By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — It was fate during the 1960s that brought long-time Valley radio announcer John Yingling to gain a love for drum corps.
Today, that love continues as he will once again serve as the long-time public address voice of the competition (see previously posted story on Saturday's Cavalcade of Champions at Bucknell University).
“I was outside one day and I heard this wonderful music coming from somewhere,” he said of his introduction to drum corps music. “I got hooked instantly.”
Yingling, who was on radio station WMLP from the mid-’50s until the station was sold in 2005, was also the voice of the Shikellamy High School Tournament of Bands.
Yingling announced his first Cavalcade in 1963.
Over the years, some of the best drum and bugle corps in the world have performed at Cavalcade and while one corps or performance doesn’t stand out from the others, the pageantry of the shows is still a joy to Yingling.
“Every year is just fantastic,” he said of event. “I am still thrilled by it. The drum and bugles corps are marvelous at what they do.”
He recalled the charismatic Jimmy Russo, the long-time drum major for the Hawthorne Caballeros. “He would always come to the stands and he was entertaining to watch,” he said. “I recall the Yankee Rebels drum corps (from Maryland) was the first to be a non-traditional military-type show and the Westshoreman coming off the line and singing.”
Yingling went to a few of the Cavalcades before taking over the announcing duties, all thanks to that one fateful day that has led him to become a drum corps fan for life.