ShareThis Page
Penn Hills

Former Penn Hills Baton Corps members reunite to reminisce

Dillon Carr
| Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 11:09 a.m.
Four members of the Penn Hills Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps pose for a picture after marching in a local parade in the 1990s. Pictured (from left) are Cameo Williams, Andrew Bigley, Cindy Washington and Cameron Williams.
Submitted
Four members of the Penn Hills Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps pose for a picture after marching in a local parade in the 1990s. Pictured (from left) are Cameo Williams, Andrew Bigley, Cindy Washington and Cameron Williams.
The Penn Hills Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps poses for a picture after marching in a local parade in the 1990s.
Submitted
The Penn Hills Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps poses for a picture after marching in a local parade in the 1990s.
Seven former members of different teams of the Penn Hills Baton Corps smile for a picture taken at the Penn Hills Community Park during a reunion on June 4, 2016. Pictured are (from left) Emily Mueller, Jessica Bucci, Angela Darrah, Fran Morrow, Alicia Domasig, Marlene Bocian, Susan Marsh and Angelina Mueller.
Submitted
Seven former members of different teams of the Penn Hills Baton Corps smile for a picture taken at the Penn Hills Community Park during a reunion on June 4, 2016. Pictured are (from left) Emily Mueller, Jessica Bucci, Angela Darrah, Fran Morrow, Alicia Domasig, Marlene Bocian, Susan Marsh and Angelina Mueller.

Former members of the Penn Hills Baton Corps, a coalition of several teams, are working to keep alive the memories they made and friendships they formed many years ago.

Former members, chaperones, parents and volunteers of the local baton team, which has had several names over the years, have reconnected on social media and meet regularly. Some members of the group, which has an online presence of around 110 people between two public Facebook pages, will meet again from noon to 6 p.m. on June 23 at the Penn Hills Community Park for a picnic.

Marlene Bocian, 65, of Penn Hills, said her father, Albert Bruno formed the first baton team in 1957 for Boy and Girl Scout troops.

“It grew so large, that they divided it into two groups and it became Cadets of America for a year – that's when it became more like a drill team,” Bocian said.

Most people remember the team as the Jacks and Jills of Penn Hills, the name the team held until 1971, she said.

“It had baton twirling, a color guard with flags and rifles and a drum section,” Bocian said.

The name of the group changed again in 1971 to Vanguard until it became the Renaissance in the 1990s. The Renaissance group disbanded in 2008, Bocian said.

Since then, those affiliated with the group have reached out to one another to reconnect and reminisce about the good old days.

“When baton (teams) in the region were at their peak, there were 55 competing corps. And Penn Hills supported three. At one time, it was the thing to do. In its heyday, it was huge,” said Bocian, who started marching at age 5 and continued until she graduated from Penn Hills High School in 1970.

Bocian's sister, Susan Marsh, also marched from a young age.

“I think I'm the only member who marched for 15 years,” Marsh said. “I even came back from college to march in parades during the summer.”

Marsh, 62, now lives in Kennedy Township. She will travel to Penn Hills Saturday for the event.

“It was such a wonderful experience. You learn leadership and teamwork, communication, discipline, practice to get good at something – those are the types of lessons that carry through in life,” she said.

The first two reunions, Marsh said, attracted more than 50 people. All were either former corps members, chaperones, bus drivers or volunteers. She expects a smaller crowd this year, but she and Bocian hope to continue the reunions to reconnect with even more people who were involved.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me