When our son, Finn Bircier, joined the Blue Devils A corps in 1977 (October in those days) Fred was not interested in taking him to the Recruitment Sunday at Concord High School. But when Finn wanted to go to the first audition (which was held at the middle school on Wednesday night), Fred decided to go with me to see what this Blue Devils thing was all about. The next thing we knew we were involved.
Finn was in the cymbal line and Al Stearns was on the phone wanting to know which night we wanted to work bingo. Pretty soon we were not only working bingo, but Fred and I were running Saturday night bingo, we were crowing it, finding a caller, counting the cash, and I was making the deposits at approximately 3 o'clock Sunday mornings.
In 1981 Jim Serena became the president of the Parents Association, and he called one night to say the Mr. McMillan was tired of cutting the grass at Mars and his wife did not want him to drive her new car out on the gravel road any more. So Jim called and offered the job to Fred. (Fred was a farmer at heart, and he had a love for construction) so he said "I will do the field, but that means I cannot keep managing the Saturday night bingo. Someone else will need to do that," And the two of them struck a deal.
From that day on, spring, summer, fall, and winter, if I wished to see my husband on the weekend, I had to bring lunch to Mars for Fred and his henchmen. Those were: Eric Anderson, Vic Nicassio, Scott Moore, and various others from time to time. It included Vince, who resided in the trailer at the field.
First, Fred decided there needed to be a telephone at the field, (this was long before cell phones) then fresh drinking water, irrigation system for the field, then replace that telephone pole tower (which had to be replaced with a building of some sort with storage and some seating for spectators, which could also be used by the marching members). This required some research and planning which Fred loved. Then the lights had to be improved. So Vic and Scott located some in southern California at a school which was getting some new ones. So they got a truck and the two of them took off one weekend to rescue these Eights and bring them to Mars. The building went up the old tower came down and Mrs. Skunk and her family were removed from under the old one. Then there needed to be trees for a windbreak along the back of the field. Unfortunately the kind chosen were Monterey Pine, and they became diseased and had to be removed. Then there needed to be a picnic area for the kids with tables and a cover to keep off the sun.
Fred's heart and energy was always with the kids. He served on the Board of Directors for several years in the 80s and 90s. Fred, Frank Molina, and John Ridgeway were always at the back gate for every home show. They loved it! Fred always said we had to send a runner for all the corps before step off time, but Gail Royer (Vanguard) was always there on time.
Fred's most important commitment was at the field with the kids. He built equipment, built structures, drove the tractor, planted trees, made the coffee, and interacted with the staff and the kids. The thing he came home and talked about was always "the kids". (C. Hollenbeck, 2011)