I’ll admit, this entry onto my list is a stretch since the Guardsmen are playing “Greensleeves”, but considering it is the same melody as “What Child Is This?”, I decided to roll with it.
It was a different time for drum corps in the 1970s and 1980s. The uniforms were closer to the military roots of the activity, the drill was still quite symmetrical (you want to trigger a drummer from that time? Say the words “elevator drill”), and corps would recycle music charts year after year. One prime example of this was the Guardsmen during the years of 1978 to 1982, and their use of Greensleeves as their closer in each of those five seasons.
The double shakos the Guardsmen wore were unique and a quick way to identify the corps anytime they performed. On the music side, the corps made use of many popular charts such as Chuck Mangione’s Children of San Pedro, William Walton’s Henry V, and, of course, this classic British folk song. The Guardsmen approached Greensleeves with great reverence, starting the song quietly, usually facing backfield or to the side, building the intensity of the music throughout the entire chart until they reached their full powerful volume. The corps also performed Greensleeves at a stately slow tempo, taking their time to ensure that build of power achieved its full impact at the end.
The Guardsmen made DCI Finals 4 out of 5 years (1976, 1978-1980) before dropping out. After a couple seasons off in 1983 and 1984, the corps returned to the Class A/A-60 ranks in the 80s and 90s before shutting down for good after the 1994 season. For a few seasons, though, the Guardsmen gave us a little Christmas cheer, even if it was indirectly.