Cadets alumni play key part in volunteer roles

Consider giving back to the corps this summer!

Editor's Note: This story appeared first in the Cadets Alumni Association February 2010 newsletter. Registered alumni receive the newsletter twice a year. To join the CAA, CLICK HERE.

It was more than 30-years ago that DeAnna Queen-Imbro and Caren Blundetto-Frech wore Maroon and Gold. As two of only four females in the 1977 Garfield Cadets drumline, Imbro and Frech fast became friends, never to imagine that friendship would bring them back together in 2009 for the corps’ 75th Anniversary season. deannacaren

Did it ever! As the Holy Name Cadets ramped up for a season of celebration, Imbro (1977) and Frech (1977-1979) again found themselves side by side, this time as the corps’ lead volunteer seamstresses. Tucking and mending, fitting Cadets perfectly in their tailored jackets, and carefully attaching the legendary Holy Name patch, both spent nearly the entire summer on the road volunteering for the corps. A summer that was truly a labor of love! 

“We were good friends then, and somehow, after almost 30 years, we picked up right where we left off,” said Frech. 

Imbro and Frech are two of many alumni who have returned to donate their time to the drum corps that heavily influenced their young lives. While many volunteers are parents, fans and friends of The Cadets, a good percentage are alumni, said Assistant Director Justin Heimbecker. Every season, a few more reconnect wanting to give back. 

So many alumni give in huge ways, such as Imbro and Frech, according to Heimbecker. In 2008, Alumnus Ted Stalnecker (1981,1983) completely overhauled the Cadets’ souvie trailer, and others have spent multiple weeks on Summer Tour as part of the Cadets Food Service crew or as drivers. “It takes considerable planning to put your life on hold and travel with The Cadets. Add to that, this is tough work!” Heimbecker said. 

Frech, a resident of Cape May, N.J., is in her fourth season volunteering for The Cadets. When she was forced out of a job she loved, the now self-employed jewelry designer decided to give more time. The 75th Anniversary coincided with her 50th birthday and the ideal gift, she admitted, more than anything money could buy, was to spend the summer with the corps. 

“We hemmed, we tucked…we were tired, we got stupid. By the third day of tour we couldn’t get our old selves off our air mattresses without help. But we had the greatest time,” Frech said. “Besides working together every single day, we got to meet the greatest kids in the world!” 

Imbro couldn’t agree more. The self-employed master seamstress and costume designer from Ansonia, Conn., began volunteering in 2007 after simply answering a forum response. 

“I was so nervous to begin this work. After all, it IS the Cadet uniform,” Imbro said. “I am still intimidated by its unique way it inspires all who see it. I am quite particular in how it looks and fits on each and every member. It is tall, powerful and beautiful at the same time, and I am proud to be a part of that.” 


You don’t need to be a talented seamstress like Imbro and Frech to volunteer for The Cadets. The corps moves in for Spring Training on May 17th then heads out on Summer Tour for their first show on June 18th and remains on the road until DCI World Championships on Aug. 12-14th. Drivers, food service and helpers in every capacity are needed, said Heimbecker. 

“Whether it’s a couple of hours, a few days, or even a week, don’t deny the opportunity to give back to yourself. Come see who you were all those years ago,” Frech said. “Put your hand on the shoulder of one of these kids in uniform and thank them for coming after us and carrying on the tradition. Then go home renewed, refreshed and reminded why once you are a Cadet, you are never the same.” 

Imbro understands it’s intimidating to take the leap to volunteer. She felt the same way! 

“You will fall in love with the kids. You will fall in love with helping them, with encouraging them and getting to know them,” Imbro said. “You will be privileged to watch them learn, sweat, play, laugh, eat and get to know each other. They are truly just kids – just like we were back in the day.” 

To sign up to volunteer, contact Heimbecker at, or by telephone at (610) 821-0345, Ext. 112.


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