As they celebrate 45 years of history, the GLASSMEN continue a long-standing tradition of excellence within the drum and bugle corps activity. They have established themselves as a performing group that dares to explore new horizons and offer exciting world class performances for their fans.
In 1961, the Maumee Suns were formed, marking the beginning of an era of history-making drum and bugle corps in Toledo. The group performed throughout northwest Ohio as a parade corps until it entered Ohio American Legion Competition, and in 1967 they were renamed the Glass City Optimists. Under this name, the corps went on to win many regional championships and developed a reputation for entertaining audiences wherever they performed.
As the organization grew in size and stature, its regional affiliations changed, and in 1971 the corps officially became known as the GLASSMEN to represent Toledo, the "Glass Capital of the World." GLASSMEN began competing that year in the ranks of Division II, and after going inactive during the 1977 season, the corps made the move towards Division I competition. The University of Toledo's Glass Bowl Stadium also became host to the GLASSMEN's "Key to the Sea" International Championship competition throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1983, the corps first achieved DCI Member status, having placed as a Quarter-Finalist in the Top 25.
With the changeover in administration, 1986 not only marked a building year for the corps, but a building era. The organization began a ten year climb up the competitive ladder of the drum and bugle corps activity. The late 1980s also saw the emergence of the GLASSMEN Winter Guard, which, after a period of inactivity, re-organized for the 2000 season, competing successfully in Winter Guard International competitions around the country in the Independent World division.
In 1991, the GLASSMEN Drum %26 Bugle Corps placed 17th, making the DCI Semi-Finalist list for the first time. After missing the Finals cut by only one-tenth of a point in 1992, the GLASSMEN made DCI history once again by placing 11th in the prestigious Top 12 during the 1993 DCI Championship Finals competition. The corps has continued to rise through the ranks of the Top 12, garnering a coveted position in the top echelon of DCI member corps.
The GLASSMEN made continued to make history in 2005 by becoming a DCI finalist for the eighth time, while also achieving the opportunity to perform during the PBS broadcast of the DCI Championships across the country. The corps has also appeared on Japanese television, and was featured in LIFE magazine. In 2006 they will make a historic tour of Europe during the summer season.
GLASSMEN members have been consistently recognized for their achievements both on and off the field. Several members have received scholarships through drum corps organizations both regionally and nationally, and many have been chosen to participate with the Drum Corps Midwest All Stars. Members have continued on to become instructors and designers within the activity, and many more have gone on to teach other groups and schools in their area. GLASSMEN Alumni include a television producer, a Broadway performer, and a championship figure skater. They are moms, dads, teachers, and students, but they all share a part of the GLASSMEN Family.
While the leadership of the corps has changed over the years, and hundreds of members have come through the ranks of the corps, the mission is still the same - to offer an opportunity to young people that promotes learning not only about music and marching, but about life. It is a chance for them to become better human beings, and better people in their communities and the world around them. It is, as the motto says, "an experience of a lifetime."