The Cadets alumni holiday party a success

Participants recount the festivities

Here we are again..... it's 2011, our third annual Christmas party, another year of wonderful memories.

alumniangels.jpgIt started with "Save The Dates" as far back as June.  In early October the momentum for the 2011 Alumni Christmas party kept building and building. But at the end of the day, in the true Cadet spirit, you all rallied and came through with your promise, sent your checks and showed up at the spectacular Preakness Hills Country Club.

What a beautiful venue we had. Thanks to James Messina for his attention to detail and for the way he took care of his dad and alumni friends. When people were checking in everyone seemed to be in awe of the decorations, the ambience and the holiday cheer.

The cocktail hour was awesome but not just for the food, which was incredible, but we had two big rooms to ourselves and yet we all gathered into the bar area where we stood close and laughed and talked and told stories. Some of you hadn't seen your old friends in a long time and some just a few months ago at the last alumni meeting, yet we all greeted one another with hugs and kisses and more old time stories to share.

This year someone came up with the idea of a "tricky tray."  Eleven different people donated baskets (Margee Estelle Gearhart, Patti Lovas Trojanowski, Jackie Michelli Colao, Renee Lapadura Strutton, Cindi Carozza DeVivo, Dee Kolbusz Schlachter, Jim and Barb Messina, Greg and Elena Pych and daughter, Natalie, Donna Schiavone and Kelly Smith) and what a hit it was!  Those cups with tickets were overflowing!  Thanks to all for your generosity and congrats to those of you who won.  I think this idea was a hit and will remain a staple in future years.

Throughout the cocktail hour we had beautiful Christmas music in the background by our DJ and more mingling, laughing and catching up to do. As the 8 p.m. hour approached we were ushered into the beautiful ballroom. Well, most went to the ballroom. There were a few left behind to run downstairs and change into costumes for what is now an annual skit.  The skit should have been the five of us running down the stairs, that was a joke in itself! 

Once the girls, and Pych of course, assembled downstairs, Patti Lovas Trojanowski and her wannabe Cadet husband, Steve, began to coordinate our costumes, headpieces, shoes and various other attire to make sure we were all ready to perform. There was some last minute stitching and pinning but they managed to pull us together in record time. Here's a recap from alumni friend, George King:

"Most of us were wondering what would be done to top the fabulous rendition of the 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy' skit from last year's party.  Well, right from the onset we were completely awed by the rhythmic movement of four angels resplendent in white along with halos. They meandered their way around the dinning tables in a graceful fashion as if to be floating on air. It wasn't long before the devil, portrayed by last year's bugle boy Greg Pych, showed up to do his evil ways.

"The four angels removed their white gowns and were now devils in black with red shirt and devil tails. They brought the house down rocking to 'Devil in Disguise' by Elvis Presley as the devil provided some very fancy and intricate stick work. It was a wonderful reflection on The Cadets' championship show this year titled 'Between Angels and Demons.'"

The dancing continued ALL night with tons of laughs, some loose hips and fun, fun, fun!  Many times circles would form and I didn't know the person to my left or my right at certain times, but I did know that we were one family, one alumni, new friends, old friends: CADETS. Only we, those that have marched under the Holy Name / Garfield Cadets / Cadets umbrella, can say we share the common bond and the lifelong history of our corps. Only we, the alumni, know what it feels like to put on the uniform, march on and off the field with head held high and proud and call ourselves a CADET.  WE ARE THE ALUMNI, WE ARE CADETS AND WE ARE FAMILY. No one can ever take that away from us. Whether it's 1934 or 2011, we stand tall and proud: the alumni we are.

At 10 p.m. we came into the center of the dance floor as one, hands on the shoulder of the brother or sister next to you, and Bart Bartello stood front and center to lead us all in "Our Holy Name" song.

Now I've been at alumni meetings where honestly, we sounded pretty bad, but this night we were awesome!  Bart did a great job conducting and for whatever reason, all the voices came together so sweetly. No matter how many times we sing our corps song together, it will always sound like the first time to me. I still get chills each and every time we sing it together. Our "amen" was beautiful and filled the room with glory.

Unfortunately, the night had to come to an end and how fitting that the DJ played "That's What Friends Are For" to close out the evening. As a very large circle of people came together, arms intertwined, swaying in perfect unison (we are Cadets after all!), we slowly left the dance floor and bid our goodbyes.  What a great night it was and judging by the fact that at 11:30 p.m. there were still quite a few people left in the ballroom chatting and laughing, I would have to say it's another party for the memory book.

Thank you Jim Messina and Greg Pych for donating all of the wine for the party. Thank you to the Nikischer family for donating all the centerpieces. Thank you to John Avella and Bart Bartello for contributing to the corkage fee. And thank you, alumni friends, for coming out for a wonderful evening that we could all share together. The party would not have been the same without each and every one of you.

And to all: cherish your Cadet friendships, keep them close in your heart. You all know, without a doubt, that if any alumnus was ever in need, all they would have to do is call and their other family would be at their side.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you and your families and a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year. The Cadets 2012 are right around the corner!


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