April 2008 – The Venice Beach Marching Society

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By Kathy Leonardo

You may remember seeing The Venice Beach Marching Society creating quite a spectacle, singing on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. They created a Venice ritual every Saturday afternoon, following the horrific devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The much loved Venice Beach Marching Society was created by Venice Resident Bruce Langhorne (who played with Bob Dylan and was the inspiration for Mr. Tambourine Man). When Katrina seemed to be old news and possibly forgotten, Bruce decided to get out there and make a difference. His goal was to merely bring attention, once again to the situation of the people affected by Katrina. He called many of his talented Venice Musician friends and proposed his endeavor. Every single one of them jumped in….”Who could refuse Bruce Langhorne?” If you knew Bruce you would understand. Bruce is a very loving charismatic individual, as well as being incredibly talented performer in his own right. 

The core members of The Venice Beach Marching Society include Bruce Langhorne, Vinnie Caggiano, Alfred Johnson, Debbie Green, Erica Katzin, Kathy Leonardo, Leon Rubenhold and Suzy Williams, but there were many guest singers and musicians as well as people who wanted to participate and march for the cause.

People would cheer as VBMS, with their keyboard and drum kit laden cart, rolled down the Boardwalk, with guitar, bass players and singers adorned in New Orleans Mardi Gras outfits, strutting alongside, all plugged in to a sound system. This was pulled by many different volunteers who adored Bruce and would show up every weekend. 

Well, speaking for The Venice Beach Marching Society, we would want to give a shout out to Bruce Langhorne. Bruce has been ill, and unable to march. We would all like to say thank you for your talent, tenacity and vision…Get Well soon. We will march again!

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