As the 1984 season approached the Bushwackers found themselves in the unique position of fielding one of the best DCA corps of the year. The Buccaneers bounced back and regained their championship form along with the Caballeros. These two corps would battle it out culminating with the Cabs winning DCA and the Buccaneers coming in second.
Bush found themselves passing the Skyliners, Westshoremen and the ’83 champs the Sunrisers. In a nutshell the Skyliners had begun a downward slide that would continue for a few years, the Westshoremen very nearly broke up altogether and the Sunrisers seemed to suffer a tremendous turnover rate of veteran members. It was very unnerving to see such well known powerhouse corps fall upon hard times so quickly and so completely.
Changes that propelled the Bushwackers forward included the addition of George Zingali as Drill Designer, and with that, the turnaround of the marching program and performance scores. Also the emergence of the color guard as a top contender throughout the season and of the drumline as a legitimate force that would pull the corps upward. These three main factors helped the corps progress.
Another factor that was obvious from one quick look at the corps, was a change in uniforms. Both the style and color scheme were changed. The old uniforms were Bridgemen styled long coats in gray with black/red/white/yellow trim with black pants and shoes, and a large black cowboy hat. The new uniforms were two piece; including high bib pants with a short jacket. The style was very unique and still is today. Many other corps, both junior and senior, have similar pants/jacket designs that the Bushwackers had seven years ago. The colors were changed to magenta/powder blue/white/black with a white fedora hat. Michael Cesario designed the uniforms and has gone on to design uniforms for many other drum corps.
But before the new uniforms, there were the golf shirts. As with all uniform changes in drum corps, the uniforms are never ready for the beginning of the season. The Bushwackers new uniforms were not ready until July, so they appeared for a month in black pants and shoes and powder blue pull over golf shirts.
When the season was coming to an end, it appeared to be the Cabs and the Bucs followed by Bush. This was the first time the corps had to perform with any real amount of pressure to be successful. At prelims the corps was very good and placed third as expected. Both the drumline and the colorguard had good shots at winning their captions, which would have meant a first caption win for the corps in finals.
For the first time in the short history of the corps, DCA finals was a major disappointment. The corps did not perform well in finals as compared to prelims. The colorguard was not as sharp and consequently lost their bid to win best colorguard. The hornline had its moments but it was not energetic and the soloists were off. And while the drumline seemed to perform well enough to win field percussion, unknown to many people, the GE score had always been added into the total percussion score and the drumline came in second.
Perhaps this was all meant to be, but the truth of the matter was the corps did not perform to its highest level and we came up short. Third place after just three years was an achievement to be proud of, but winning just one caption would have been sweet.
Santos, Quensabe, Las Suertas de Los Tontos, Egyptian Danza, I’ll Be There, Thriller
Drum Majors: Mike Jedwabnik, Jim Dugan, John Hannigan
PRELIMS: 3rd – 88.55
FINALS: 3rd – 89.00