TORONTO OPTIMISTS HISTORY

The Toronto Optimists was initially formed in 1952 as the 18th Scout Troop. This group became the 157th Scout Troop Trumpet Band and in 1956, with sponsorship from the Downtown Optimist Club, they became known as the Optimist Trumpet Band, nicknamed Opti.

With the 1956 Canadian Junior Novice competition, Opti began an unmatched string of championship victories. The corps leaped from being a class B standstill corps in 1957 to winning the Canadian National Junior Corps Championships in 1958, defeating Preston Scout House. Opti then went on to win ten more titles, through 1968. The Optimists’ unbroken streak of eleven consecutive championships is far longer than that of any other corps in drum corps history, American or Canadian.

The Optimists had the distinction of being the first Canadian corps to carry the newly-official maple leaf flag, on Feb. 27, 1965.

 

The uniform consisted of white bucks, black pants with a white stripe, a white sash and cummerbund, a green mother of pearl shako topped with a white plume and a green satin blouse with a white diagonal stripe bordered in black.

 

Also known as The Green Machine, the Optimists continued to compete into the 1970's. Opti won one more Canadian Junior title in 1972. In the Spring of 1976 they merged with the Seneca Princemen to become the Seneca Optimists with their last season in 1978.

In 2003, the Optimists Alumni Drum Corps was formed and has continued performing since then.

Please explore the rich history of the Optimists organizations through the GRAND TOUR below, or visit the individual GALLERIES that contain a more extensive set of photos, videos, and audio recordings (also available through the site menu at top of the page). If you have potential contributions to this vast history, please contact us.

GALLERIES

All collections

GRAND TOUR

Scroll through the GRAND TOUR page or click on one of the following corps crests to navigate directly to that corps' tour. 

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TORONTO OPTIMISTS

1958

REPERTOIRE

When You're Smiling (fanfare and off the line)
Song of the Vagabond King from Desert Song
Halo (fanfare)
Fanfare #2
Hail to Optimism
It's a Big, Wide, Wonderful World
Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (concert entrance)
Hello Young Lovers, In the Mood and Little Brown Jug (concert medley)
Fanfare #3 (concert exit)
The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
The Red, White and Blue
O Canada (colour presentation)
Fanfare #4
Till We Meet Again (field exit)

   

1959

REPERTOIRE

When You're Smiling (fanfare and off the line)
Song of the Vagabond King from Desert Song
Halo (fanfare)
Fanfare #2
Hail to Optimism
It's a Big, Wide, Wonderful World (concert entrance)
Serenade from The Student Prince and In The Mood (concert medley)
Fanfare #3 (concert exit)
The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise
The Red, White and Blue
O Canada (colour presentation)
Zip a Dee Doo Dah from the film Song Of The South
Auf Wiedersehen (field exit)

   

1960

REPERTOIRE

Meadowlands (off the line)
Manhattan Beach
Halo (fanfare)
Hail to Optimism
To Each His Own (concert entrance)
Serenade from The Student Prince and In The Mood (concert medley)
Fanfare #2 (concert exit)
Song of the Vagabond King from Desert Song
When You're Smiling
Imperial Echoes
O Canada (colour presentation)
Lassie (fanfare)
Till (field exit)

   

1961

REPERTOIRE

Cockeyed Optimist from the film South Pacific (off the line)
Meadowlands
Fascinating Rhythm
Just In Love
Manhattan Beach (concert entrance)
Serenade from The Student Prince and In The Mood (concert medley)
Fanfare (concert exit)
This Is The Army, Mister Jones
To Each His Own (field exit)

   

1962

REPERTOIRE

It's a Big Wide Wonderful World (fanfare and off the line)
Let Me Entertain You from the musical Gypsy
Asia Minor
St. Louis Blues
(concert entrance)
I'm In The Mood For Love and Down By The Riverside (concert medley)
Tabu (concert exit)
I Believe (colour presentation)
The Party's Over from the musical Bells Are Ringing (field exit)

   

1963

REPERTOIRE

Lawrence of Arabia Theme (on the line fanfare)
El Cid Love theme from the motion picture (off the line)
St. Louis Blues
Fairest of the Fair March (concert entrance)
Chatanooga Choo Choo (concert)
Tabu (concert exit)
I Believe (colour presentation)
The Party's Over from the musical Bells Are Ringing (field exit)

   

1964

REPERTOIRE

Who Will Buy from the Broadway musical Oliver (off the line)
More from the motion picture Mondo Cane
Let Me Entertain You from the musical Gypsy (into concert)
El Cumbachero (concert)
It's Legitimate from the musical Do Re Mi (concert exit)
I Believe (colour presentation)
The Party's Over from the musical Bells Are Ringing (field exit)

   

1965

REPERTOIRE

Who Will Buy from the Broadway musical Oliver (off the line)
Alabama Jubilee
Big Bad Bill (concert entrance)
El Cumbachero (concert)
Mandy (concert exit)
Battle Cry of Freedom and O Canada medley (colour presentation)
More from the motion picture Mondo Cane

   

1966

REPERTOIRE

Food from the Broadway musical Oliver (off the line)
Battle Cry of Freedom and O Canada medley (colour presentation)
Eager Beaver (out of colour presentation)
Five Foot Two, Emily, Georgia On My Mind, Frivolous Sal, Sweet Georgia Brown, Thank Heaven For Little Girls medley (concert)
Old Devil Moon (out of concert)
More from the motion picture Mondo Cane (off the field)

   

1967

REPERTOIRE

Born Free from the motion picture Born Free (off the line)
Battle Cry of Freedom and O Canada medley (colour presentation)
Eager Beaver (out of colour presentation)
Five Foot Two, Georgia On My Mind, Frivolous Sal, Sweet Georgia Brown, Thank Heaven For Little Girls medley (concert)
Old Devil Moon (out of concert)
More from the motion picture Mondo Cane (off the field)

   

1968

REPERTOIRE

The Joker from the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint -- the Smell of the Crowd (off the line)
Ontario from the Academy Award film A Place To Stand (colour presentation)
Going Out Of My Head (concert entry)
Five Foot Two, Georgia On My Mind, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Sweet Georgia Brown, Thank Heaven For Little Girls medley (concert)
Temptation (concert exit)
You Only Live Twice from the motion picture You Only Live Twice (off the field)

   

1969

REPERTOIRE

Hang 'em High from the motion picture Hang 'em High (off the line)
Ontario from the Academy Award film A Place To Stand (colour presentation)
Temptation (concert entry)
Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In from the musical Hair (concert)
Those Were The Days (concert exit)
Blue Rondo a la Turk (drum solo)
San Francisco (field exit)

   

1970

REPERTOIRE

Hang 'em High from the motion picture Hang 'em High (off the line)
Phantom Regiment (colour presentation)
Temptation (concert entry)
You Make Me So Very Happy by Blood, Sweat and Tears (concert)
Flesh Failures from the musical Hair (out of concert)
Little Brown Jug (drum solo)
San Francisco (field exit)

   

1971

REPERTOIRE

Victory at Sea medley from the classic TV series Victory at Sea (off the line)
This Is The Army Mr. Jones from Irving Berlin's World War II all-soldier revue This Is The Army (drum solo)
Patton theme from the motion picture Patton (colour presentation)
Get Together by the Youngbloods (concert entry)
Moonlight Serenade, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan big band medley (concert)
Flesh Failures from the musical Hair (out of concert)
San Francisco (field exit)

   

1972

REPERTOIRE

Paint Your Wagon, Mariah medley from musical Paint Your Wagon (off the line)
Make Me Smile (drum solo)
More And More by Blood, Sweat and Tears (concert entry)
Moonlight Serenade, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan big band medley (concert)
Patton theme from the motion picture Patton (colour presentation)
Superstar by the Carpenters (field exit)

   

1973

REPERTOIRE

Le Coq D'or medley from the orchestral suite Le Coq D'or (off the line)
Caravan (concert)
Make Me Smile (drum solo)
More And More, Lucretia McEvil, Sometime In Winter, Hi Dee Ho,
Over the Hill at 30
medley of Blood, Sweat and Tears tunes (field exit)

   

1974

REPERTOIRE

Le Coq D'or medley from the orchestral suite Le Coq D'or (off the line)
It Better End Soon by Chicago (concert)
Beautiful People (field exit)

   

1975

REPERTOIRE

The Trolley Song, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, medley of Judy Garland tunes (field entry)
The Man That Got Away
Papa Was A Rolling Stone (percussion solo)
Soulero
Indian Lady (concert)
Beautiful People (field exit)
Judy Garland medley (reprise)

   

 
SENECA OPTIMISTS

1976

REPERTOIRE

Finale from Gustav Mahler's 7th Symphony (field entry)
Farandole
Indian Lady
Road Ode (field exit)
Gustav Mahler's 7th Symphony (reprise)

   

1977

REPERTOIRE

Finale from Gustav Mahler's 7th Symphony (field entry)
Children's Dance
West Side Story medley
Drum solo
Pippin (field exit)

   

1978

REPERTOIRE

Sorcerer and the Latin (field entry)
West Side Story
medley
Farandole (field exit)

   

 
OPTIMISTS ALUMNI

2003

REPERTOIRE

Who Will Buy
Eager Beaver
Old Devil Moon
The Party's Over

   

2004

REPERTOIRE

Who Will Buy
Taboo (1962 Version)
Drum Solo
(Rebound)
Battle Cry of Freedom / O Canada

Eager Beaver
Drum Solo
(Hazard)
Old Devil Moon
Big Bad Bill

The Party's Over

   

2005

REPERTOIRE

Old Devil Moon
Taboo
Drum Solo
(Rebound)
Paint Your Wagon
Drum Solo
(Hazard)
Big Band Concert (Moonlight Serenade, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan)
The Party's Over

   

2006

REPERTOIRE

Tabu (new arrangement)
Battle Cry of Freedom / A Place to Stand (Ontario)
Drum Solo

Paint Your Wagon
Drum Solo

Big Band Concert (Moonlight Serenade, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan)

   

2007

REPERTOIRE

Paint Your Wagon
Tabu
(new arrangement)
Drum Solo
Big Band Medley (Moonlight Serenade, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan)
Battle Cry of Freedom / A Place to Stand
(Ontario)
More and More

   

2008

REPERTOIRE

Lawrence of Arabia fanfare
Love theme from "El Cid"
Drum Solo

Big Band Medley (In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan)
Battle Cry of Freedom / A Place to Stand (Ontario) with march ending
San Francisco
(Wear flowers in your hair)

   

2009

REPERTOIRE

Lawrence of Arabia fanfare
Love theme from "El Cid"
Big Band Medley
(Moonlight Serenade, In the Mood, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan)
Battle Cry of Freedom
Drum Solo
Patton
San Francisco
(Wear flowers in your hair)

   

2010

REPERTOIRE

Over the Rainbow
Lawrence of Arabia fanfare
Love theme from "El Cid"
Big Band Medley
(Moonlight Serenade, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction, Caravan)
Battle Cry of Freedom
Patton
What Kind of Fool Am I?

   

2011

REPERTOIRE

Opener: fanfare of Lawrence of Arabia followed by the Love Theme from "El Cid"
Concert: Big Band Medley of Moonlight Serenade, Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction and Caravan
Drum Solo
Out of Concert: Temptation
Colour Presentation: a medley of "Battle Cry of Freedom" and "Maple Leaf Forever"
Closer: What Kind of Fool Am I?

   

2012

REPERTOIRE

Opener: Judy Garland Medley
Drum Feature
Concert: Big Band Medley of Boogie Blues, Drum Boogie, Tuxedo Junction and Caravan
Colour Presentation: American Canadian salute (a medley of "Battle Cry of Freedom" and "Maple Leaf Forever")
Drum Feature
Closer: "Beautiful People" with a reprise of "The Man Who Got Away"

   

2013

REPERTOIRE

Opener: Judy Garland Medley
Drum Feature
Concert: "Caravan"
Colour Presentation: "Maple Leaf Forever"
Drum Feature
Closer: "I Have A Love" and "Somewhere" from West Side Story

   

2014

REPERTOIRE

Opener: Theme from "Spiderman"
Drum Feature

Concert: "Caravan"
Colour Presentation: "Maple Leaf Forever"
Closing: Medley from West Side Story (the "Jet Song" with a drum feature, "I Have A Love" and "Somewhere")

   

2015

REPERTOIRE

Caravan
Maple Leaf Forever
Medley from West Side Story (the "Jet Song" with a drum feature, "I Have A Love", America and "Somewhere")

   

2016

REPERTOIRE

How Dry I Am / A Closer Walk with Thee
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love
When The Saints Go Marching In
Tiger Rag
Lil" Liza Jane (walk off)

   

2017

REPERTOIRE

"Y.M.C.A." (Village People)
"A Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Queen)
"I Have A Love" (from West Side Story)
"A Closer Walk with Thee"
"Tiger Rag"
"Elks' Parade"
"Variations on a Korean Folk Song"
"When The Saints Go Marching In"
"Everybody Needs Somebody" (Blues Brothers)