Boston Crusaders

Other Names:Most Precious Blood Crusaders, Hyde Park Crusaders, and Boston

Boston, MA United States
Founded: 1940

Active Junior
World Class
Return to
Results from final championship competition of the year
  • Position: 5
  • Score: 92.350
Repertoire for 2000
Bolero by Maurice Ravel The Top 10 of Classical Music 1894-1928 - Hungarian State Orchestra - LaserLight 15 685
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Day Danse by Chick Corea Chick Corea - My Spanish Heart - Polydor 825 657-2
Symphonic Dance No. 3 - Fiesta by Clifton Williams Reed/Gould/Williams/Nixon/Perk Fiesta

The Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps is a World Class junior field competition corps based in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Crusaders, originally named the Most Precious Blood Crusaders, was formed in 1940 by the Most Precious Blood Catholic parish of the Hyde Park section of Boston. An early triumph of the young corps was winning the preliminary competition in the 1954 VFW Nationals.

The corps became the Hyde Park Crusaders in 1956 when the church declared that corps membership would be limited to church parishioners. During this period, two ardent, if unofficial supporters of the corps were two of the Kennedy brothers, John F. and Edward M. "Ted". Although John is often credited, Ted was responsible for acquiring West Point uniforms that the Crusaders converted to their own colors of red, black and white after their old uniforms were kept by their former sponsoring parish. The Crusaders were honored by the newly-elected President Kennedy by being invited to be the first drum and bugle corps to march in a Presidential Inauguration Parade, but the corps' tight financial situation prevented their attendance in 1961. (Four yrars later, the corps would march in President Lyndon B. Johnson's Inauguration Parade.) Both brothers were formally made honorary members of the corps, JFK only 34 days before his assassination.

The corps' name had become the Boston Crusaders by 1959. Then and now often called simply "BAC" (for Boston Area Crusaders) , the corps was one of the powers in the East in the sixties. They won the first CYO National Championship in 1964, then again in 1966 and 1967. They also won the World Open in 1966 and '67. They took part in VFW Finals in 1969 and 1970. The corps would have won the American Legion National Championship in 1967--- except that the Legion decided to void the inspection scores, swinging the score lead to The Cavaliers. As it was, BAC won 29 contests that year.

A particularly strong soprano soloist in the late 1960s was Jim Centorino.

BAC also was known to mean "Bad Ass Crusaders." During some eras in some parts of the country, tough competitive corps on the field were equally tough off the field, to the point of physically intimidating other corps. These corps might almost have been characterized as musical gangs, as adept with fists as with bugles. The Crusaders were particularly effective competitors off the field. One memorable incident involved corps members chasing off a gang of local toughs just before marching DCI Prelims in the Orange Bowl in 1983. Even 21st century corps members know that BAC does not necessarily stand just for "Boston Area Crusaders." In July, 2015, it was formally declared by the corps' administration that "BAC" now stands for "Building A Champion"

Although a charter member of DCI, the corps opted not to take part in the first DCI Championships in 1972, choosing the CYO Nationals instead. They had lost much of their equipment in a fire in their corps hall that summer, forcing the corps off the road and out of competition. At one time BAC was down to 19 members. Taking 39th place in DCI prelims in 1973, they steadily climbed through the ranks during the 1970s. For many years, DCI also held a parade competition, and the Crusaders won that contest in 1981.

A historic visit to the United Kingdom in 1982 was another disastrous turning point in the corps' history. During that trip, money was embezzled from their funds, and the corps was stuck in the UK, dead broke. Although somehow making their way home, their trail of debts left the corps bankrupt and all of their assets were impounded. During that winter, in an effort to resurrect the corps, members actually stole the organization's truck, uniforms, and equipment, and appeared the following year under the shortened name "Boston." Debts were finally settled after many months, and "Boston" once again took back their rightful name. Interestingly, Boston's emergence from bankruptcy in 1986 coincides with the demise of neighboring rival 27th Lancers due to financial failure.

Even such a luminary as Burt Lancaster was inspired by the example of this corps that refused to die. In a 1991 Variety interview, he said, "Before he lost it, Peckinpah made me go see this drum and bugle corps from Boston, the Boston Crusaders. Sam thought I would only really understand the power beneath despair by watching these guys. Yeah, he was right. In '73 and '83, the corps went out with just handfuls of guys on the horns and, damnit, those man-gods could melt the gates of hell. Every single film I made after 'Valdez is Coming' is an allegory on the Boston Crusaders."

Their repertoires over the years were an eclectic mix, from Beethoven’s Ninth to “Mexicali Nose.” Yet, Conquest (from Captain From Castile) by Alfred Newman was performed every year from 1973 through 1990, thereafter being adapted as short quotes in numerous shows since,

BAC has historically been a pioneering innovator, actually being the first corps to use electronics in 1985, when the corps fielded a synthesizer and was penalized at every show for it. The corps also had the first double toms in 1967, were one of the first two corps with marching tympanis in 1968 (along with the Majestic Knights of nearby Charlestown), and were the first to make use of slides on their bugles to achieve a chromatic scale.

According to BAC's board president and CEO Jim Cronin, the corps' management structure was not well suited to greater corps development, regardless of the talent on the field. A reputation throughout DCI as toughs and troublemakers did not help the Crusaders' progress either, and BAC settled into the middle rank of DCI through the late 1980s and early 1990s. Therefore, a new philosophy stressing “professionalism, accountability, and responsibility” was introduced to instill in the members of the “new” Boston Crusaders that “how they act off the field is as important as how they perform on the field. Everything is about a positive attitude, the way they treat each other, peer respect.“

In 1999, the Boston Crusaders under Cronin as corps director (1996-2000) became the last active DCI charter member corps to break into the Top Twelve, a ninth place finish with a program of symphonic dances.

Cronin has made the point that a corps' presence on the Internet has become a helpful tool for reaching potential members in recent years. Whereas most of the Crusaders formerly came from the Boston area, the web has generated interest and membership from elsewhere--- overseas as well as around the United States. Only 20 members of the 1997 group hailed from Boston, solidifying the Crusaders as actually more of a New England corps, the last Division I corps in the region, and the 2000 version of the Crusaders in particular benefited from an influx of members from Florida.

The advent of legal amplication in 2004 allowed the Crusaders to electronically project voices as well as instruments when they added a brief exclamatory narration to their show 'The Composition of Color.'

Through 2017, the Boston Crusaders have remained one of DCI's top corps, with 19 consecutive Top 12 Finals appearances. BAC also saw its highest finish since 2000 of 6th place in 2017 with the wildly popular "Wicked Games" show and its spectacular ending.

In April 2015, the organization announced the purchase of a building in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, where the corps was founded in 1940. This building houses the corps' sponsoring Inspire Arts & Music offices and provides a retail location for its Great East Music Store

Inspire Arts & Music; Encyclopedia of Drum and Bugle Corps, 1966; Jesse Berman, rec.arts.marching.drumcorps, 8/8/1997 and 1/5/2000; Competitive Drum and Bugle Corps, Popp, 1978; Drum Corps World, (various issues); Terry Connolly, RAMD, 3/23/99; Raymond Dugan; Variety Magazine, 12/9/91, p. E7; Mike Dubil; A History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vol. 2; Steve Vickers, ed.; Drum Corps International]

Members (140)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Agwu, Christopher Soprano 2003
Allen, David Baritone 1986 to 1989
Armstrong, Craig Visual Tech 2002
Aschenbeck, Kurt contra 2001 to 2002
Barrasso, Rick Soprano Horn 1965 to 1967
Bauer, Matthew Front Ensemble 2006 to 2007
Bell, Colin Percussion/Snare Line 2001 to 2003
Benz, Mike Soprano, DM 2000 to 2003
Bordonaro, Mike soprano 1965 to 1966
Bretl, Mark Brass - Soprano 1998
Broadbent, Dan Baritone 2002
Buckley, Gordon Percussion 1955 to 1958
Burris, Jason Snare 2005 to 2009
Charles, Brittany Baritone 2004 to 2008
Clark, Mike Bassline 2000 to 2001
Clermont, Dan Trumpet 2006
Cochran, Courtlon soprano (trumpet) 1999 to 2002
Compton, Ron Percussion 1985 to 1986
Conant, Leah Baritone 1989
Cooper, George Contra 1975 to 1978
Cox, Kristian contra 2006
Curley, David soprano 1996
Dam, Patrick Percussion Snare 2005 to 2007
Damon, Steve Baritone 1991
Diaz, John-David contra 2004 to 2005
Diego, Jonathon Baritone 1998 to 2000; 2002
Diego, Jonathon Baritones 1998 to 2000; 2002 to 2003
Dorr, Erik Percussion 1979 to 1980
Dubil, Mike Soprano 1981 to 1982
Duca, Steve BAC Soprano/soloist 1959 to 1965
Dugan, Ray Snare 1987
Evans, Jonathan Percussion 1982; 1984
Faison, Matt Pit 2005
Fallon, Ray Brass Instructor/ Arranger 1992 to 1996
Fallon, Tammy Color Guard 1992 to 2002
Fischer, Brian Baritone 2002 to 2005
Fitzsimmons, F. Roy Color Guard 1955
Gallagher, Tim Admin Team 2012 to 2013
Gehling, Roger Soprano 1990 to 1991
Gerke, Andrew Horn Line 2005
Gerlach, Dusty Baritone 1978
Glimenakis, Nick Tenors 2008
Glosson, Justin Contrabass 2002
Godin, Jason Percussion 1989 to 1990; 1994 to 1996; 2000
Gorecki, Thomas Soprano 2006 to 2007
Gramazio, John Colorguard 1999
Grassie, Nicole pit/Bass Line 2002 to 2003
Graves, Mark Trumpet 2007
Greer, Dan Drumline 1987 to 1990
Grelle, Frank Instructor 1995
Grondin, Kristen Baritone 1999
Grondin, Kristen Baritone 1999
Guzewicz, Paul Baritone 2003
Healion, Carol Guard 1987 to 1991
Hernandez, Gregorio Baritone 2001
Hill, Bob Tympani - Part Year 1973
Hogan, Lorna Drumline 1983 to 1986
Holodnak, Christy Color Guard 2002
Hopfgarten, Paul Contra Bass, Baritone 1976 to 1978
Hulbert, Jamie Front Ensemble 2000 to 2003
Jalm, Carl Mellophone 2008
Jennings, Dick Drum Line 1958 to 1960
Jezierski, Daryl Cymbals 1997
Jimenez, Matt Trumpet 2004
Kelly, Dan Horn line/DM 1963 to 1966
Kennedy, Robert Baritone 1973 to 1980
Kennedy, Robert Soprano 1973
Kennedy, Robert Baritone 1974 to 1980
Kohl, Adam Contrabass 2002
Lafond, David Soprano, Flugel Horn 1987 to 1990
Lapie, Alex contra 1975
Lapie, Alex Contrabass 1975
Lazaro, James Euphonium/Contra 1999 to 2003
Leahy, Jim French Horn Line 1967 to 1970
Lennox, Christopher Bass Tech 2010 to 2013
MacDonald, Steve C.B.S. 1989 to 1991
MacFadden, Oliver Soprano 2001
Marinilli, Joe Soprano 2013
Marion, Brandon Front Ensemble 1999 to 2006
Markel, Amanda Baritone 2001 to 2002
Marquis, Stephane Baritone 1989
Martinez, Adrian Contrabass 2002 to 2003
Miller, Michael Trumpet 2006
Miller, Michael Drum Major 2007 to 2008
Miller, Michael Trumpet 2006
Miller, Michael Drum Major 2007 to 2008
Mitchell, David Percussion 1987 to 1989
Morris, Jack Soprano/Baritone 1963 to 1966
Mroz, Jeff Baritone 2000
Mroz, Jeff Contra 2001 to 2003
Muter, Bill Contrabass 2001 to 2005
Nokutis, Jenny Mellophone 2005
O'Leary, Ryan Soprano 2002
O'Leary, Ryan Soprano 2002 to 2007
Oram, Leanne Hornline 1990
Oram, Leanne Guard 1991 to 1992
Pereda, Tiffany colorguard 2003 to 2005
Perez, Carlos Color Guard 2000
Proulx, Maxime Bass line 2005
Reed, Mike Drumline 1996 to 1998
Reppert, Shannon Guard 1998
Reyes, Tony Baritone 2003 to 2005
Reynolds, David Hornline, Drum Major 1989 to 1995
Richard, Kristen “KK” Visual Staff 2010
Richard, Kristen “KK” Brass Staff 2013
Romo, Angela color guard 2004; 2006 to 2007
Sargent, Richard Contra 2005 to 2008
Serrano, Thomas Baritone 1999
Sharpe, John visual staff 2006
Shumate, Rebecca brass (baritone) 1998
Sierra, Jason SnareLine 2000 to 2003
Slauson, Ryann Front Ensemble 2004 to 2005
Speeler, Christine Mellophone 1999 to 2000
Stevenson, Rob Drumline-Snare 1999 to 2000
Tibbitts, Virginia Baritone 2001
Torres, Josh tuba 2007
Tremblay, David Front Ensemble / Pit 1988
W, R staff 1998
Weissert, Fred Baritone 1985
Wheeler, Kenny Brass 1964 to 1969
Wheeler, Kenny Soprano 1964 to 1969
White, Tony Brass 1969
Williams, Justine auditioning on mello 2006
Williams, Phil Percussion 1992 to 1994
Winchester, Edward Baritone 1973 to 1974
Witherell, Jeremy Baritone 1996 to 1997
Witherell, Jeremy Contrabass 1998 to 1999
Witherell, Jeremy Drum Major 2000 to 2001
Witherell, Jeremy Brass Staff 2002 to 2005
Woodfin, Aaron Drumline 2003
Zearfoss, Patrick Bass Drum 2003
bray jr, jim horn section 1979 to 1980
darcy, robert dl 1970 to 1972
del Rivero, Tony Bassline 2002
leverette, jeff Soprano 2009
madden, maureen soprano 1995 to 2001
matson-brown, cheryl colorguard 1969 to 1972
mitchell, kimberly mellophone 1999 to 2000
rojas, jeffrey contra 2002
sullivan, john Bari 1962 to 1968

CORPS 31 items

Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Crusaders Boston from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-1 from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-11 from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-2000 from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-3 from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-4 from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-65th Anniversary from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Boston MA-8 from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders Sr from the Bill Ives Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders 2013 from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by Ralph I. Marple lll
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders 2010 from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by Ralph I. Marple lll
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by Ralph I. Marple lll
Boston Crusaders
PDF Document
188-193, Boston Crusaders from the Steve Vickers Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders 1 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
Boston Crusaders

Boston Crusaders 2 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
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Boston Crusaders 3 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
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Boston Crusaders 4 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
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Boston Crusaders 5 from the Wayne Hiller Collection
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Boston Crusaders 6 from the Wayne Hiller Collection