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In 1946 the former traffic court located at 495 Gates Ave. in Brooklyn, N.Y., was transformed into a community recreational center, "Wynn Center," under the operation of the N.Y.C. Police Athletic League. Mr. Sidney E. Austin, a young man fresh from the military, got busy teaching local youth the art of recreational teamwork, discipline, and self-esteem. Due to his military training, Mr. Austin got the brilliant idea to use military techniques to instill motivation and discipline in the local youth. He taught them marching techniques that captured their imagination and interest. From that experience was born a group known as the "Silver Buckles." The Silver Buckles were the forerunners to the "Wynn Center Toppers." With the advent of bugles and drums, the organization became a full-fledged Drum & Bugle Corps and entered competitions against other city units. The year was 1953; they won every standstill competition that they entered. In 1959 the Toppers won the New York State championship. Then in 1968, 69, and 1970, they won the Long Island Drum Corps Circuit championship. The Wynn Center Toppers disbanded in 1972.

In June 1991, former Wynn Center Toppers Drum & Bugle Corps members got together after over twenty years to revitalize the Brooklyn Day Parade. The event was called the "Ultimate Reunion." The Toppers performed as a parade and exhibition Drum & Bugle Corps for the next 21 years in and outside the N.Y.C. area. They performed regularly in Harlem's African American Day Parade and the Brooklyn Day Parade in Brooklyn.

In 2012 the Toppers became inactive as a parade Drum & Bugle Corps. Instead, the remaining dedicated members formed a Brass Ensemble, performing in community-based and Drum & Bugle Corps-related activities. The spirit of the late Mr. Sidney E. Austin and co-founder Mr. Joseph Tucker continue to this day through the work of the Wynn Center Toppers, Inc.

A Brief Drum Corp History

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