Northern Aurora

Other Names:Saginaires

Saginaw, MI United States
Founded: 1965

Inactive Junior
Division II
The Saginaires Drum & Bugle Corps was created in the fall of 1965 by Bob Waskoviak and Thomas B. Sims,  with the sponsorship of the Saginaires Youth Organization (SYO), an organization that also supported such groups as the Saginaires Youth Band and the Saginaires Eagles, a feeder corps. The corps project was affiliated with the Jaycees, and it helped to earn Mr. Sims local Man of the Year honors.

Starting as a parade corps in 1966 and attired in their red, white, and black colors, The Saginaires moved into the competitive arena during the early seventies. As with most corps at the time, much of their support came from VFW and American Legion posts.

The corps rapidly moved up to become Michigan's all-time highest ranked drum and bugle corps, a distinction they have retained for the rest ofthe corps' existence. The Saginaires were VFW National Champions and US Open Class A Champions in 1978, Michigan VFW Champions 1974-1983, and American Legion State Champions 1977-1981.

The Saginaires Drum & Bugle Corps  participatefin the opening ceremonies at the Republican National Convention in Detroit in 1980, and they played for Michigan native son President Gerald Ford.

Until the early eighties, most of the corps' members had come from the greater Saginaw area, but with the growing strength of DCI and the increased tour scheduling, local membership began to drop. This attrition tended to spell the end for most Michigan drum corps. After 1983-84, only three corps remained in the state of Michigan, and from 1997 through 2005 no junior corps were active in the state..

Seeing the trend, The Saginaires started recruiting outside the area early on. The 1985 name change to Northern Aurora reflected these new membership realities. New colors reflected the new identity as well: powder blue, lime green, and gray. The green and gray later became dark blue and white, and in 1995 a rainbow sash replaced the dark blue.

And the corps was successful with the new name and colors. Awards included Drum Corps Midwest (DCM) Division III Champions in 1986 and Division II Champions in 1987 and 1992.

An exceptional individual achievement was that of Rusty Bush, the 1991 drum major, who led Northern Aurora even though he had been deaf nearly from birth.

In 1992, The Northern Aurora Drum & Bugle Corps became Michigan's first DCI member corps, a title they retained for two years. In 1996, the corps fielded a new look, once more sporting the red Saginaires' uniforms, along with the rainbow sash. 1996 was the corps' 31st year in competition.

After the 1996 marching season, corps management decided to once again classify Northern Aurora as a parade corps and temporarily withdraw from competition. This move was intended to financially stabilize the corps. The 1997 parade corps' membership was smaller than expected, however, and Northern Aurora officially became inactive.


The Saginaires Youth Organization formed a winter guard in 1988 called Northcoast Academy. This group  successfully competed during the 1999 and 2000 seasons,winning awards and competitions.

In 2002, NorthCoast Academy was re-organizhed as a percussion ensemble in the Winter Guard Inyrtnational (WGI) Independent Open Class. While the season was not as successful as they had hoped, NCA turned many heads in their direction and gained tremendous momentum heading into the next season. The momentum continued as NCA blasted it way to the 2003 WGI Independent Open Class World Championship. This resulted in a move up to the Independent World class for the 2004 season. Though only two years old, NorthCoast Academy had already become more successful than several units who had been competing for years.

Following in the Saginaires' footsteps, NorthCoast Academy became Michigan's highest-ranked indoor percussion ensemble, and with their energetic and demanding shows, NCA continued to turn heads as they competed in the Independent World class. 

But, after sixteen years, in August, 2017 NorthCoast Academy announced that they had been unable to secure support for the unit's future and folded.

The Saginaires Youth Organization has also discontinued operations.

[Northern Aurora; NorthCoast Acadey; Saginaires Youth Organization; Drum Corps World, 7/26/02, p.3]


Members (44)

Member Name Section Years Involved
(Cook) Schnuth, Diana Soprano 1995 to 1996
Adamick, Jeffery Tymp Line/Snare Line 1978 to 1979
Braman, Russ Hornline/Baritone 1986; 1988
Braman, Russ Hornline/Contra 1987
Braman, Russ Visual Staff/Marching Tech 1990 to 1993
Clark, Grover Rifle 1974
Clark, Grover Mellophone 1976 to 1979
Cooper, Sarah Guard 1996
Cratsenburg-Scott, Donna mellophone 1983 to 1987
Dudek, Randy Soprano 1992 to 1993
Ezop, Caroline (Carole) Guard 1975 to 1976
Ezop, Caroline (Carole) Drumline/instructor 1978
Ezop, Caroline (Carole) drumline 1979
Fine, Les Bass Drum, Tenors 1983 to 1984
Fitzpatrick, Jamie Drum Line 1989 to 1993
Gropp, Brian Cymbals 1994
Hahn, Eric Baritone 1986
Harris, Frank Baritone 1977
Harris, Frank Horns 1976 to 1977
Horn, Jerry Soprano 1977
Horn, Jerry Drum Major 1978 to 1979
Hurd, Dan Lead Soprano 1986 to 1988
Keiser, Valerie Guard 1995 to 1996
McBurney, David Soprano 1977
McIntosh, Jason colorguard staff 1995 to 1996
Milanov(Goof), Rob(Goof) Contra/Bari 1994 to 1995
Milanov, Robert Contra 1994
Milanov, Robert Baritone 1995
Morgan, David Cymbals 1984
Ober, Joe Contra Bass 1987 to 1988
Reese, Jennifer (Deloris) Soprano 1993
Rohn, Chris Baritone 1994
Ross, Dana Colorguard 1992; 1994
Rouse, Larry Soprano 1982 to 1983
Sangster, Ollie Horn/Percussion 1979 to 1981
Sedlar, Ryan Soprano 1991 to 1993
Sego, Christopher Soprano 1990
Sims, Tom American Squad/Drum Line/Horn line 1972 to 1979
Smith, Robert Soprano/Guard 1988
Smith, Robert Soprano 1988
Warren, Ed Staff / Drill Designer 1995 to 1996
Weaver, Brian Soprano 1979
Wiggins, Tracy Percussion Staff 1996
sims, suzie silk 1972 to 1974

CORPS 2 items

Northern Aurora

77 saginaires button from the Bob Carell Collection
Northern Aurora

77 Saginaires button from the Bob Carell Collection