Reading the last living founder of the Buccaneers reflects victory and family heritage

It’s a carefully crafted chaos: a whirlwind of sound and movement.

The music is fascinating and its rhythm guides the drummer and trumpeter’s black-clad ensemble to slide on the field.

The dancer rotates the purple flag and swirls and soaks in time with the song.

They march together and apart in a perfectly harmonious, completely unpredictable pattern, like the music they are playing.

The melody swells, and Bruce Inglehart has no choice but to smile while watching the scene on the big underground TV.

“This is a really cool part,” Inglehart tells Inglehart to crescendo the finale of the Reading Buccaneer’s Drums and Bugle’s performance (a adaptation of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”).

For that act, the Buccaneers competed in the 2019 Drum Corps Associates World Championship.

“At the stand watching the show, it was so perfect,” Inglehart said. Your chest is exploding, it’s very emotional. “

The legacy of that victory is the pride of Inglehart. At the age of 90, he was the last living member of the Buccaneers’ iconic “Five Founding Fathers.”

“I’m all packed,” Inglehart said.

Bruce Inglehart has been an avid trumpet since elementary school. (KEITH DMOCHOWSKI—Reading Eagle)

Sow seeds

Inglehart, a lifelong trumpet player, said his love for playing began as an elementary school student in the 1940s.

He said he was crazy about seeing the Juniors of the Kenhorst Fire Brigade playing.

“I was in a school band, that band, we were terrible,” Inglehart said with a laugh. Oh! They were sharp. I said it was for me, I want it. “

Members of the Kenhorst Corps noticed Englehart’s enthusiasm and invited him.

He honed his skills in competing with Drum and Bugle in Kenhorst and Temple and eventually left to serve in the Korean War.

Serving on a Navy ship for four years rarely undermined Englehart’s passion, all the while keeping in touch with fellow corps players.

Immediately after returning to Japan in the spring of 1957, Inglehart sowed new corps seeds to his old friends, along with Karl Bagenstoth, Ronald D. Fisher, Roy Miller, and George “Fritz” Price.

The rippling rumors became a wave of conspiracy as leaflets and cards with skulls and crossbones and the statement “Watch out for Jolly Rogers” spread to Burks’ music world.

That excitement led to a legendary encounter on the steps of a castle on a hill.

Outside of Reading High School, a group of 36 Korean War veterinarians, junior high school students, and band fanatics gathered at the Buccaneers’ first meeting.

“We knew we were going to work, but we didn’t expect to reach this stage,” Inglehart said.

Passion for playing

The stage has been great since the Buccaneers’ first parade at the Mullenberg Township in August 1957.

Inglehart wore a trumpet uniform and played a trumpet purchased on loan, but his passion for performance by the Buccaneers was shining like the summer sun.

“They called us stupid Dutch, because they were beaten back on Saturday and said they should have done better,” Inglehart said.

He said that in the weeks leading up to the competition, the Buccaneers would practice 12 hours a day to complete the music and march formation.

The practice was rewarded.

Only two years after its founding, the Buccaneers won the VFW National Championship in 1960 in Detroit.

They won the title two more times and became the last VFW champion before the circuit was combined with other circuits to form the larger DCA World Championship in 1965.

The Buccaneers also won first in 1965 and have won more than 16 times since then, confronting the corps of the whole country and even countries such as Britain and Japan.

“Over the years, we’ve been on the rise until we’re number one,” Inglehart said. I never thought he would win. “

Despite the pressure to play on a global stage, Inglehart said he was never nervous.

“I just loved to play,” Inglehart said. I was always comfortable with it. “

He said the exhilaration associated with playing with the crowd was the main motivation.

“We have never received a penny, none of us. Inglehart said,” We have never received a reward, we just did it. “

Permanent heritage

Englehart’s dedication to crafting, as well as his skills and ingenuity as a solo trumpet player during competition, made him inducted into the World Drum and Bugle Hall of Fame in 1999.

His contribution to music is also recognized locally. In 2017, the Pagoda Arts Council awarded Inglehart the Visionary of Arts Award.

Just as Inglehart grew up praising the local drum and bugle corps, Rob Danner, president of the Buccaneer Alumni Association, said he grew up looking at Inglehart in awe.

“He was one of the solo soprano players. He was the man who was there,” Danner said. “He really is the one I respected.”

Danner, who became a Buccaneer in 1995, said he and Inglehart were still gathering to attend the reunion meeting.

“It’s a way of life. Once you get it, you can get it here,” Inglehart said, pointing at his heart. “And you can’t get rid of it. You don’t want to get rid of it.”

Danner wasn’t the only one inspired by Inglehart and other founding members. Organizations have become a legacy tradition, with children of members, including Danner’s son Russ, often attending after their parents.

“It’s a family,” Danner said, “it really is.”

Bruce Inglehart and Buccaneer Alumni Association President Rob Danner (KEITH DMOCHOWSKI — READING EAGLE)

Inglehart said on his recent 90th birthday, the current Buccaneers sent one birthday card from each performance section, signed by all members.

“When I opened them, I started crying,” Inglehart said, “it impressed me very much.”

Even nowadays, Inglehart is always practicing.

He picks up trumpets with natural prosperity and plays notes with skills that only decades of experience can bestow.

His basement is adorned with Buccaneers-era trophies, awards and other souvenirs.

“You can’t explain it, it’s very rewarding,” Inglehart said. I am very proud. “

The walls of the Bruce Englehart are adorned with lifelong awards. (KEITH DMOCHOWSKI — Reading Eagle)

Reading the last living founder of the Buccaneers reflects victory and family heritage

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