Old Timer: Ridgewood’s OLMM Orbits band reunites after four decades

Photos via Facebook/OLMM Orbits Ridgewood NY


Sometimes the band plays on years after its members have played together.

Take, for instance, members of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Orbits Drum and Bugle Corps of Ridgewood, which last performed more than four decades ago. Earlier this month, a group of more than 50 former Orbiters reunited for a special event in New Jersey coordinated in part by band alumnus Bill Krouslis.

Krouslis, a former Ridgewood resident now residing in Washington, N.J., shared some of the band’s history and a report on the reunion in an interesting letter that we now share with all of you:

After 40-plus years, former corps members came together and met at the Holiday Inn at Budd Lake, N.J. There were 54 attendees.

The OLMM Orbits were founded in 1958 by Father William Cummings and members of the OLMM Holy Name Society. Starting as a standstill unit, the Orbits transitioned to marching and maneuvering, and won the Long Island Circuit Championship in 1969.

Throughout the years, dozens of local boys and girls were members of the Orbits.

The evening started with an introduction from the reunion organizers and a memoriam of deceased members, instructors and administrators. Reunion participants brought memorabilia items along, including uniforms, newspaper articles, recordings and pictures.

Everyone in attendance was truly delighted to come together again. The decades of separation melted away instantaneously, with everyone thrilled to be in the company of one another. Everyone agreed that neither time nor location changed the deep friendships that were forged so many years ago in their youth.

All members agreed that we have the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to thank. It was under the tutelage of so many dedicated and remarkable clergy, instructors, board members and parent volunteers that we became much more than a marching and maneuvering drum corps. We became a family.

We thank Mr. Krouslis for his wonderful report from the Orbits reunion, and for speaking with us further to discuss some of the Orbits’ history.

The Orbits were one of many marching bands that local parochial schools — such as St. Matthias School of Ridgewood, famous for its Blue Max Band — organized decades ago. OLMM band members ranged between 13 and 19 years of age.

Donning their distinguished gold, silver and navy blue uniforms, the Orbits could be seen performing at parades all over Ridgewood. They also held an annual military review at OLMM School (now Notre Dame Catholic Academy of Ridgewood), in which the band members would show off their musical and baton-twirling talents.

The Orbits also competed with other Catholic school bands during the annual CYO Championship and achieved great success. According to a Ridgewood Times report on May 16, 1963, the medal drum and bugle corps won the CYO title for the third consecutive year, achieving first-place honors for playing, marching and team twirling.

“Since the Corps was organized three years ago, they have become New York State champions, won firsts in Nassau Suffolk competitions, Yonkers, N.Y., and Kings Point, N.Y.,” the Times reported then. “The Corps twirling section has won Long Island and New York State championships. Snare and bass drummers also gained individual state championships.”

This year’s reunion attracted alumni from as far away as Florida and Pennsylvania, and Krouslis hopes next year’s reunion will attract even more Orbit alumni. He encourages former members to reach out to him through the band’s Facebook page.

If you have memories of “Our Neighborhood: The Way It Was” that you would like to share with us, email your pictures, letters and other information to editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com or write to The Old Timer, c/o Ridgewood Times, 62-70 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood, N.Y. 11385. All mailed photographs will be carefully returned to you.

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