Cadets alumni celebrate the holidays at North Jersey party

Skit a hit; plans already in motion for 2011 event


Greg Pych, Stan Magda and Jim Messina at the Alumni Christmas Party held in North Jersey. Below, alumni sing "Oh Holy Name," the corps' song. (Photos courtesy of Dave Rice and Scotty McGarry.)

Alumni from across the years gathered Saturday, Dec. 4 in Wayne, N.J., for the Second Annual Alumni Christmas Party, hosted by the 1969 all-female colorguard. Below is a wrap up story of the festive evening by North Jersey chapter coordinator Cindi Carozza DeVivo.

Did you ever wish you could rewind a night in your life?  Did you ever wish you could be surrounded by 110 smiing and joyous people?  I wish I could go back and make it December 4th again........ 

Pulling up to the beautifully lit and decorated North Jersey Country Club in Wayne, N.J., was a sight to behold.  Our 2nd annual Alumni Christmas Party was about to begin.  The committee members and I were eager with anticipation hoping that our friends would enjoy a wonderful night together.  When we entered the main ballroom we were taken aback by the most beautiful decor and fabulous Christmas tree.

Our centerpieces were exquisite and festive (donated by the Nikischier family).  We arrived early to set up a few trinkets at each table and rehearse our skit that we would be presenting.  The girls were ready to go but alas.... Greg Pych, who was a participant in the skit, was late.  Hard to believe, and his excuse was even harder to believe.  He said he ran out of gas!  Anyone who knows Pych can make their own assumptions on that one.  But he pulled through, an hour late, and did a quick run through with the girls.  Then we awaited our guests at the front door. 

As each of our friends entered the room we could feel the excitement in the air.  Everyone was dressed to the nines..... who says drum corps people can't dress up?  Our DJ started the cocktail hour off with Christmas music and people began drinking (special thanks to the generosity of Jim Messina, John Avella and Greg Pych for supplying ALL of the wine for the entire night) and eating and laughing.  As the cocktail hour was winding down the committee members scurried upstairs, dragging Pych behind, to change into our costumes for our skit.  Our coordinator, Patti Lovas Trojanowski, welcomed the group and annouced us.  I received an email from George King summing up the routine: 

"What an incredible evening !  It had been rumored that if you were privileged to see last year's "Santa Baby" routine at the Christmas party, for this year the old saying, " you ain't seen nothing yet" would describe what was to come. 

As we assembled on the dance floor none of us were aware of what was to take place.  Most of us thought it was going to be a group photo shoot.  Then with the opening strains of the Andrew's Sisters great 1940's vintage hit,  " Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy " we knew we were in for something very special.  Out came Cindi, Margee and Renee decked out in Army uniforms singing and dancing in perfect tempo to the music.  Followed by the one and only Greg Pych as the Bugle Boy with horn in hand doing his thing when the bugle solo came up.  Greg sounded even better at the party than he did during his playing days with the corps.

Just when we were getting into the rhythm here comes Jackie dressed as " Lil' Jeffrey." To signify how well Lil' Jeffrey was adored by the Alumni, a swift kick to the derriere by Cindi kind of said it all.  It was a treat to see such intricate choreography done so perfectly and if you looked closely the girls were actually singing.  There was no lip syncing at this performance.  We got the real deal.


At the end of the performance the Alumni let the crew know how they felt with a huge round of applause.  Most of us were out of breath just watching the show.  It was evident that the energy needed to pull off that show was similar to our old competition days.  It was a prelude to a wonderful evening enjoyed by all of us.  The Committee that put the event together, the 1969 girls, deserve high praise for a super job.  It was a wonderful event following in our Cadet tradition of excellence.

Even another rumor has already started...we can't wait for next year.  Congratulations to everyone who was part of this great evening and Happy Holidays to all."

And this was all just in the first hour of the evening!  Corps Director George Hopkins was present and who knew he had rhythm?  He was the token partner to anyone female who came stag.  We just swatted him around the dance floor from girl to girl.  I think he liked it.

A delicious buffet was enjoyed by all and a special shout out to James Messina, Catering Manager at the NJCC, son of Jim and Barb Messina, for going above and beyond to make our event a success.  He did everything he could to make the evening affordable and beautiful and he succeeded. 

Our dance floor was packed from the first song to the last.  I can attest to my own dancing as I am still limping and sore.  From the youngest to the oldest alumni, we all united at 10:30 to join in the singing of our corps song Oh Holy Name.  I saw a few misty eyes in the crowd as the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood was strong and intense.  What a glorious night!  The evening ended at 11 p.m. but our guests didn't want to leave.  By midnight, as the crew from the Country Club started to pick up the dance floor, we realized we had to go.  But we'll be back!

Mark the date - Dec. 3, 2011.  Oh yes, it's already booked.

Let's keep our alumni strong and alive.  We can all have many more events like this in the future.  We are all part of an incredible group and an incredible history that we all share.  If you weren't able to make this years event we sure hope you will join us next year.

This was truly a night to remember. 

For Holy Name Shall Always Be 

Cindi Carozza DeVivo



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