What is Holy Bass?
Holy Bass is the bass drum section from The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (formerly the Holy Name Cadets, Cadets of Garfield, Garfield Cadets, and Cadets of Bergen County). The Cadets is a World Class competitive junior drum and bugle corps. Based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, The Cadets was one of the thirteen founding corps of Drum Corps International (DCI), is a ten-time DCI World Champion, and is the oldest continuously active junior drum and bugle corps in North America.
Why are the Holy Bass alumni so connected?
In 1984 Steve Kieffer began teaching the bass drum section of the Garfield Cadets. He went on to teach the section for 25 years through 2008. During that 25 years a fraternity of sorts was built and the bass drum members that aged out of the corps continued to come back year after year to support the new members of the bass line. Because Steve Kieffer was a center point to the Holy Bass for 25 years that feel of family and brotherhood is what defined Holy Bass. Despite the fact that he retired in 2008, the family feel and brotherhood continues today from alumni to current members/staff and current staff to current members the way Kieffer set the standard and example of for a quarter of a century. For that we are all thankful!
When did the Cadets bass line start getting known as Holy Bass?
In 1994 Cory Gasaway and the other members of the 1994 bass line decided to call themselves Holy Bass as a nod to the origins of the corps which was called the Holy Name Cadets when it was founded in 1934. The name Holy Bass name stuck and is often shortened to just HB. It is now a name that everyone knows when they talk about the Cadets or even just bass drumming in general. A little known fact: Prior to it being officially called Holy Bass, it's been said that when the bass line would mess up in the mid-late 80's and early 90's, Steve Kieffer would yell "Holy Bass!?!" helping to keep his comments clean!
Holy Bass Reunion
Every August at the DCI East Regional in Allentown Pennsylvania, the alumni of Holy Bass gather for a reunion. It's a way to celebrate our history, tell stories and laugh, but it's really an opportunity to show support to the current members and welcome them into the family. Each year for the reunion a new HB t-shirt is made which is why you will always see many alumni and fans walking around at Allentown in their HB shirts.
What is Holy Bass known for?
Holy Bass is known for a certain technique they play with and a very aggressive approach to the drum. They've always been known for great sound quality and very accurate open rhythms. Their tuning is distinct, the foam is on the outside of the heads, and you can hear every note they play any place you are sitting in the stadium. The Holy Bass also has a trademark visual that you see in most shows from 1989 to current. There are some years where it hasn't been done but most years you can see it somewhere in the show. The visual is where drum's 1, 3 and 5 lean back and drums 2 and 4 lean forward and down. The Holy Bass members and their staff have a special hype they do before every show. It's called the Chhrrrpow and when they are gathered in a circle they start one by one with Chrrrr (rolling their r's) till they all join in and crescendo with a loud "Pow" at the end. It's also very special when alumni are near by and can join in on the Chhrrrpow!
How are we growing our HB alumni?
Because of social media we've been able to start connecting with bass drummers that came before Steve's tenure and have included them in the HB family as well. We are always looking for names and pictures of those that came before 1984 and have started to add them to this site. At this point we're pretty good on names from 1973-current. If you know any info about anyone before 1973 or have pictures to share, please let us know so we can get them added to the page.
Please enjoy the website and have fun looking through the pictures and history of the Cadets Bass Line, Holy Bass.