Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps

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LocationSt. Peter, Minnesota
DivisionDrum Corps Associates A Class
DirectorTerry Lillis
Championship titles2006, 2009, 2011, 2015
UniformJacket with three colors (white on front left, green on front right, black on back, and a black stripe on front middle), black pants and shoes, black gauntlets with green and white stripe, black gloves, and sunglasses

The Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps is an all age drum and bugle corps based in St. Peter, Minnesota (USA) that competes in Drum Corps Associates (DCA).[1] Founded in 1927, the Governaires are the oldest continuously active drum and bugle corps.[2] The Governaires are four time DCA Class A World Champions.

History[edit | edit source]

In 1927, a local meat market owner by the name of Ruben Siebert founded the St. Peter Legion Corps. The corps was composed mainly of World War I veterans who were members of the William R. Witty American Legion Post 37 in St. Peter. Highlights of the early years of the corps included many parades, festivals, and state competitions. Karl Klein, a member of the St. Peter Legion Corps, recalled a trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba as well (Hanson, 2003).

Although there were hard times sustaining the corps during the Great Depression and throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, the corps continued to perform. In 1944, Cliff Hermel took over the reins of the drum corps and changed its name to the St. Peter Drum and Bugle Corps. This name change was in response to a growing Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) drum corps circuit in Minnesota in which the St. Peter corps joined and eventually dominated in the 1950s and early 1960s with 10 state championships. Hermel continued leading the corps into the 1970s also creating two other corps in St. Peter, the Black Knights for children 8–13 years old and the Crusaders for members of the ages 14–20 years old. These corps did not exist long, but the tenacity and highly motivated leadership of Cliff Hermel is evident through their formation.

During the 1950s, drum corps around the country began adopting names that did not reflect their sponsorships, similar to what sports teams do. In 1961, the St. Peter Drum and Bugle elected to change their name to the Vikings Drum and Bugle Corps. This name did not last long because the newly formed professional football team in Minnesota selected the same name and the members of the St. Peter corps did not want to give the impression of affiliation with the new football club. Thus, the drum corps was once again renamed this time they chose the name Govenaires to honor the five governors of Minnesota who hailed from St, Peter. To this day, the spelling of Govenaires is a mystery. Most would assume that the name should be spelled as Governaires and it is consistently misspelled this way, but nevertheless the name was changed to the Govenaires and has remained such to this day.

The Govenaires, under the direction of Hermel, saw an incredible amount of success on the competition field. Besides winning ten VFW State Championships and an American Legion State Championship, the corps ventured to its first national championship in 1964 in Dallas, Texas, where they took fourth place. During this period, Billy Stangler and Pat Mayer began their reigns in various corps leadership roles. The 1960s also introduced the first women into the Govenaires ranks. Margaret Mayer, Pat’s wife, became the first female member and eventually became a key player in keeping the corps running through the 1970s and 1980s.

The 1970s were marked by two trips to the American Legion National Championships. The first, in 1976, was a long haul to Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately for the Govenaires, they were the only corps in their class that attended the championships that year and therefore no competition was held. Although the Govenaires were not crowned champions, the trip was viewed as highly successful and even though they experienced a bus breakdown in Butte, Montana that caused the already lengthy trip home longer, the corps decided to make the journey to the next season’s American Legion National Championship in Denver. This year, the Govenaires did have competition at the championships and were runners-up in their class.

The next decade, the 1980s, were marked by the corps’ introduction to the Midwest circuit, Drum Corps Midwest (DCM). The Govenaires began competing in the DCM championships in 1982 and still competed there until the circuit folded in 2005. Another trip to the American Legion National Championships in 1985 in New Orleans was yet another highlight of the corps. During this decade, the corps was led by many different directors of operations, but the constant presence of Pat and Margaret Mayer in leadership roles is evident. The Mayers also became the owners of a local pub in St. Peter, Patrick’s, which became and still is the home base for Govenaires. The pub celebrates the history of the Govenaires with corps memorabilia and has become an integral location to the Govenaires and its membership.

After some extremely thin years in the late 1980s, Pat and Margaret’s son, John, took over as director in 1990. John took over a drum corps in crisis. The reputation of the Govenaires had been suffering in the community and the membership base was at an all-time low. Nevertheless, the Govenaires competed with 17 members at the DCM Midwest Championships and were able to make an impression on the audiences. Although the judge’s scores were low, the corps exhibited an ability to entertain the audiences by playing their final song “Show Me the Way to Go Home” on the track in front of the competition field while throwing candy into the crowd. This stress on entertainment over competition still exists in the corps today and ended up being a pivotal decision made by Mayer at the time.

The next 15 years showed growth in the talent pool entering the corps. By 1995, the corps contained 57 members and was beginning to consistently beat corps of greater size. The late 1990s also marked the time when the Govenaires built up a convoy of three buses and an equipment truck to make transportation easier for everybody in the corps. Each vehicle was painted Kelly green with a racing stripe of black with a white border. This pattern became an identifying feature of the corps which is now portrayed on all of the Govenaires souvenirs, the corps website, and the now-famous “Govie buttons” that are displayed on the corps’ uniforms and distributed to fans of the corps.

In 2004, the decision to take the Govenaires to the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) World Championships was made. Featuring an international field of drum corps, DCA had become an important circuit within the drum and bugle corps community. The corps decided to make its first ever trip out east to Scranton, Pennsylvania to compete. Having a membership base of only 38 performers, the Govenaires placed second in the Class A division and sparked a national following that was previously nonexistent. People marveled at how well the corps performed for its size, but to the members of the Govenaires it was business as usual.

The next season marked another Class A second place followed by the Class A championship in 2006 at Rochester. The 2007 version of the Govenaires marked yet another second place in DCA’s Class A .

The corps fell to 6th place at DCA in 2008 but returned to the top in 2009, winning their second Class A championship. A fourth-place finish in 2010 was followed by DCA championship number 3 in 2011. Three successive second-place finishes in 2012–14 led to the Governaires' fourth DCA Class A title in 2015.

The fan base of the Govenaires continues to grow, and the classic introduction continues to be recited at the beginning of every show: “Ladies and Gentlemen…The men and women you see before you comprise the oldest drum and bugle corps in the world. We come from the beautiful city of St. Peter, and we are the Govenaires!”[3]

Competitions[edit | edit source]

Each year since 2004, the Govenaires have competed at the DCA World Championships, as well as many local contests

In August the Govenaires host their annual competition in the St. Peter area called Drum Corps Expo.[4]

Show summary (1992-2019)[edit | edit source]

Light blue indicates DCA Class A Finalist; light gold indicates DCA Class A Champion; pale blue indicates DCA Open Class Finalist; gold Indicates DCA Open Class Champion

Year Theme Repertoire Score Placement
1992 Blue Birdland by James P. Giuffre / Scream Machine by James Morrison / Harlem Nocturne by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers / Sing Sing Sing by Louis Prima
1993 Blue Birdland by James P. Giuffre / Love for Sale by Cole Porter / Harlem Nocturne by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers / Since I Fell for You by Buddy Johnson
1994 Big Spender (from Sweet Charity) by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields / Love for Sale Cole Porter / Brother Can You Spare a Dime by Author Unknown / Street Corner Ambassador by Author Unknown / Since I Fell for You by Buddy Johnson
1995 Fever by John Davenport and Eddie Cooley / Groovin' Hard by Don Menza / Palookaville by Author Unknown / Stolen Moments by Oliver Nelson / Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody by Julius Brammer, Irving Caesar, Leonello Casucci, Roger Graham, and Spencer Williams
1996 Birdland by Josef Zawinul / Groovin' Hard by Don Menza / A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli / Moondance by Van Morrison
1997 Pressure Cooker by Author Unknown / 'Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk / Samba de Los Gatos by Author Unknown / Penguin Shuffle by Lorie Line
1998 Music That's Fun to Play Blue Birdland by James P. Giuffre / Theme from Shaft by Issac Hayes / A Night ion Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli
1999 American Dance Fever by John Davenport and Eddie Cooley / The Penguin Shuffle by Lorie Line / Love for Sale by Cole Porter / Jelly Donut by Jeff Nelson and Jason Hoffman
2000 Jelly Donut by 3 Minute Hero/ Birdland
2001 Celebration Suite by Chick Corea / La Fiesta by Chick Corea / Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuona
2002 Songs from the Wild Party Blue Birdland by James P. Giuffre / Brass Machine by Werner Drexler / Song from the Wild Party by Author Unknown
2003 A Celebration of Life Georgia on my Mind (from Taxi) by Hoagy Carmichael / Tank (from Cowboy Bebop) / Rush (from Cowboy Bebop) (both by Yoko Kanno) / Hey Pachuko by Author Unknown
2004 Livin' is Easy Summertime (from Porgy and Bess) by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward / A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli / In the Stone by Allee Willis, David Foster, and Maurice White 75.163 Class A 2nd
2005 A Night in Town When a Man Loves a Woman by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright / Groovin' Hard by Don Menza / Land of Make Believe by Chuck Mangione / Penguin Shuffle by Lorie Line 78.088 Class A 2nd
2006 Get on the Bus Big Noise from Winnetka (from Reveille with Beverly) by Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc / Lust by Author Unknown 78.625 Class A 1st
2007 We've Only Just Begun Julius by Phish / Love for Sale by Cole Porter / Harlem Nocturne by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers / Sing, Sang, Sung by Gordon Goodwin 83.188 Class A 2nd
2008 Bus Fumes and Dreams House of the Rising Sun by Eric Burdon / Nutville by Horace Silver / Selections (from The Wild Party) by Author Unknown 77.413 Class A 6th
2009 Summer of Seduction Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen / Lust by Author Unknown / Hot for Teacher by Author Unknown 82.400 Class A 1st
2010 Road Trip On the Road Again by Willie Nelson / Motown Medley by Author Unknown / A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli / Tiger Rad by Eddie Edwards, Nick LaRocca, Tony Sbarbaro, Henry Ragas, and Larry Shields / When the Saints Go Marching In by Virgil O. Stamps 81.013 Class A 4th
2011 What Happens In Vegas Luck be a Lady (from Guys and Dolls) by Frank Loesser / Money by Pink Floyd / Money, Money, Money by Benny Andersson and Bjourn Ulvaeus / Big Spender (from Sweet Charity) by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields / Can't Help Falling in Love by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss / Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn / Viva Las Vegas by Ronald L. Miller 84.930 Class A 1st
2012 Hot Fever by John Davenport and Eddie Cooley / Too Darn Hot by Cole Porter / Ring of Fire by June Carter Cash, and Merle Kilgore / Fire by John Meehan / Light My Fire by Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore / Hot Stuff by Author Unknown / Hot Lunch Jam by Robert Colesberry / Hot Stuff by Pete Bellotte / Harold Faltermeyer Keith Foresy / Disco Inferno by Leroy Green and Ron Kersey 80.930 Class A 2nd
2013 Chasing Hollywood Prologue and Them (from City of Angels) by Cy Coleman and David Zippel / Sparkling Diamonds (from Moulin Rouge) by David Francis Baerwald / Sunset Boulevard by Andrew Lloyd Webster / Send in the Clowns (from A Little Night Music) by Stephen Sondheim / Don't Rain on my Parade (from Funny Girl) by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill 84.780 Class A 2nd
2014 Pasión Man of La Mancha by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion / The Rainmaker by Earl Klugh / Ojos A Si by Author Unknown / Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuona 83.980 Class A 2nd
2015 Outlaw Battle Without Honor or Humanity by Tomoyasu / The Magnificent Seven by Elemer Bernstein / Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone / Enemy Guns by DeVotchka / Kashmir by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Bonham 82.450 Class A 1st
2016 Sherlock Discombobulate / I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before (both from Sherlock Holmes by Hans Zimmer) / Chandelier by Sia / Excerpts by Bernard Hermann 84.450 10th
2017 Uncharted: A Lost Relic The Hunt for Red October / Requiem for a Dream / Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap / Enterprising Young Men by Michael Giachinno 81.430 Class A 2nd
2018 A Wo/Man's World Proud Mary by Tina Turner / Kaval Sviri / It's a Man's Man's Man's World by James Brown / Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce Knowles / Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell / Respect by Aretha Franklin 80.650 Class A 2nd
2019 The Govies Take Manhattan A Tone Parallel to Harlem by Duke Ellington / Hundred Story City (from 'Ordinary Days') by Adam Gwon / Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder / Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys 77.125 Class A 3rd

Slogan[edit | edit source]

Dedication to Performance,

Pride in the Corps,

Fun with the People.[3]

Seasons of note[edit | edit source]

2004[edit | edit source]

In its first appearance at DCA, the corps received a score of 75.163 and finished 2nd, performing its debut show Livin's Easy.

2006[edit | edit source]

In the poor conditions that Hurricane Ernesto left for Drum Corp Championships in 2006, the Govenaires were able to win their first DCA Class A World Championship with a score of 78.625. The show was entitled Get on the Bus.

2008[edit | edit source]

The Govenaires Winter Guard won the 2008 Northstar Circuit Independent World Championships.[5]

2009[edit | edit source]

The 2009 Govenaires claimed the DCA Class A World Champions for the second time. They took top caption honors in Effect, Brass, and Color Guard.

2011[edit | edit source]

The Govenaires were crowned DCA Class A World Champions for the third time. In the Open Class Division, Minnesota Brass also won Open Class, making for what was called the Minnesota Sweep.

2015[edit | edit source]

Govenaires won their fourth DCA Class A crown in Rochester, New York on September 6.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Corps". Drum Corps Associates. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  2. "History for Govenaires". Maher Associates, Inc. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Govenaires Handbook.
  4. "Govenaires Performance". Performance List. The Govenaires. Archived from the original on 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  5. "The Govenaires Winter Guard takes first place in their division at the North Star Winter Guard Championships". Archived from the original on 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  6. "2015 Class A Finals". Drum Corps Associates. Retrieved September 8, 2015.

External links[edit | edit source]