History of the Steel City Ambassadors
and
Audio Archive
Last Update  7-25-17
Always Under Construction


Text Below By - Marta Northcraft  11-8-1991
Corps Pictures Below  Courtesy Of Randy Spillers
Music Files Courtesy Of Randy Spillers

1980 - 1981
Organized in October of 1980, the corps has worked very hard and progressed rapidly to become
one of the countries top Senior Drum & Bugle Corps.  Evidence of the Progress of our corps
was the very strong  showing at "The Serenade In Brass" Sr. Drum Corps' Top Indoor Concert,
Saturday, March 21, 1981. The corps membership includes former Drum Corps, High School and
College band members and directors from the western, PA area.

Circuit: Drum Corps Associates
"Associate Member"
Final-Philadelphia;PA.

Intern'l.Corps Associates 
"2nd Place"

Repertoire:  "Bugle Blues",  "El Dorado", "Harry James
    Melody", and "Another Star" both arranged by     Pete Spadaro

1981 - 12th place DCA      
SCA 1981 Click

SCA 1981
Click On Pitcure For Large View

1981-1982 In their second year of competition, the Steel City Ambassadors will feature
a program aimed at entertaining the audience.

Circuit:  Drum Corps Associates
"Associate Member"
Finals - Mientown, PA.

International Corps Associates - "Undefeated Champs"
Finals - Alliance, OH

PA V.F.W. State - "Champs", Pittsburgh, PA

Repertoire: "Bugle Blues", - featuring past D.C.I. soloist Pat Cavanaugh.
Next 'Harry James Medley"
with soprano soloists Ed Lewis and Curt Hawkins.
Percussion feature
 "Blue Rondo A La Turk" and the swing version of  National Emblem".

1982 - 11th place DCA       
SCA 1982 Click

SCA 1982
Click On Pitcure For Large View

1982 - 1983
  In their third year, Steel City had a rough start with their 5th place finish in their
first field competition at the DCA Hershey Show.  But, 7 rehearsals and 14 days later,
The Black and Gold turned that 5th place into a 2nd at the DCA Show in Latrobe.
In the two ICA competitions held on July 2nd and 3rd at Midland, PA and Rochester NY.,
the corps pleased their fans with sweeping victories.

 
Circuit: Drum Corps Associates
 "Elite 10" Member Finals - Allentown, PA.
 
· International Corps Associates - "Undefeatd' Champs"
Finals - Baltimore, MD
 
· International Corps Associates (North)
"Champs"
Guelph, Ontario
 
· Empire State - 'Champs
Rochester, N.Y.
 
Repertoire:
  National Emblem - Dixieland", "You Made Me Love You", - featuring award winning
soprano soloist, Curt Hawkins followed by "2 O Clock Jump.   Introduction to a River',
into Frank Zappa's 'Peaches and Regalia".  Exiting with "Somewhere in the Night"
featuring another highly acclaimed soloist Pat Cavanaugh and a
Mellophone solo by Frank Cicco.

1983 - 10th place DCA       
SCA 1983 Click

SCA 1983
Click On Pitcure For Large View

1983  - 1984
The Pittsburgh Metro area corps has run the gamut from a 1980 idea on the back burner
of a few ex drum corps member's list of things to do, through to the 1981 season
when they joined the International Corps Association and came in 2nd in the ICA Championships. 
In Philadelphia at the Drum Corps Associates Finals, Steel City placed 12th to finish it's first season. 
1982 saw the corps march "undefeated" through the ICA contests and finished 11th in the
DCA World Finals in Allentown, PA.  The summer of 1983 was a repeat performance in the
ICA Circuit and gave the corps the momentum to gain full member status in the
"Top 10" of  DCA's at the World Finals in Allentown, PA.

 
Circuit:      Drum Corps Associates -"Top 7"
                  Finals - Allentown, PA.
 
International Corps Associates "Champs"
Finals - Baltimore, MD
 
Repertoire: Warm-up - "God Bless the Beasts and the Children", "No Moon At All",
"Malaguena".  Earth/Wind/Fire - "In the Stone", to drum solo of "Get Away". 
Exit with Lionel Richie "All Night Long". 
The Corps re-enters the field with it's signature - "National Emblem March".

1984 - 7th place DCA          
SCA 1984 Click

SCA 1984
Click On Pitcure For Large View

1984 - 1985
Now, long-established corps like the Thunderbirds, Archer Epler, the Hurricanes, and the
Westshormen must watch out for this young, powerful corps from Pittsburgh. 
All of them but the Hurc's lost to Steel City last year.  And the Steel City Ambassadors placed 7th,
right behind the Hurricanes, in the 1984 DCA World Finals.

  The corps' horn section has proved its strength.  At the '84 Senior Corps Championships,
Steel City's brass executed well enough to score less than, half of a point behind the
renowned Hurricanes horn line.
 This year's book shows off Steels' horns through the jazz idiom.

 
Circuit:. Drum Corps Associates -"Top 5"
            Finals - Allentown, PA.
             
Best Individual Showmanship Award
Sandy McNeal  - AWESOME ALLEY

Finals - Allentown, PA
 
Repertoire: Nat King Cole's version "NO Moon At All",
"Malaguena" the Stan Kenton arrangement.
Manhattan Transfer's "Why Not"
and Quincy Jones'  "Stormy Weather". 
Exiting with "LA is My Lady" by o1d blue eyes, Sinatra.

1985 - 5th  place DCA        
SCA 1985 Click


1985 - 1986
The Steel City Ambassadors 1986 Production is the most popular and spectacular
in their history.  The corps had dedicated their hard work for the
enjoyment of the crowd and are looking forward to performing for their many
fans and followers the drum corps community.

The corps is fielding the largest corps in their 5th year history.
Placing 5th in DCA Finals last year has been a driving factor
to present to you the best show possible for 1986. 
Pittsburgh's version of 
"Metal -Mania 1986".
 
Circuit:  Drum Corps Associates -"Top 2"
Finals - Allentown, PA.
High General Effect Award
 
Finals - Allentown, Pa.  Best DCA Soloist -Curt Hawkins
                         
 Finals - Allentown, Pa. Second time winner
Best Individual Showmanship Award
Sandy McNeal  -
AWESOME ALLEY
 
Repertoire: Warm-up to Striesands "Somewhere", to "Nutville".
Concert -"One More Time Chuck Corea", to "Stormy Weather".
Drum Solo using brake drums to Manhattan Transfer "Why Not"
into Sinatra's-"After You're Gone".

1986 - 2nd place DCA        
SCA 1986 Click


1986 - 1987

The corps has improved it's National Ranking every year, and is currently
ranked 2nd in the World. This year promised to be an even better year, with the
Ambassadors fielding the largest corps to date; with early-season estimates at
64 Horns, 31 Percussion, 28 Colorguard.
Steel's show will once again focus on entertainment as the corps plays a variety of
Contemporary, Big Band and Latin Jazz numbers.

Circuit:   Drum Corps Associates - Top 4"

Finals - Allentown, PA.

Repertoire:  'Somewhere Out There", Buddy Rich - "Nutville",

Billy Cobham's "Mozaik", featuring Steel's unique scaled automobile brake drums.

"One More Time Chuck Corea", and 'Come Rain or Come Shine".


1987 - 4th place DCA          SCA 1987 Click


  1987 - 1988

Senior Corps are getting used to seeing the Steel City Ambassadors finish on Top.
In their eighth year, this Pittsburgh powerhouse has already established itself as a
Top DCA contender. 
Last year, the corps placed first or second in all of its shows right up to the
DCA World Championships. 
There on a muddy field, the corps wallowed to a 92.86,
less than two points out of first place! 
The three last years Steel City has finished in the
Top Five at Championships. 

In 1986, the corps barely missed winning it all -by only five tenths of a point.
 
Now, dynastic corps like the Buccaneers, Skyliners, and Sunrisers must
look over their shoulders
for the young Ambassadors.
All of them lost at least once last season to the Pittsburgh Steel City Ambassadors.

 
Circuit:       Drum Corps Associates - 'Top 8'
Finals - Hershey, PA.
 
Repertoire:  "How High the Moon", "Love For Sale", 'LaFuerza",
and "Here's that Rainy Day"

1988 - 8th place DCA         
SCA 1988 Click


1988 - 1989
 
D.C.A.'S (25TH) SILVER ANNIVERSARY
 
STEEL!!!  Get ready for an exciting show when you hear the Steel City Ambassadors
exclaim 'STEEL' with charged-up emotion as we take the field!  . . .
You'll FEEL THE SOUND as Steel City kicks off this show with a
brassy horn line featuring highlights by DCA award winner soprano soloist Curt Hawkins;
two-time DCA Entertainer of the year award winner, Sandy McNeal on Congos,
and Baritone soloist Walt Street.

 
Steel City is proud to be a part of DCA's Silver Anniversary in 1989,
and wishes to say THANKS TO ALL THE CORPS AND FANS who have kept Senior
Corps in an existing part of Drum Corps for these past 25 years.
 
Circuit:   Drum Corps Associates -"Top,7" - Tied w/Rochester Crusaders

Finals - Allentown, PA.
 
Repertoire:  Pete Spadaro's arrangement of "Brass Machine"
 ala Scream Machine - soloist by Curt Hawkins. 
Scott Koter's percussion arrangement with the high-energy brass along with
"The Pit" and Sandy McNeal on Congos, in an arrangement of "Malaga", 

Next, featuring Baritone soloist Walt Street In "Blue Bosa",
leaving the field with "Conga".

1989 - 7th place DCA         
SCA 1989 Click


1989 - 1990

S.C.A'S (10Th) SEASON!!!
 
This year marks the 10th Year of The Steel City Ambassadors.
Created in 1981 by a group of people who dedicated themselves to the return of
DCA Senior Drum Corps to the City of Pittsburgh, the Steel City Ambassadors
are once again performing the entertaining 'up-beat music that marks their style;
"Suite for Jazz", done in three parts, and
Maleguena.
This 10th Year also is one of the extensive travel, with performances in Paterson N.J.,
Albany N.Y., Waterbury CT, St. Johns MI, Rochester N.Y., as well as In the cities of
Cumbreland MD, Reading, Erie, Scranton, Columbia, Canonsburg, and Allentown, PA .
With new uniforms and renewed enthusiasm, Steel' City is fielding one of the
largest DCA Corps, with over 50 horns, 34 percussion, and 18
colorguard.
Lead by Corps
Director and Drum Major, Mike Symonds, and with solos by
Dan McGrogan, Walt Street, and John Gilliand.  Steel City is aiming for an
audience-entertaining show and a "No. # 1" Finish in DCA at Allentown.

 
Circuit:  Drum Corps Associates -'8th Place'
Finals - 88.9
 
1990 Repertoire:  "Suite for Jazz" and "Malaguena".

1990 - 8th place DCA



1990 - 1991
 
S.C.A'S (10TH) ANNIVERSARY!!!
 
This year marks the 10th Year Anniversary of The Steel City   Ambassadors.
Created in 1981 by
a group of people who dedicated themselves to the return of
DCA Senior Drum Corps to the. City of
Pittsburgh, the Steel City Ambassadors
strive to survive thru the omen in the Pgh. area of 

"...A drum corps life expectancy Is 10 yrs, then it goes under."

  The corps almost, but did not die. In late January 1991, (6) out of the (8)
Board of Directors resigned all
at once. An emergency meeting was conducted
and over 350 letters were sent out to past, present, future
members to help and par-take in a
Re-Election that was held in February.
The overall co-tents, emotions, teary-eyed speeches that were given resulted in one final

  comment.... STEEL MUST SURVIVE, MUST LIVE!  KEEP IT GOING.
That being the case, the results of the re-elections were positive
and all the Board positions are occupied for the new season. With many, many,

  new ideas, and a lot of un-tied strings hanging in the air,
the present Board of Directors are proud to present to you the
STEEL CITY AMBASSADORS.

 
Circuit:      Drum Corps Associates -"Associate Member
 
12th Place" Prelims
73.4 Finals - Scranton, PA
 
Repetoire: The Steel City Show include a Fine baritone solo in the intro ballad
"A11 In Good Time", their hard-driving Latin production of Louie Belson's "Santos"
(with a
strong percussion solo within it); the musicality and beautiful nuances of
"If I Loved You", and the upbeat jazz sounds of "People Alone"
 with a wide spectrum of feelings, a brass quintet and a smashing ending!!

1991 - 12th place DCA


Text Above By - Marta Northcraft  11-8-1991


1991 - 1992

1992 - 14th place DCA


More Info To Come ?

1992 - 1993
The Corps Stayed Together As A Parade Corps
More Info To Come ?

1993 - 1998 ?

From CORPSREPS.COM
History Of The Steel City Ambassadors
By - Bob Diethrich


One of the great themes in history and literature is that of the outsider who comes from nowhere, touches the top, then fades away. In senior corps history there is no better example of the obscure unit that rises, burns brightly for a shining moment, and then disappears than the Steel City Ambassadors of Pittsburgh.

The story begins in 1980 in western Pennsylvania, home of dozens of fine units from the 1930s through the mid-1970s. But as the steel industry that fueled the Pittsburgh region went into decline, so too did the corps movement. In 1976, however, a group of old Sharpsburg Cadets dusted off their chops for their hometown’s sesquicentennial parade, and some of the guys kept that unit intact as a parade corps, called the Sharpsburg Ambassadors.

Four years later, Dave Fite, former Archer Epler Musketeer soloist, moved to Pittsburgh. Fite knew there was more to drum corps than five or six parades and the occasional standstill concert. One night after practice Fite proposed a plan to build a competitive senior corps out of all the untapped local talent. To kick things off he organized a giant reunion party that drew over one hundred former corps members. This nucleus responded to Fite’s call to form a new corps in August of 1980.

The new Steel City Ambassadors took fledgling steps, joined the ICA and DCA, and performed at Larry Hersheman’s Westshore standstill in Harrisburg. Steel City had a pretty strong horn line featuring some top-notch solo talent. The drum line took longer to gel; good percussion instruction was hard to come by. This fact was to haunt the corps throughout its existence.

Getting the corps onto the field became a comedy of errors as no less than four drill instructors were hired, then fired. Larry Tinnerman, a part-time horn instructor during the winter, was brought in to perform emergency drill surgery a mere two weeks before the first show in Midland, Pennsylvania, on July 4. Tinnerman worked miracles, getting eleven minutes of drill written and taught in less than a fortnight, and teaching the exit in the last two hours of rehearsal on the Fourth itself.

Midland was an old steel town, blue collar and traditional, but the crowd that evening roared with approval for this new unit from Pittsburgh. It seemed as if they were going to tear the stands down when this novice group was announced as finishing second to the Erie Thunderbirds.

The corps performed at a few more ICA shows and one DCA competition. Based on their scores, they looked to be a safe bet to earn tenth place at DCA Prelims, the only competitor of concern being the resurrected Archer Epler Musketeers.
 
DCA weekend was a total shock. Both Archie and Steel City were left on the outside as the Niagara Regionaires, a Canadian unit that had never beaten either group, leapfrogged into the tenth spot. Rumors flew about the “reserved spot” for a Canadian corps, to make DCA an “international” organization.
 
1982 began optimistically. Steel City had grown in size and talent, with an improved guard. Frank Miller, who had taken over percussion instruction the previous summer, performed miracles with the drummers. Steel City dominated ICA, winning their first show in East Liverpool, Ohio, at the end of June and going undefeated, capturing the title easily. The climb continued into DCA, as the corps finally overcame Erie and traded wins with Archie.

Prelims was another disappointment, however, as the Pittsburgh group found themselves in eleventh place. One of the saddest moments in this unit’s history came when members learned that they had lost to both Archer Epler and to a corps that had appeared out of nowhere, the appropriately named Bushwhackers.
 
The second near miss at Prelims nearly tore the corps apart, but Steel proved as tough and resilient as its name, vowing to become even better. The 1983 drum line was downright enormous, featuring six base drums and eleven snares. The horn line checked in at 48, and the guard featured its first ever rifle line. The competitive season continued previous years’ patterns as the group remained undefeated in the ICA but had trouble impressing DCA judges. In the end, they cracked the top ten, at tenth place, on Finals night, and the corps’ huge drum line had the honor of playing all corps on at retreat that night in Allentown.

The goal of DCA membership had been reached, but Steel City still suffered growing pains. The brass talent was there and Miller’s drumline was solid, but the corps continued to have problems in drill design (parts of the 1983 drill had been drawn on cocktail napkins in a bar at corps camp) and marching instruction. The corps needed a change. Soprano Ken Behrend knew an instructor from New York and brought him in to take over drill design, teaching, and staff coordination. This man, Rick Morey, turned out to be the most important person ever to be associated with the Steel City Ambassadors.

Personnel and management shakeups resulted in a smaller corps. The drill was written for forty horns, the guard was tiny at thirteen, and the drum line had shrunk to fewer than twenty. Morey did not care because the smaller numbers worked to the group’s advantage. Rick was an innovative designer, producing drills that featured great asymmetrical forms, smooth transitions, and quick hitting sets. No one was a better teacher/motivator. Rick commanded the respect of the entire corps, and he could make anyone feel better, try harder and put bitter feelings behind them.

The corps also hired Steve Cooley to write the horn book. Steve’s charts challenged the horn talent, and the quality of the work soon became apparent. The Ambassadors may have been smaller than in previous years, but the line was never tighter.

The 1984 ICA season found Steel City facing a new corps from upstate New York, the entertaining but raw Empire Statesmen of Rochester, This was the corps who ended Pittsburgh’s two-year win steak in ICA with a victory in Canada early in the season. Steel City traded wins with the Statesmen, and then tied them at the ICA championships.
 
Expectations of a rise in DCA ranking that year proved justified. The Ambassadors ended up in a seventh place tie with Le Cascadeurs, another one of those “flash in the pan” French Canadian units that appear periodically in DCA and soon disappear. However, the men from Pittsburgh had achieved a drum corps first: no corps has ever tied at two championship Finals in the same year.

Most Steel City veterans would tell you that the corps’s fifth year was its best in terms of spirit and morale. Morey and Cooley returned, and a fresh recruiting effort yielded a huge corps, featuring 58 horns, a full drum line, and a 25-man guard. Former 27th Lancer drum major Billy Marshall took over as marching instructor, new horn techs were brought in, and new uniforms appeared.

The season opened at Hershey with a win over the New York Skyliners, which had suffered severe personnel problems that winter; this was their first defeat ever at the hands of a Pittsburgh corps. During the course of that season Steel City beat Sky regularly and reached their preseason goal, taking fifth place in DCA Finals, having beaten everybody except Hawthorne, Reading, Sun, and Bush.

Nineteen eighty-six was something special. A new influx of personnel and staff over the winter served notice that the Steel City Ambassadors were going to be a force in DCA. The show retained only one tune from previous seasons, “Stormy Weather,” featuring champion soloist Curt Hawkins. The new repertoire included “Somewhere,” “One More Time Chuck Corea,” “Nutville,” and “After You’ve Gone“ as the closer. Billy Marshall took over as podium drum major. Winter practices were huge, and the brass line reached sixty horns. The drum line was full, and the corps was fronted by 28 guard.

At the Westshore Standstill, Larry Hershman gave the Ambassadors the chance to go on stage after Hawthorne, the undefeated back-to-back champions. This was a gamble, but the corps accepted the challenge and performed the standstill of their lives, which led to a roaring standing ovation.

This rousing season opener provided the momentum to catapult Steel City into the competitive season. The first show was Hershey, and they would be up against Hawthorne and three others. The performance was inspired, and that central/western Pennsylvania crowd was enthused. That show got no fewer than four standing ovations. On the field for the retreat ceremony no one could believe their ears when the Caballeros were announced in second place, as five thousand Pennsylvania partisans roared their approval. Barely five years old, Steel City had handed the perennial champs their first setback in over two years.

The next week the corps floored all comers at Rutgers, New Jersey, a triumph that included a caption sweep. They won at Carlisle before a minor setback in Scranton. A week before DCA the corps performed a powerful show in a monsoon-like downpour at Lewistown, Pennsylvania. Judging had been called off, but Steel City was clearly several points ahead of Reading and Bush. A head of steam was propelling the corps into Allentown.
Three years before, the new corps from Pittsburgh had been hoping to make DCA’s top ten; now they were actually looking at winning the title. They tied Hawthorne for first in Prelims, and Steel City performed last at Finals, having won the coin flip. They marched off that night feeling like champions.

Retreat was full of the usual nonsense, and it had gotten chilly as it always seems to do. The caption awards were read: High Drums: Bushwhackers. No big surprise there; the Harrison crew was well noted for their percussion excellence. High Horns: Bushwhackers. It suddenly got chillier yet. The High GE trophy came Steel City’s way, not unexpectedly, but then the top M&M award went to Hawthorne. The writing was on the wall. The final tally was Bush, 92.4, Steel City, 91.9. The Ambassadors had beaten Hawthorne, but the Bushwhackers, again living up to their name, had been close enough to win it with a good performance, increasing their lead in percussion by almost a point and a half. The whole season had come down to that.
 
Choking back tears, Billy called Steel to attention. The other corps had exited the field, leaving just Steel and Bush. Billy marched the runners-up over to the confused Bushwhackers, halted them, and played “Somewhere” to salute the winners. This brought tears to several Bushwhackers. Their drum major brought them to attention and a tenor drummer was heard to say, “We’ve come a long way from ICA!” The number one and two corps in DCA had not even existed six years earlier.

The goal for 1987 was finally to take the title the corps felt should have been theirs. The horn line got bigger (64 members), and Morey wrote his best drill yet, making much greater use of the corps’ size over more of the field. The repertoire retained “One More Time” and “Nutville,” added “Somewhere Out There” and “Come Rain or Come Shine,” a combination that prompted wits to remark that the show perpetuated the Steel City tradition of precipitation and location adverbs.

The Ambassadors were better that season, but so were the other senior corps who were reaching for the bar that Steel had raised in 1986. The Allentown weekend was wet. Saturday night was a deluge, and Prelims were held in a steady shower; the field became a quagmire. At the end of the day, Steel City was in fourth place, behind Hawthorne, Bush, and the resurgent Sunrisers, but less than two points separated the top four corps and, as all had seen last year, anything could happen. Finals could not be held that evening, so the corps retired to their hotels to await the decision. If foul weather continued, Finals would be canceled and Prelim scores would stand.

The corps had one of their best rehearsals that Monday morning, really pulling together. The horn line was in its semicircle tuning when corps business manager Tom Mahan drove up with the news that Finals had indeed been canceled. Members began to drift away in sadness, shock, confusion, and disgust when Cooley yelled out, “Wait! We’re not finished yet! Get back here!” When the whole line was ready, Steve conducted the last performance of the 1987 show. Visibly shaken he said haltingly, “This isn’t for DCA or the judges or anyone else. This is for us!” And they played like they never had before, as the second consecutive season ended in disappointment.

The rest is anticlimax. Steel City attempted to go in another direction in 1988 with an unfortunate “sweet swing” show. The horn line was used to playing with dynamics and emotion, but this controlled show sapped them of their energy. Steel City finished eighth with an 83.00, falling four spots. The drum line finished ninth while the horns were fifth, only seven tenths behind Bush. No section of the corps worked harder than the percussionists, but they just could not put it over the top at the end.

In 1989 the Ambassadors returned to their roots with an exciting Latin-based show and a smaller, tighter unit. Interestingly, the Skyliners leapfrogged both Steel City and the Crusaders in Finals to finish sixth.
The Ambassadors were lined up next to Rochester at retreat. When the tie was announced, corps members broke ranks, intermingling, shaking hands, hugging, laughing, and having a ball mocking DCA and the absurdity of the situation. Steel City marched off together playing what Rick Morey later called “the loudest f***ing F-Scale I have ever heard in my life!”

Nineteen eighty-nine was the last hurrah, and the subsequent decline came quickly. In 1990 Steel City attempted to copy the Madison Scouts’ 1988 formula for winning with “Suite for Jazz Orchestra” and “Malaguena,” but their unrealistic dreams of the title went unfulfilled with a seventh-place finish.

Smaller units took the field in 1991 and 1992. Personnel problems, budget pressures, and staff disputes all exacted their toll. The entire board of directors resigned in January, 1991, and the corps barely made it to the field. The corps was on its last legs in the spring of 1993. A proposed merger with a Johnsonburg corps failed a week before camp, and the Ambassadors officially folded its tents.

The Steel City Ambassadors had come out of western Pennsylvania, a senior corps backwater, and had risen through the ranks to win a reputation for entertaining performances and showmanship. In 1986 and 1987 they stood near the top of the DCA world, but could not quite take that last step. In the end, however, the corps left its mark, improved the standards of senior corps, and entertained a lot of people. And that is a pretty substantial contribution after all.
Text Above By - Bob Diethrich


1993 - 1998  The Corps was having trouble recruiting and retaining members and went inactive?


Alumni Corps

1998  - Was the beginning of the Steel City Ambassador Alumni Corps era.
Most competition Corps in the area were getting smaller,
due to members getting older and few new young people getting into Drum Corps.
People did not have the time to put into Competition Drum Corps anymore.

1998

Before the spring of 1998, the Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps scene in Pittsburgh was basically represented by two groups, the Steel City Ambassadors and the Westmoreland Esquires. Both groups were having trouble recruiting and retaining members. After being frustrated for so long, Frank Cicco, Denny Graham, Bernie Halgas, Don Kretzer, and Dominic Mignogna sat down at the Italian Club in Pitcairn, PA and hatched a plan just crazy enough to work. They would combine the forces of the Steel City Ambassadors and the Westmoreland Esquires to form the West Penn Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, to represent the alumni corps activity to the Pittsburgh, PA area.

The corps first performances were at July 4 parades in Ligonier, PA and Jeannette, PA on July 4, the Steel City Alumni marched in many more parades that summer, forming a nucleus of membership and the development of a reputation for entertaining the crowd.

1999

Following a successful inaugural summer, the Steel City Alumni built on their success and expanded their performances to local Drum Corps Midwest and Drum Corps International contests. The SCA performed exhibitions at the Butler, PA show in June, 1999 as well as the Bethel Park, PA show in August. Another significant activity in the summer of 1999 was performing the Firemen's state convention parade in Greensburg, PA. The corps marched with the "Washies" of the Washington Fire Department in Conshohocken, PA, and was able to help them to win the best of their class for marching with music.

The spring and summer of 1999 also saw the forging of a very very successful partnership with the Springdale Veteran's Association in Springdale, PA, who continue to very graciously provide the corps with a regular rehearsal facility.

2000

After heavily recruiting members in both the horn line and the drum line in the "off-season", the Steel City Alumni stormed into the 2000 with their first performance at the Boardman, Ohio St. Patrick's Day parade. Their performance their earned them first place in the "Marching Band" category and the means to pay for the transporation to their first Alumni Drum Corps performance at the Archer-Epler Musketeers Brass Reunion in Upper Darby, PA. On the way to the performance, the corps was able to visit their new friends at the Washington Fire Department in Conshohocken, and give them a rousing preview of their show that evening.

After that successful start, the corps also performed exhibitions at two Drum Corps Associates shows, in Warren, PA and Cumberland, MD, both of which were very warmly received, and brought many fans back to the Steel City sound.

2001

After a tremendous 2000 season, 2001 only brought the corps more exposure. The season started with a return to Boardman, where they won "Grand Champion" of the parade, improving on the previous year. The spring season took the corps to the Dixie Stinger in Baltimore, MD, the Serenade in Brass at the fabled Forum in Harrisburg, PA and a return to the Brass Reunion in Upper Darby, PA.

Following the successful spring season, the corps marched in parades all over the western Pennsylvania region, with returns to many parades as well as all new crowds for the corps. The busy parade season led up to the two most important performances of the corps to date: the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade and the opening of Heinz Field.

Most of the members of the corps are huge Pittsburgh Steelers fans, so when the opportunity to represent Lynn Swann in the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade came along, the corps jumped at it. The parade was long and hot, but the chance to perform in front of 250,000 football fans in Canton and countless more on TV made the trip and the work all worthwhile. The corps marched directly in front of Lynn Swann and played the "Steeler Fight Song" down the parade route.

Following that opportunity, the Steelers called on the corps again. This time, it was for the inaugural game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. It may have only been an exhibition game, but the Steel City Alumni were the first musical group to ever perform at the stadium (some might argue that the N'Sync concert a week before might have beat us, but we are talking MUSIC here, not prefabricated pablum). That performance closed the best season yet for the Steel City Alumni.

2002

As of May 2002, the corps has already made it through it's very successful spring season. A name change back to the "Ambassadors" moniker has brought the corps full circle, and hopefully will bring in more members who may have been scared away because they weren't an alumnus of any corps.

Spring shows this year took the corps back to Upper Darby once again for the Brass Reunion, and to a completely new crowd for the corps at the Mighty St. Joe's Classic in Rochester, NY.

2003

2004

2005

October 2005 we moved our practice site to the Trafford Polish Club in Trafford Pa.

After a 10 year run at the Trafford Polish Club, we were informed that the club wanted to re-model the hall and our storage room was going to be a small banquet room, so we had to move.

August 2015 we purchased a 24 ft Trailer and September 2015 we moved everything into the trailer, so now we were mobile and could have a rehearsal anywhere.

Our new Rehearsal Site will be Winchester Thurston School in Shady Side part of Pittsburgh, which brings us back to the City of Pittsburgh.

General Corps Information

Our members have marched with many, many corps, especially those with roots in the Pittsburgh area. Some of these local corps were: Steel City Ambassadors, Pittsburgh Rockets, Finleyville Royal Crusaders, General Butler Vagabonds, Westmoreland Esquires, Sharpsburg Cadets, Derry Patriots, Cambria Cadets, Silver Sabres, Trafford Black Knights, Vern Acklin Cavaliers, Duquesne Dukes, and Verona Cavaliers.

We also have members that have marched in other, non-local corps that are much too numerous to mention here. Suffice it to say, that if you've heard of the corps, the Steel City Ambassadors probably has somebody that marched with them through the years.

The corps is currently accepting members who are willing to participate in our vision of entertaining the crowd and bringing a big drum corps sound back to Pittsburgh. You do not have to be an alumni of any corps to join, just come to a rehearsal and bring a willingness be a part of a growing musical presence in Pittsburgh.

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