Funeral service for Member Bill Hayes

Posted on February 16th, 2020 by Dan Rippon

Funeral services for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHoF) member Bill Hayes were held on Tuesday, February 18 at 1 pm at Tilghman Funeral Home, 52 Main Street, New Egypt, New Jersey, with burial following in Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown.

Memorial donations can be made to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, attention Richard Warga, 1 Walnut Drive, Pine Brook, New Jersey 07058.

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Passing of Member Bill Hayes

Posted on February 16th, 2020 by Dan Rippon

Born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1925, Bill Hayes passed away at age 94 at Brookdale of Hamilton senior living center peacefully on February 10, 2020 with his family by his side. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991, in recognition of his outstanding achievements with several of the best-known corps of the day. He was also a member of the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, inducted in 1998.

After distinguished service during World War II, he returned to school, graduating from the School of American Music in New York in 1947. His devotion to music as a trumpet player and instructor led him to work with many top-ranked drum and bugle corps, including Hawthorne Caballeros, New York Skyliners, St. Catharine’s of Sienna Queensmen and Florida Vanguard of Miami. He served as the music and drill instructor of the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights of Newark, helping them win four national championships,

He was first affiliated with the Sal MacKenzie Post corps. He also judged marching and manoeuvring, horns and music for several judging associations. While playing for the Caballeros, he was widely admired and recognized for his soprano solo in “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.”

While a member of the Army Air Corps serving in World War II as a ball turret gunner with the 459th bomb group stationed in Cerignola, Italy, he was a recipient of four Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and an Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion of Barnegat Post 232.

He moved to Florida in 1960, serving with the Hollywood Fire Department for 10 years while also working as a lifeguard and for the local Emergency Medical Service. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Master’s Degree in Education from New York University, he taught math and social studies at Village Middle School in Closter New Jersey for 19 years.

He was predeceased by Mary, his wife of 60 years, and by son Michael P. Hayes. He is survived by a daughter, Maureen Kelly and Don of Hamilton; two grandsons, Ryan A. Kelly and Matthew P. Kelly, both of Hamilton and several nieces and nephews.

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. Special membership categories include inductees honored for Distinguished Professional Achievement and individuals receiving the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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2019 President’s End of Year Message

Posted on January 7th, 2020 by Dan Rippon

Link to PDF File for the President’s Message

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Passing of Member Michael Gasparre

Posted on October 14th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

Memorial service to be held for Hall of Fame associate member Michael Gasparre whose drum corps activities spanned more than 70 years since beginning in 1937

Visitation and a military ceremony for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame associate member Michael Gasparre, of Tarrytown, New York, will be held on October 17 and 18. He passed away in Florida on September 24.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 pm Thursday October 17 at Coffey Funeral Home, 91 North Broadway in Tarrytown. A priest will participate in the military burial ceremony taking place from 10:30 to 11:30 am at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Mausoleum, 540 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, New York.

In addition to many years of drum and bugle corps activity, most notably with New York Skyliners, he participated with many professional music groups, performing across the country. He was among the large class of Hall of Fame associate members inducted in 2002.

Michael Gasparre was still playing mellophone with Florida Brass more than 70 years after he began playing a G bugle in 1937 with St. Anthony’s drum and bugle corps in Yonkers. He then played for 10 years with the Ivy A corps in Yonkers before serving in the United States Army for three years.

In the 1940s, he took trumpet lessons with Professor Frank Rice, and played professionally with a number of dance bands. He also marched with Frank A. Rea American Legion Post drum and bugle corps before and after serving in the army. During his years of service, he played trumpet and bass fiddle with U.S. Army Field Bands and orchestras in England and Germany.

From 1955 to 1967, he played French horn with the New York Skyliners and taught music to several other corps in the New York area. He was awarded a Skyliner lifetime membership award in 1985. He then served the corps as field equipment manager, scout, driver, advisor and member of various committees. He served on the committee that organized the Skyliners alumni association in 1986.

Beginning in 1986, he was a music judge for the Tri-State Musical Parade Judges Association, including several years as chief music judge. He was a member of the Skyliners alumni chorus since its inception. He was also a bass fiddle player, trumpeter and vocalist with various professional recording and music groups, performing across the country.

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Ralph Hardimon induction to Percussive Arts Society

Posted on October 14th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame’s Ralph Hardimon adds induction to Percussive Arts Society to his lengthy list of awards

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Ralph Hardimon, inducted in 2017, will add to his extensive list of honors when he is inducted into the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) Hall of Fame on November 14, 2019. He is already a member of the Drum Corps International (DCI) Hall of Fame, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sabian, was inducted into the Santa Clara Vanguard Hall of Fame in 2014 and has been nominated for Grammy awards in jazz and rhythm and blues categories.

The Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame was established in 1972 to recognize contributions of the most highly regarded leaders in percussion performance, education, research, scholarship, administration, composition and the industry.

Ralph Hardimon is widely considered the innovator in marching percussion ensemble composition and arranging that pushed drum and bugle corps activity into a higher level of integration and musicality by highlighting the voice of the entire percussion ensemble. His scores made use of the full spectrum of percussion elements, including the battery and front ensemble.

While he was director of percussion for Santa Clara Vanguard from 1976 to 1990, his ensembles won five high percussion awards in driving the Vanguard to four DCI world championship titles. He was a key member of the Anaheim Kingsmen drum line during the first years of DCI in the early 1970s, helping set a new standard in rudimental performance and execution that attracted a new level of interest by youth around the world.

He is a world traveller himself, conducting clinics in the Japanese cities of Nagoya, Tokyo, Kagoshima, Osaka, Okayama and Yokohama. He has conducted drum clinic tours for both Pearl and Premier Drums.

His signature drumsticks are considered the industry standard, used by ensembles around the world.

He has served as percussion coordinator, arranger or consultant for other DCI corps, including Blue Knights, Bluecoats, Capitol Regiment, The Academy, Troopers, Kingsmen, Blue Devils, Crossmen and Freelancers.

His extensive judging history includes service with Winter Guard International (WGI) percussion, Southern California Percussion Alliance, Bands of America and Percussive Arts Society.

His percussion activities began in 1965 as a snare drummer with the Los Angeles Police Band.

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Watch video highlights of 2019 inductees on YouTube

Posted on September 8th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

Video highlights featuring 2019 inductees in the Distinguished Professional Achievement, International, Regular and Associate Member categories that were shown during the induction banquet in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on August 30 have been uploaded by Gail Langan to YouTube.

The links below are in alphabetical order:

Shirley Stratton Dorritie – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

James Elvord – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

John Meehan – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

Gene Monterastelli – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

Jay Morlott – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

George Oliviero – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

Shinichi Onodera – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

George Takei – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

Dave Vose – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

Sadao Yokota – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2019 Associate Inductees

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World Drum Corps Hall of Fame will present scholarships worth $1,000

Posted on August 7th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHOF) will award scholarships worth $1,000 in total in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Friday, August 30. Alexander C. Hlywa of Southbury, Connecticut and Anthony T. Dioguardi of Marlton, New Jersey will each receive a $500 award during the Hall of Fame’s annual banquet and induction ceremony.

WDCHOF President Richard Templin together with the Scholarship Committee announced the awardees for the 2019 Scholarship. The WDCHOF Scholarship program is funded solely by associate member dues and charitable donations and has been rekindled after a number of years thanks to the efforts of the Scholarship Committee under President Templin. The awards are available to relatives of Hall of Fame members.

Alex Hlywa, grandson of WDCHOF member Art Hlywa attended Pomperaug High School where he played trumpet for the marching, concert and jazz bands and was a member of the TRI-M Music honor society. In high school and college Alex was involved with track and field and has played taps for Veterans’ Day services in addition to being involved in many community services as a volunteer.

Currently, he is a student at St. Regis College in Weston, Maine where he is a Dean’s List student, majoring in Biology with medical school as a goal.

Anthony Dioguardi is the grandson of WDCHOF associate member Frank Dioguardi.

Anthony was involved in numerous community services as a volunteer and was involved in four sports in high school. In addition to sports, Anthony is involved with playing and writing music of all genres.

He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and is a brother of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (also known as FIJI).

The Williamsport banquet and ceremony will include the induction of new regular and associate members, and inductees in the international and distinguished professional achievement categories.

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Passing of member Amerigo ‘Riggie’ Laus

Posted on June 30th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

A funeral service was held in St. Charles Lwanga Parish, Mother of God Counsel Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the morning of Friday, June 28 for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Amerigo “Riggie” Laus, who passed away June 24 at age 93 after suffering from pneumonia. He was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1986. He was also a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania Buglers Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania Drum and Bugle Corps Hall of Fame and the Penn Hills Arts and Music Hall of Fame.

Those wishing to express sympathy may make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

He began playing trumpet at age 13 after his older brother gave him an instrument and showed him how to play. At age 16, he joined a local dance band in Penn Hills, PA that played in area bars and taverns. He would walk five miles to rehearsals and hitch rides to performances. While serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he was assigned as machinist’s mate and ship’s bugler and taught himself how to play the bugle.

He participated in the Iowa Jima and Okinawa campaigns in the Pacific before receiving an honourable discharge from active duty in 1946 and from the reserves in 1954. He began his 25 years of membership with Pittsburgh Rockets Drum and Bugle Corps in 1948.

“Riggie really was a giant, a hero of almost mythological status among us buglers,” noted fellow Hall of Fame member Frank Dorritie.

In the nine years after winning his first competition as an individual soprano player, Riggie Laus won every local, state and national individual contest he entered, retiring undefeated in 1965.

He was the first bugler to play Flight of the Bumblebee and the only one to play it on a G-D, one valve slide bugle. On joining the Rockets, he immediately began experimenting with the single valve bugle, using fine emery cloth to loosen the tuning slide for free movement to lower the pitch a full step. When slide bugles were introduced, he used the full length to obtain the notes F and A in the lower register and lip control for proper pitch and effect. For fast passages in the upper register, he combined alternate fingering and agile lip muscle movement to produce proper tone and effect.

He composed a number of exercises designed to develop fast slide action, improve internal skills, develop slurring and regular, double and triple tonguing techniques.

Between 1958 and 1982, he instructed many Pennsylvania drum and bugle corps, including Tarentum Red Knights, who were three times Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) state parade champions; Meadville (later Erie) Thunderbirds; Quasars; Sharpsburg Cadets; General Butler Vagabonds; Pittsburgh Rockets Juniors and Steel City Ambassadors.

Many of his students became national champions, professional musicians and band directors. Young students on the school bus he drove for 22 years called him “Rockets” because he always wore his Pittsburgh Rockets corps jacket.

He is survived by Florine, his wife of 59 years, two daughters, two grandsons, two sisters, a sister in law and many other relatives and friends.

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Request for 2019 Hall of Fame Year Book Ads

Posted on June 21st, 2019 by Dan Rippon

Post Updated: June 30, 2019

Some of you have already taken ads for our banquet program, and I thank all of you who have done so. We also want to encourage ads by individuals or by groups supporting new inductees. In the past, e.g., a corps or organization has taken an ad to honor a member or former member. We hope that that process will be continued this year. 

There is still time to submit ads. The deadline for submitting them is has been extended to July 15, 2019.

For a digital copy of last year’s WDCHOF Yearbook:


11 x 17 Centerfold $300
8.5 x 11 Back Cover / Inside Front / Inside Back $200
Full Page Interior $150
Half Page Interior $75
Quarter Page Interior $50
Business Card (2.75 x 4.25) Interior $25

Email CAMERA-READY ART and/or Plain Text* to:
*Please include ad size. Plain text will be formatted to scale.

Payment can be made through PayPal (
or by check made payable to the WDCHOF.

Please include your mailing address along with your payment.

Checks should be mailed to:
WDCHOF PO Box 357 Pine Brook, NJ 07058

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Seven new associate members will be inducted in Williamsport, PA on August 30, 2019

Posted on May 10th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

Seven new World Drum Corps Hall of Fame associate members from the United States and Canada will be inducted at this year’s banquet and ceremony to take place in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Friday August 30, the beginning of the Labor Day weekend.

The 2019 inductees this year are:

Rick Anderson of York, Pennsylvania

Performing as a soprano soloist and horn instructor for Hanover Lancers and Lancers Alumni Corps since 1974 is just part of Rick Anderson’s musical legacy. While serving on the Lancers’ board of directors he has worked to insure membership growth, encourage participation in events far outside the community and is the backstage director of Profiles in Music, the Lancers perennially sold-out alumni show held on the Penn State University campus in York.

Before retiring as music department chair of the York Suburban School District, he was director of the Wind Ensemble and Marching Knights at York Suburban High School. He was also music director and conductor for 25 music theatre productions at York Suburban. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. He was the Cavalcade of Bands Association Director of the Year in 2006 and was inducted into the Cavalcade Hall of Fame in 2009.

He is a member of Phi Beta Mu, a national honorary bandmasters association. One of the founders of Youth Music Abroad, he has toured Europe with young musicians. He has also traveled nationally and internationally as a professional entertainer and musician.

He served as music director at The Belmont Theater for two seasons and was music director and conductor at Opera Lancaster for five years after retiring from teaching.

He completed his undergraduate work at the College of Wooster with trumpet studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He studied orchestral directing with Stuart J. Ling and Marshall Haddock. He pursued graduate work at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a Master’s Degree, and also studied at Towson University.

Cherokee Merino-Baer of Willismsburg, Virginia (posthumous)

Cherokee Merino-Baer is considered a drum corps pioneer, one of the most significant snare drummers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her mentors along the way include many well-known rudimental drum instructors, including Ray Luedee, Earl Sturtze, Jack Lester and Eric Perrilloux.

As a member of St. Rita’s Brassmen in 1973, she was the first woman to march in a nationally contending co-ed snare section, alongside future World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member John Oddo.

As a snare drummer and section leader with N.D.-ettes All Girl Drum and Bugle Corps (founded in October 1963 by Notre Dame Girls High School of Bridgeport, Connecticut, going inactive in 1973) she was Massachusetts State snare drum state champion, Eastern States champion and World Open silver medalist all in 1968. Her drum quartet won first prize in World Open Quartet contests in 1967 and 1968.

She began drum and bugle corps activity playing cymbals and tenor drum with Norwalk Hot Shots from 1961 to 1966. She played snare with Emerald Cadets of New Haven and Milford Shoreliners before joining St. Rita’s Brassmen. She was drum instructor of the N.D.-ettes and Bengal Lancers in the early 1970s. She was a percussion judge in the Northeastern circuit in 1978.

Cherokee Merino-Baer passed away in August, 2017.

Tim Boardman of Sebastian, Florida

A charter member of the New York Skyliners Alumni Corps, Tim Boardman has been active with many of the best-known northeastern corps since 1958 when he began playing with Spartans of Newark, New York. Over the following 50 years, he performed on soprano horn with: Shortsville Shamrocks from 1959

to 1961, Geneva Appleknockers in 1962, Interstatesmen from 1963 to 1966, Syracuse Brigadiers in 1969, Skyliners from 1970 to 1993, Hawthorne Caballeros from 1995 to 2001 and Skyliners Alumni from 1993 to 2009.

He marched in the Skyliners DCA Championship honor guard in 1990. He was with Skyliners from 1970 to 1993, serving as assistant drum major in 1980 and 1981.

From 1998 to 2004, he was among a group of individuals from Hawthorne Caballeros, Reilly Raiders and Yankee Rebels who travelled south to perform in concerts with Florida Brass, following an invitation from World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Dick Burns, a mutual friend.

Gord Cupskey of Cambridge, Ontario

Gord Cupskey came to drum and bugle corps activity relatively late in his music career, which began when he played trumpet with the Galt Kiltie Band in 1980. He joined Preston Scout House Band in 2004 and has been a major factor in the Band’s success ever since. He has applied his skills as a brass performer, arranger and instructor to several Scout House groups, often simultaneously with his involvement in local community bands and such well-known drum corps units as Ghost Riders and Prime Time Brass. He served as Scout House Band field show drill instructor in 2015 and visual designer and drill instructor the following year. When Scout House Cadets required a music instructor on short notice in early summer 2018, he volunteered to help the youth group through a transition period. He founded the Silver Leaves Brass ensemble to give Scout House members and others in the community the opportunity to perform in area concerts and special events, mainly in winter during the drum corps off-season. When Scout House Band scaled back activities in 2017, he enhanced the Silver Leaves to include percussion accompaniment for year round participation in parades and concerts in southern Ontario communities from the shores of Lake Huron across southern Ontario and into upstate New York. Silver Leaves Brass group has been a popular participant in the Great Alliance of Seniors (GAS) annual spring reunions for more than a decade. Preston Scout House Band Inc. includes five performing groups: Preston Scout House Band, Preston Scout House Cadets drum and bugle corps, Silver Leaves Brass, Heritage Drill Team and Magic of Scout House competitive winter guard.

Brian Moul of York, Pennsylvania

Brian Moul has touched all the bases in his service to Hanover Lancers Alumni Corps since1990: baritone player, contra bass player, horn instructor and arranger, board member. He also locates and repairs equipment, makes improvements to the rehearsal building and led the way in introducing singing to the Lancers performance repertoire. Like all Lancers instructors, he accepts no pay for his services.

His leadership as a board member has shaped the direction and improvement of the Lancers, including stimulating the growth of the Lancers indoor show, Profiles in Music, into one of the premier events for alumni corps on the east coast.

During his 32 years as a music educator, he served as band director and instrumental teacher. He is presently instrumental music instructor at the York Academy Regional Charter School. His ensembles have performed at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) state convention. A graduate of West Chester University, he sings bass with the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist Choir and Wheatland Chorale where he serves on the board of directors. He is the chairman of the St. John’s Episcopal Church Concert Series. He is a member the National Association for Music Education, (NAME) the Pennsylvania Music Education Association (PMEA) and the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

At the start of his drum corps career, he played baritone bugle with the Lancers from 1971 to 1981 and Archer-Epler Musketeers from 1982 to 1983.

Doreen Sandor of Slate Hill, New York

Doreen Sandor’s drum corps career of 46 years includes 44 years teaching and arranging (mostly brass) while serving at various times as brass caption head, arranger and instructor for corps in Drum Corps Associates (DCA), Drum Corps International (DCI), Garden State, Nassau-Suffolk, Drum Corps United Kingdom (DCUK) and British Youth Band Association (BYBA).

The focus of her drum corps activity for more than 35 years is New York Skyliners. She was part of the administration team that helped Skyliners get back on the competition field. Her extensive performance record with Skyliners includes playing mellophone, French horn, soprano, keyboards. She has even marched in the honor guard. One year, she played half the show in the pit percussion section and half in the horn line. In addition, she has been on the brass staff, assistant drum major, secretary, assistant director, publicity director.

She joined Skyliners in winter 1979 when the corps first allowed women in the horn line. She is the second female, after Louise Mayer, and first female performing member to earn Skyliner 5 and 10 year consecutive rings. She was appointed a lifetime member in 2006 and appointed to the Skyliners board as historian in 2008.

She was a brass staff member for two corps which won DCA Class A championships :Lehigh Valley Chieftains and Skyliners.

She helped two corps merge in England, arranging successful brass shows for Conquest Alliance, which won back to back championships and took the 1987 DCUK high brass award. Her English ties continued on this side of the Atlantic while she served on the United States staff of Kidsgrove Scouts and The Company.

She and her husband Bob received the Endeavour Award for supporting the Company’s 2017 USA tour. She also arranged or performed with Anchormen Brass Ensemble in the United Kingdom for Conquest Alliance’s 20th, 25th and 30th anniversary celebrations

She began teaching brass in 1974, just two years after joining St. Matthias Blue Max. Her passion for performing and teaching led her into music studies and a teaching career, including teaching drum majors how to conduct.

Over many years, she has been teacher, arranger or brass caption head for Crimson Kings, St. Stan’s Troupers, Bridgemen, Masquerade, Bill’s Boys, Avengers of DCUK, Outlane of BYBA, Bishop’s Rock. LV Knights, 20th Century Limited, Sunrisers, Targets, Excelsior, Staffordshire Knights, St. Claire’s, Our Lady of Fatima and Medford Grenadiers.

Daniel Staffieri of Seymour, Connecticut

The Connecticut Hurricanes have recognized the outstanding contributions made both on and off the field by Daniel Staffieri since 1990 with more than half a dozen major awards. He is highly regarded for the sense of dedication he has shown for almost 30 continuous years, always ready to help in any way and at any position.

He was named to the Hurricanes Hall of Fame 2013; received the Hurricane of the Year award twice: 1994 and 2005; received the Hurricanes Directors Award in 1993, 2008 and 2011 and was the Most Improved Marcher in 1992.

As a performing member he has played baritone, tuba and cymbals at various times since 1990.

His administration history includes serving as equipment manager from 1995 to 2005; personnel manager from 2006 to 2016; operations manager in 2017 and facilities manager in 2018.

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