Stepping Off with Mr. Bud: Living The Dream
In 1963, a beginner trumpet player in the 4th grade, from Boonton, New Jersey started his quest in becoming the best trumpet in the world. At that time, his inspirations were: legendary trumpet soloists - Al Hirt, and Herb Alpert of the Tijuana Brass. Who would of known, that 53 years later, this trumpet player would wind up as one of the most successful band directors in his field.
Harold (Bud) McCormick was this trumpet player, who joined the Harmony Sr. Drum Corps of Boonton, NJ, in 1963, and never stopped performing. Whether it was in 4th grade at the School Street School, or John Hill Junior High School, or Boonton High School, Bud had a passion for music.
In 1972, after graduating from Boonton High School, Bud decided he would march in the Hawthorne Muchachos drum and bugle corps, and also the Santa Clara Vanguard drum and bugle corps from Santa Clara, Californina. These two drum corps have a major impact on Bud, because this is where he learned to instruct large groups of people in both music and marching, and achieve a high standard of excellence.
Watching “Gail Royer” (director of SCV) teach, and instruct, and have so much motivation, passion in what he was doing, that I wanted to be just like him. So after marching in the California based -Santa Clara Vanguard drum and bugle corps in 1974 and 1975, Bud came back to the east coast and decided to go to college and major in the music education field at Kean University in Union. It was one of the best decisions he ever made.
4 years later, he became Director of the Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, and the following 3 years, at Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, where he was the Band and Vocal Director.
Bud's big break came in 1983, when he received a phone call from Principal Francis X. Bygott of Jackson Memorial and offered him the position of Band Director. I would spend the next 33 years at the helm of the Jaguar Band, and loved every second of it.
"I was very, very fortunate to work with some of the best people around. Everyone was so positive. When you have a lot of positive people, you can achieve a lot," McCormick said.
This past week, McCormick received a notice from his high school that he was inducted in the Boonton High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
"I was totally overwhelmed, to find out that my biography will be on display permanently in the high school library, and my name will be posted on the wall, outside of the Boonton High School auditorium, where they used to have his high school concerts. I can’t wait to go back and see this tribute. I am totally overwhelmed and humbled," McCormick said.
The Jackson Memorial Jaguar Band has many, many accomplishments during the past 33 years. Here are some of them, in case you did not know:
- Honored by 27 dignitaries including: Governor Christie Whitman, Governor James McGreevey, Governor Richard Codey, Governor John Corzine and Governor Chris Christie for music excellence in our schools
- The Honorable Rep. Christopher H. Smith flew an American Flag over the US Capitol in recognition of the outstanding record of achievement of the Jackson Memorial HS Jaguar Band
- Inducted into the National High School Band Directors Hall of Fame – Columbus, Georgia in 2013
- Honored by the NJMEA (New Jersey Music Educators Association) for recognition of distinguished leadership and service
- Inducted into the Boonton High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2016
- Recognized by the Asbury Park Press:People’s Choice Award for Biggest Fan of Jersey Shore Sports for 2015-16
- Presidential Inaugural Parade: George W. Bush representing the State of NJ 2005
- Presidential Inaugural Parade: Barack Obama representing the State of NJ 2013
- Tournament of Roses Parade: Pasadena, California
- United States Marine Corps Award of Excellence 3 times
- Honored by Who’s Who Among American Teachers 10 times
- Performed on NBC – Today Show for Conan O'Brien’s 10th anniversary special
- Performed Opening night of the Broadway show – 42nd Street at the Ford Theatre, NYC
- Performed at 3 ticker tape parades for the NY Yankees, and NY Giants
- Performed at 3 NFL Championship Games
- Performed at 7 World Series Games
- Performed at the Re-dedication of Battery Park NYC (post 9/11)
- Performed at the Dedication of the Korean War Memorial – Atlantic City, NJ
- Performed for Dolly Parton- Radio City Music Hall, NYC
- Performed for Opening night of the Broadway Show – Meridith’s Wilson -The Music Man
- Performed at Levon Helm’s Funeral – Woodstock, NY
- Won over 200 -1st place awards in Marching Band Competitions.
- Performed at over 300 High School football games
- Won the US Bands National Marching Band Championships
For students that are not sure what they should major in at college, Bud has some advice. “Go after what you love to do, and your life will be very enjoyable and rewarding.” He also has advice for current band students and musicians… “Always look forward to tomorrow, never look back. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Go for it man!”