Hawthorne Caballeros

Hawthorne, NJ United States
Founded: 1946

Active Senior
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Results from final championship competition of the year
  • Position: 2
  • Score: 95.700
Repertoire for 2000
"Fiesta de Espana"
Fantasia de Espania by Chris Bernotas
La Cumparsita by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez Anchors Aweigh - Soundtrack
La Fiesta by Chick Corea Maynard Ferguson - Chameleon
Beautiful Maria of My Soul (from The Mambo Kings) by Arne Glimcher | Robert Kraft The Mambo Kings - Motion Picture Soundtrack
España Cañí by Pascual Marquina Narro Madrid Pasodobles Ensemble - Holiday In Spain
As incredible as the story of the Hawthorne Caballeros might be, it is not so much the story of a drum and bugle corps as it is the story of one man: James J. Costello, Jr. (“Cos“), and his half-century of dedication to a single purpose.

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1921, Jim grew up in a drum corps family. His father, James Sr., was a member of the Pellington Post corps and the East Orange Post before joining the St. George Cadets in Paterson. At the age of eleven, Jim Jr. joined the St. George Cadets as a drummer, and continued to play with that corps until entering the Navy in 1942.

After the Second World War, the idea of forming a senior drum and bugle corps was well down on Jim’s list of priorities, but there were others who remembered the fun, thrills, and camaraderie of being in a drum corps, and it was still very much in their blood. On March 20, 1946, the Caballeros were officially organized by a small group of recent veterans, former members of the St. George Cadets, including Jim Costello, his brother Bob, John McAuliffe, Joe Scarber, and George Hayek. Only a few weeks later, the corps made its first appearance.

The men who marched in the Memorial Day parade that inaugural year, dressed in various military uniforms, just wanted to get back into playing in a drum corps; there were no aspirations of becoming internationally famous. If you had told Jim Costello, a 25-year-old drummer at the time, that fifty-four years later he would still be the director of this drum and bugle corps, and that for the next half century it would be the most successful senior corps of all time, he would undoubtedly have told you that you were crazy! But, of course, that is exactly what happened.

A primary goal of the newly formed corps was to be different from all the others. The agreed-upon corps style was Latin or Spanish, with uniforms based on the uniforms worn by a small San Rafael, California, corps. The Caballeros appeared in the now familiar Caballero uniform in their first field competition in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 20, 1947. Actually more a costume than a uniform, the outfit consists of a black sombrero, a white satin shirt with bloused sleeves, a bright red satin sash, black bell bottom pants with large red pleats on the sides, black shoes, and white gloves. The uniform has remained virtually unchanged over the years, a testament to its timeless design. From the beginning, that uniform is the one facet that has most "sold" the Caballeros show, more than any other visual feature tieing the entire concept together.

Another corps trademark is the short, dramatic introduction and finale played in one form or another for nearly thirty years. Perhaps the most recognized theme music in all of drum corps, originally arranged by Al Mura, "Espana Cani" was played in its entirety beginning in 1957 and as an off-the-line introduction for many years thereafter. The theme has been affectionately known through the years to corps members and fans as "The Rumps.”

In August of 1947, the Caballeros attended their first American Legion National Championship contest in New York City, and placed eighth. In 1948, the corps attended the Nationals in Miami, finishing fifth; but a year later, they were disqualified because they had not finished in the top ten at the 1949 Nationals in Philadelphia. A month after that, however, after some extra practice, the Caballeros won their first Legion State Championship at Wildwood, over the Jersey Joes of Riverside, the 1948 National Champions.

1951 proved to be a pivotal year for the Caballeros. Not only did the corps win their first American Legion National Championship, but while in Miami, they were offered a trip to Havana by the State Department.

Setting records has always been the ultimate goal of any competitive activity, and drum and bugle corps competition is no exception. The Caballeros began setting records as far back as the fifties. After that first win in 1951, the corps went on to capture the championship again in '53 and '54, and then amazingly from 1958 through 1964, seven years in a row. By the time the American Legion Championship was discontinued in 1980, the Caballeros’ color guard proudly carried fifteen orange flags.

During the late fifties and early sixties, a growing number in the drum corps world came to consider the Legion Nationals as less than a true national championship, because of the distance and expense of travel involved and because of the increasingly hidebound rules of competition. It is to the Caballeros’ credit that they were able to attend as many Nationals as they did, but in truth, the competition at the more distant contests wasn't always that challenging.

Frustrations that grew out of these two situations gave rise in 1965 to Drum Corps Associates (DCA), a sanctioning body founded by drum corps people exclusively for senior drum and bugle corps competition. Without a more dynamic sanctioning body, senior drum and bugle corps competition might well have withered and died long ago. The DCA Championship is always held at a site in the Northeast, easily accessible to most of the major senior corps, including the top Canadian corps that hadn't been eligible to compete in the Legion championship. In addition, the far more liberal DCA rules have opened up the sport, allowing innovative formats in drill and marching styles, presentation, and instrumentation, which have encouraged a wider variety of expression. The final American Legion Championship was held in Boston in 1980, and quite appropriately, was won by the Caballeros.

Today the DCA record book is dominated by Caballero statistics, such as the following (as of 2001): most championships (9), most runner-up placements (11), most consecutive runner-up placements (4), most championship scores of 90 or above (22), most consecutive championship scores of 90 or above (17 in the last 17 years), most high captions (26, plus two ties), longest consecutive streak of top three positions in finals (11 years: 1970-1980), and longest consecutive streak of championship wins (1972, '73, '74).

A member of DCA since 1966, the Caballeros have fielded a finalist corps every year since. Of the thirty-six corps that has competed for the DCA Championship, only one other corps, the New York Skyliners who appeared in the first contest in '65, can make that claim. Of the 35 years that the Caballeros have competed for the DCA Championship, they have placed in the top three an astounding thirty times, probably the single most impressive testimonial to their incredible consistency.

In 1961 the Caballeros became the first senior corps to complete a season undefeated. That monumental feat was repeated in 1973; and in 1984 and '85 the corps amazingly played two solid seasons without a loss! They played their fifth undefeated season in 1995. In 2002, the corps finished out of the top five at DCA Finals for the first time in 34 years.

In 1989, during the DCA's twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, fans voted the Caballeros their all-time favorite drum and bugle corps, a tribute to the group's universal appeal and popularity. But perhaps even more important than all the records, awards, trophies, and accolades is the impact that the Caballeros have had on drum corps competition, not only in the United States and Canada, but all over the world. Early in their history they established a high standard for excellence in their performance on the field, but thanks to Jim Costello, they also set a high standard for sportsmanship, integrity, and professionalism. These traits have been passed along to the playing members of the corps, many of whom also teach other corps, furthering the best qualities and ideals of drum corps.

Keeping up with the trends in drum corps is a never-ending task for a corps director, and to his credit, Jim Costello possessed the foresight, tenacity, and flexibility to change with the times as styles in music, drill and presentation have evolved. He always strove to provide the corps with the best of equipment, instructors and arrangers, and he maintained an open mind about innovations that could affect the corps.

Jim Costello remained at the head of the Hawthorne Caballeros for more than fifty years, and in that time the corps has been in championship form more years than not. Jim gave of himself untiringly and unselfishly. In 1974, while planning for a trip to American Legion Championship in Miami, it became obvious that there wasn't enough money in the budget. Costello quietly took a second mortgage on his house in order to finance the trip.

Costello attributed much of his success to having been surrounded by good people over the years: Bob Murray, who played in the corps during the forties and fifties, and did an exceptional job as business manager until his death in 2002; Joe Campos who marched in the corps in the early sixties, then became the equipment manager and right-hand man to Costello; Jim Russo, Ralph Silverbrand, Frank Pisillo, Bobby Peterson, Lou Storck, George Hayek, Frank Gerris, the late Bill Durborow, and many, many others.

Jim’s wife Mary was the founder of the original Caballeros Auxiliary, an organization devoted to helping the corps in any way possible. Over the years, the auxiliary has raised many thousands of dollars, supporting the corps both financially and psychologically.

Mary's brother, the late John McAuliffe, was one of the corps' founders and its original drum major. He also served as director of the Muchachos, the Caballero's junior corps, from 1968 until the corps was disbanded.

It is a known fact that the Cab has traditionally rehearsed longer, harder, and more frequently than most of their competition. Beginning back in the sixties and seventies, the corps would spend a long "mini-training camp" weekend prior to Memorial Day and the start of the season at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Arriving on Friday night, corps members could count on a music rehearsal that would last until at least midnight. Saturday started at 6 a.m. in the mess hall, with drill practice scheduled for 7; it lasted all day. Another music practice followed the drill practice, again lasting well past midnight. Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday, and the afternoon usually ended with several runs through the entire show.

Jim Costello, wearing his trademark white baseball cap, presided over these exhausting practice sessions, starting with a refresher course in the basics of marching, then breaking down and fine-tuning every aspect of the show until it met with his full approval as well as that of the other instructors. By the end of those sessions, Costello usually had lost his voice completely, but those weekend mini-camps got the Caballeros into midseason form early than the competition.

Good solid competition has always produced the best drum corps; by far the strongest, most consistent challenge for the Caballeros over the past fifty years has come from their closest geographic neighbors, the New York Skyliners. In spite of the striking difference in theme and presentation, there has always been an intense but friendly rivalry, a mutual respect, and an unmistakable bond between the two corps. Throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies, spectators at those famous Sunday afternoon "Dream" contests at Jersey City's Roosevelt Stadium were witness to this classic rivalry.

The Hawthorne Muchachos, the Caballeros' famous junior corps, was formed in 1959 to extend the great world of drum corps to younger players in Hawthorne and surrounding communities, and to create a ready pool of talent which would eventually "graduate" into the Caballeros once they aged out.

The Caballeros has also maintained a strong alumni association for many years. In 1994 the Association spawned yet another unit, the Caballeros Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, which continues to perform.

During the late fifties and sixties, there was undoubtedly no personality better known in drum corps than Ralph Silverbrand. The Caballeros’ drum major throughout the great years of the corps' first quarter century, Ralph led the corps to nine National American Legion Championships in his twelve years as drum major, and his name deservedly became synonymous with "champion.” Ralph had the distinction of being the only member of the corps to have been on the field for all 11 championships between 1953 and 1966.

For over half of the Caballeros’ fifty years, Jim Russo has been at the head of the corps on the field. Jim started his drum corps career at the tender age of seven as a soprano bugler with Our Lady of Lourdes Cadets in Paterson, New Jersey. He was inducted into the prestigious Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1993 and retired in the 2003 season after 33 years at the helm of the corps. He went out on top, taking the DCA Championship Best Drum Major award.

The citizens of Hawthorne are also proud of Jim Costello and the Caballeros, and have been supportive fans from the beginning. Hawthorne's former Mayor, Louis Bay II, used to say that, “Had it not been for the Caballeros, the rest of the world would never have heard of Hawthorne, New Jersey."

Jim Costello is one of the most widely known and respected individuals in the drum corps world. The following is just one of many notes of congratulations:

“As a manager he possesses all the ingredients that make him a giant among drum and bugle corps managers - self-motivation, the ability to motivate others, dedication, organizational skills, business smarts, and an understanding of the drum and bugle corps business. He's a fierce competitor and has the talent to surround himself with quality people. Jim exemplifies words like loyalty, dedication, stamina, and class; and he defies the slogan that 'nice guys don't win'.” Rip Bernert, Audubon Bons Bons; Audubon, NJ and Archer Epler Musketeers, Upper Darby, PA

Jim Costello passed away in January, 2001. Frank Gerris was acting director in 2002, a year in which the Caballeros finished sixth in DCA Championship competition. But it was in 2003 that the Men of Costello made a nearly unprecedented leap from sixth to first place with a Latin-flavored show, unseated the four-year incumbent Brigadiers and becoming national champions for the ninth time in their history. The 2004 finish was fourth.

The past fifty years have not been kind to the drum corps world in general. Of all of the major senior corps that were in existence in 1946, only the Hawthorne Caballeros have never missed a season in 2004; still wear the same basic uniform; and still operate under the same administration, under the same name, and out of the same home base, American Legion Post in Hawthorne. Jim Costello was primarily responsible for all of that, and for elevating the organization to what it has long since become: a class by itself. As the late DCA Chief Judge Walter Kelly once said, "The Hawthorne Caballeros are far more than just a drum and bugle corps; they are truly an institution."

A half-century after their inception, "The Nation's Famous Drum and Bugle Corps" is not only going strong, but they're still at the pinnacle of drum corps competition, as they have always been.

An extended version of the Caballeros’ history may be found at the website below.

[http://www.cabs.org/history.asp; DCW, 10/02, p.1; DCW, 8/1/03, p.6; DCW, 9/03, p.14]

Members (152)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Accardi, John Drum Line 1975 to 1977
Aitken Jr, Charles Drumline 1992 to 1997
Amalino, Frank solo soprano 1971 to 1973
Ames, Roger mellophone 1990 to 1991
Andreazza, Steve Soprano 1975 to 1976; 1999 to 2001
Andretta, Rich Baritone 1975 to 1976; 1999; 2005
Auch, John Baritone 1974 to 1975
Babula, Eric Colorguard 2001
Beauchamp, Doug Baritone 2003
Bennett3rd, Gene Drumline/snare 1998
Berger, Adam Soprano 1993
Borkstrom, Amanda Baritone 2013 to 2015
Buffenmyer, Andrew "Buffy" Baritone 2008 to 2010
Campos, Brent Brass/DM/Staff 1977 to 1986
Carr, Tom Mellophone 1985 to 1992
Case, Joshua Tuba 2014
Celsky, Keith Tuba 2009
Clinch, Andrea Soprano 1987 to 1989
Colon, Mark Lead Soprano 2011
Corcoran, Kathy guard 1998 to 1999
D'Andrea II, Anthony Percussion 2005 to 2007
D'Andrea II, Anthony Staff 2008; 2011
D'Andrea, Anthony Drumline 2005
Dailey, Gary Brass arranger "La Fiesta" 1980 to 1981
Day, Roger Baritone 1957 to 1960
De Value, Jack French Horn/ Mellaphone 1966 to 1971
DeFalco, Audrie Guard 1995 to 1998
DeFalco, Frank Baritone 1995 to 1996; 1998 to 1999
Delaney, Bob Mellophone 2002 to 2004
Dernelle, Walter Color Guard 1974 to 1976
Dodd, Matt Euphonium 1997 to 2000
Dodd, Matt Baritone 2001 to 2003
Dolson, Andrew mellophone 1998 to 2000
Doyle, Robert P mellophone 2009 to 2012
Driscoll, Kelly Baritone 2015
Dumond, Philip Brass 1970 to 1974
Duncan, Bill Mellophone 1984 to 1993
Egbert, Jim Drum Line 1972 to 1974
Eltman, Kay Colorguard 1995 to 2001
Eltman, Kay Colorguard/Admin Staff 2002 to 2003
Espinal, Vanessa Percussion 2000
Fallon, Carol Ann Lead Soprano 1989 to 1991
Ferraro, Doug Snare Drum 2003 to 2008
Ferraro, Doug Staff 2012
Ferreira, Gordito Soprano 1999 to 2001
Ferreira, Gordito Soprano 1999 to 2001
Ferreira, The GREAT GORDINI Soprano 2003 to 2004
Ferreira, The GREAT GORDINI Soprano 2003 to 2004
Ferris, Gary Marimba 1976
Fisher, Mark Staff 2009
Fostvedt, Paul Baritone 1970 to 1975
Francis, Ed Mellophone 2007
Francis, Ed Baritone 2009
Freeman, Adam Mellophone/Baritone 2000 to 2003
Gambit, Henry Bud French Horn 1958 to 1962
Garcia, Pete Baritone 1973
Glennon, Sean Contra and Mellophone 1996 to 2004; 2006
Glover, Bud Triple Tenor 1973 to 1979
Griffin, Aronne Baritone 2006
Gross, Eric Bass Line 2001
Hazelwood, Glen Tenors 1984 to 1986
Hazelwood, Glen Tenor Tech 2002
Heagen, Marty Soprano Horn 1967 to 1968
Hewitt, Tom Brass 1971
Hines, Shawn soprano 1998 to 1999
Horne, Steve Contra 1983 to 1986
Horne, Steve Contra 1983 to 1986
Jenner, Bryan baritone 1989 to 1991
Jenner, Bryan Baritone 1989 to 1991
Jenner, Bryan Visual Instructor 2009 to 2010
Johnson, Scott Percussion (tenors) 2001
Johnson, Scott Percussion (bass) 2003
June, Johnny Soprano 1999
Katz, Josh mellophone 1986 to 2010
Kennedy, Dennis cymbals 1985
Kochel, Kevin mellophone/baritone 2006 to 2007
Krenkel, Jon Snare Drum 1977 to 1979
Kuiper, Adrian First Soprano 1959 to 1961
LaGreca, Chuck Mellophone / Flugle 1970 to 1982
Lea, George Brass 1983 to 1984; 1992 to 1993
Lea, George Visual Staff 2000 to 2006
Lo Porto, Frank drum line 1976 to 1977
Magro, Fred Drumline 1978
Marshman, Scott Color Guard 1998 to 2002
Mayer, Robert Baritone 1981
McNeff, Cheryl Color Guard 1995 to 1999
Menear, Bob Lead Soprano 1969
Meyer, Jr., John Trumpet 2011
Meyer, Michael Soprano 2003
Michaud, Russell Brass-Tuba 2012 to 2014
Mignemi, Chris Baritone 2000 to 2001; 2003
Mingle, Matthew Soprano 1999 to 2001
Murray, Bob Baritone 1979 to 2002
Murray, Robert Baritone 1979 to 2002
Navetta, Mario Soprano 1963 to 1964
Newman, James PERCUSSION 1979 to 1980
Nichols, Ed Snare Drum 1963 to 1964
Norton, Tom Baritone 1969 to 1971
Orrico, Christian Soprano 1996 to 1998
Orrico, Christian Trumpet 2006
Padilla Jr., Jose A. color guard 2000 to 2002
Parisi, Anthony Euphonium 2000 to 2001
Parisi, Anthony Baritone 2002
Parker, Bill Soprano 1975 to 1976
Parker, William Soprano 1975 to 1976
Peters, Doug Baritone 1968 to 1969
Plunkett, Oliver Baritone 1999 to 2004
Plunkett, Oliver Baritone, Tuba, Drum Major, Visual, Administration 1999 to 2018
Ponzo, Frank Soprano 1990 to 1992; 1994 to 1998; 2000
Popolizio, Larry soprano 1967
Poulan, Key Brass Arranger 2003 to 2004
RUBEL, GUS horn 1961 to 1969
Raclowski, Steve Soprano 1972 to 1977
Rivera, Angel Lead Soprano 1999 to 2002; 2004
Rivera, Angel Lead Soprano 1999 to 2002; 2004; 2006
Rivera, Lou (Eddie) Soprano/Mellowphone/Flugelhorn 1983 to 1990
Rosenstock, Joshua Baritone Line 1995 to 1996
Rykowski, John J. soprano 1991 to 1993
Sanders, Pagean Trumpet 2004 to 2005
Sangster, Derek Percussion 1993 to 1995
Sapienza, Bill Lead Soprano 1975 to 1980; 1988 to 1990
Sato, Naoki Baritone 2007; 2014
Sato, Naoki Mellophone 2013
Seville, Michael Drumline- Tenors 2011
Sickles, William Colorguard 1965
Smith, John Drum section, snaredrum 1966 to 1973
Sortino, Chris Tenor 1967 to 1969
Sortino, Chris Double Conga 1970 to 1974; 1976 to 1977
Sortino, Chris Steel Drum 1975
Stachelrodt, Michael ( igor ) Contra 1989 to 1994
Stevens, Laura Michele Mellophone 2003 to 2007
Stevens, Laura Michele' Mellophone 2003 to 2005
Stork, Joe snare 2009 to 2010
Stout, Walter Soprano 2002 to 2003
Stout, Walter Trumpet 2004 to 2005; 2007 to 2009; 2011 to 2013
Tarallo, Ralph horn 1963 to 1967
Thweatt, Joanne Color Guard 1985
Tufaro, Tom Contraline/Bassline 1990 to 1991; 1994 to 1996; 1999
Turner, Pamela Honor Guard 1998 to 2002
Williams, Ryan Staff 2012
Williams, Steve Rudimental Bass 1971
Williams, Steve Double Conga 1972 to 1974
Williams, Steve Steel Drums 1975
Winfield, Michael Baritone 1982 to 1987; 1989 to 1997; 1999 to 2002
Young, Jesse Color Guard 2004 to 2005
garbeck, alexandra Tuba 2006
hazel, greg baritone 2005
krempasky, matt caption head/music arranger 1987 to 1990
macaluso, salvatore soprano 1962 to 1970
specia, al color guard & drumline 1971 to 1976
starr, george sop 1974 to 1975

CORPS 74 items

Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne 2 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne 3 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne 4 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne Duplicate from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros & Muchachos Grand Prix Booster from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Booster from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Hawthorne Caballeros from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by Bob Grace
Hawthorne Caballeros

Hawthorne Caballeros from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by Bob Grace
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Patch from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Patch from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Patch from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne NJ-1 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne NJ-2 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne NJ-2012 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne NJ-2013 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros Hawthorne NJ-3 from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Hawthorne Caballeros Shirt from the Bill Ives Collection
Hawthorne Caballeros

Caballeros 1977 from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by John Devlin
Hawthorne Caballeros
PDF Document
264-269, Hawthorne Caballeros from the Steve Vickers Collection