The  Optimists  Alumni  Drum  &  Bugle  Corps

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

. . . March On!

Maybe This Green Machine
Has Too Many Miles On It

Optimists, 1961
Pre-show Inspection (1961)

The 1961 season was one of newness: lots of new members from the Bantam corps; a lot of new music, including Cockeyed Optimist, Mr. Jones, Presentation March, Holiday for Lovers and Manhattan Beach; a new drum major, Al Morrison; a new drill writer, Doug McPhail; a new drill instructor, Ivor Bramley; and a new director of public relations, Don Daber.

Daber was a commercial artist who was simply attempting to write an article on Toronto’s drum corps scene for a local newspaper. Baggs, however, had something else in mind. He asked Daber what he would do to promote the Optimists in particular.

Daber answered the question with a dizzying array of material, including crests, buttons, records, Optimist money, pennants and a selection of corps action photos for use in media and for sale to loyal fans. He also produced a corps newsletter that was to gain legendary status throughout the North American drum corps movement.

“Green Capsule Comments” was written, produced and distributed by anyone in the corps who cared to contribute. It became one of the most oft-quoted and reproduced newsletters in the activity. It was a lively, funny, argumentative collection of inside information, gossip, contest results, corps activity, cartoons and contest reviews.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, one would have been hard-pressed to find a drum corps that had more public exposure than the Optimists.

There was something else new in 1961 - losing. For the first time since 1958, the Optimists lost a contest to a Canadian corps. De La Salle, another Toronto corps that would be the Optimists’ most ferocious rival for the next 15 years, achieved the feat.

At the Canadian National Championships in 1961, the Optimists fought their way back to the top and won their fourth consecutive title by a heart-stopping ".05"!