The Pine Hill Drum and Bugle Corps was organized in 1928, as an affiliated part of the Pine Hill Hose Company, Fire District No. 5. The instruments used were the Bells, which came from the shortened form of the term Bell Lyre; the Bugle, a horn, requiring lip pursing to obtain notes; and the Drum which was made of a heavy, cylindrical wooden construction. The purpose of forming the Corps was to compliment the firemen of the Hose Company when “called out by the chief” to appear and march in local parades, civic functions, and inspections.
Vehicular travel of the Corps members during the late ‘20’s and throughout the ‘30’s was limited by the availability of personal family automobiles. Cars were expensive and owned by every family. Consequently, attendance at parades was geographically limited within the Town of Cheektowaga. When opportunities arrived to take part in a parade and travel means were available, our members turned the occasion into a family day outing. Dad put on his marching uniform and grabbed his instrument, filled the gas tank in the car; while mom packed the picnic lunch. They brought along the children and a few extra nickels they saved and climbed into the car for a day full of adventure.
Parades were gala events and the pride of the Corps was displayed in its entire membership and throughout the community where they participated. From its beginning, the Drum Corps tunes were distinctive in sound. The military march beat of John Philip Sousa rang forth in proud patriotic music.
During the 1940’s, membership participation was trimmed down because of the wars. In fact, we were even faced with non-existence; but a few staunch individuals saw that our purpose had to continue.
Into the 1950’s, an ear of prosperity and leisure time came the need to return to full strength. Membership and the feeling of participation once again grew and the Drum Corps enjoyed the enriching fulfillment of the friendship, music, and adventure associated with it.
The families of the of ‘50’s looked too fun activities and patronized many carnivals, lawn fetes, bazaars and field days which were put on by churches and civic organizations. Once again, the Pine Hill Drum and Bugle Corps were out to display their colors. The traditional bright orange shirts stood apart from the rest.
During the next three decades, the size of the Corps essentially remained at its maximum of 45 members. We began to explore further away from our home in Cheektowaga. Venturing to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg and participating in such events as the Volunteer Firemen’s Conventions within the 12 counties of Western New York. This enabled the Corps to expand its playing ability and competitiveness even further. Our name became synonymous with “traditional marching music” and our bright orange shirt uniforms continued to proclaim our existence.
The exciting 1990’s erupted into the expansion of the Corps. First, we added a five-member color guard unit to our ranks. Second, we brought the maximum membership to 50. Up until this time period, our membership was solely male; but thirdly we allowed women to join.