Posted on June 28th, 2021
After skipping an induction ceremony and banquet in 2020 because of COVID 19 pandemic restrictions, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame will induct new members during the 2021 ceremony to take place in Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 20. The date and location of the event is a departure from earlier ceremonies, which were traditionally held on the same weekend and location as the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournament on Labor Day weekend.
The Hall of Fame class of 2021 includes inductees in five categories: Regular, Associate, President’s Choice, International, Distinguished Professional Achievement.
Regular members are honored for their dedication, contributions and achievements over a long period of time in areas 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. President’s Choice award winners are selected for exceptional activities in support of the drum and bugle corps community. International Award recipients are selected on the same criteria as regular members. The Distinguished Professional Achievement award recognizes former drum and bugle corps participants with outstanding career achievements in areas including music and other business activities.
Regular members from administration, brass, percussion and visual categories to be inducted this year are:
Richard Eschenmann became DCA business manager in 2004, serving in that position for the following 15 years. During that time he also served as DCA championship contest chairman at tournaments in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; Annapolis, Maryland and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
William Hamilton has been associated with the same drum and bugle corps, the Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio, for almost 50 years. Since playing soprano horn in 1972, he has instructed the brass line, served in various administrative positions including corps director and judged brass for DCA.
Michael Klesch was arranger and brass staff member for Garfield Cadets in the 1980s, when the corps won six Drum Corps International (DCI) championships and four Jim Ott Awards for best brass performance. He is considered one of the preeminent brass arrangers in the drum corps community.
Key Poulan III has been composer/arranger for such top North American drum and bugle corps as Santa Clara Vanguard and Vanguard Cadets, Hawthorne Caballeros, Fusion Core and Hurricanes over the past decade. He has also composed for drum and bugle corps in Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Thailand, Indonesia and Sweden.
Paul Rennick’s percussion groups have won the DCI Fred Sanford Award for Percussion Performance eight times. In a rare feat, he has won percussion caption championships with two different organizations: Santa Clara Vanguard and Phantom Regiment. He was a key member of the team that developed Blast, the Tony and Emmy Award winning Broadway production.
Denise Bonfiglio has won five DCI championships serving as choreographer or design consultant: three times with Cadets of Bergen County and twice with Santa Clara Vanguard. Under her leadership, Santa Clara Vanguard won three gold, three silver and two bronze World Championship medals. She co-founded the non-profit Bonfiglio Foundation to raise funds to provide scholarships to DCI corps members.
The new Associate members are:
Joe Brancati, known fondly as “The Colonel,” has been performing continuously since he began playing soprano horn in 1940: a span of more than 80 years. In 1945, he instructed Flagstaff-Perth Amboy, the first African American drum and bugle corps in New Jersey history. He co-founded and taught the Amboy Dukes in 1945. He was also Amboy Dukes featured soloist, performing an iconic version of Sugar Blues in 1958. He has been director of ROMEO Cadets since 1989. Cadet recruits must be age 70 or more!
John Carr has been involved with the March of Champions contest in Kingston, New York for 25 years. It is one of DCA’s most popular and well-attended shows. He has been DCA treasurer and board member since 2016. He played soprano horn with Hawthorne Muchachos for 10 years until the corps disbanded in 1978. He then helped obtain Burger King corporate sponsorship to support the creation of Fantasia III.
Brad Coleman has applied his widespread drum corps skills in brass, percussion and drill to several top rated corps. He has been a tympani player, assistant drum major and drill technician with New York Skyliners; drum major and soprano horn with Sunrisers, drum major and brass tech with Skyliners Alumni and percussion tech with Hawthorne Caballeros.
Mike DiMuro began playing a soprano bugle with Ridge Culver Statesmen in Rochester in 1953 and quickly rose to the position of soloist before moving on to play solo soprano with Rochester Crusaders for six years, including 1965 when the corps won the America Legion national championship. He returned to drum corps activity in 2010, performing with Prime Time Brass and St. Joe’s Alumni Corps.
Chris Maher has been a key historian and archivist in the efforts to preserve various aspects of drum and bugle corps activity, including music scores, photos, videos and narratives. Over more than 20 years, his contributions as researcher, conservator, writer, photographer and database/web architect have evolved into the online museum Drum Corps Experience (DCX).
Fran Haring has been the voice of drum corps for more than 35 years as the announcer at DCA regional and championship shows, National Dream contest, Drum Corps Grand Prix, Parade of Champions, American Legion championships and many others. He has been a Drum Corps World contributing writer since 1983. His drum corps involvement began when he played French horn with Sacred Heart Crusaders in 1971.
Shirley McGrath was active with color guards of several top Rochester area junior corps, starting in 1962 when she marched as the corps mascot for Emerald Cadets of Irondequoit: she was too short to manoeuver a full sized flag. After two years, she moved to rifle then to a flag spot in the competition color guard. She was World Drum Corps Hall of Fame banquet manager for five years and has instructed the St. Joe’s Alumni honor guard.
Dennis “Dino” Myers first became involved in drum corps activity at age 10 in 1957. In addition to playing contra bass with Reading Buccaneers and Yankee Rebels over the years, he has served as business manager for York White Roses, Reading Buccaneers and Alumni. He has been co-chair of Buccaneers Alumni indoor show Music in the Mountains since 2014.
William Siddon began playing a single valve soprano horn at age 11 in 1953, the start of a drum corps career that includes more than 30 years with New York Skyliners, first playing baritone then eventually marching out front as drum major with Skyliners Alumni. He has been a horn and drill instructor for many upstate New York corps, introducing hundreds of young people to drum corps activity.
Dan Wildonger keeps the wheels moving behind the scenes for Reading Buccaneers: loading and driving the truck, lining the field and making sure corps members have water. His more formal duties since joining the Bucs in 1997 including performing in the horn line, serving on the membership committee, secretary to the board, and assistant director.
President’s Award (two inductees):
Bill Ives has amassed more than 16,000 items and more than 230 vintage uniforms in his efforts to preserve the history of drum and bugle corps activity. For 20 years, he has been displaying samples of his collection at various events in Canada and the United States.
John Kreitzer has been involved in marching bands and drum and bugle corps for more than 40 years. He began judging with Drum Corps Associates (DCA) in 1985, serving as DCA Judging Coordinator since his appointment to the position in 2008. He has provided extensive guidance to DCA member corps this year on how make the best use of cameras in covering field shows during virtual competition.
Roger Steele, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom began serving as director of Concord Drum and Bugle Corps in 1984. Since then, the corps has won 13 championships in six different classes. He was a founder member of the British Drum Corps Federation in 1987.
Distinguished Professional Achievement:
Jeff Kievit was a soprano soloist with Hawthorne Muchachos junior drum and bugle corps who has since performed on trumpet with artists and groups popular around the world. He has also performed on many Broadway Musical cast albums.
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