The Cadets' organization remembers George Bonfiglio

Reflections on one of the activity's legendary contributors

As most know, George Bonfiglio, the Director of the 27th Lancers of Revere, Mass., passed away on Friday, March 12 at 6:27 p.m.

The Cadets' organization would like to send our sympathies to the Bonfiglio family and to take a moment to remember all that “George B.” gave to The Cadets and the activity. As the director of The Cadets, and as a colleague of George B. and a friend to his daughter, Denise, I will be traveling to Revere this Thursday to pay my respects. The organization has sent flowers as a remembrance and recognition of the great contributions Mr. Bonfiglio made to the activity, and particularly to drum corps on the East Coast. null

As The Cadets climbed the competitive ladder in the early 1980’s, the Lancers were an inspiration and a challenge on a day to day basis.   In 1980 I would stand and watch the precision of the Lancers and the excitement generated every night. Earlier on, when Ralph Pace was the visual designer for the Lancers, we were connected as Ralph was my teacher at the Crossmen, and with that connection, and the people I knew from the corps, I paid great attention. I was amazed at the way 27th was able to get the audience to their feet, more than twice in an evening!  Such was something I always remembered, and always hoped we could achieve at The Cadets

As for George B. and my relationship, well I was a young pup, to say the least, and George was, of course, one of the original 12 directors. I remember once, about 1983 or so, at the scheduling meeting in Chicago. We used to have the names of all of the events on the wall and corps directors would select their show of interest and write in the name of the corps. Folks would jockey back and forth and it would be an all-day affair. At the end of many hours, there were always a few shows that had no takers. Well, Don Whitely, if I recall, who was in charge of promotions and the events back then, stood and begged for someone to plug into a show in the middle of nowhere, Arkansas. As he begged, no one moved. We just sat. Well, George B. suddenly rose from his chair, went to the board, and under the Arkansas show he wrote “GARFIELD!”  I just sat and looked. He came back to my chair, stood in front of me and said “KID, you’re going to Arkansas.” 

We went.

George and many of the early directors taught me what persistence and passion were all about. 27th did not have the finances to run a corps and yet they did great things for young people year after year. I had friends in the Lancers and I have to say, those folks LOVED that corps. And they loved that corps because George Bonfiglio loved that corps, and his kids! He made it happen – somehow - for many, many years.

I learned the power of persistence. To keep working, to never give up, and well, if I upset a few people along the way, George showed me that what was most important was my belief and commitment to what my organization stood for and who we wanted to be.

As the days passed, and the Lancers ceased to exist, George took on the role of advisor. He would see me at shows and take me for a walk. We would talk about DCI and he would remind me why DCI started and what we needed to do to keep it alive and well. I always listened, and I always learned.

Good bye George.

Thank you for what you taught me and thank you for all you did for so many kids.

You made a difference! You were a grand success!

Bonfiglio was Co-Founder and Director of the 27th Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps of Revere, Mass., past President of Drum Corps International, member of Hall of Fame of MA Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a class of 1985 inductee to the DCI Hall of Fame, Past President of Malden Teacher’s Union, member of Retired Malden Teachers Association, an Alumnus of Revere High School Class of 1948, Alumnus of Fitchburg State Teachers College and the New England Conservatory of Music.


Family and friends are invited to attend the Funeral at the Vertuccio & Smith Home for Funerals, 773 Broadway (Rt. 107), Revere, Mass., on Friday, March 19 at 9 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Anthony of Padua Church, Revere, Mass., at 10 a.m. Visiting hours are Thursday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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