From: Ed Tomlinson
Date: 04 Jan 1999
St. James Minstrels...you are right Fred, everyone waited for the Minstrels. St. James had a journal and they used to get the kids from the Cadet Corps, the Sunday School, the Scouts, etc to sell "Boosters" for 25 cents each. If you sold $10 worth you got a free ticket.
I was speaking with an old Minstrel member, "Butterball" (Billy Metz), over the weekend...he is living in the Nyack area now. I remember how everone was in black face until the last two years of the shows when they changed it to white face. "Butterball's" son, also Billy, was the newest addition to the cast back then.
Mr & Mrs Walters ran many a talent show after the Minstrel years (and maybe even during). There son Johnny played the organ in St James for many years.
The cadets were run by Major Rule and my father, Ed Tomlinson. I also remember Mr Studley, Mr. Perkis, Kenny Wheller, Mr. Merellar, Tracey Aggerup and others that worked with the kids. The cadets would go to West Point, to Philly to see the Ben Franklin Institute, on camping trips in Lake Hopatcong, etc. Ken Ferricks ran the band and Lee Ann Mazie was the majorette. The cadets had two groups of boys that met on Friday nights, the girls also had two groups that met on Mondays (Mrs. Boehler was the captain of the girls) and the band met on Tuesdays.
Later, Janet Velle and I took over the band which had 12 members in 1969. The ranks swelled to over 120 kids by 1976 and we marched in parades in NJ, Manhattan, Bklyn, Queens & LI. The band entered many competitions and won plenty of trophies.