Azusa Aztec Marching Band
1960's


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Aztec Band Directors of the 60's

 

Ross DavisFall
1956
~ Spring 1965

Peter Grasselli
Fall 1965 ~ Spring 1966

Michael Seeley
Fall 1966 ~ Spring 1969

Aztec Band Drum Majors of the 60's

Drum Major Jack Frye, 1961
Jack Frye

1958 - 1961

Darlene Kemper 1961 - 1962
Cheryl Wilkenson 1962 - 1966
Carlice Rhode 1968
Gregg Mayfield

1968

David Durrell 1968 - 1969
David Smith 1969

Ross Davis, the first director of the Azusa High School Aztec Marching Band built a winning music and marching unit unequaled in it's time, and possibly, never to be equaled. Azusa became the top high school marching band in southern California. In the period from 1958-1965, Azusa won Sweepstakes a total of seven times. The Aztec Marching Band is the only high school band to have ever won three consecutive Sweepstakes in the entire 50 year history of the National City Maytime Band Review. This occurred in 1963, 1964, and 1965. Under the direction of Ross Davis, the band achieved the highest overall score of 98.1 at the El Monte Christmas Parade in 1963.

In May of 1963, the Aztec Marching Band scored the highest overall score in the history of any and all band reviews including Chaffey, Hawthorne, Chino, Santa Monica, Long Beach and National City and this score has never been challenged. Not even Arcadia, Loara, Anaheim, Mt. Miguel, Glendora, Pasadena, nor any other high school band has ever accomplished as high and near-perfect score that Azusa did.

Playing 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' the band achieved the following score -

The Aztec Band performance of 1963 scoring 99.5 out of 100 possible points is probably the greatest single marching band performance ever achieved by any high school band.

Only our own Azusa Aztec Marching Band, at the Monrovia Roundup Days Parade in May of 1967 scored a higher all-time music score of 498 when we won the Sweepstakes and the Music Trophy, playing the 'Father of Victory' march. This also earned the 2nd highest score ever achieved by Azusa of 97.95!

Following Ross Davis as director was Peter Grasselli. Mr. Grasselli was from the eastern United States He led the band for just one year. His background was strong in the 'show band' type of performances and competitions. These take place in a stadium environment, much like a half-time show for a football game. Mr. Grasselli was somewhat ahead of his time with this style of competetion for southern California, as parades were the main type of competetion for California high school bands in the late 60's. Today, show band competetions are much more commonplace in southern California.

Micheal Seeley followed Grasselli as the next director of the Aztec band. A former student teacher of Ross Davis, Seeley led the band to it's second best season ever, which included 5 perfect marching scores over a 3 year period. In 1967, as mentioned above, the band achieved the 2nd highest score in the history of the Monrovia Days 'Round-Up' Parade with a score of 97.95, a perfect 200 in marching, and won the music trophy scoring 498 out of 500, the highest SCSBOA music score to that point in time.

Thanks go to David Smith for providing much of the above information.


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1957 Azusa Golden Days parade

Azusa Golden Days Parade, 1958.  Band director, Ross Davis.
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Drum major Darlene Kemper and 1963 Aztec Band members enjoy a National City Band Review victory.

Darlene Kemper, drum major, and fellow band members at National City, May, 1962.
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Jim Michelli, drum major Cheryl Wilkinson and director Ross Davis celebrate a Sweepstakes victory at the National City band review, 1965.

The Aztec Band at the Chaffey parade in Ontario, CA, 1969. David Smith, drum major, Mike Seeley, director.
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1969 Aztec Band drum major David Smith in 'rare form'
prior to the National City Band Review awards ceromonies.


If you have any information, photo's, corrections, whatever (?) and would like to share it with us, or have it included on this site, please feel free to contact me.       
Updated: January 27, 2004