Marquis of Granby celebrates 50th season

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Photo by Kent McCord

Newly elected Junior Board members, from l.: Lizzy Cappelli, Sam Askew, Katherine Benoit, Shannon McCord and Keith Seger.

BMarquis of Granby Ancient Jr. Fyfe and Drum Corps held its annual banquet on Jan. 11 at Cook Hall, First Congregational Church. In reflecting on the year, it celebrated the achievements of its members and expressed thanks for the extraordinary commitment on the part of corps’ music instructors, its board and director, and the many parents and members of the community that have contributed their time and resources to the organization.

The banquet is a special and beloved event. A potluck of delicious dinner and desserts, it brings together current members and their families, directors and teachers—all sharing in a common interest and commitment to a rich historical musical tradition that has been kept strong by Marquis since it was founded now over 50 years ago. It is also an exciting reunion for members who are in college, as well as for past directors, instructors and alumni. The banquet is an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and appreciate the culture of this organization. An extraordinary highlight of 2019 was the Corps’ 50th anniversary muster in September at Viets Farm. Members and guests enjoyed a slide show of the event, reliving its excitement and success. 

The corps opened the evening with a short concert—a medley of tunes selected for the occasion. Following the performance, the director of the corps, Kimberley McCord, gave a warm welcome and thanked the First Church, instructors and broader community for their support and commitment to the Marquis and its mission. A Special Parent Recognition award was given to Rob and Kassy Seger for the many ways they have stepped up to help the corps, be it driving the bus, bringing the equipment trailer to every practice, chaperoning, or stitching the elaborate Peacock Award.

The official award ceremony began with the following rank promotions: David Crotty, Ashley Hodgkin, Maria Peterson were promoted to Marching Recruit. Amelia Bielawiek, Abby Caruso, Ezra Holt, Addison Landheer were promoted to Private (flag line). Nairobi Mouning, Josh Prignano, Anna Sprecher, Brody Landheer were promoted to Private (playing line). Shannon McCord and Lizzy Cappelli were promoted to Major, the highest rank members can achieve during their years of service in the Marquis of Granby.

Several members reached important service milestones. Nate Abrahamson, Katherine Benoit, Allison Christensen, Jack Darling, Shannon McCord and Nick Rondeau have been members for five years; Shannon Leydon, Sam Askew, Evelyn Brooke and Lizzy Cappelli reached seven years; and Noah Greer and AJ Newman, both of whom were on college break, were recognized for being with the corps for 10 years.

Membership in the corps takes a true time commitment. With over 20 parades throughout the year, attaining 100 percent attendance is an outstanding accomplishment. Katherine Benoit received that recognition for the second year in a row. There were also quite a few members with an attendance rate of above 90 percent: Sam Askew, Lizzy Cappelli, Allison Christensen, Jack Darling, Alyssa Groneman, Brayden Mandeville, Katrina McCord, Shannon McCord and Keith Seger. Members with such extraordinary attendance records receive either a credit to their travel enrichment account, or a scholarship to fyfe and drum camp.

Next, the instructors presented awards for marching and musical accomplishments. Most Improved Marcher award went to Maria Peterson. Most Improved musicians awards were received by Josh Prignano (Beginner Fyfer), Allison Christensen (Playing Line Fyfer), Ezra Holt (Beginner Drummer). Stand-Out Playing Line Drummer awards went to Katrina McCord and Keith Seger. 

One of the favorite awards is The Jacky Award. It is given to honor the memory of Jacky Welsh, a Marquis member from East Granby who passed away in August 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 the members 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. Katherine Benoit was presented the Jacky Award by last year’s recipient, Lizzy Cappelli.

A newer award adopted by the corps and also voted on by members is the Knight of Knipton. The recipient is presented with a canteen that was used and worn by Everett Miner, one of the corps first fifers and majors and who later marched with the Old Guard. Everett is buried in Granby Cemetery, where the corps pays tribute each Memorial Day. This canteen, recently passed on to the corps, will forever-more be worn by the Knight of Knipton during his or her first year of service, someone who exemplifies the corps values of a great attitude, overall contributions and willingness to act as an Ambassador of the Corps. The 2018 recipient, Abby Caruso, presented the award to Ezra Holt.

The Junior Board Members representatives were also voted on, and they are Keith Seger, Shannon McCord, Lizzy Cappelli, Katherine Benoit and Sam Askew.

The Marquis Director’s Award recognizes the accomplishments of an exceptional member. It is always a difficult choice, as there are many corps members who stand out in different areas. The corps senior ranking members and Majors always display tremendous leadership and take initiative to help in many ways both during practices and performances—running playing line practices during instructor absences, reviewing playing lists, making suggestions. Keith Seger received the Director’s Award as recognition for his growth within the corps, his dedication, reliability as well as his musicianship. Keith is also a very well-liked and trusted friend to many of his fellow corps 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. The corps could not be more thankful to the East Granby Parks and Recreation department for its help with the Muster in September. Viets Farm was a perfect location, and the staff who maintain the facility made the event fantastic. Rosalie McKenney accepted the Marquis Peacock Award on behalf of East Granby Parks and Rec.

Rosalie McKenney accepts the Marquis Peacock Award on behalf of East Granby Parks and Rec, from Director Kim McCord.

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