2015 Audubon Bon Bons Scholarship Awarded to Shannon Reirden


After the conclusion of the “We the People” ceremony held on Memorial Day, alumni from the Audubon Bon Bons Drum and Bugle Corps presented trumpet player Shannon Reirden with a scholarship “gift” towards her summer fees.

The Bon Bons were an all-female corps from Audubon, NJ that performed between 1938 and 1977. The founders, Joseph and Florence Bernert formed the corps because they “believed that girls could do anything boys could,” according to alumna Carol Terreri. She explained that few all-girl corps existed during this time so the Bon Bons were often forced to compete against their male counterparts. Despite the unfair circumstances, the Bon Bons rose through the ranks to gain an impressive reputation, often times beating out their male competitors. In 1957, before the creation of DCI when corps would compete in events sponsored by the VFW or American Legion, the Bon Bons placed second next to The Holy Name Cadets. They took home many awards over the years including every all-girl title after its creation in 1968, earning them a reputation as the consistent “national championship all-girl drum and bugle corps.”

With competition days now over, the Bon Bons make a point to stay involved in the drum corps community and keep the Bernert family’s memory alive. With the help of a strong alumni association and the Audubon Bon Bons Alumni Chorus, the Bon Bons created this scholarship, or gift as the girls prefer to call it, to relieve the financial burden of drum corps for one girl each year. We are honored to announce that trumpet player Shannon Reirden is this year’s recipient.

When Shannon’s name was announced at the afternoon corps ceremony, she was completely surprised. Earlier in the year, Shannon wasn’t sure if she could march another season because of the expenses of her first year at the University of New Hampshire. She said she “didn’t feel herself without it,” and couldn’t imagine a summer at home while everyone she loved performed without her. To get back on the field, Shannon picked up many extra hours at her work-study job and wrote countless sponsorship letters to friends, businesses, and even CEOs. She says, “Receiving money to help me do what I love for the summer has lifted a huge financial burden off my shoulders. I couldn’t thank the ladies at the Bon Bons enough.”