The 1980's - " THE RESURGENCE OF A CORPS" By Scott Seal
The 1980s were a decade that saw the Cavaliers return to the upper echelon of drum and bugle corps. After the lean years of the 1970s, the Cavaliers reasserted themselves: first with their winter guard and, eventually, with the corps as a whole.
Despite tying with the Madison Scouts for the 1980 VFW championship at Soldier Field in Chicago, the title was somewhat dubious. On account of several members returning to school after DCI in Birmingham, neither Madison nor the Cavaliers fielded a full corps. Supposedly, Madison used a few young ladies from the Blue Stars to fill spots (painted mustache's and oil!), and Jeff Fiedler, in his final act as Cavalier drum major, prevented another young lady (the sister of a former DM) from marching American flag for the Cavaliers. Yes, for those who forgot, we still had a "nerd squad" and flag penalties in the early 1980s.
Although a great crowd favorite, playing tunes like Santa Esmeralda, Sambandrea Swing (complete with double rifles), and Softly As I Leave You, the Cavaliers of the early 1980s were seemingly still behind the times. Judges were looking for something different, something "cutting edge," and the Cavaliers were not providing it. As a result, the Cavaliers began the 1980s in the bottom half of finals at DCI championships, after missing finals twice in the 1970s. All this would begin to change, however, with the rise of the Cavalier winter guard.
Under the creative guidance of Steve Brubaker, the Cavaliers would win the Winter Guard International Championship in 1981, 1982, and 1983. During this same time, the corps was finishing 10th, 11th, and 9th at DCI. Steve Brubaker first came to the Cavaliers organization in 1978, teaching the Cavalier Cadet color guard. The 1978 Cavalier Cadet color guard was more than just a bunch of "grimeys." It included, among others, John Van Dorpe, Jeff Wroblewski, Rich Maryanski, Brian Nash, and Norm Dziedzic. Within two years Steve would take his immense talents, along with many members of the Cadet guard, to the A corps, becoming the Cavaliers' head drill writer in 1982 and ultimately establishing himself, along with George Zingali, as one of the two great visual designers of the decade.