Alumni show, Holy Name Church and NYC

A busy weekend of tradition and fun

The 2012 tour has started off a little crazy, especially this past weekend. On Saturday, the corps rehearsed in Allendale, NJ, while alumni arrived throughout the day. Some of the YEA! office staff showed up around noon, including our new souvie guy, Derek, who brought some awesome new 12.25 merchandise (which I will soon be wearing in upcoming video updates). They set up tents and banners outside the gate to the stadium, and The Cadets finished ensemble early enough to shower and get pinned into uniform.

For the first time, The Cadets circled around George in the parking lot outside the gate, right hands gripping left shoulders. After some words of encouragement about the first run-through in full uniform, George said, “Alright, let’s see if we know how to sing.”

“Oh Holy Name” resounded from the 2012 Cadets for the first time. Then they put their shakos on, marched down the 50, set up the snowflake shape at the beginning of the show, and marched and played all they know—through the big hit in “Do You Hear What I Hear?” When the brass reach the climax of the piece, they turn to the endzone and play the chorus, and it’s just beautiful. The color guard also performed with the props for the first time, dancing on them and sliding down. It’s going to be a cool addition to the Christmas mood.

After the ballad, The Cadets made an arc and played the end of the show and some extra tunes. I mingled with the alumni after the show, and they were unanimously surprised at the class and quality of the Christmas show.

“They turned around and started fading ‘Jingle Bells’ away, and I was like, ‘Wait, no, they’re going to turn back around and play loud again, right?’ I didn’t want them to stop,” a recent alumnus told me.

The Cadets changed out of uniform, ate their fill of pizza and pasta, and met up with a large crowd of alumni in the cafeteria, where they were presented with Holy Name baseball caps—a traditional gift from the alumni association. Then the entire room of former and current Cadets gathered close to sing the corps song together.

The next morning, The Cadets showered again, loaded up the buses and trucks, and the convoy drove to Most Holy Name Church in Garfield, NJ—the birthplace of the Holy Name Cadets in 1934. It’s been decades since The Cadets last visited the church, and when the corps walked up, it suddenly hit me how significant this occasion was. This is the hundredth anniversary of Most Holy Name Church, and when Sunday mass let out, The Cadets were standing out in front of the church. Alumni gathered on the steps and listened to the corps play “Philip Bliss” and the music of 12.25.


I still can’t get through “Do You Hear?” or “Hark” without crying, and I noticed many other staff members wiping their eyes. It’s going to be gorgeous on the field once it’s refined. “Well I don’t think I should say thank you; I think I should say Merry Christmas,” Monsignor William J. Reilly said after the corps finished. “Your presence here is such a blessing. May God bless you in all your travels and pursuits this summer, and we hope to see you hear at our two-hundredth anniversary!”

After that, The Cadets got out of the hot sun, out of uniform, and we drove straight into New York City for six hours of free time. A careless driver bumped one of our buses on the way in, but no damage was done and we got dropped off in Times Square. The entire corps managed to gather at 42nd and 8th right on time for the 9:00 p.m. pick-up, and the buses drove out of the city with all present and accounted for.

We’re back to a normal rehearsal day schedule today, which is a bit refreshing after all the craziness.


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