convention. The junior corps, although no longer in existence, continues to hold the record for first place wins in the Junior Ancient class according to records published in the Northeast Drum Corps News. The corps had also earned the distinction of being one of the premier championship corps of the Connecticut Fifers and Drummers Association.

Although the alumni who returned on June 2nd and 3rd, 2000 spanned several decades, they had all been taught by the same instructors, thus it was as though this “reunion corps” had played together for years. It was a tribute to Eleanor Borek and the late Hugh Quigley that so many former members returned for this event and still played as the champions they once were.

The reunion corps gathered the next morning for a group photograph before the parade. The current members in uniform and the alumni donning Yalesville Reunion tee shirts. Following this most memorable parade, the corps, alumni and family members gathered for a picnic. It was a time to reminisce about the past, look at old photo albums and scrapbooks, exhange addresses (postal and email), eat, drink and of course, what would a drum corps reunion be without a JAM! It was truly a memorable day and one that won’t soon be forgotten.

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