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Birth of the Stardusters

I remember it was August 1961, Miami, Florida, the VFW Finals. The New Orleans Cadets/Southernaires placed 23rd out of 25 corps but the trip home was the story.

In my room in Perry, Florida, some of the members gathered to talk and complain about management. Joe Beasley (tenor drummer), Walter Montgomery (French horn) and Tank Thorson (soprano) along with many others voiced their opinion about everything. I remember Montgomery pacing the floor and pounding his chest saying, "They give us heavy donuts, just before we take the field and they stick right here" and "We can’t take L.A. Gilmore anymore".

My room mate, C.J. Christina said what are we going to do about it, and the reply was "We will start a new Corps, based in Arabi, be blue and white and called ‘The Stardusters’". I said to myself if they have the name, colors and meeting place they must have been planning this for a while. Never the less, when we got back to New Orleans the September meeting at City Park L.A. Gilmore called for horns up and half the corps said no. L.A. said drop your horns and drums and leave. The group said upon leaving, we’re going to Arabi and start the Stardusters.

And my friends this is how I remember the start of the Stardusters in 1961. They marched the 1962 Mardi Gras season in white pants and shirts and blue berets and of course, you all know the rest of the story.

Submitted by Elroy Ingersoll

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