In the fall of 1996, a group comprised mostly of former Young Colonials and Young Colonial parents met at the Cuccia home in Dover Plains, New York to begin plans for a new fife & drum corps. There was no doubt who would be director: the man who ran the Young Colonials so successfully for better than ten years, Gus Cuccia, Sr. Joined by Sue Piscitello (vice president), Lori Armstrong (secretary) and Janice Welton (treasurer), Gus led our corps until 2009 when he passed the torch to the capable hands of new Director, Lori Armstrong, Janice Welton, Kristine Cuccia and Tracy Roma.
The name of the corps came from an old western term regarding Billy the Kid’s gang. Billy the Kid’s gang “self deputized” themselves because the lawmen at the time were corrupt.
The Regulators fife & drum corps modeled their uniforms according to the period and looked back to their influences for the style of ancient music they would play.
Gus Cuccia, Jr. wrote the street beat and the corps picked out about thirty street tunes from the general jam session repertoire and went to work on trying to distinguish their own sound and style.
The corps rehearsed at Gus & Debbie Cuccia, Sr.’s house for the first year~inside the house during the winter and outside during the summer. Many times during the summer someone would notice eyes peeking through the split rail fence that surrounds the Cuccia homestead and the faint sound of applause could be heard.
During their first year out, The Regulators booked about 25 firemen’s parades and were thrilled to play at the Deep River Muster, Young Colonials Muster and Westbrook Muster. The corps also decided to begin competing. They joined the Greater Danbury Area Drum Corps Association and won their way into the Northeasterns. During the past ten years, the corps has competed at the Northeastern Competition three times and won Best Sr. Fife & Drum Corps twice.
Catherine Cuccia-Cavallo and Jason Malli arrange most of the fifing, but the corps also enjoys playing fife arrangements by John Benoit, Bill Hart and Duke Terreri (who composed, “Prussia Variations” fife and drum parts), to name a few. Gus Cuccia Jr and Bill Dillon wrote most of the drum arrangements until Dominick Cuccia agreed to come on board as our drum instructor and arranger.
The Regulators decided that they would not only like to be a fife and drum corps, but a social club of sorts. The Regulators would have a picnic at the Dover Pool and a corps dinner every January (we still do!) The corps traveled to Westchester’s Broadway Dinner Theater to see My Fair Lady, then to NYC to see A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. And the following year to Radio City Christmas Show.
In 1999, the corps decided to take on the true spirit of the old west and visit the Pinegrove Dude Ranch where they were thrilled to head up a cattle drive and call out “Yee-Haw” without making heads turn.
Following the dude ranch, The Regulators were inspired. They planned their next big trip to San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo for 2001. According to all who attended, Texas was amazing. The Regulators spent most of their time on the River Walk drinking frozen concoctions that immediately froze their brains (probably because the heat was sweltering!) The corps traveled the town on trolleys with the fifers serenading the passengers on one particular occasion. Eileen Kenny, a member of the color guard, coordinated this trip and was able to book the corps on a dinner cruise around the River Walk. When the corps noticed that the boat was coming up to their hotel, they bribed the “captain” to let them dock and run for instruments. The rest of the evening was filled with Margaritas and Music! In gratitude for such a great time, the corps serenaded Eileen for months (I-I-Eileen…think mariachi)!
The corps enjoyed their time together in Texas so much that they decided to try another group vacation this time aboard the Carnival Victory Cruise Ship in 2003. The ship took them to Saint John, NB and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Besides drinking and eating, the corps enjoyed the sights and sounds of the cruise ship. As they embarked upon Halifax, they hired a limousine to discover the city. On their final voyage into New York harbor, The Regulators rose before daylight to watch the sunrise on the greatest city in the world.
Since they weren’t able to play (much) on their cruise, The Regulators decided their next trip would be a performing trip. And since the corps was experiencing a baby boom (which seems to continue), they decided it should be a family trip. When Mickey’s name was mentioned, all agreed that in 2004 they would travel to Florida. How to travel to Florida seemed to be the main question. A group flew down south, but many of The Regulators traveled via Amtrack. Although the kids would tell you the train ride was “totally cool,” the adults didn’t appreciate the four hour delay.
The Regulators marched down Main Street USA and received a huge hand, especially through Frontier Town. After the long, hot days marching around Disney, the corps would take midnight swims as the children slept…many of the corps member agree that the swims were one of the best parts of the trip.
In 2005, The Regulators were thrilled to have their good pal, John Benoit, write a “Cowboy Suite” for them. Throughout the years, the corps enjoyed playing standard fife and drum tunes arranged by Benoit, so this was big for them. With Dominick Cuccia’s drum arrangement, The Regulators truly consider this one of their favorite concert arrangements.
The Regulators hosted the 2006 National Muster in the picturesque town of Dover Plains, New York. Amidst hale bales and barns, barbequed chicken and beer, tunes and medleys, over two dozen drum corps came to help the corps celebrate its tenth anniversary.
The Regulators decided to board the cruise ship again in 2008 when we sailed to the Bahamas for a little rest and relaxation. Such a great time was had by all that in 2011 that the corps went to Bermuda for some adult relaxation and then went in the opposite direction as they headed North to Niagara Falls Canada.
Back to Billy & his Regulators: They say that there’s a tombstone where Billy the Kid’s and two other Regulators were buried. At the top of the tombstone, the word “PALS”.
We have many drum corps pals. And although we can’t mention all of our pals by name, we have to mention a few…take Ed Shook & The Confederate’s, for example giving us the old Rebel Yell every time we passed by. The Confederates were also the originators of the “Westbrook Feeding”. Since Ed passed on, we’ve taken over the dinner in Westbrook in his name. Although it’s a great time, we sure miss our Pal.
When The Regulators first formed, we didn’t have any drums or flags. When we approached GDADCA founder and President Al Dennis, he quickly suited up the corps so we could march our first parade. He was a good man – a true Pal.
Duke Terreri was a great pal, not to mention an incredibly talented and humble musician and drummer. He would call the day after the Northeastern competition every year to see how the corps made out made out. And when we first started discussing The Regulators, he even offered to make our drums for us!
The Regulators have been blessed to have so many good pals in the fife and drum world. Pals that have inspired us, pals who helped get us started, pals who cheer us on, pals with whom with we jam. We would be nothing without our pals.
Since the early years, the corps continues to march many firemen parades throughout New York and Connecticut, perform in numerous musters and concerts and compete in many drum corps contests.
As some of our boots are getting a bit worn and dusty, The Regulators are now seeing an influx of younger members partly due to a baby boom which began 17 years ago and continues on today … hence our most recent medley dedicated to our most recent Lil' Buckaroo's - Kristopher, Francis, Elyse and Sylvia:
“Boil the Water (Baby’s on its Way)!”