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Northernaires Story

The Northernaires of Menominee, Michigan were formed in 1953 as the D.A.R. Boys Club Drum and Bugle Corps. They first entered competition in 1956 and became one of the most successful Michigan corps ever.

The corps won every major title available in Michigan during the 1960's, winning State VFW and Legion three years in a row at different times and are the only Michigan corps to hold all the available state corps and color guard titles at once. They were undefeated against Michigan corps from 1956 through 1961 and also defeated every Wisconsin corps except one (Blue Star). These accomplishments earned them the name "Michigan's Green Machine."

The uniform of the corps consisted of a green blouse, green pants with white and green stripes, green and white sash and belt and green shako with a white plume. In 1969, they purchased the green West Point uniforms of the Madison Scouts and wore them for one season, going back to the original uniform the next year. Then in 1971, after some of the staff watched the movie "Zulu", the uniforms were changed to the British army style in that movie (they were green instead of red) with white pith helmets. The corps returned to a variation of the original uniform for 1972 and 1973.

The corps remained local for all their existence competing mainly in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. The longest trip taken was to Houston, Texas in 1971 for American Legion Nationals. They made finals and got to perform in the Astrodome. Among the main rivals of the corps during its existence, were the Ishpeming Blue Notes and Wyandotte Royal Lancers in Michigan and the Mariners in Wisconsin.

The corps remained all male until 1970 at which time girls were accepted into the ranks. In the last couple years of their existence, membership and funding levels fell off. The corps won their last contest on July 4, 1973. The 1973 season ended and the Northernaires never came out again as a competitive drum corps, although there were several winter rehearsals for the 1974 season. Several attempts were made to bring the corps out under different names, but none were successful.

* On behalf of the Northernaires, we would like to recognize Mr. Frank Schoenbach for his contributions in the compilation of this story.

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Northernaires Drum and Bugle Corps