Satan's Angels

Bellefontaine, OH United States

Inactive Senior
YearPositionScoreTheme/Songs
1954 Just The Way You Look Tonight * Lady of Spain * ?? * Pagliacci * Jealousy * Take Me Out To The Ballgame * Who * ?? * Smiles * In My Merry Oldsmobile * Give My Regards to Broadway * ?? * Begin the Beguine * ?? * Carolina Country Morning * Every Little Moment * ?? * ?? * Good Night Sweet Dreams  
Position 200+ indicates Division II, Position 300+ indicates Division III, Position 400+ indicates Mini Corps.

CORPS Photos

In the 1950s the Harold Kerr Post 173 Drum and Bugle Corps became known as the "Satan Angels." The unofficial story of that name was that at an early contest they competed in they came on the field wearing black uniforms and the contest announcer said that the corps looked like Satan Angels marching to victory and the name stuck.

All the drum corps of that era were sponsored by American Legion posts and supposedly all corps members were veterans. In fact most corps supplemented their veterans with a few older-looking high school musicians who carried the ID of a veteran from the local post who was not a drum corps member.

Local Legion posts sponsored contests throughout the summer, and the big contests late in the year were at the state Legion convention. The state winners were then eligible to compete at the national Legion convention. Contests were held on football fields and originally each corps marched and played for a period of 12 to 15 minutes and were judged for marching, general effect, drums, bugles, color guard and inspection. Corps started with 100 points, were "ticked" one tenth of a point for each mistake and the top corps consistently scored in the upper 80s.

Our own corps started indoor music practice two nights a week in February or March at the old Hubbard School on east Columbus. When spring arrived, usually in late March, the corps moved outside to Rutan Park to learn their marching drill and from then till late summer practiced four to five nights a week from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Contests usually started occurring late in June and most weekends the members by their own cars, or in an old school bus the corps had acquired drove to contests in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and New York. The corps had no major sponsors, no one was paid and any moneys they had were from the cash prices they received when they won a contest. It was a bunch of dedicated guys, their wives and their kids devoting hundreds of hours simply for the pride of being one of the best, carrying the Bellefontaine name throughout the U.S.

Bellefontaine competed against corps from Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, etc., much larger cities with a lot of more manpower to draw from. Nevertheless, in a short time the Angels became known throughout the drum corps world and were soon rated among the top 10 or so corps in the U.S. About this same time, Jr. Drum Corps, consisting of sons and daughters of veterans also began having their own contests.

Our own local contest put on at the old high school football field attracted thousands of fans. In 1956 (or 57), we startled the entire drum corps world, when for the first time ever we invited the top six senior corps and the top six junior corps to compete on the same field on the same night. Senior corps, The Hawthorne Cabelleros, the Riley Raiders, the Syracruse Brigidaires, The Pittsburgh Rockets and The Skokie Indians and Geneva Appleknockers, all former winners of major and national contests and the Jr. corps, The Chicago Cavaliers, the Racine Kilties, The Bridgemen from Patterson, N.J., the Madison Scouts and two others that my memory fails to recall. Needless to say, on contest day the Sr. corps were loudly opposed to having their contest scores announced along with the Jr. scores, mostly because they were concerned the kids would out score them. In the end separate awards were made for Sr. corps and Jr. corps. The contest itself was the talk of the drum corps world for years.

With apologies to anyone I may miss, the original corps consisted of the following members:
Bill Ellis - Leader, drill arranger and instructor. The genius and driving force that took the corps to the top.
Harold Detrick - Music arranger and instructor. "Deke" was assisted on music arrangements by Dick Rosebrook, Jim Whitwer, Bob Goldsmith and other playing members of the corps.
Myron "Doc" Savage - Drum line arranger and instructor.
Ralph Carter - Color Guard field sergeant and instructor.
Nevin Garling and Marion Miner - Equipment managers.
Herb Hill, Harry Messner, Garney Gregg - Treasurers.
Bob Neiswonger - Bus driver.
Blair Casey - Corps doctor.
Additional - Brad Longo, music arranger; Jim Lindberg music director.
French Horns - Jim Poole, Dick Smith, Dick Kemper.
Soprano Bugle - Dick Sloan, Phil Contner, Jim Whitwer, Bob Whitwer, Poky Painter, Ozzie Myers, Ted Messner, Tom Messner.
Baritone Bugle - Bob Goldsmith, Dick Rosebrook, Kenny Whisman, Ed Reams, Glen Moore, Fred Miller, Bob Myers, Glen Yoder, Ron Hadley.
Drums - Myron Savage, Harold Dipple, Nick Johnson, Guy Wagaman, Buzz Bozart, Larry Shawd, Tom Schoff, Glen Watkins, Gene Baker, Kenny Craig.
Color Guard - Raph Carter, Don "Eppie" Devine, Bill Jones, Don Thompson, Paul Hildreth, Dick Sickles, Dick Steinhofer.

Written by Bob Goldsmith, a Bellefontaine resident, is a former music arranger with the corps. Published in the Bellefontaine Examiner

[Submitted by Karen Carter, December 2013]

Members (3)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Marquis, Thomas Groom 1957
Marquis, Thomas Drum Line (Cymbals) 1958 to 1961
Maynard, John guard '60 tenor '61 1960 to 1961

CORPS 6 items

Satan's Angels

Satans Angels Pennant from the Bill Ives Collection
Satan's Angels

Satans Angels Overseas Cap from the Bill Ives Collection
Satan's Angels

Satans Angels Overseas Cap from the Bill Ives Collection
Satan's Angels

Satans Angels from the Bill Ives Collection
Satan's Angels

Satans Angels from the Bill Ives Collection
Satan's Angels

Satans Angels 1975 from the Bill Ives Collection Contributed by Bill Thissen

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