2018 Distinguished Professional Achievement inductees announced

Posted on April 3rd, 2018


April 3, 2018

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame chooses two giants of the music world to be inducted this year for their Distinguished Professional Achievement


Diane Nicholeris, a former color guard captain who now performs with a major symphony orchestra, and iconic jazz pianist Chick Corea, who once played lead soprano on a single-valve bugle, will be inducted as members of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame class of 2018 at a banquet in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in late August.

Chick Corea, whose compositions such as Spain, My Spanish Heart, La Fiesta and dozens more have been covered by more than 50 competing drum corps since the early 1970s, and Diane Nicholeris, first violinist with the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas, will be honored by the Hall of Fame for Distinguished Professional Achievement. They will join previous category inductees, astronaut Christopher Ferguson, actor John Ratzenberger, and fellow musicians Steve Gadd and Billy Cobham.

Both began their musical careers as members of local corps from small Massachusetts towns: Chick Corea in Chelsea with the St. Rose Scarlet Lancers, alongside the future arranging icon Jim Wedge, and Diane Nicholeris with the Sir Thomas Moore Squires of Braintree. Both artists credit their early drum corps experiences with providing the impetus for their highly successful careers. By recognizing their Distinguished Professional Achievement, the Hall of Fame acknowledges the inspiration they provide to all members of the drum corps community.

Chick Corea is the winner of 22 Grammy awards. With 63 nominations, he is the fourth most nominated artist in the history of the Grammys. He has also won three Latin Grammy Awards, the most of any artist in the Best Instrumental Album category. He is a DownBeat magazine Hall of Fame member and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master.

His father, a jazz trumpeter and Dixieland bandleader in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s, introduced him to the piano at the age of four. At eight he took up drums, which later influenced his use of the piano as a percussion instrument. His first major professional gig was with Cab Calloway, followed by early performances in Latin bands led by Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo.

In 1968, he joined Miles Davis’ band, appearing on several ground-breaking recordings pointing the way to a new direction in jazz. He was part of the electrified Davis ensemble that appeared in front of 600,000 people at the Isle of Wight Festival in England in 1970. In the early 1970s, he took a sharp turn from avant-garde to a crossover jazz/fusion style with the album Return to Forever, incorporating Latin jazz. His band of the same name relied on both acoustic and electronic instrumentation and drew upon Latin American styles more than rock music.

Professor Diane Nicholeris, who instructs students of violin and viola at San Jose University, began her violin lessons at the age of 10, hoping to inspire her father to take up the instrument again. One year after she began lessons, she broke her wrist riding an escalator and needed extensive surgery. Because of the range, motion, and use of the hand that violin playing required, practicing became a good form of physical therapy. Although doctors did not expect her to regain any wrist function she persisted for six years to regain about 70 per cent use of wrist motion.

She studied with Joseph Silverstein at Boston University and Sylvia Rosenberg at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where she received her Bachelor of Music Degree. Studying at Tanglewood she met Jahja Ling, former Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, who suggested in 1984 that she audition for a violin vacancy. In addition to since providing more than 20 years of service to the orchestra, she has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Music Academy of the West Orchestra in Santa Barbara, served as concertmaster for the Monterey County Symphony and enjoys performing chamber music concerts throughout the bay area.

She maintained her connection to drum and bugle corps over the years, occasionally judging contests.

Her childhood wrist injury influences her teaching and coaching techniques through empathizing with students’ problems to help them discover solutions that allow them to feel free to express their feelings through music.

The winner of the Hall of Fame’s 2018 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced shortly. During the first half of April, Hall of Fame members will vote electronically to select new regular members to be inducted in August.

Regular World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members are honored for their dedication, contributions and achievements over a long period of time in categories including administration, arranging, adjudication, instruction, innovation and design. Associate members have dedicated at least five consecutive years of service to any drum and bugle corps as a performer or in a support role.

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 by the late Vince Bruni, who served as director of national championship corps in two different eras: the Rochester Crusaders and the Empire Statesmen of Rochester.

The Hall of Fame honors individuals who have contributed significantly over many years to the development and continuing excellence of drum and bugle corps activity. The organization also seeks to preserve the history of the drum and bugle corps movement in North America by selecting a noteworthy junior and all age (senior) corps of each decade since the 1940s.

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