12th Command

Taylor, MI United States
Founded: 1991

Inactive Junior
YearPositionScoreTheme/Songs
1992 315 59.400 American Fanfare * Goodbye Yesterday * El Gato Triste  
1993 314 64.100 Copernicus * Blue * Celebration Suite * En Fuego (On Fire)  
1994 320 68.500 Sounds of Steven Sondhiem - Old Friends (from Merrily We Roll Along) * Being Alive (from Company) * The Little Things You Do Together (from Company) * A Weekend in the Country (from A Little Night Music) * Send in the Clowns (from A Little Night Music)  
Position 200+ indicates Division II, Position 300+ indicates Division III, Position 400+ indicates Mini Corps.

CORPS Photos

The 12th Command, often referred to as “XII,” was founded in 1991 by Mark Ponder as a way for Metro Detroit youth to actively compete in a musical atmosphere and to make a dream of the corps alumni come true. Ponder set up several meetings with DCI, DCM, and the City of Taylor, Michigan, lobbying the idea of starting a drum corps to them. The City of Taylor was all for the idea and, although not willing to commit to a full sponsorship, did contribute $5,000 in startup funds.

Mark Ponder enlisted Bob Kote and John Burgan to help recruitment, and the three scoured the downriver area high schools looking for members. The new recruits held their first rehearsal in the winter of 1991, though the turnout was slim. But by the time June rolled around and XII was on the field, it had developed into a full DCI Division III corps of approximately 55 members.

The corps stormed the field its first year, earning many new fans by playing jazz standards like Chuck Mangione's “El Gato Triste” and Buddy Rich's “Goodbye Yesterday.” Their uniforms were white, pink, and grey. The corps went on to score 59.4 and earn 15th place its first year.

1993 was a prosperous year for the corps. The first camp was buzzing with enthusiasm after the Command's respectable first year. All of the veterans from the previous year returned to the first camp, but many of them migrated to the bigger open-class corps like Glassmen, Bluecoats, and Madison Scouts. Fortunately plenty of new faces were waiting to fill their spots. The XII once again opted for a jazz repertoire, ranging from Basia's “Copernicus” to Chick Corea's “Celebration Suite.” As the year progressed, membership did drop from 57 to about 37, but the corps’ morale remained high as it solidified its reputation as a “bad ass” little Division III jazz machine. The corps won its first and only championship at the Canadian Open in Sudbury, Ontario, with a score of 69.9, beating the likes of the Bandettes and Madison Junior Scouts. The 12th Command ultimately finished 14th in DCI's Division III Semifinals with a score of 64.1, while performing in temperatures of 110 degrees in Jackson, Mississippi. Though initially disappointed with the lower placing, the corps was heartened that Division III had seen an abundance of new corps that year, and that their score had improved six points from the previous year.

By 1994, membership had fallen from its peak of 57 members to roughly 27. With a horn line of nine, a battery of seven, three in the pit, and seven color guard, the members’ pride and interest in 12th Command had started to wane. Command was no longer the jazz powerhouse it was in 1992, opting instead to play the more cultured Broadway tunes of Stephen Sondheim. This change of repertoire was not enough to sustain either fan or member interest, however, and Mark Ponder's mortgage kept increasing.

In Boston at the 1994 World Championships, the Sundowners’ tour bus backed into the XII’s bus, damaging the engine. It was briefly repaired, only to break down again on the highway heading home to Taylor. The corps seemed dead even before they got home, with even die-hard charter-member "Commandos" admitting that they had enough. The bus pulled into their campsite for the last time that day, and the once mighty 12th Command became a cherished memory.

[http://www.angelfire.com/va/12thCommand, Jeff Kujat; A History of Drum and Bugle Corps, 2002]

Members (4)

Member Name Section Years Involved
Keiser, Valerie Guard 1994
Kujat, Jeff Contra 1991 to 1994
Regan, Mike Contra 1991 to 1992
Rodriguez, Frank Drum Line 1993 to 1994
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