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Drum and Bugle Corps

History of the Corps

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at over 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. The American Legion was formed Wyoming Post 7 in Sheridan Wyoming after World War One. Post 7 is a place where veterans could gather to provide one another comfort and support.

Inspired by the European Bugle Corps, The American Legion began forming Drum and Bugle Corps across the country. Drum and Bugle Corps are traditionally used as signaling units in the Military. The Drum and Bugle was expanded in use during the Civil War when both the North and South used music to signal their troops.

The Legion selected the G bugle for these ensembles because it was the standard for army foot troops at the time. The Bugle was known as “The American Legion” and was identified by its length and design. Later Two Pitch bugles were devised allowing the Corps to play more varieties of music. The number of Corps increased dramatically during the 20’s and 30’s. Post 7 Drum and Bugle Corps in Sheridan was formed in 1929 by T.A. Tynan. Returning Veterans from WWI formed the first Post 7 Corps and were attired in their Army uniforms. They started by entering local parades and western celebrations in Wyoming and Montana.

Veterans Organizations, especially the American Legion, worked hard to assist veterans returning from war, and focused on the disabled veterans. The objective was to focus their activities and work on helping them to become productive citizens. Activities like music, baseball, and other recreational leagues were formed to assist these veterans. To this date The American Legion and Legion Posts across the country work hard to assist veterans.

At this time Drum and Bugle Corps were being established across the United States by returning World War One veterans, as a place they could share similar life experiences and comradeship. In a short period of time almost every American Legion Post, VFW post, many fire departments, police departments, and private clubs across the US had drum & bugle corps. All of these Drum and Bugle Corps competed 1st on a state level and then on a national level to determine a national champion.

In 1931 the Post 7 Corps first drew state-wide recognition with a rousing 45 minute drill at the Legion Convention in Cody. Upon winning their first State Championship in 1934 the Corps earned the right to compete at the American Legion National Convention against other state champions. From 1934 to the early 50’s, with the exception of brief periods during World War One, this corps carried the Wyoming Flag to the American Legion Conventions in Portland Oregon, Chicago Illinois, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Denver Colorado, Minneapolis Minnesota and others. In 1934 the Sheridan Corps won its first state championship, which gave them the right to compete on a national level and establish themselves as one of the premier Drum and Bugle Corps of Wyoming.

In 1954 the Sheridan corps wanted to change their image to embrace the rich western heritage of the area. With the help of the The American Legion Department of Wyoming, Wyoming Representatives and Senators, The Corps asked congress and the Department of Army to become “The American Legion7th Cavalry Drum & Bugle Corps” and wear the official military uniforms of the 1870’s 7th cavalry. Permission was granted to change the name and wear these military uniforms. Wearing official military uniforms, corps members having served in the military are encouraged to wear on their uniforms military pins, ribbons, and medals they earned while in military service.

With the help of the Wyoming Congressional Delegation a bill was drafted to Congress to allow the corps to wear the uniform of the 1870’s 7th Cavalry and to carry General Custer’s 7th Cavalry Regiment pennant. With legislation passed the Corps made its debut in the new uniforms on June 25th 1954 at the 78th anniversary of Custer’s last battle. Along with this change a former member Lyle Davis is credited with arranging our signature parade set of Legion Drummer, Gerry Owen, and Davis

Not long after the Corps acquired the new uniforms the Corps was gifted with new instruments. From 1954 to 1974 the Corps participated in what historians called the “Golden Age of Drum and Bugle Corps”. Because of unrest nationally across the country and Wyoming, Drum and Bugle Corps began to disappear.

Thankfully a new spirit arose and the Sheridan Corps rebounded. With the remaining drum corps in the state gone, the Sheridan Corps continued in 1983. In 1983, the Corps was honored as the official American Legion “Musical Group” by the American Legion Department of Wyoming. In 1984, The American Legion7th Cavalry Drum and Bugle Corps was named ’musical ambassadors’ for Wyoming. As musical ambassadors the Corps performed in major events around the country including Memorial Day in Washington DC, and 4th of July parade in Philadelphia.

Until recently many American Legion Posts in Wyoming and across the nation supported Drum and Bugle Corps. Today there is only one Drum and Bugle Corps in Wyoming and most of the posts have given up their musical arm. Across the country there are only a handful of American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps, and only one or two perform at City Events and at VA Hospitals. The 7th Cavalry Drum and Bugle Corps is proud of its history and continues to support our Veterans and Our Wyoming Communities.

In 1984 the Corps launched a fund raising drive to replace the aging uniformed that were purchased in 1954. The instruments of the 30’s were replaced by instruments of the 50’s. This remake of the corps sparked resurgence in the corps and membership increased to levels that were achieved during the 50’s. In the 1990’s the Corps participated in the Wyoming Centennial Celebrations and returned to a rigorous 15 to 30 event schedule.

In 2001 The American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps participated in the "Philadelphia Welcome America Festival" at the Independence Day Parade in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. To this day and celebrating the 83rd anniversary of the corps we continue to participate in a rigorous schedule of parades and events.

In 2006 the City of Sheridan was given the honor of being the Number one Western Town in America” in large part to the Corps serenading the Editor of True West Magazine, Bob Boze Bell. Shortly after the towns honor the Corps was honored with an invitation to the 2006 Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC.

In 2009 the corps celebrated its 80th year in existence. To this day the Corps continues a rigorous schedule of events and parades each year. In July of 2009 the Corps received an inquiry from Philadelphia PA about participating in the Welcome America Independence Day Parade in 2010. On December 3 2009 the Corps accepted the invitation to perform in two parades on July 4th 2010. The Corps launched a fund raising campaign to local businesses, private citizens, government agencies, foundations and Civic Groups.

In October 2011 the Drum and Bugle Corps assisted the wounded warrior project in raising funds to support our wounded warriors. The present day corps continues on in the parade tradition of our past.

7th Cavalry Drum and Bugle Corps is still going strong by performing in over 20 parades and public events every year, as well as performing regularly at VA. Hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living homes. This last year the Corps performed at 25 public events, five nursing homes and fifteen city of Sheridan events. In support of the American Legion Department of Wyoming the Corps performed for Wyoming Legion Post 24 in Rock Springs, and at the American Legion Department Convention in Gillette Wyoming.

in 2014 the American Legion Department of Wyoming is privileged to have two American Legion National Vice Commanders. Our National Officers are Jake Jacobs, of Torrington Wyoming, who is an American Legion National Vice Commander, and Charlie Keith, of Lander Wyoming, who is National Vice Commander for the Sons of the American Legion. The American Legion Department of Wyoming invited The 7th Cavalry Drum and Bugle Corps to support our national officers at the American Legion National Convention in Baltimore Maryland in August 2015. Over the past two years the Corps has worked hard to raise funds needed to support our Veterans and attend American Legion National Convention in Baltimore. The Corps has decided to adopt the “Baltimore or Bust” theme for our trip out east. It is the spirit that piloted our pioneer forefathers to the Western Frontiers, and it is the Spirit that guides the Corps today.

The Corps raised funds to attend The American Legion National Convention in Baltimore Maryland in August 2015 and perform in the parade. The history of the Drum and Bugle Corps will continue with pictures and comments on the Baltimore Convention.

More to come on the history of the 7th Cavalry Drum and Bugle Corps.