BIOGRAPHY: Ted Schwartzberg
In the summer of 1956, I joined St. Joseph Patron Cadets. It wasn't until 1956 that I actually became a member of the band. The band became a Drum and Bugle Corps in June of 1961.
I instantly developed a love for Drum Corps. St. Joseph Patron Cadets grew in size and I was determined to become a talented horn player and learn everything there was to learn about marching. I was motivated by two of the most talented instructors in Drum Corps, Carman Cluna and Hy Dreitzer.
Having the same amount of respect and love for both instructors, motivated me to be just like them. I had the deepest respect and love for both as if they were my own father. I decided then I wanted to be an instructor. However, the only problem was: Would I be a horn instructor or a drill instructor?
I practiced every day to improve for the next practice. I realized, the better horn player I became, the more difficult Hy could write his French horn parts. I must admit, I enjoyed every second of our practices. I learned from the best and absorbed all I could be every day of every minute being with both of them.
Marching came rather easy to me and I had a keen eye for detail. I loved watching drills being created, building them and then the excitement of it all coming together. Therefore, marching was my choice. I worked consistently, with Carman and Hy and never stopped learning. I became Carman Cluna's assistant drill instructor for the St. Rita's Brassmen. I was interested in venturing out on my own as a drill instructor but was quite nervous and apprehensive. Carman and Hy were very encouraging and took away all my fears.
My first drum corps was the Trumbull Cadets in Connecticut. Hy Dreitzer was the horn instructor and wanted me as the drill instructor. Actually, I did pretty well, and had established a reputation in Connecticut. The second corps was the Bridgeport Golden Buccaneers. I began to write my drills on paper, just the way my mentor, Carman Cluna always did.
The next corps was the Trumbull Lancers, who later became the Bengal
Lancers also in Connecticut. I chose my own instructors! Hy Dreitzer,
Tommy Martin, John Oddo, Jim Drost and Fran Tenney. This was my baby. I
worked just as hard for this corps, as the members worked for me. The
hard work paid off. After their first season they won the World Open
Class "B" Championship. The following year they won the DCI class "A"
Championship. This corps was very talented and I firmly believed they
were on their way. Unfortunately, some people never could see the total
picture. I resigned at the end of that season,
and the Bengal Lancers disbanded the following year.
During my career I almost always taught with Hy and Carman. I assisted
Carman with the following: The Brassmen, St. Ignatius, Connecticut
Hurricanes, and Our Lady of the Snows. Unfortunately, after DCI's
negative politics, I lost interest and retired
from writing and instructing.
I came back to teach a corps called the Blue Max located in my own neighborhood. It was great being local and I enjoyed teaching with Tommy Martin. To this day when I meet a corps member in the neighborhood, we share some great memories.
At that time I was disgusted with DCI, and what Drum Corps was becoming. I was offered numerous Drum Corps to teach but declined. Drum Corps wasn't what it once was and my heart just wasn't in it any longer.
However, Reggie Henry a dear friend going back to my early days of Drum Corps, asked me to write a drill for his corps, The New York Lancers. Well, I couldn't refuse, so I did write their drill and the corps did rather well. It felt good to write a drill and be involved again, but I never did go back to teaching. I did become a judge for the juniors and the seniors. (The DCA) I especially enjoyed judging the Skyliners and the Caballeros.
During these years it took a lot of hours and dedication, but I loved it so. Now that I have retired, I do go to some shows. When I see the new DCI, it is a total heartache. DCI took the organization of youths and totally destroyed it. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity and happiness of participating in Drum Corps.