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|History for Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights||Newark, New Jersey|
|Inactive Junior Corps founded in 1948||Did you march Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights?|
|Other names: Union Golden Knights|
The Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights of Newark, New Jersey, were formed in 1946 as a coed junior parade corps by Fr. John Kiley for the children of the Blessed Sacrament Parish. The corps was sponsored by the Blessed Sacrament CYO, Newark American Legion Post 302, and Irvington VFW Post 9393. The corps colors were gold, white, and black.|
In 1952 Fr. Robert F. Garner took steps to make the corps competitive as an all-male corps, a tradition that continued until 1971. "Sac" turned out to be one of the greatest corps ever. In just 26 months the group went from their first contest to national championships in both the American Legion and VFW. The average corps age was just 16 at the time. The accomplishment came to be known as The Gold Rush of 1954.
Consider these further accomplishments: From 1954 through 1963 they won nine of the 13 Nationals they entered. From 1954 through 1970 they were in the top four 18 times in the 21 Nationals they entered. They also won the first World Open in 1963. World Drum Corps Hall of Famer Dick Burns was a soloist with Sac from 1953 to 1963.
A story from this era has it that Fr. Garner asked the name of a tune he heard the corps playing. As the result, Sac was forbidden to play one of its great hits, "Love for Sale," for many years.
Sac sponsored an annual contest, the Cavalcade of Music, each June.
Blessed Sacrament, one of the original 13 DCI member corps, never attended the DCI Championships. The corps folded after the 1972 season.
A senior corps was formed about 1974 to compete in DCA but they too were gone a year later. The current alumni corps, formed in 1991, is one of the most nostalgic of the alumni corps around, playing the Sac music from years gone by.
A new incarnation of the Blessed Sacrament Junior Drum & Bugle Corps was announced in August, 2003, to serve the youth of the inner city neighborbood in Newark. The U.S. Naval Academy Drum & Bugle Corps got the fund raising under way by donating a full set of instruments.
In the summer of 2004, more than half of all the musicians who had imarched with Blessed Sac in 1954 gathered in Union, New Jersey, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that dual championship year.
[Encyclopedia of Drum and Bugle Corps, 1966; John Palatucci, rec.arts.marching.drumcorps, 12/26/2001; DCW, 5/02, p.32 DCW, 8/31/03, p.23; DCW, 8/20/04, p.9, inter alia]
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