Every day of our lives we have to make decisions. Some are easy, some are difficult. Right or wrong we have to live with them. After the DCA Fall meeting in Maryland, DCA President Gil Silva will end his tenure as DCA President.
Gil’s involvement in the drum corps activity dates back to 1957 when he joined the Holy Rosary Caballeros from Providence, Rhode Island where he played tenor drum and bass baritone bugle. In 1957, his next door neighbor, Ollie Andrews, joined the Holy Rosary Caballeros and talked Gil and his brother into joining the corps. Gil’s parents eventually became involved and his dad became the Director of the corps. Gil then moved on to the Rhode Island Matadors where he served as bass baritone section leader, visual technician, Assistant Corps Director, and Business Manager. His brother also was in the Matadors and played soprano bugle. Gil has a most memorable moment as a marching member from 1972 when the Matadors made finals at Roosevelt Stadium in their first time attending a DCA Championship.
Gil served as Vice President of DCA from 1991 until 2003 when he took over the Presidency after the passing of Michael “Mickey” Petrone. Gil stated that Mickey was a master politician who took over DCA as the first President not associated with a member corps. The personalities involved with DCA at that time were giants such as Jim Costello, Lefty Mayer, Vince Bruni, Joe Genaro, George Bull, and Michael “Red ” Corso. Powerful individuals that he managed to get to work together to promote DCA. Gil learned so much from Mickey on what to do and what not to do.
When you saw Gil at the shows during the summer you always saw Michael “Red“
Corso standing alongside of him. Red was the director of the Matadors when Gil first joined and they worked together for forty five years. Gil considers Red to be “the biggest influence in my drum corps life. Red was a father figure to me as he taught me by example on how to be a gentleman and a leader. His humor and humility stays with me every day.” Red served as Treasurer for DCA for many years and as Gil put it, ‘ My father died suddenly in 1965 and my second father died in 2014. ”
Gil made a promise to himself that when he took over DCA, that he would leave it better than when he first got it. Hopefully, with the help of Glen Johnson, Allen Buell, Dan Rippon, Red Corso, Larry Hershman, Dick Eschenmann and many other passionate people who love drum corps, he has accomplished that. He feels that the biggest challenge facing DCA is to remain relevant. Finding ways to increase the fan base, working on answers to financial issues, and adding more corps to the South and Central regions will help.
The working relationship between DCI President Dan Acheson and Gil has been a very good one. Both men realize that it would be in their best interest to work together. A Case in point would be the joint show in Lynn Massachusetts this past Fourth of July where the two groups worked together to put on one outstanding show. Watching the drum majors of DCA and DCI lining up for retreat and getting to know one another was a drum corps moment for sure. Hopefully down the road, more shows of this type can be worked out between the two groups. DCA and DCI are both drum corps organizations that serve all aspects of this outstanding activity and Gil is very proud to call Dan his friend.
When not doing drum corps Gil Silva likes spending quality time with his grandchildren of which there are eight in number. Gil and his lovely wife Joyce have been married for thirty three years and have five children and the eight grandchildren between the two of them. Joyce never joined a drum corps, however she did march Honor Guard in one show with the Matadors. Joyce was the person most responsible for Gil being President of DCA. Gil had his doubts about taking on this role but she convinced him it was the best thing for him to do. His favorite sports teams are the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, and the New York Yankees. I believe one of Gil’s grandsons is a Red Sox fan so I can image how the rivalry discussions go on this subject.
Next DCA season Gil hopes to continue Chief Judging as being on the field with the corps members is the best part of his job. He will still be involved in DCA in an advisory position as he has no second thoughts with his decision to have stepped down. In his opinion, the time was right for a change in leadership and Allen Buell in his opinion will build upon what he has done and take it further.
The thing that Gil Silva has taken out of the drum corps activity is the friendships that you make along the way and the family aspect of it. The Southern and Central divisions of DCA have grown during his term in office as well. Gil asks the fans to keep supporting DCA. His message to the members of DCA is to please keep on entertaining the fans. And to the staffs, keep challenging the performers to make them and the shows better.
One door may have closed for Gil Silva but a whole new one has opened even wider for him. Four years ago I was asked to be a part of the DCA PR team and to help out during the summer season. The many friendships I have made along the way plus the enjoyment of being a small part of DCA is what I owe all to Gil Silva. It has been an honor for me to have told his story and hopefully when all is said and done, he will have his rightful place in DCA history.
Bill Flaker DCA PR Team.