Traditions: Preserving drum corps history.

Posted on July 22nd, 2022 by Gail Langan

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members Bill Ives and Steve Vickers, along with Sue Kuehnhold and Blake Crenshaw, discuss the preservation of drum corps history and the display that is being prepared for the 2022 DCI Championships in Indianapolis in Dan Potter’s DCI Fieldpass podcast.

Listen here:

https://dci.org/news/traditions-preserving-drum-corps-history-field-pass-podcast?fbclid=IwAR2RwjP-LXISHUfYfkP9jxHeMH_vUJqevByUYy0Lrx5v_Ppy3TGrEJjw6_w

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Bob Cardaneo to become Legacy member of Cadets Hall of Fame

Posted on April 25th, 2022 by Gail Langan

Bob Cardaneo, currently the secretary of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame executive board, will be inducted into the Cadets Hall of Fame as a Legacy member during a ceremony to be held October 8 in Garfield, New Jersey.

The Cadets Hall of Fame includes the Legacy category for those making contributions between 1934 and 1979 and the Contemporary category for those active since 1980.  The intent of the Cadets Hall of Fame is to provide a venue to recognize and publicly acknowledge members, including alumni, staff, administration and volunteers, for going above and beyond with their time and service to the corps.

He played French horn with the Garfield Cadets in 1967.  He also served as horn instructor for the Garfield Plebes for many years and was one of the brass instructors for the Garfield Cadets in 1977.  He represents the third generation of family involvement in drum and bugle corps activity.  His father marched in the American Legion Mackenzie Post Drum Corps of Bayonne, New Jersey.  One of his grandfathers was one of the original drum instructors for St. Vincent’s Cadets of Bayonne and his other grandfather was the director of the Mackenzie Post corps.

He was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2008, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Tom Weiler was important Preston Scout House Band figure in two eras

Posted on April 23rd, 2022 by Gail Langan

Memorial mass for Tom Weiler, who initiated and helped administrate Preston Scout House Alumni Band activities for 30 years, was held at St. Clement’s Parish in Cambridge on April 13, 2022.  At age 76, he passed away unexpectedly at Cambridge Memorial Hospital while undergoing treatment for melanoma cancer.  The family welcomes donations to the Canadian Cancer Society, Preston Scout House Band Inc. or St. Clement’s Parish.

He was a charter associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, inducted in 2001.

He was a founding member of Preston Scout House Alumni Band, serving as president of the board of directors for about 10 years after alumni activities began with the formation of a heritage colour guard in 1993.  In the three decades following the formation of the guard, the organization grew to include Preston Scout House Alumni Band, Silver Leaves Brass ensemble, Heritage Drill Team, Scout House Cadets drum and bugle corps and Magic of Scout House competitive winter guard.

Through his long association with St. Clement’s Parish and the Preston Knights of Columbus the Band acquired access to the Preston Knights of Columbus building as a winter rehearsal space.  That set the stage for the organization’s steady improvement, membership growth and creation of the new performing units.  It also enhanced social connections within the organization so that many spouses and friends were encouraged to participate in Scout House events, including travel to many out of town performances.

He was one of the Scout House Alumni members who established a close connection with the Great Alliance of Seniors (GAS) reunion organizers in 1990, leading to a GAS weekend in Preston in 1994 that helped open up GAS participation to other Canadian groups.

He played bass drum and twirling tenor drum in the Alumni Band and helped instruct the colour guard and drill team.  He was colour guard captain and instructor with the original Preston Scout House Band from 1961 to 1966, the original Band’s final year of operation.

On retiring from Canadian General Tower after 38 years of service, he took up bird carving.  He earned a number of carving awards as a member of the Grand Valley Woodcarvers and the Wilmont Wood Carvers Association.

He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 57 years, who was the Scout House Band’s activities coordinator for many years; children Tom Jr. (Sharon Barnes), Tammy (Ray Cole) and Trevor; sister Pat (Al Dankowsky), brother in law Richard Teet (Sharon) and six grandchildren.  He was predeceased by son Todd.

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Annual ceremony will bring in 15 new members in five membership categories

Posted on April 20th, 2022 by Gail Langan

The class of 2022 World Drum Corps Hall of Fame inductees includes 15 individuals in five separate categories, who will be inducted at the annual ceremony and banquet to be held this year in November in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  The five categories are: Regular, Associate, President’s Choice, International Achievement and Distinguished Professional Achievement.

Regular Hall of Fame 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:

Candidates from administration, brass, percussion and visual categories to be inducted as regular members this year are: Mike DiMeo of New Hartford, New York; Jim Dugan of Milford, Connecticut; David Glyde of Walnut Creek, California; Eric Kitchenman of Lansdale, Pennsylvania; Dave MacKinnon of Kitchener, Ontario; Hugh Mahon (deceased).

Administration:

Hugh Mahon (deceased March 17, 2021) was involved in every aspect of drum and bugle corps activity for more than 60 years: performance, instruction, administration and judging. He became a member of the Drum Corps International (DCI) Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Garfield Cadets Hall of Fame in 1984.  While he was director of Garfield Cadets in 1972, he was one of the four corps directors who created DCI then planned and organized the first DCI world championship tournament in Whitewater, Wisconsin. The other three are also Hall of Fame members: Dave Kampschroer (Blue Stars), Jim Jones (Troopers) and Don Warren (Cavaliers).  Just two years earlier, Hugh Mahon organized and founded the United Organization of Junior Corps (UOJC), bringing together eastern drum corps and the judging community. He was a visual judge with the Central States Judging Association, the New England Judging Association and the Eastern States Judging Association from the mid 1960s to the 1980s.  He was visual instructor for many top corps beginning with Paterson Lamplighters in 1964 and later Garfield Cadets, Toronto Optimists, Long Island Kingsmen, Bayonne Bridgemen, New York Skyliners and Spirit of Atlanta.  Before he began instructing, he marched as drum major with Paterson Cadets, Skyliners (as co-drum major with Hall of Fame member Walter Winkleman), Garfield Cadets and Hawthorne (as co-drum major with Hall of Fame member Ralph Silverbrand).

Brass:

Mike DiMeo is highly regarded as a soloist in the drum corps community and the wider music world, having performed with such groups and the Four Tops, the Temptations, Jimmy Dorsey Band and other nationally known and local groups and serving as director of the Utica Symphony Orchestra.  He is a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame and the New York State Field Band Conference Hall of Fame.  His bands won many New York state champions while he served as band director at New Hartford High School.  He was a widely respected music judge in the All American conference and the NYS Federation of Contest Judges, able to judge all music captions.  On the drum corps contest field in the 1990s as featured soloist with Syracuse Brigadiers, he won the individual showmanship award at the 1993 Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championships, DCA championship and high brass championship as caption head in 1997and the best soloist award in 1995 and 1998.  He was remarkably steady as a soloist with strength in tone style and range, never missing a note.  He was assistant director and brass caption head of Utica Magnificent Yankees from 1968 to 1974.  His drum corps career began in 1962, when he was soprano soloist with the Magnificent Yankees.  He was drum major from 1964 to 1968 then became brass caption head.  During his marching years, he won many individual contests featuring competitors from across the east coast and Canada, then again won a number of best drum major trophies.

Dave MacKinnon has produced two of Drum Corps International’s (DCI) top horn lines while serving as instructor, music director or brass caption head and supervisor during more than four decades of drum corps involvement. He was music director and brass caption head for 15 years, beginning in 1978, with Ventures all-girl corps of Kitchener, Ontario.  The Ventures captured the DCI Division A championships five times in a 10-year period: 1980, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1990, winning many music and other captions along the way.  In the 17 years of their existence, the Ventures placed in the top three of their class 13 times.  They are the only corps to win both the All Girl and A Class title at the same time, taking both titles in 1980. The Ventures made history again when they became the first all girl corps to place in DCI’s Top 25 in 1986.  His association with Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio began in 1994.  He has served as brass caption head and supervisor ever since.  He is a member of the Bluecoats Hall of Fame. Bluecoats have been DCI finalists in all but one year of his service, taking the title in 2016; second place in 2014 and 2019; third in 2010, 2015 and 2018.  He is particularly well regarded for helping individual horn players improve and working with experienced ensembles, taking them to the top level through his tenacious striving for perfection. He has been a judge with both major drum corps association: general effect, ensemble and field brass with DCI and general effect and ensemble brass with Drum Corps Associates (DCA).  He first played soprano horn with Canadian Commanders of Burlington, Ontario in 1973.  He played soprano and mellophone with Toronto Optimists in the following two years, and continued on mellophone with Seneca Optimists until 1977.

Percussion:

Jim Dugan has been remarkably successful during his involvement with the Bushwackers, founded in Harrison, New Jersey in 1981.  He is a member of the Bushwackers Hall of Fame, inducted in 2010.  Over a 10-year span while he was percussion/battery coordinator then co-program coordinator, the Bushwackers won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship six times: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993.  They also took the DCA high percussion score an unprecedented six times in a row from 1986 to 1991. He worked closely with Hall of Fame member Robbie Robinson in 1992 and 1993 to create innovative percussion programs for Bushwackers, featuring triple stack bass drums.  He played snare in Bushwackers’ championship drum lines in 1987 and1991. Earlier, he played snare with Bayonne Bridgemen when they took the Drum Corps International (DCI) high percussion score in 1980 and 1981.  He marched in the snare line when Milford Shoreliners won the World Open Class B championship in 1977.  He also instructed a number of well-known corps, starting as percussion instructor with Cranford Patriots in 1982. In the following years, he worked with Sunrisers, Connecticut Hurricanes and Hawthorne Caballeros.  He has been a music effect/percussion judge with the US Bands since 2015. His introduction to the drum corps world started when he played snare drum with Connecticut Classics from 1969 to 1976.

Since David Glyde began serving as music arranger and music director of Blue Devils of Concord, California in 1992, the corps has earned 13 Drum Corps International (DCI) world championships, taking the high drum titles in eight of those years.  He had similar success with Syracuse Brigadiers, serving as percussion arranger and consultant when the corps won Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championships in 1997 and 1999 through 2002, also winning percussion titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002.  His achievements overseas are equally impressive: his percussion arrangements and technical expertise have led Japan’s Soka Renaissance Vanguard to an unprecedented 15 national championships through 2019.  The International Olympic Committee hired him to coordinate and design the opening ceremony music for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China and for the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.  Other groups that have performed his arrangements include the internationally acclaimed Riverside Community College Marching Tigers; Clovis West High School Indoor Percussion Ensemble, the 1993 Winter Guard International (WGI) world-class champions; Magic of Orlando drum corps, 2002 DCI class A champions.  He has been a percussion judge with WGI Winter Percussion, Bands of America and the Western Band Association.  He played snare drum with Casper Troopers in 1981, with Santa Clara Vanguard in 1982 and 1983 and with Blue Devils in 1984.

Visual:

Eric Kitchenman has been an award-winning visual designer and instructor for drum and bugle corps from coast to coast in the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean in the United Kingdom.  He was visual designer for Conquest Alliance when they won the 1986 and 1987 Drum Corps United Kingdom (DCUK) championships.  He was inducted into the Buccaneer Hall of Fame in 2015; the Keystone Indoor Drill Association (KIDA) Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Crossmen Hall of Fame in 2006.  He has been a design analysis judge with Winter Guard International (WGI) for about 30 years, beginning in 1992. He has been a visual instructor and designer for a number of well-known drum corps in four different decades beginning with Westshoremen in 1982 and 1983.  He was visual instructor with four other top-rated corps in the 1980s: Valley Fever, Bridgemen, Anaheim Kingsmen and Crossmen.  During the 1990s, he was visual designer for Velvet Knights, Skyliners, Spirit of Atlanta.  He served as visual designer for the Buccaneers twice: from 2000 to 2004 and again in 2006 and 2007.  He was co-designer with Bluecoats in 2001 and designer the following year. He was program coordinator with Crossmen in 2004 and co-program coordinator and visual designer with the Cadets in 2007 and 2008.  He served again with the Cadets in 2009 as visual instructor.  With Boston Crusaders, he was program coordinator in 2013 and staff coordinator in 2014.  His earliest drum and bugle corps experience was playing a baritone horn with Crossmen from 1977 to 1979.

Associate members:

The new associates making up the class of 2022 are: Thomas Brown of Maricopa, Arizona; Gregory Cinzio of Garfield, New Jersey; Phil Dennesen of Beverly, Massachusetts; John Fisher of Estero, Florida; Rod Keppel of Webster, New York; Gary Richardson of Webster, New York.

Thomas Brown is already a member of the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame, after marching from 1970 to 1983 in the color guard, percussion section and sharing drum major duties with Hall of Fame member George Parks in 1979.  He has instructed in a number of categories, including marching field tech with the Bucs from 1993 to 1995; visual caption and drill designer with Leigh Valley Chieftains from 1989 to 1992.  Other responsibilities include Reading High School Band guard instructor from 1986 to 1988; marching band rifle instructor for Wissahickon High School Band from 1977 to 1979 and marching band and indoor guard instructor with Hatboro Horsham from 1973 to 1976.  He was judging coordinator for Cavalcade of Bands from 2002 to 2004.  He has been a visual judge with five different organizations: Drum Corps Associates (DCA), National Judges Association; US Bands, Cavalcade of Bands, Keystone Indoor Association.

Gregory Cinzio, a member of the Cadets Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, has been active in the drum corps community for more than 50 years.  He was a young drummer when he joined the Garfield Cadets in 1962.  Three years later at the tender age of nine, he switched to soprano horn under the direction of Hall of Fame member Jimmy D’Amico.  In all, he performed in field show competitions with the Cadets for 11 years.  In the years since, he has served as a drum major, instructor, administrator, historian and researcher.  He has instructed and performed with New York Skyliners alumni corps since 2006, and has served on the executive board.  He helped Dave Shaw create the first Garfield alumni database, using an Apple MacIntosh computer.  His research included interviews with eight charter members of the original 1934 Holy Name Cadets.  He provided the historical content for the publication celebrating the Cadets 50th anniversary in 1984 and co-produced a 50th anniversary video.

Phil Dennesen first played French horn with St. Mary’s Crusaders in 1963.  In the following years, he performed on mellophone as featured soloist with the Cardinals from 1968 to 1974, Legends of Drum Corps, St. Kevin’s Emerald Knights and Boston Crusaders Senior Corps from 2002.  He has extensive experience as an administrator, including serving as a trustee with Crusaders Senior Corps and the Eastern Massachusetts Drum and Bugle Corps Association. He was director/organizer for the Cardinals Tribute Corps 70th anniversary in 2018 and co-director/organizer for the Arbella Tripute Corps 40th anniversary the following year.  He has been a Cardinals Alumni Association committee member and volunteer since 1987.  He was director of St. John’s winter guard, finalists at Winter Guard International (WGI) from 1992 to 1999.  He volunteered at WGI regional and national championships for more than 10 years.

John Fisher has been a key contributor to Connecticut Hurricanes activities on and off the field going back to 1966 when he joined the horn line as a baritone player. He is a founding member, and first president, of the Hurricanes Alumni Association.  He is also the Hurricanes first historian, creating an archive of the group’s history as well as biographies of all the members of the Hurricanes Hall of Fame and Members of Distinction.  He has created a complete score archive and photo library containing more than 5,000 pictures.  His audio library covers about 65 years of performances, while a video collection spans almost three decades of performances. He created and is webmaster of the alumni website, where the corps history is maintained.  During his time with the organization, the Hurricanes won three Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championships and an American Legion national title.  He is a member of the Hurricanes Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Alumni Hall of Fame. He has served on the Hurricanes board of directors for 30 years.  In four seasons from 1977 through 1980 he served as a marching instructor while he was still playing contra in the horn line.  He started his drum corps activities playing baritone horn with Oxford Explorers from 1963 to 1965.

Rod Keppel is highly regarded for his management and organizing skills as well high-performance capabilities with many of the best-known corps in upstate New York, including Rochester Crusaders, Ghost Riders mini-corps, Hamburg Kingsmen original and alumni corps, Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni and St. Joe’s Brass Ensemble.  He is been an administrator with three active groups:  business manager for Hamburg Kingsmen and St. Joe’s Brass Ensemble, board chairman of Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni.  He is a co-founder of the Great Lakes Brass Alliance (GLBA), which aims to provide performing venues for brass ensembles and other groups from New York state and Ontario.  GLBA operations were interrupted by the pandemic in 2020.  From 1998 to 2004, he served as committee member and chair of the committee that presented The Classic, the popular spring concert at Theater On The Ridge in the Kodak complex in Rochester.  He was treasurer for Rochester Crusaders in 2008 and 2009 and assistant director of Ghost Riders mini corps from 2008 to 2003.  During the 1960s he played French horn with Dunkirk Murraymen junior corps, then went on to Interstate Ambassadors, Dunkirk Flying Dutchmen and Hamburg Kingsmen senior corps.

Gary Richardson makes sure the flags are flying correctly according to proper presentation and flag etiquette rules when honor guards take to the field and during other drum corps special events.  The Dansville White Sabers won Drum Corps Associates (DCA) best honor guard awards during four of the five years he served as honor guard commander.  He also created and instructed honor guards for Empire Statesmen, Ghost Riders mini corps, Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni.  His honor guards opened the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.  In his earlier years, he marched as honor guard commander with a number of drum and bugle corps.  He has always felt that carrying, presenting and protecting the national flag should be an integral part of the drum corps experience.

Three special categories:

The three special categories of World Drum Corps Hall of Fame membership are: President’s Choice, International Achievement and Distinguished Professional Achievement.

Moe Knox: President’s Award inductee

For more than 55 years, Moe Knox took thousands of photographs that now make up a pictorial history of modern drum and bugle corps activity.  He began in 1958 when he was a new member of the Connecticut Hurricanes and carried on for more than five decades until digital systems eventually replaced conventional photography.  He was a familiar sight at major drum corps championship contests and smaller local events where fans would crowd around his photo table to review and order their favorite pictures.

His photos illustrating marching arts activities have appeared in countless magazines, newspapers, individual scrapbooks and online photo galleries and publications.  He received the first Drum Corps Associates (DCA) Heritage Award in 2014 before cheering spectators at JKF Stadium in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  DCA considers his work over the years as the definitive photographic modern history of competitive drum corps activity in the country.

The first major competition he photographed was the 1963 World Open in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Drum Corps News published several of his pictures, leading to a long-term association.  His relationship with Drum Corps World publisher Steve Vickers extended for decades.

His works range from wide views of the corps on the contest field to closer images of smaller sections and individuals.  He was careful to include consideration of the background so the subject of the photo is highlighted properly or the background complements the main image.  He considered factors such as the height of the stadium lights or whether the stadium structure would make it difficult to properly frame the photo.  A favorite strategy was to shoot performers with a stadium light behind, creating a spotlight or halo effect.

Maurice “Moe” Knox Jr. grew up in Milford, Connecticut and has lived in the area ever since.  After graduating from high school in 1953 he joined the United States Navy, serving on the U.S.S. Coral Sea as a gunner’s mate 3rd class.  After his term in service, he went to work at Singer Sewing Machine in Bridgeport as a photographic researcher before becoming staff photographer at the Milford Citizen newspaper.  

His background as a bass drummer in high school and the U.S. Navy Band eventually led him to the Connecticut Hurricanes and drum corps contests as his newspaper assignments allowed.  He soon decided to give up his newspaper position to make a business out of shooting drum corps contests, with a partner managing the photo table while he was roaming the sideline taking pictures.

His love of marching music emerged while he was in grade seven, when he marched in the drumline of a 12 member Boy Scouts trumpet band.  He played bass drum in the Milford High School Marching Band.  During his U.S. Navy boot camp indoctrination, he played with the Recruit Drum and Bugle Corps in Bainbridge, Maryland.  This interest in marching music set the stage for joining the Connecticut Hurricanes late in the 1958 contest season.  He took photos of the Hurricanes at practice and field shows through October, the start of a part-time activity that eventually turned into his full-time business.  

J. Mark Reilly: International Achievement inductee

Mark Reilly is an internationally known performer, public speaker, educator and consultant widely considered to be one of the foremost military music connectors in the world.  He is currently serving as the acting commander of the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the only unit of its kind in the armed forces.  The corps is part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment and recalls the days of the American Revolution, performing in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of General George Washington’s Continental Army.

He is currently the president and CEO of the Washington Tattoo, which aims to present a world-class international music and arts festival to the Washington, D.C. metro area. 

He holds degrees in music education from Northwestern State and Boston universities and is an adjunct professor at West Virginia University.  He has been accepted into the American Military University’s Master of Business Administration program and has made presentations at such leading institutions as the Amsterdam Conservatory, the Royal College of Music and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.  He is pursuing a Masters in Music Education through Boston University.

He was a student of World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Nick Attanasio and earned three Northeastern States Drum Corps Association snare-drumming championships.  He joined the Old Guard in 2002 after graduating from Northwestern and over several years served as corps sergeant major, drum group leader, snare drum section leader and percussion arranger.  

His wide-ranging experience in cultural events around the world come from his collaborations with such groups as the Top Secret Drum Corps of Basel, Switzerland and its director Erik Juillard (also a World Drum Corps Hall of Fame International inductee), the King’s Guard of Norway, Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and the Pontifical Swiss Guard.  He served as the percussion arranger for Top Secret from 2005 to 2010.  He has performed in such prestigious events as the Virginia Military Tattoo; the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo; the Edinburgh Tattoo; the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama and ceremonies marking the arrival in Washington of world leaders President Hu Jin Tao of China, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

He has presented clinics on Swiss and American rudimental drumming at universities across the country, including the University of Iowa, Marshall University, University of Kentucky, University of Southern Mississippi, Northwestern State University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  He is endorsed by Mapex Drums, Majestic Percussion, REMO, Innovative Percussion, Sabian, Prologix, Loyal Drums, Buchler Trommelbau.

Al Chez: Distinguished Professional Achievement inductee:

Trumpeter Al Chez became well known to late-night viewers after more than 25 years performing on television; first on Late Night with David Letterman on NBC then joining the CBS Orchestra in 1997 to continue performing on the Late Show on CBS.  He will be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in November in honor of his Distinguished Professional Achievement.  His long music career began at age nine when he joined the Saints, the local drum corps run by his father.

His drum and bugle corps activity includes performing as soprano soloist for several outstanding corps from 1978 to 1985: Garfield Cadets, Reading Buccaneers and Bushwackers.  He also has a long history as an instructor with Garfield Cadets, Bushwackers, Oakland Crusaders, Buccaneers, Crossmen and The Cadets.  In recent years he has been a consultant with corps including Empire Statesmen, Fusion Core and Jersey Surf.  He judged general effect music in Drum Corps International (DCI) contests in 2011. 

His contributions to music activity have been recognized by several other organizations.  He is a member of the Cadets Hall of Fame, Crossmen Hall of Fame, Buglers Hall of Fame, New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, JP Stevens High School Hall of Fame.

He has performed at more than 25 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions; multiple presidential inaugurations and White House concerts, John Lennon’s 50th birthday celebration in Tokyo, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games closing ceremonies and the Concert for New York honoring the men and women lost in the 9/11 attack.

While he was still involved with drum corps in 1979 he joined forces with Jon Bon Jovi to form Atlantic City Expressway, a band that played shore clubs in New Jersey for many years.  He has also played with Tower of Power, the Robert Cray Band, Spyro Gyra, Sting, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, Snoop Dog, James Brown and other internationally popular groups.

He has recently toured extensively with Al Chez and The Brothers of Funk Big Band, combining classic rock, soul, jazz and standard music to create a unique and powerful new sound.

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Top soloist for 70 years, Kenny ‘Ace’ Petersen passes away in Florida

Posted on February 23rd, 2022 by Gail Langan

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Kenny “Ace” Petersen, whose remarkable career as one of the drum corps community’s top soprano soloists began in 1947, passed away at age 90 in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday February19.  Visitation will take place from 10 am to noon on March 5 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Penn Yan, New York, where he was born, with a funeral service to follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution in his honor to Yates County Humane Society, PO Box 12, Penn Yan, NY 14527, or via www.yateshumane.org

Inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2005, he was also a member of the Bugler’s Hall of Fame, inducted by famous band-leader and jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson.  He regularly won individual championships in contests across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and over the border in Ontario. He was highly regarded by his peers for teaching young adults both music and life lessons, helping many individuals succeed when they had previously been struggling with various challenges.

He began playing trumpet at age 9.  By the early 1950s, he was featured field soloist with Geneva Appleknockers, noted already for his tone, range and power.  He was also a featured soloist for the Appleknockers indoor stage shows at Carnegie Hall and other venues across upstate New York and beyond.

He spent two different periods performing in contests, parades and winter concerts with the Appleknockers: from 1951 to 1964, and from 1982 to 1985.  In between, he served as corps director.  He was brass instructor for the Tri County Cadets and Appleknockers between 1958 and 1964, and taught both brass and marching to the Firebells, Appleknockers and the Mello Dears all girl corps between 1957 and 1998. He judged music and marching in many parades and contests between 1958 and 1970. 

He returned to the contest field in 1991 at age 60 to help Empire Statesmen of Rochester win the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship.  He also marched with and served as administrator for Ghost Riders mini corps beginning in 1997, winning another DCA title in the early 2000s.

He moved to Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corps in 1994, still playing solo soprano during many indoor and outdoor exhibitions before retiring from the activity at age 86.

He was a life member of the Elks Club in Penn Yan, the Moose Club and Sons of American Legion.  He was predeceased by Phyllis, his wife of 64 years, and son Dane.

He is survived by son Chris (Barb) Petersen of Riverview, Florida and daughter Kenna (Carl) Fischer of St. Petersburg, Florida; sisters-in-law Pat Pedersen of Penn Yan, Babe Ferraro of Geneva and Alice Pedersen of Farmington. 

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Robby Robinson, founding director of the Crossmen, passes away February 14

Posted on February 20th, 2022 by Gail Langan

A World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member since 2008, Harold “Robby” Robinson, Sr. passed away at age 84 on Valentine’s Day February 14, surrounded by family members.  He had been experiencing major organ failure a few days previously while a patient at Lancaster General Hospital in Pennsylvania.  A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at a later time. 

In 1974, Robby Robinson was the founding director of the Crossmen drum and bugle corps, the highly successful group formed by merging two junior corps in the Philadelphia area: the 507 Hornets and Keystone Regiment.  He served as director until 1986.  The Crossmen finished in the Drum Corps International (DCI) finals 22 times in the 30 years following the merger.

Earlier in his drum corps career, he was a snare drummer with the Tri Community Cadets from 1952 to 1960.  He was the snare drummer in the percussion quartet that won the annual Mid-Atlantic Individual/Quartet title from 1956 to 1959.  He is a member of the Crossmen Hall of Fame.

He taught marching and maneuvering to the Haddon Heights Vagabonds in 1960, then taught the percussion section of the 1st State Cadets of Delaware from 1961 to 1963.  He was the marching and maneuvering instructor for the Bellaires of Belmar, New Jersey from 1961 to 1966 and Tri Community Cadets from 1968 to 1971.  He became director of Tri Community in 1971, then served as director of the Keystone Regiment from 1972 to 1974.

He judged the marching caption for the National Association of Judges from 1961 to 1985 and percussion from 1961 to 1975.  He was a member of the first DCI judging task force from 1981 to 1984.

His son Robbie Robinson Jr. is also a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, inducted in 2007.  He is the first drummer to win three Drum Corps International (DCI) individual snare-drumming titles.  He won the titles in 1979, 1980 and 1982.

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Bob Holton passes at age 86 after decades of service to Skyliners and other corps 

Posted on February 16th, 2022 by Gail Langan

Bob Holton, who spent more than 30 years serving New York Skyliners and other prominent drum and bugle corps, passed away overnight on February 14 at age 86 at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey.   He had been inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Born in Bayonne, NJ on August 29, 1935, he served in the United States Army as a First Lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps.  In civilian life, he became Director of Credit at Toshiba America in Wayne, NJ.  Visitation at Day Funeral Home in Keyport NJ was scheduled for the afternoon and evening of February 17.  Internment at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery in Colonia NJ followed a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Clement’s Roman Catholic Church in Matawan on Friday, February 18.

He supported several charities that included MS Walk Team Family Feat and Rahway Relay for Life.  In lieu of flowers, friends may make a donation to the American Cancer Society.  To plant a tree in his memory, visit the Day Funeral Home website at: www.dayfuneralhome.com

His lifetime of drum and bugle corps activity began when he played soprano horn for the F. A. MacKenzie Post 165 drum and bugle corps and St. Vincent’s Cadets, of Bayonne, NJ.  He then marched for more than 30 years in the color guard of New York Skyliners.

He also functioned at various times as Skyliners’ drill designer, marching instructor and show co-ordinator.  He was also treasurer, assistant director and director of Skyliners.  

He was color guard co-ordinator and marching instructor for St. Andrew’s Bridgemen and marching instructor for other corps, including New London Surfers, Cranford Patriots, New York Lancers and Wayne Monarchs.

He was a judge in a number of organizations, including Eastern States, Cavalcade, All American and National judges associations. He was the first to use a live animal in a field show.  When the Bridgemen played the William Tell Overture, popularly known as the theme from The Lone Ranger television show: a white horse and rider entered the field and galloped to the 50 yard line, where the horse rose on its hind legs to salute the crowd.  He was also the first to depart from the use of conventional flags, when he designed a stylized black, red and white letter “S” flag used by Skyliners’ color guard. 

He is predeceased by his son Sean R. Holton, also a long time member of the Skyliners organization who was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as a charter associate member in 2001. He is survived by his wife Carol A. (nee Taylor) Holton, children Stacey Holton-Tobin and her husband Robert, Jeffrey and his wife Bonnie, daughter in law Patricia Holton and grandchildren Kalen Tobin, Erin and Logan Holton.

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Neal Smith begins his term as president

Posted on December 22nd, 2021 by Gail Langan

Neal Smith, of Canton, Massachusetts is the new president of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHoF).  Outgoing president Rich Templin announced Smith’s appointment during the annual banquet and induction ceremony held in late November in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  Templin, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania had served as president since September 2013.

Smith became a member of the Hall of Fame in 2008, following extensive involvement in drum and bugle corps activities including, performing, visual design and judging over several decades.

His design innovations helped change the look of field shows. His visual design talents helped North Star, formed by the amalgamation of the Reveries, of Revere, Massachusetts, Blue Angels of Danvers and Beverly Cardinals, become a Drum Corps International (DCI) finalist in their third year of competition.  The 11-member snare line of North Star, from the North Shore of Massachusetts, was widely recognized as the ‘Chrome Wall,’ named for the chrome finish on the drums.

He created the field show design for Connecticut Hurricanes in 1981, winning all visual captions at the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championships.  The following year, the Hurricanes won high visual at the DCA championships.

In the 20 years following his first design for North Star in 1976, he was visual designer for many other top-rated corps in the northeast, including 21st Lancers, Rockland Defenders, Boston Crusaders, Connecticut Hurricanes, Rhode Island Matadors and Hawthorne Caballeros.  

He performed with Boston Crusaders from 1961 to 1971 as soprano soloist and drum major.  He was a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) national champion four times: three times as a performer and once as designer.

He has also served as a visual judge for four organizations: Drum Corps Associates (DCA), Massachusetts Judges Association, New England Scholastic Band Association, United States Scholastic Band Association.

His brother Anthony Smith was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2012.

Other current officers on the Hall of Fame board include: Vice President: Bob Findley; Administrator: Larry Hershman; Secretary: Bob Cardaneo; Treasurer: Rich Warga; Membership Chairman: Rick Morey; Public Relations: Roy Wilson; Merchandising Chairman: Roman Blenski; Program Committee/Chaplain: Bill McGrath; Webmaster: Gail Langan; Distinguished Professional Achievement Award: Joe Marrella; Associate Membership: Bob Bradley; Scholarship Fund: Rick Anderson.

The late Vince Bruni of Rochester, New York, who passed away on the Friday evening of the DCA championship tournament weekend in 2003, founded the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1976.  Membership has since grown from six charter members – Vince Bruni, George Bull, Jim Costello, Henry “Lefty” Mayer, Harvey Olderman, Vinnie Ratford – to more than 550 members who have contributed to the activity across North America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Middle East, South Africa and Japan.

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Service and Internment for Eric Landis to Take Place December 22

Posted on December 19th, 2021 by Gail Langan

Visitation and funeral services for Eric Landis are scheduled for the morning of December 22 at Healey Funeral Home, 9 White Horse Pike in Haddon Heights, New Jersey.  He passed away December 15 at the age of 78 after a brief illness.  Internment following the service is at New St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bellmawr.

The funeral celebration will be video recorded for viewing by those not able to attend in person. 

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, Eric Landis began his many years of drum corps and bugle corps activity playing snare drum with the York White Roses in York, Pennsylvania.  He played with the United States Air Force drum and bugle corps from 1961 to 1964, and over the next 20 years performed for such well-known groups as Reading Buccaneers, Bangor Yellow Jackets, and Archer-Epler Musketeers.

He was also drum instructor for a number of corps from 1961 to 1984, including Audubon Bon Bons all girl corps, Chessmen, Crossmen, Garfield Cadets and Archer-Epler.

He was a percussion judge for almost 30 years, from 1970 to 1999, for Drum Corps International (DCI), Drum Corps Associates (DCA) and the National Judges Association.  In the following years, he instructed many championship high school percussion sections.

He is survived by Julia, his wife of 56 years; four children: Jeanne Sykes and her husband Weldon, Adam Landis and his wife Jennifer, Susan Eley and her husband Benjamin and Sean Keegan-Landis and his wife Maggy; four siblings: Alec, Marc, Scott and Ione and seven grandchildren.  He was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church of Runnemede, NJ.

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Three female university students each receive $500 scholarship

Posted on December 13th, 2021 by Gail Langan

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHoF) presented $500 scholarship awards to each of three recipients during the annual induction ceremony and banquet held recently in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

The three female winners, all currently studying in university, are Rebecca “Beca” Findley, Annika Hlywa and Julia Troy.  Two of the scholarship awards were funded by donations from two alumni corps.  Any associate or regular Hall of Fame member in good standing can recommend an applicant, who must be a current high school, college or university student or current active member of a drum and bugle corps.

Beca Findley is a senior at the University of Maine in the college of Education and Human Development, majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science. She plans to graduate school next year then continue studies for a masters and/or doctorate in Occupational Therapy.  She is a member of the school softball team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and American Sign Language Club.  In summer, she plays for the Stratford Brakettes softball team and helps coach local youth teams near her hometown of Seymour, Connecticut over summers and during school breaks.

Annika Hlywa, of Bluffton, South Carolina, is studying psychology, with concentration in forensics, at the University of New Haven.  She has an extensive music background, performing with the Crossmen drum and bugle corps and the University of New Haven Marching Band. 

Her scholarship was presented in memory of Donald Friesing, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.  He first played drums with the Joseph B. Garrity Post American Legion in 1938.  By 1943 he was teaching others to drum, and over the following 50 years produced many of the most accomplished percussion players in the drum corps community.  He drummed for eight years with the Raymond A. Gabarina Post (Skyliners).  He was a participant in the founding meeting for the organization of Drum Corps Associates (DCA)

Julia Troy, of Levittown, New York, is currently a freshman at Binghamton University who will be attending Hofstra University in the spring.  Her current major is Biology on the Pre-Med track. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Biology she plans to continue on to Physician Assistant (PA) School, a two/three year program leading to a Master’s degree in PA Studies.  She is currently a member of the Wishmaker’s Club, Paws and Effects Club and American Red Cross Club. At home, she works at a bakery and babysits children for multiple families. 

Her scholarship was presented in memory of Richard “Butch” Anderson, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 and best remembered as the flamboyant drum major of the New York Skyliners throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.  He joined Skyliners in 1970, as a soprano player. He was also a solo soprano player, horn instructor and show co-ordinator with Skyliners.  He also marched as drum major with both the Marksmen and Syracuse Brigadiers.

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