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Joe McVeigh founded the Troopers and other corps.

Joe McVeigh started a lifetime of activity when he joined the Sons of the American Legion Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps in the spring of 1942. This was the feeder corps for the Judson P. Galloway Drum Corps. By the spring of 1943 he was one of the top drummers in the "A" corps.

When the corps disbanded, Joe and other members helped organize to Leon Neon Drum and Bugle Corps. Leon Neon was the Hudson Valley's first marching and maneuvering corps in the days when corps played strictly military music. Leon Neon chose to play popular, standard and classical music that were marchable.

During these times, Joe was in demand as a drum instructor for several other corps. Although he was still a teenager he was hired to teach Mac's All Girl Drum Corps. It was here that he met his future wife, Ruth Bracken.

When the Leon Neon boys became too old for junior competition, they and members of Queen City (Odd Fellows) Corps joined the 56th Regiment Senior Corps to form the John T. Kenney Post Ambassadors. It was here that Joe showed another talent, that of drill designer and marching instructor. Under his tutelage, the Ambassadors won the VFW State Championship from 1954 to 1960.

During these years, Joe not only wrote and taught the drill but was a key member of the snare drum line. He also helped design the salmon pink, black and white uniform of the Ambassadors, which was a shocker back in the '50s.

In the '60s Joe marched with the Criterions. This was a merger of the Ambassadors and the Port Ewen Colonial Cavaliers. After a few years, the heavy time demand of this kind of activity was taking too much time away from his family. Joe chose his family.

Joe had always loved Ancient-style drumming. As a member of the Coldenham Fire Company he organized the Coldenham Fife and Drum Corps. He was the director and drum instructor and his family was fully involved.

Joe received the first Albert Sheehan Memorial Award in 1974 for a job well above and beyond the duty of a fireman. He was named Fireman of the Year.

When his children graduated high school with most of the junior corps members, Joe founded the Troopers Fife & Drum Corps in 1982. A senior corps of the Civil War era, the Troopers competed in contests and were almost unbeatable.

Joe's likeable personality and reputation drew the best talent in the area. Joe was director of the corps for 12 years, until his death on July 8, 1994.

2004 -- The Civil War Troopers