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Muchachos Drum & Bugle Corps seeks new members

MANCHESTER - Ken Vachon is looking for a few good Muchachos.

Vachon, of Litchfield, serves as publicity director for Manchester's Muchachos Drum & Bugle Corps. The group, one of only two remaining active drum and bugle corps in New Hampshire, is holding open rehearsals next Sunday from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at its headquarters in the Brady-Sullivan Tower, 1750 Elm St.

"We're hoping to get as many people as we can to come out," said Vachon. . . . . We've expanded our recruiting area to include all cities and towns in the state and Greater New England."

The band, led by director Al Gagne, has evolved over the past 53 years.

In the early 1960s and mid-1970s, the Muchachos competed on several drum and bugle corps circuits in New England. The Granite State had more than a dozen active drum and bugle corps at the time, with membership in the Muchachos open to individuals up to age 21. Today, the Muchachos has about 40 members.

"I think we reached our peak membership of about 85 members in 1975," said Vachon. "The Muchachos ceased active operations in 1985, due primarily to dropping membership numbers and a lack of operating funds."

The corps remained quiet until the fall of 1996, when Manchester celebrated its 150th anniversary. A group of alumni joined forces in an effort to march one more time down Elm Street, but enough interest was generated to re-establish the corps. The Muchachos are now registered as a 501C3 non-profit group, opening up the age range to include youth and adult members.

The band will begin its 2013 season by marching in the Manchester St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Holyoke, Mass., St. Pat's Parade.

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