The  Optimists  Alumni  Drum  &  Bugle  Corps

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

. . . March On!

Paul Thompson

Photo of: Paul Thompson

Corps: Toronto Optimists, Optimists Alumni

Paul began his connection with the Optimists in 1963 working with his father at the Optimists booster table. In 1964 he joined the corps playing Euphonium and, from 1965 until 1969, Paul played Contrabass.

After aging out Paul continued working with the corps as an instructor and, at times, took on the role of drum major. Paul was also involved instructing the Optimist Cadets. Paul and Ray Roussel even wrote a Bugle Manual that was used, not just by the Optimists, but by a number of other corps. In addition, Paul was one of the architects of the 1972 corps which won Optimists 12th Nationals.

Later on Paul instructed the Cardinals. Paul and Don Daber were two of the people who encouraged Colin Hedworth to write his history of the Optimists.

When the Alumni corps began Paul was there, doing his best to help out. He assisted with the music, ran the Thursday night music rehearsals until they were cancelled, obtained the rights for us to play our music and, until health issues forced him to stop, played contrabass. Paul will be missed by all of those who knew him.

Here are a few comments from some of those who knew Paul.

"Paul was a driving force behind the rebirth of the corps and, as a result of his determination, there were many guys who became superb horn players under his guidance. He lived and breathed the corps and worked his backside off to make us better."

"He had a great passion for Drum Corps and so many of us benefitted from his contributions, myself included. "

"Paul's last real marching year with Optimists was my rookie year and he played that contra solo in Let the Sunshine In. When I made it known that I was interested in being considered as Drum Major for the alumni corps, Paul encouraged me and helped me with conducting technique. A very intense guy with a huge personality. I'm going to miss him."

"Paul was the most passionate member of the Optimists I ever met. I had the utmost admiration for him and I have many fond memories of him, especially during the 1971 season. It was a tough season to begin with but because of his inspirational leadership we were more successful than most of us dreamed we could be."

"Whenever I've thought of Paul, over the last 40+ years, his solo in You Only Live Twice (1968) comes to my mind. Man, he could belt that out, and it was perfect every time. No matter whether it was in a parade, rehearsal, contest or an exhibition he played it exactly the same every time. Few, if any, could play that horn like he did and his work effort was beyond reproach."

"Those on the inside knew his contribution, one that wasn't often noticed by those looking in."

"I first met Paul when he was working with Tony Capizzano to rebuild Oakland Crusaders. Not long after , with some gentle nudging from Paul and others, I was encouraged to join the Optimist Alumni Corps. Originally I played in the soprano section but with some encouragement and a helping hand from Paul, I became a valued member of the mellophone section. Thanks Paul...job well done my friend."

"When I remember Paul back in my corps days I recall him having a high level of confidence in my soprano playing ability & encouraged me to have more confidence in myself ."

Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We Remember!

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