The Cadets pay tribute to Hugh Mahon
Hugh “Hughie” Mahon, left this world on his favorite holiday, Saint Patrick’s Day. The legacy he leaves behind is significant, and The Cadets cherished Hugh as a member, an instructor, a Director, and a founding father of Drum Corps International.
Hugh Mahon started his drum corps career in the late 1950s as a Drum major for four different drum corps: Paterson Cadets (57-58), Skyliners (59), Garfield Cadets (60-61), and later the Hawthorne Caballeros (62-63).
He was also a marching and maneuvering instructor for the Paterson Lamplighters (1964), Garfield Cadets (1969-1972), Toronto Optimists (1970), Salina Silver Sabers (1973), Long Island Kingsmen (1974-1977), the Bayonne Bridgemen (1975), Spirit of Atlanta (1978) and the New York Skyliners (1978-1980).
Hugh Mahon returned to the Cadets as a drill instructor in 1968. Two years later, he became Director of the Corps for three years (1969-1972), pushing the concept of “total theme shows” and the formation of the UOJC (United Organization of Junior Corps), which he sought to assist eastern corps in regaining national prominence. Hugh’s longtime friend John Keays noted the following:
“Hugh envisioned the UOJC as a vehicle for eastern corps to control their fate better; competitively, financially, and organizationally,”
Wanting more for the drum corps activity, Hugh contacted the Midwest Combine members (which was the Midwest organization similar in scope to the UOJC) to work toward a common goal. Dave Shaw, the first director of publicity and public relations for Drum Corps International, recounts that despite a less-than-enthusiastic reception from both members of the Combine and his UOJC, “Hugh persisted to the point of being such a thorn in the paw of both groups that they reluctantly and very grudgingly agreed to meet at the American Legion Rules Congress in 1971 for some ‘discussion’. That meeting, contrary to everyone’s early intentions, resulted in the formation of Drum Corps International, a totally unanticipated development.”
Elected as DCI’s first co-director and serving as the DCI Eastern Coordinator, Hugh later became a charter member of both the Cadets Hall of Fame (1984) and the DCI Hall of Fame (1985) recognized for initiating a new era of drum corps. He was also one of the organizers for the Bluegrass National Championships of Lexington, KY, during DCI’s early days.
Hugh is survived by his wife Adria, three daughters: Kathleen, Colleen, Erin, and several grandchildren. Condolences may be sent to the Mahon family at P.O. Box 756 Danville, KY 40423
Rest in peace Hughie, FHNSAB
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