Welcome to Hy Dreitzer Page 

Written by Hy's Dearest Friend, Carman Cluna 1984

We are here today, drawn together in our grief, united in our sorrow, each of us with the inescapable feeling that we should be elsewhere, that we should be feeling safe in the knowledge that our beloved Hy Dreitzer is alive and well, writing his music, teaching his drum corps, smoking his pipe, telling his jokes, being his inimitable self. But Hy Dreitzer is no longer in out midst. Hy has been taken from us by a child's disease… and if he must be gone, how appropriate that is! For Hy Dreitzer was a man so child-like in his innocence as to be incapable of recognizing his own greatness.

This man, who single–handedly revolutionized drum and bugle corps music in the early 1950s. This man, who inspired countless thousands of drum corps fans with his artistry, his creativity. This man, who loomed as a giant on the international stage for more than 30 years was always approachable, always available, always willing to listen. There will never be another 42nd Street. His Battle Hymn of the Republic will always stand alone; a testament to his versatility, Slaughter on 10th Avenue: He did it first and he did it best. Concerto in 'F'… Okalahoma Crude… Sorcerer's Apprentice… There is more to great music than theory. Hy Dreitzer proved that. George Gershwin was his idol. George Gershwin, whose genius was stifled at the age of 39. The parallel is self-evident.

Taken from us at the age of 56, Hy Dreitzer's legacy was far from fulfilled. But we are all richer for having known him. The emotion, the warmth, the dynamics of his music were an extension of himself; and we all know that he still had so much more to give. He was my dear friend since 1955. I will miss him more than I can say. It will never be the same again. Hy Dreitzer: Loving husband to Florence, proud father to Annette, good friend to so many, the God of Music to thousands upon thousands for more than three decades. He will live on in his music, and he will live on in our hearts forever. And if the angels in that heavenly choir thought that they were good before, just wait. THEY AIN'T HEARD NOTHING YET!!

Hy Dreitzer ( BACK TO CAMERA ) at Friday Night Horn Rehearsal ( circa 1970 ) Background , Joseph Luginsland, Gregory Bruce - French Horn Foreground , Reginald Henry, Mike Arato - Mellophone, and Premiere Solo Soprano Jim Maldonado

Hy Dreitzer The "Patron Saint"of Drum and Bugle Corps Music An interview with Hy Dreitzer for a DCA Publication (The interviewer is unknown) Instructor of 1975 Champion horn line New York Skyliners Herman Dreitzer. The name conjures up an echo in the distance of time. (Corps like Des Plains Vanguard, St. Rocco's, St. Joseph Patron Cadets, Carter Cadet, Selden, Warriors, Floyd Bennett Golden Eagles St. Ignatius, and his most successful east coast corps , The St. Rita's Brassmen ) An echo of precise bugling in red and black uniforms, crisp, clean, and driving. Pictures of "Manhattan Towers" and "42nd Street" appear on the movie screen of the mind, feeling, like Times Square on New Year's Eve, there is nothing in this world like it. The man behind that sound is "Hy" on drum corps.... Q. What do you recall as your first experience in drum corps? A. Well, this is funny; when I was a kid of 9 years old, well, all kids like to build icehouses, right? Well, we built one, but we forgot to build a fire in it and we sat there for hours and hours. I got double pneumonia. It was nearly fatal but I pulled through. The doctor told my mother that if you want him (me) to have normal lungs for the rest of his life, you better have him do some kind of special exercise, maybe take up a wind instrument or something. Well, there was a kid on the block that was in a little local drum and bugle corps. I joined. I don't recall the name, but I think it was a VFW unit. But, I will tell you that I remember they were clean, even on the old straight bugles. Then there was another corps in Brooklyn, that's where I lived, that had *valve* horns. Well, we had to get to that! WOW! It was not too long after that that I noticed that if you played this note and I played that note we had harmony. I guess that's how it all started. I was writing before I knew it! I entered the service in 1945 and afterward entered music school. Q. What school did you attend? A. It was the music school of the Henry Street settlement. It was a good school then. We had some really great teachers there; our music theory teacher was Felix Eberhardt who was a graduate of the University of Heidelberg. I learned a lot from him... Q. You were once a soloist with the Skyliners. When did you start with them? A. My first year was 1952 and I was on lead soprano. Then the next year I dropped out because I knew I could not make the Nationals in '53. Moreover, of course the American Legion Nationals was it. What was the sense of competing if you could not go to Nationals? Now in '54 there was a big shakeup. A bunch of people left the Skyliners and went over to Hawthorne. We lost the cream of the old Garbarina corps. And shortly thereafter, Hawthorne became big winners. But we lost about 14 or 16 guys; in those days that was a lot of people. Especially when usually you went with about 32 horns and you were lucky if you had 3 or 4 snares. Today, we have two more people in the drum line than we had in the whole horn line 22 years ago!


Click photo Below to see John Oddo's  Interview with Hy

The esteem '71 Baritone Quartet..Peter "Buckey" Fallon, Ruben Ariola, David Lucas & Charlie Sugden

Q. What do you consider your greatest triumph in senior corps? A. The Skyliners of course, have won just about every major title. But the first show in 1960 - St. Pat's Preview of Champions in Jersey City. Hawthorne had been unbeatable the year before, and we went out and knocked them off. I was playing in the line then, too. That was a very gratifying experience. You could talk about the three DCA Championships we've won, you could talk about the "Dream"; winning the "Dream" is always a great feeling. Last year's DCA Championship was a little watered down! But it was great because we won high horns despite the rain. Q. You mentioned earlier the fascination you had for the first single valve horn corps that you ever saw. How do you feel about the new double piston valve bugles? Do you think DCA will take this path in the future? A. Well, if you remember the last meeting we had on it, the feeling was the hell with the two-valve horn, let's go to three but keep it in the key of G. I was amazed because I introduced the idea to DCA. What we are using now is a two-valve G trumpet, with the rotary. The horn ceased to be a bugle when we stopped using Army Regulation bugles and added a valve. So now, there are G trumpets. DCA said in effect, "Why be hypocritical, let's go to the three but keep it in G because we still want that drum corps sound; we don't want that Bb band sound." Personally, I do not care if we went for six valves; as long as it is in G, we still have the same sound but with more versatility. We would still have drum and bugle corps! Hy Dreitzer is a helluva man to talk to. Had we not been both so tired on that spring morning at 2:15am.We could have talked drum corps all night. I personally feel that this person is the patron saints of drum corps music. I do not know that anybody could challenge that...