Newsletters (past and present)


What are GCCs?

What are GCCs?

photo of Don Daber from 1960

Don Daber (1960)

Green Capsule Comments or GCCs, as they were commonly known, were the official publication of the Optimists organization.

In mid-1960 Don Daber became the official photographer and publicity person for the Toronto Optimists. Don was a promotional genius who he had a clear vision of how The Optimists, and other drum corps, should be promoted. One of Don's first creations was "Green Capsule Comments" or, as most people referred to it, GCC. Don had a two-fold purpose for GCC. The first objective was keep corps members informed about what was happening within the corps. The second, and more important goal, was to create a communications vehicle that could be used to promote the corps. In addition to corps members GCC was distributed to the fans of the Toronto Optimists, to drum corps publications and to others in the greater drum corps community. GCCs quickly became the envy of every other drum corps.

The first issue of GCC was published in December of 1960. Work on this issue, as well as on all later issues, was done by Don Daber together with volunteers from the corps. For the first few years printing was done using a mimeograph machine. As a result, these issues were strictly black and white, with no grey. They were, however, printed on green paper, green being the colour of The Optimists. As technology improved so did the look of the publication. In the early days there were two versions: one for the general public as well as an "Inside the Corps" edition that was strictly for corps members. Eventually the "Inside the Corps" edition disappeared.

Here's an excerpt from the Volume 3, Number 1 issue of GCC that offers a bit of background regarding the beginnings of Green Capsule Comments.

The paper actually began earlier than the dateline on that first issue---December, 1960. During the summer of 1960 the Corps established their "Thought for Today” card hung on the front inside window of the bus with the appropriate thought in relation to that particular contest we might have been attending. In conjunction with the Eastern States Championships in Rome that year a collection of “second thoughts for the day" were handed to members of the Corps on the bus as we sped towards Rome and this was a one sheet effort entitled GREEN CAPSULE COMMENTS — written in Latin (appropriate for the destination) with an English translation for the uneducated — and somehow tied in with the movie BEN HUR and the big "Invasion of Rome" ...with instructions to "Send Commander Hennius up for the Trophius". Well, we didn't send Phil up for the trophy that year as the results were: BLESSED SACRAMENT First with 85.45; GARFIELD Second with 83.25 and OPTIMISTS Third with 81.15

No further "Capsule Comments" were issued immediately after but we still continued our "Thoughts of the Day" for the remaining contests of the year. THE FIRST ISSUE was handed out at our last rehearsal of 1960 at the “Christmas & Coke" gathering as the Corps closed off that evening and consisted of 3 pages, typed one side and gave the 1960 YEAR IN REVIEW on two pages, introduced "THE STAFF" and the third page previewed what we hoped future issues of GCC would bring forth in 196l — with such column titles as: RIFLE BLASTS — Ivor Bramley; HORN BARKS — by Warren Mills; OFF THE TOP OF MY SHAKO — by Terry Sweeney; DRUM-M-M-M BEATS — by Ronn Prokop; LOOKING AT THE CORPS THROUGH GREEN COLOURED GLASSES — by Ed Nanni; and THE LAST WORD---by Don Daber. As it worked out many of these columns didn't materialize as the second issue featured CARE OF UNIFORM & EQUIPMENT by Barry Bell, a review of the 1960 record and an introduction to the "27 CLUB" by JIM STEWART. Ed Nanni closed that issue with an editorial on "THE BAGGS' WAGON" — our new Equipment Truck---an item we still haven't got as we have been buying other needed equipment in place of this.

GCCs were published every year from 1961 until the Toronto Optimists merged with the Seneca Princemen to form the Seneca Optimists. The final issue of Green Capsule Comments, Volume 15, #4, was published in late 1975.

Creating a DCI calibre corps required a shift of priorities. As a result, the first issue of GCC for the Seneca Optimists was not published until 1977. While the GCC letters stayed the same the meaning changed. The Toronto Optimists colour had been Green while the Seneca Optimists was Yellow. GCC now meant "Gold Capsule Comments"! Two issues of GCC were published in 1977 with another two in 1978. The Seneca Optimists disbanded at the end of 1978 and, until 2009, GCCs were simply another piece of the corps' history.

photo of Bob Carell and David Johns (2011)

Bob Carell and David Johns (2011)

Optimists Alumni members David Johns and Bob Carell had marched together in the Toronto Optimists and both of them had fond memories of the old GCCs. In 2009 they decided to resurrect GCC. Officially the publication was called G&GCC (Green and Gold Capsule Comments) to honor both the Toronto Optimists and the Seneca Optimists. The initials, however, had always been "GCC" and, by the time the third issue was published, that is what they had become. Since most members of the Optimists Alumni were a bit "long in the tooth" the publication affectionately became known as Grey Capsule Comments. The final edition of that incarnation of GCC was published in January 2020.

photo of Vern Johansson (2008)

Vern Johansson (2008)

Recently I discovered that there was a publication in the very early days of the Alumni Corps. The first copy that I found was titled GCC; however, its subtitle was "Geriatric Capsule Comments". The name was appropriate since most of the early alumni corps members had marched in the late 50s and early 60s. I'm sure that the name was carefully chosen because GCC was always the acronym for the publication! I did some checking and learned that Vern Johansson was the publisher. Vern felt that "it would be a good idea to have a record of our first performance, for posterity". The publication, while appreciated, was short-lived. In Vern's words "there were only 3 issues because I was burning the candle at both ends, as I was heavily involved in corps matters plus I was in rehearsals for my one-man show about Mark Twain." When I got my hands on copies of second and third issues I noticed that the subtitle had been dropped and they were simply called GCCs.

This section of the Toronto Optimists History website (GCC Archives) contains PDF versions of every issue of GCC published in the last 18 years. There are also some scanned versions from the 60s and 70s. I am currently searching for paper copies of old GCCs. As I obtain more back issues they will be scanned and posted.


Green Capsule Comments

Newsletters of the Toronto Optimists

  • Volume 2, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 2, #2: (January, 1962)
  • Volume 2, #3 (February – March) (not available)
  • Volume 2, #4 (April – May) (not available)
  • Volume 2, #5: (June – July)
  • Volume 2, #6 (August – September) (not available)
  • Volume 3, #1 (January – February) (not available)
  • Volume 3, #2 (March – April) (not available)
  • Volume 3, #3 (May – June) (not available)
  • Volume 3, #4 (July – August) (not available)
  • Volume 3, #5: (September – October)
  • Volume 3, #6: (November – December)
  • Volume 4, #1: (January - February)
  • Volume 4, #2: (March – April)
  • Volume 4, #3 (not available)
  • Volume 4, #4 (not available)
  • Volume 4, #5 (not available)
  • Volume 5, #1: (covers November – December of 1964)
  • Volume 5, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 5, #3: (May – June (Submitted by Bob Carell))
  • Volume 5, #4 (not available)
  • Volume 6, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 6, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 6, #3 (not available)
  • Volume 6, #4: (October – November)
  • Volume 7, #1: (January – February – Submitted by Bob Carell)
  • Volume 7, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 7, #3 (not available)
  • Volume 7, #4 (not available)
  • Volume 7, #5: (Nationals Issue – Submitted by Bob Carell)
  • Volume 7, #6 (not available)
  • Volume 8, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 8, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 8, #3: (July through October)
  • Volume 9, #1: (January – February – submitted by George Tamaki)
  • Volume 9, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 9, #3 (not available)
  • Volume 9, #4: (November)
  • Volume 10, #1: (January)
  • Volume 10, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 10, #3 (not available)
  • Volume 10, #4: (April  – submitted by George Tamaki)
  • Volume 10, #5 (not available)
  • Volume 10, #6 (not available)
  • Volume 10, #7 (not available)
  • Volume 10, #8: (October – November, paper copy submitted by George Tamaki)
  • Volume 11, #1: (January – February, paper copy submitted by Randy Cochrane)
  • Volume 11, #2: (March – April)
  • Volume 11, #3 (not available)
  • Volume 11, #4 (not available)
  • Volume 13, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 13, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 13, #3: (May thru September)
  • Volume 14, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 14, #2: (Year in Review – Submitted by Bob Carell)
  • Volume 15, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 15, #2 (not available)
  • Volume 15, #3: (June – featuring McCusker Madness)
  • Volume 15, #4 (not available)

Gold Capsule Comments

Newsletters of the Seneca Optimists

  • GCC was not published in 1976
  • Volume 1, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 1, #2: Gold Capsule Comments, April 1977(Submitted by Enzo Marrella)
  • Volume 2, #1 (not available)
  • Volume 2, #2: Gold Capsule Comments, August 1978 (Submitted by Enzo Marrella)

Geriatric Capsule Comments

Early Newsletters of the Optimists Alumni


Grey Capsule Comments

Later Newsletters of the Optimists Alumni

  • December 2017 (Issue 22: Feature – trip to Jeju, South Korea)
  • The 2019 edition was published in early 2020 and is listed as "2020".
  • January 2020 (Issue 24: Feature – Jeju 2019, Old Skool Drum Corps)
  • Bookmark Summary (a table of contents for each issue of Grey Capsule Comments from December 2009 until 2020)

Toronto Optimists History Newsletters

Toronto Optimists History – Newsletters

  • January 2021 (Chapters 1 and 2 of Colin's book)
  • April 2021 (Chapters 3 and 4 of Colin's book, article by Barry Bell)
  • July 2021 (Chapters 5 and 6 of Colin's book, articles by Lorne Ferrazzutti and John Byrne plus a history of the Jolly Jesters)
  • October 2021 (Chapters 7 and 8 of Colin's book, articles by Frans Rood, Lorne Ferrazzutti, Mel Dey, Phil Hennings and Terry Sweeney plus a history of the Preston Scout House Band from inception until 1958)
  • January 2022 (Chapters 9 and 10 of Colin's book, recollections from Phil Hennings and David Johns, stories about the City of Toronto Flag and the St. Lawrence Seaway Flag, as well as a history of the De La Salle "Oaklands" Drum Corps)
  • April 2022 (Chapters 11 and 12 of Colin's book, recollections from Mark Wicken and Frans Rood, reprints about beating Blessed Sacrament in Rome, a history of the LaSalle Cadets Drum Corps as well as a Spotlight on the Simcoe Golden Lions)
  • July 2022 (Chapters 13 and 14 of Colin's book, recollections from Mike Thys, a GCC reprint from 1963, a history of St Johns Drum Corps as well as a Spotlight on the Aurora/Newmarket Ambassadors)