Madison Scouts and Yamaha: Marching Together Since 1985

6/3/2005 [Marching Instruments]

With a history dating back more than 67 years, the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps has a tradition of superb music and a simple slogan: "May you never walk alone."

BUENA PARK, CA (April 8, 2005) — With a history dating back more than 67 years, the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps has a tradition of superb music and a simple slogan: “May you never walk alone.” Now, Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, celebrates 20 years of walking step by step with the Scouts, in a relationship that has stood the test of time and worked to both parties’ incalculable advantage.

Madison Scouts & Yamaha 20th Anniversary
Since the partnership was forged in 1985, the Madison Scouts have carried Yamaha Percussion exclusively, but that is only the beginning. The corps has lent its expertise to the testing of Yamaha percussion products in the rigors of an outdoor setting, and has contributed directly to the development of landmark offerings such as the MTS snare drum, the YM-2400 marimba, the YV-2700 vibraphone and the Multi-Frame I and Multi-Frame II. A variety of new product colors, drum wraps and coated hardware has been put through their paces in the Scouts’ capable hands. A complete timeline of the two organizations’ shared history can be found online at

On June 25, the Scouts will kick off their season-long celebration of the anniversary with their Homeshow at Lussier Stadium in Madison. Yamaha representatives will join them in the festivities, and a special anniversary logo will be featured on the corps’ drums as well as on T-shirts, posters and other items that will be available for sale all season long.

Scott Stewart, a performing member of the corps starting in 1968, was the Scouts’ executive director from 1980 to 2002, and was there when the partnership was founded. “The biggest excitement was when (then-percussion director) Chris Thompson and I closed the deal in a meeting in Michigan in 1985,” he recalls. “We managed to keep our cool until we got back to our room, then we literally danced around the room and threw each other onto the floor while yelling at the top of our lungs.”

An estimated 700 to 800 young percussionists have used Yamaha instruments since then, benefiting not only from the use of the equipment but from a constant supply of advice and support from the people who create it. For its part, Yamaha has been a consistent and ready supporter of the Scouts program, and by now an entire generation of Yamaha representatives has forged personal relationships with the corps’ staff and performers. Two former Scouts work for Yamaha’s Band & Orchestral Division: Percussion Product Manager Joel Tetzlaff and District Sales Manager Dino Riccio.

“This is not merely our longest-standing relationship with a marching percussion corps, but one we view as a model for how relationships like this ought to work,” says Troy Wollwage, manager, Percussion, Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division. “The Scouts are really at the foundation of our entire marching percussion program, and it is no exaggeration to say that it feels like family on both sides.”

The partners have shared highs and lows. In 1988, the Scouts took first place at the annual DCI (Drum Corps International) Championships, and then-Yamaha marketing manager Jay Wanamaker was there: “The year they won DCI in Kansas City was a night that I will never forget,” recalls Wanamaker, now executive vice president of Guitar Center. “I was standing there with Fred Sanford [then a Yamaha marching percussion consultant, Sanford passed away in 2000] down on the track, and Yamaha presented awards that evening at the DCI Finals. It was a great evening for the Scouts and Yamaha!”

Current Scouts executive director Sal Salas recalls a more trying moment the two organizations weathered together. “I think one of the special things about Yamaha is that they stuck with the Madison Scouts during a rough time,” he says. “When the corps did not make finals in 2002, Yamaha was there to continue the relationship and never once made that an issue. They truly went the extra mile to make it a great experience for everyone involved.”

Former Scouts percussion arranger and director Jeff Moore remembers a signature moment in the relationship. “We needed drums for the Memorial Day camp in 1997, and Yamaha shipped the entire battery Federal Express to Madison from Tokyo so we would have our equipment on time,” he says.

“This is the way Yamaha has always approached our relationship – first class quality and first class service,” says Rick Young, Vice President/General Manager, Band & Orchestral Division, Yamaha Corporation of America. “This is why we have been together for twenty years. And we are looking forward to the next twenty!”

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail; or visit

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