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And the West is History: Goldenaires – 1965

Durango’s American Legion Post 28 started a Drum and Bugle Corps in 1929. It functioned intermittently through the 1930s until World War II. After the war, there was great interest from returning veterans to begin again, and the corps was reorganized in 1946. Local musician, teacher and music store owner Al Ruland became the leader in 1948 and the group’s professionalism and ability increased greatly. Through the 1950s and ’60s, the group excelled, winning the state competition eight years in a row. They competed nationally six times finishing as high as 10th. Membership rules required that 80% of the band was required to be Legion members, and no previous musical ability was required for joining. In 1955, the group purchased gold uniforms and became known as the “Goldenaires” after a contest was held to name the group previously known as the American Legionnaire Drum and Bugle Corps. The group was extremely popular: locally playing in many parades and performing concerts. As the WWII veteran membership aged, interest waned and the group disbanded in 1965. It is estimated that up to 300 Durangoans participated in the post-WW II version of the Corps. They are pictured marching in the 1965 Fiesta parade in the 1500 block of north Main Avenue. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Catalog Number: 99.01.35 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)