Through the years, the Royal Airs provided fans with many lasting memories. Attempts to reform the corps in the 1970's and '80's failed dismally; primarily, because alumni wanted to "preserve the memory and dignity of the Royal Airs." So which corps, according to Gale Royer of the Santa Clara Vanguard, performed the most energetic and exciting show in the history of drum corps? "The 1965 Royal Airs at VFW Nationals in Chicago", he said. Thus, the legend lives! Today, the alumni of the Royal Airs are considering a reunion appearance at the 2002 DCI Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.

"So, are they the best? If you consider playing, drumming and marching...they are one of the best. If you consider the standing "O's" after each of their songs and the excitement generated, they are one of the best. Finally, if you consider the lasting memory they created, then they ARE the best. I remember the goose bumps and the knowing that everybody else was playing to see who was the second best corps in the nation." Richard Pielow, "Mighty St. Joes."

The mellophones get ready.
The Guard at grand finale', 1964.
1965 The Second Ending of "Watermelon Man"

Getting ready to take the field in 1965.
Stepping off the line in a classic company front.

"Comes now the epitome of ineptness. The FABULOUS Royal Airs once again are playing bridesmaid to the Cavaliers. Both corps are great and are very close in most captions....but what about g.e. and difficulty? It almost seems like each judge is reluctant to be the one who knocks the king from the throne. Let me say that I am not pleading the Royal Air's cause for them. They don't need me. They make their own case everytime they step on the field. Don't ever change, "Big Blue." (The Cavies) parade formations are for the street." (Pat Touhy, Drum Corps World, August, 1964)
Royal Airs on parade in 1966. A fine corps that worked hard to bounce back from devastating losses following the 1965 championship season.
Drum Majors Ron Laskowski and Judy Naples lead the '64 Royal Air Color Guard. Not enough is said about these totally devoted young women who meant so much to the success of Big Blue!

Illinois State Champion Soprano, Jim Angarola in 1965
Warming up before a show, 1966.
RA Mementos: Matchbook, Patches, ID Card,

The Royal Airs were known for their great soprano soloists. Among them were: Caesar, Jim Angerola, Chris Ferrara, Tommy Devitt, Tommy DePrima, and Steve Kreier. Pictured are three excellent sopranos: Ken Kosmoski, Roger Warden and John Aslakson.

So, What About Royal Airs' Percussion?

So much has been written about the Royal Air brass line, that the percussion section tends to get overlooked. However, under the direction of National Champion Snare Drummer and former Cavalier, Mitch Markovich (1964-1968), the 1965 Royal Air drum line set the standard. "The 1965 drum line was undefeated in National Competition; and at CYO Nationals that year, the two judges were so overwhelmed by the difficulty of the drum book, they awarded RA a 4.3 and 4.5 respectively on a scale of 4.0!"(Mitch Markovich)
The 1965 Drum Line (Guard Captain Ellen Shepherd on the end)
To order a percussion video or DVD from Steve Fagiano, email him: Steve was a member of the National Champion, 1965 Royal Air drum line.
A Drum Corps News Ad in 1968

Pics: 1967/68