- A man with a passion for the Activity and a vision –
Written by Barry Swain
St Rita’s Brassmen 70, 71
Former DCI Visual Chief Judge
I met Mickey Perry in 1969, at a contest in Long Island, New York, where the Brassmen – My first time seeing St. Rita’s – were performing. A true friendship developed between us; which would last for many, many years; including being in his wedding party to the lovely Roxanne (also a member of the Brassmen).
I went to a rehearsal of the Brassmen at St. Rita’s Youth Center at the invitation of Mickey and it was Mickey who convinced me that the corps to join was the Brassmen and he was right!!!
In Mickey I saw a true passion for the “Activity”, particularly St. Rita’s Brassmen, in every word he conveyed. His excitement was even more so evident in that he was going to lead St. Rita’s first ever Rifle Line in 1970. I, along with all other Brassmen and the thousands of spectators who saw us perform in 1970, got to see the creativity Mickey brought to the arena and the sheer execution of the entire rifle line.
The Brassmen also added the addition of a Male Colorguard and Mickey was tapped by Carmen Cluna to be the chief designer of their equipment work and instructor. Although he was as a volunteer Assistant Guard Instructor, I can tell you that Mickey enjoyed every moment of his creations coming to life and truly complementing the Brassmen visual program.
In the Mid 70’s, after our Brassmen performing days, I was reunited with Mickey in the teaching ranks of the Hurricanes of Brooklyn Winterguard. Mickey was hired to write and teach the equipment program for the guard. Our collaboration was trend setting and absolutely eye catching. Mickey was ahead of the evolvement of the Winterguard Activity. The Hurricanes of Brooklyn were received all over the tri-state area to standing ovations, as the show was leading edge and one of the first – if not the first – to utilize taped music; as they entered the arena to “Papa was a rolling stone”.
Mickey went on to teach and perform with Opus I, the Winterguard of the CMCC Warriors as the co-designer of the guard. Again, an amazing display of equipment and visual design was unleashed. Before Mickey concluded his performing days in junior corps he marched with the famed CMCC Warriors Rifle Line as co-writer and instructor along with Vernon of the Warriors. Mickey also marched in the ranks of the Seniors as a member of the colorguard of Cabelleros.
Personally, with the years I have spent and the positions I have held at the top of the Activity, I can say the Mickey Perry was a true gem to color guard and was a great teacher (let’s not forget his wonderful days on cymbals and the at the time the truly unique movements with the cymbals; which has become common place these days). Having the opportunity to have known MICKEY as a friend, fellow Brassmen, colleague and mentor in the ranks of teaching is among the most cherished acquaintances I have made in the Drum Corps and Winterguard Activity.
Mickey, your contribution to the Activity shall never be forgotten!
Thank you, thank you, and thank you for all the memories we have of you and your works of art.