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He is the Rev. Robert J. Carr, a Jesuit priest who took a group of young people, gave them something to work for, and, by his words and constant example, showed them how to live the command of the Master that they "love one another".
He and another Jesuit, Rev. Ignatius Pennisi, formed a drum corps at Holy Trinity in 1951, and
entered it in the CYO Music Festival. A year later the corps was reorg- anized, and the Cadets
as they are now constituted -
From the start, the Cadets lived a hand-to-mouth life. Money for uniforms and equipment was so scarce as to be almost non-existent, but Fr. Carr managed to keep his corps together.
He had help from many sources, but most especially from members of the Most Precious Blood Crusaders of Hyde Park and their manager, Ed Rooney.
The music instructor was George Jannette, who was then less than 16. The uniforms were second-hand white duck pants, jackets of faded blue, and Fort Kent hats that had been worn by another unit in the North End. In such an attire the Cadets made their first public appearance, at a Patriot's Day parade in Lexington in 1952.
Fr. Carr adopted what cynics would deem an impractical method to raise enough money to keep the corps going. He left the whole problem in the hands of St. Joseph, perhaps on the theory that the Saint could worry about that, while he worried about everything else. And, because he is a man of great faith, he was not greatly surprised that it worked.
There was, for instance, the time at a Sports Night that
Another time, Fr. Carr dropped in on an old friend, Atty. James H. Flanagan. The priest was
wondering then, where he was going to get the cash for some new bugles and drums, but his purpose,
in seeing Flanagan, was not to talk about his troubles but merely to pass the time of day. The
lawyer broke into the conversation with a question that left Fr. Carr slightly short of breath.
"Could you use some money for musical instruments?" he asked. It developed that one of Flanagan's clients had just died, and left money in his will to buy instruments for boys. Fr. Carr came out of that conversation with another $500.
The Cadets were given a quantity of uniform material by clothing tycoon Elmer Ward and, with the help of individual parents, were able to sport their first new uniforms. It was these same parents whose labors, over the years, provided new bugles, plumes, sabres, flags, and whatever else was needed in the way of equipment.
The Cadets won the Class C championship of the Eastern Mass. circuit in 1953, and the Class B crown in 1954. In 1955, they were promoted to Class A, where, in the words of Fr. Carr, "they have stayed ever since, for better or worse."
In 1956, and again two years later, their horizons were broadened by trips they made through upstate New York, Canada, and the midwest, playing in parades and competitions and giving exhibitions all along the way.
They competed in both the Eastern Mass. and CYO circuits against the best junior corps in this area, and it is typical of drum corps activity that their most fervent rooters were - and are - members of a rival unit, St. Mary's of Beverly, in the heart of the socialite and lace-curtain country.
And, though they have lost far more often than they have won, they have demonstrated always one of the true values of drum corps activity - the ability of those of different racial strains to rise above the mire of prejudice and work together in friendship and mutual respect.
Help keep the spirit alive by joining our Alumni Association! Any former Cadet, Queen's Maid, or
and any friend who supports our goals can join by calling one of the members listed below:
Devlin, Owen & Ginny (Jones)
Geysen, Brother Paul
Johnson, George "Butch"
McKinnon, Frank & Bobbie (Collins)
McKinnon, Mike & Mona (Qualls)
Norris, Kenneth Sr.
Solomon, Dottie (Rogers)
or you can
(We will bill you for dues when we process your application.)