The Selden Cadets were organized in 1949 as the Selden Fire Department Band. They marched in the local Firemen’s parades using “no-value” bugles. They were originally instructed by Lefty Petrakus. In 1954, under the sponsorship of a Parent organization the band became a drum corps and ended it’s association with the Selden Fire Department. They competed in local “Standstill” competitions and also “earned” $25 for each Firemen’s parade. In 1956, Selden left the Fire Department and began competed as a “Marching and Maneuvering” corps for the first time.
As a youth organization from Selden, Long Island, the corps ultimately extended its membership base to towns all over Suffolk County. The corps performed initially in local Fireman’s parades throughout Suffolk County and later marched in the annual Puerto Rican and Steuben Parades in New York City.
The Golden Lancers were invited to the National Dream contest for the first time in 1959 and competed in the New York area until joining the Penn-Jersey Association. In 1960, the corps grew in size as a contingent from Babylon added to the membership of each section. In 1961, Selden successfully “recruited” many new members from area drums such as the Smithtown Freelancers, Babylon Islanders and the Lakeland corps.
Selden’s history has always included a reputation for people oriented music with an emphasis on jazz with a Spanish flavor. Playing an off-the-line of “The Cisco Kid” to “La Paloma” to “Artistry in Rhythm” and “Poinciana”. The corps won its share of competitions and were always appreciated by the fans. The featured soprano line, led by the “ageless” Frankie Buscemi had a well deserved reputation as talented showmen.
As their combined skills progressed in the late fifties and early sixties, the corps traveled throughout the East Coast competing in the Penn-Jersey Circuit. The corps became well known for two things – being the “Iron Men” , never feinting after a performance and always traveling in Elmer Fogity’s infamous old yellow school buses as driven by alcoholic old Italian guys.
The corps was directed by George Caliguri, Joe Calisto, Robert Allen and Tony Aloe Sr. The Quartermaster was always Tony Guacci. Chaperons included Flo Caliguri, Jean and Paul Adams, Sr. Mr. Adams also was President of the Parents Organization. Antoinette Guacci and Gloria Fontanella always managed to keep the corps looking professional despite having to make and maintain the uniforms, with the exception of the last uniforms, the military jackets ultimately worn by the Bayonne Bridgeman.
The corps musical arrangements were written and taught, depending on the year, by Joe Calisto, Hy Drietzer, Bob Bunce, or John Sasso. Joe Calisto, up until 1961, also functioned as Corps Director and was loved and respected by the members, especially when he had a reason to give his famous whistle and the entire corps rushed to surround him at the risk of becoming a “substitute” if they didn’t. Joe introduced, wrote and taught many of the corps’ favorite tunes including “Mack the Knife”, “West Point March” and “You Belong to My Heart”. His opening fanfare to “The Cisco Kid” with an original solo performed by Frankie Buscemi was a drum corps fans favorite…you could always hear a pin drop in the stands right before the corps “came off the line”
When Joe retired, Bob Bunce took over the horn line and continued the tradition of playing music people could relate to. His arrangements were a major reason for the corps advancing into the top ten corps in the country. “Poinciana”, “A Foggy Day in London Town”, “Nightingale”, “Spanish Rogue” and “Madi Gras” were but a few of his brass arrangements.
The M&M portion of Selden’s show was created by such people as Bill Rudden, Ralph Shur [Believe me when I tell you…about the sunglass money…] and the late, great Carman Cluna. Percussion arrangements and instruction were provided by Eric Perrilloux. Eric was solely responsible for most of the talented percussionists marching in Senior Corps in the New York area during the 70’s and 80’s. Hank Boehm was the corps’ Color Guard instructor.
Color Guard Captains included June Donohue and Maggie Gaydos [1950-1959], Terri Cudia [1960-1961], Marie Biondi [1961-63]. Nancy Glynn [1962-63], Joyce Greiling [1963-64], and Terie Vanuto [1963-65].
Artie Greg took over as Drum Major when Delores Caliguiri and Ida Mae Enneser “aged out” and led the corps in 1961 and 1962. Artie was followed by Jerry Unger and Tom Beresford, 1963 – 1965.
Titles and Competitions included;
– 2nd Place Dream Contest 1959
– 1961 and 1962 Penn-Jersey Championship
– New York State Veterans Champions – 1956 – 1957- 1958
– Maine State Open Champions 1958
– Catholic War Veterans Open Champions – 1956 – 1957
– 1964 Eastern States Championship
– 1964 World Open – 9th Place
Selden was invited to the National Dream Contest from 1959 through 1961 and also competed in the Drum Corps News sponsored indoor winter competitions in New Haven Conn. and Newark, New Jersey. The Cadets were one of four drum corps on professional recordings called “Horns a Plenty” and “Brass by Night”. Although the corps could never afford to attend the American Legion or VFW National competitions, in 1964 the top corps in the country performed in the World Open and Selden finished 9th.
The corps graduated many members on to the New York area senior corps including the New York Skyliners, Hawthorne Caballeros and LI Sunrisers. The corps last performed in 1965 and sadly disbanded after that season.
In the winter of 1965, a few of the alumni attempted to start a senior corps and unfortunately, it never went past one rehearsal.
On May 22, 2004, 97 ex-members gathered on LI for an evening of seeing old friends and reliving their favorite Selden experiences. Over forty years had past since the corps was together and it was emotional to say the least !
But wait….there’s more !!
On August 10th, the Selden Golden Lancers Alumni corps held their first rehearsal. Alumni started donating horns and the corps was on it’s way back. The alumni corps has had many parades in the summer of 2005.