Marquis of Granby celebrates its 49th season

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Photo by Kent McCord

Marquis of Granby celebrates its 49th season

2018 was a spectacular year for the Marquis of Granby Ancient Jr. Fyfe and Drum Corps. On Jan. 12, the corps held a banquet to celebrate the achievements of its members and to express thanks for the extraordinary commitment of corps’ music instructors, its board and director, and the many parents and members of the community that have contributed time and resources to the organization.

An annual affair, the banquet is a special and beloved event. It brings together current members and their families, as well as past participants, directors and teachers: all sharing in a common interest and commitment to a rich historical musical tradition that has been kept strong by the Marquis since it was founded 50 years ago.

As is customary, the event opened with a performance for the 100-plus attendees. Entering the banquet hall by order of rank, the members played a medley of tunes they selected for the occasion. Following the performance, the director of the corps, Kimberley McCord, gave a warm welcome and thanked the family members, instructors and broader community for all their support and commitment to the Marquis and its mission. A Special Parent Recognition award was given to Heidi Darling for her meticulous attention to the corps’ uniforms and for spearheading a successful Scotland trip fundraising event.

Throughout the delicious dinner, the attendees enjoyed a slide show highlighting memorable moments of the 2018 season. And during dessert, Rachel Abrahamson unveiled the Scotland slide show.

Awards and promotions followed and began with the following rank promotions: Marching Recruit – Amelia Bielawiek, Abby Caruso, Anna Sprecher, Addison Landheer. Private (playing line, snare drum) – Nate Abrahamson and Brody Landheer. Private (playing line, bass drum) – Jack Darling and Katrina McCord. Private (playing line, fife) – Alice Crotty and Alyssa Groneman. Sergeant – Allison Christensen. Lieutenant – Shannon Leydon. Sergeant Major – Katherine Benoit, Brayden Mandeville and Shannon McCord. The highest rank a member can achieve during their years in the Marquis of Granby is the rank of Major. Keith Seger was promoted to Major.

Several members reached important service milestones. Grace Darling, Alyssa Groneman, Brayden Mandeville and Katrina McCord received pewter mugs for five years in the corps. Rebecca Rose Kaczmarek and Keith Seger received a pewter plate for seven years of service.

Three members were recognized for 100 percent performance attendance and excellent practice attendance: Katherine Benoit, Brayden Mandeville and Keith Seger. With over 20 events in a year and weekly practice, this is an outstanding achievement. Corps members with an attendance rate of above 90 percent were acknowledged: Sam Askew, Allison Christensen, Alyssa Groneman, Brittany Janzer, Rebecca Rose Kaczmarek, Katrina McCord and Shannon McCord. Members with such extraordinary attendance records receive their choice of a credit to their travel account, or a scholarship to fyfe and drum summer camp. In addition, Nate Abrahamson, Evelyn Brooke, Layne Cramer, Nick Rondeau were recognized for attendance rate of above 80 percent.

Traditional and historically significant music is at the core of the members’ experience in the organization. The corps’ long-standing fife and drum instructors, Carol Sullivan, Jennifer Wick, Dr. James Clark and Paul Cormier, chose the members for the next set of awards: Most Improved Marcher—Amelia Bielawiek (Recruit). Most Improved Fyfers—Anna Sprecher (Beginner) and Alice Crotty (Playing Line). Most Improved Beginner Drummer—Nairobi Mouning. Most Improved Beginner Drummer—Brayden Mandeville. Most Improved Playing Line Drummer—Keith Seger.  

The Jacky Award is given to honor the memory of Jacky Welsh, a Marquis member from East Granby who passed away in August of 2011. The corps at that time wanted to establish a kind of memorial that would pay tribute to Jacky. It was decided that an annual travel scholarship would be given to a member of the corps who shared those characteristics of Jacky that they all admired: smart, witty, engaged, mature, confident, passionate, dedicated, quiet, respectful, considerate, caring and brave. The recipient of this award is therefore voted on by the corps members. This year’s recipient was Lizzy Cappelli.

The recipient of the Knight of Knipton award is also chosen by member vote, and is given to the new member who best exemplifies the corps values of a great attitude, overall contributions and willingness to act as an “Ambassador of the Corps.” The 2018 recipient was Abby Caruso. In addition, the Marquis members elect Junior Board Members. This year’s representatives will be Keith Seger, Shannon McCord, Rebecca Rose Kaczmarek and Brittany Janzer.

The Marquis Director’s Award recognizes the accomplishments of an exceptional member. The award for 2018 went to Rebecca Rose Kaczmarek, recognized for exceptional dedication to the corps and for being an excellent role model and mentor for younger members.

The final award presentation was the Marquis Peacock Award, which recognizes long-standing commitment and support for the Marquis by an individual or organization in the community. This year’s recipient was the corps’ fife instructor and past member, Carol Sullivan. 

Closing remarks were focused on the future. In 2019, Marquis of Granby enters its 50th year. Stay tuned for an update on the 50th anniversary festivities, one of which will be hosting a weekend-long Fife and Drum Muster!

The Marquis is generously supported by the community through donations to the Granby Community Fund. Membership in the Marquis of Granby Ancient Fyfe and Drum Corps is open to youth ages 9-21 from Granby and the surrounding towns. Prospective members are always welcome to attend a practice at the First Congregational Church on Wednesday evenings. For more information, visit