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.