Posted on July 8th, 2021
Six new Regular members will be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame during a ceremony to take place in Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 20. The inductees have been making an impact on the activity across the continent and around the world for the past 50 years.
The Hall of Fame class of 2021 includes inductees in five categories: Regular, Associate, President’s Choice, International and Distinguished Professional Achievement.
Regular members from administration, brass, percussion and visual categories to be inducted this year are:
Richard “Dick” Eschenmann has dedicated 30 years of service to Drum Corps Associates (DCA), beginning in 1985 when he was one of the Westshoremen representatives at DCA meetings. As a representative of Grey Knights, he was part of the group that in the late 1990s proposed that DCA initiate a Class A division. He subsequently served as the Class A coordinator for three years.
He became DCA business manager in 2004, serving in that position for the following 15 years. He was appointed following the untimely passing of DCA president Mickey Petrone, a World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member inducted in 1977. One of the major tasks during his tenure was insuring that all corps were in compliance when the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) began requiring licensing fees from drum and bugle corps that performed music of artists represented by those groups.
He simultaneously served as championship contest chairman for DCA’s Labor Day weekend tournaments in four different cities in three states: Scranton, Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; Annapolis, Maryland and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He previously served as the gate/field coordinator at DCA championships in Scranton and Allentown, Pennsylvania and Rochester and Syracuse, New York. His introduction to the administrative side of the drum corps activity came in the 1980s and ‘90s when he served as administrative assistant with Westshoremen, then with the Grey Knights.
Prior to his term as DCA Chief Judge from 2008 to 2017, he was a tabulator at DCA contests.
His performance career includes playing soprano with Les Saints drum and bugle corps from 1961 to 1963 and with Lebanon Entertainment Express in 1981 and 1982.
Bill Hamilton first joined the Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio in 1972 as a soprano horn player. He’s been with the organization ever since, devoting 48 years to the same corps. Over that time span, he has been an instructor, held various administration positions and still found time to be a DCA brass judge in 1997.
As Bluecoats began to rise higher in competition, he recognized that his full time job as a band director prevented him from devoting the time needed to help the corps continue to move up. In 2003, after 10 years as corps director he worked with the board directors to find a candidate to replace himself. In the time since he has worked along side director David Glasgow, providing guidance and support. He was program coordinator in 2004 and 2005 and has served as corps manager since 2006.
He began to instruct the brass section in 1983, shortly after the corps almost folded because of financial problems. He was brass instructor in 1987 when Bluecoats became the first Ohio corps to make the Drum Corps International (DCI) championship finals. The corps then missed the finals only once before the Bluecoats won the 2016 DCI championship.
Moving on to the administrative side of corps operations, he was tour coordinator in 1992, corps director for 10 years when he shifted gears again to support his replacement in the administration structure.
Michael Klesch started his drum corps career at the pinnacle of success. Now a world-renowned brass arranger, he came to drum and bugle corps activity as a piano player who played bass drum with Garfield Cadets in 1982, became drum major in 1983 then moved to the brass staff in 1984. The following year, at 23 years of age, he became brass caption supervisor and arranger, replacing outgoing World Drum Corps Hall of Fame arranger Jim Prime, as the Cadets won their third straight DCI championship.
During his time with the Cadets, the corps won DCI titles in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1990 and four Jim Ott Awards for best brass performance. Since he became brass arranger and musical director for Carolina Crown in 2003, the corps won the DCI championship in 2013 and seven Jim Ott Awards.
After his connection to the Cadets, he worked with many other top drum and bugle corps. He has established himself as a highly talented and effective educator, working with drum corps including Phantom Regiment, Spirit of Atlanta, Colts, Crossmen, Troopers, The Academy, Hurricanes and Sunrisers.
He currently operates his own music arranging business, working with ensembles around the world. He was assistant band director at the University of Massachusetts from 1995 to 2006.
He became a member of the Cadets Hall of Fame in 2003 and the DCI Hall of Fame in 2012. He is also a member of the University of Massachusetts UMass Band Hall of Fame.
Key Poulan III is a composer and arranger who has helped produce championship groups in three separate divisions: DCI Open Class, DCA World Class and DCA Mini Corps.
He has also composed works for drum and bugle corps in countries around the world, including Allegiance Elite and Pride of the Lions in western Canada; Juliana of Middelburg, Netherlands; Millenium of Bergamo and Brianza of Veduggio in Italy; Siamyth of Thailand; La Tansa of Indonesia; and Strangnas of Sweden.
He is an innovator who used an ensemble of 12 tenor trombones for the entire show, not just a brass feature, by the Mandarins in 2018. Last year, he created a special quintet featuring soprano, alto, tenor, bass and contrabass trombones for Genesis.
He is widely admired for assisting drum corps in addition to composing and arranging. He also provides input and interpretation and is readily available for consultation with design and technical staff throughout the contest season.
His string of championship titles began in 2003 when Hawthorne Caballeros won the DCA title. The same year, Esperanza of San Diego won the DCI Open Class title, the first corps from southern California to win a DCI championship since 1972. He also won DCI Open class titles with two other corps: the Vanguard Cadets in 2013, 2015 to 2017 and Spartans in 2004, 2005, 2007. He was arranger when Star United won four of its DCA Mini Corps titles.
He served as a DCI music judge in effect/ensemble brass from 1990 to 2002.
He has been arranger/program and design coordinator with Mandarins since 2011. Before that, was composer/arranger for both Santa Clara Vanguard and the Vanguard Cadets. He was composer/arranger for Hawthorne Caballeros from 2003 to 2006 and 2011 to 2015; Fusion Core in 2019 and 2020; Hurricanes from 2018 to 2020.
His first involvement with drum corps activity came in 1983, when he played baritone horn with Blue Devils, of Concord, California.
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 music composer/arranger, instructor and percussion manager as a member of the team that developed Blast, the Tony and Emmy Award winning Broadway production
He is an artist and product consultant with Dynasty USA, helping design the Custom Elite series of marching drums. He has designed three signature sticks for Innovative Percussion. He is an artist and clinician for Remo Inc. and Avedis Sildjian.
He is renowned for his percussion arranging, designing tasteful and musical writing. Working with his wife Sandi, who writes the front ensemble parts, they have created nuanced percussion arrangements that elevate the entire musical ensemble.
As music coordinator, percussion director and arranger for Santa Clara Vanguard, he captured the Fred Sanford Award a record five times in six years and the DCI championship in 2018. He served as director of percussion for Phantom Regiment from 2003 to 2010, winning the Fred Sanford Award three times and the DCI world title in 2008. He has instructed such well known drum and bugle corps as Blue Devils, Sky Ryders, Velvet Knights, Carolina Crown and Troopers.
He has been percussion arranger for many groups, including Rochester Crusaders, Connecticut Hurricanes, Sunrisers and Yokohama Scouts of Japan.
Since 1989, he has written and designed the competitive shows for the 22-time Percussive Arts Society (PAS) International Champion University of North Texas (UNT) indoor drum line. He has been assistant professor of percussion at UNT since 1991. He was featured soloist with the UNT Wind Symphony recording Percussive Palooza and during a showcase concert at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in 2006.
He has spent more than 30 years in drum corps activity, starting in the drum line of the Bayonne Bridgemen in 1985 and 1986.
During a drum corps career that spans six decades, Denise Bonfiglio has worked from coast to coast, setting high standards as a color guard performer, choreographer, technician, design consultant, visual judge and director of various units.
In the 1990s, she served as an instructor representative on the Winter Guard International (WGI) team that wrote the WGI judging philosophy. She is a visual judge with several organizations, including WGI, Mass Judges Association and Musical Arts Conference.
She first carried a rifle in the color guard of Immaculate Conception Reveries in 1965. She moved on to the guard of the 27th Lancers, the corps founded by her father George Bonfiglio, a charter member of the DCI Hall of Fame. She is co-founder with her sister Janine McWilliams of the Bonfiglio Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to DCI corps members.
After aging out with 27th Lancers in 1975, she remained with the corps for the next 10 years working as caption head, choreographer and technician. She served as choreographer and technician with Cadets of Bergen County for the following decade. She also served as design consultant and staff coordinator with Santa Clara Vanguard in recent years before returning to the Cadets as staff coordinator in 2019, becoming CEO and director in 2020. She is winner of five DCI championships as choreographer or design consultant: three with the Cadets and two with Santa Clara. Under her leadership, Santa Clara Vanguard winter guard won three gold, three silver and two bronze world championship medals.
She is also a member of the WGI, Music Educators and DCI halls of fame.
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