: News

Drum And Bugle Corps Stages Comeback

Play associated audio
Alumni from the VIP Drum & Bugle Corps of the 1960s hope to bring the group back to DC.
Robert Jackson
Alumni from the VIP Drum & Bugle Corps of the 1960s hope to bring the group back to DC.

By Rebecca Sheir

It's been almost 40 years since D.C. boasted a vibrant drum-and-bugle corps scene. Alumni from the city's only all African-American group are trying to bring back the band.

In the VIP Drum and Bugle Corps, Edward Dalton played the bugle.

"The biggest bugle ever made," says Dalton. "Contra-bass is what they call it."

Robert Jackson played the tenor drum.

"I was on the drum line!" says Jackson with a fond laugh.

Joining them were at least 7-dozen other African-American youth who learned diligence, dedication and discipline, says former VIP chaperon Michael Hawkins.

"The group taught them how to be young men and young ladies," says Hawkins. "That is some of the things that is missing in our kids today."

That's why a handful of VIP alumni have formed the non-profit VIP Group, to re-establish their beloved Drum and Bugle Corps.

A white priest in Southeast D.C. founded the VIPs in the mid-1960s, to get inner-city youths off the streets. The VIPs went on to win national competitions despite racial backlash from their mostly white rivals.

The VIP Group says it will take several-million dollars to launch the group, but Shirley Lathern, a member of the VIP color guard, says it's worth it.

"Some of the kids today, they're missing something," says Lathern. "We have so much pride in what we accomplished, that we feel we can offer that again."

The VIP Group hopes to start recruiting by next year.

NPR

Long Before Burning Man, Zozobra Brought Fire And Redemption To The Desert

For decades, residents in Santa Fe, N.M., have gathered to burn a massive puppet — but only after stuffing it with symbols of their woes. It's a way to release the past year's sadness and start anew.
NPR

Sunday Sports: Baseball Season Stats

As the baseball season enters the homestretch, Mike Pesca, host of The Gist podcast shares obscure baseball stats and somewhat dubious accomplishments with NPR's Rachel Martin.
NPR

Trump Meets Netanyahu And Affirms Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israel's Capital

Trump's position would reverse long-standing U.S. policy. Netanyahu is expected to meet with Hillary Clinton later on Sunday.
NPR

Facebook Group Launched To Combat KKK Presence In Pennsylvania Town

Jaimi Hajzus was alarmed to learn that KKK fliers were dropped on lawns in her hometown of Coudersport, Pa. She tells NPR's Rachel Martin of a Facebook campaign to counter the hate group.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.