San Francisco Symphony ‘Playbill’ features Hall of Fame’s Diane Nicholeris

Posted on January 28th, 2019 by Dan Rippon

First violinist Diane Nicholeris, inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in September 2018 for Distinguished Professional Achievement, is featured in the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) Orchestra’s Playbill, as part of an ongoing series to introduce musicians to SFS orchestra fans and supporters.

The Playbill article is available at:

A former color guard captain with the St. Thomas Moore Squires of Braintree, Massachusetts, she credits her early drum corps experience with providing the impetus for her career.

Now an instructor of violin and viola students at San Jose University, she began her violin lessons at age 10, hoping to inspire her father to take up the instrument again. One year after she began lessons, she broke her wrist riding an escalator and needed extensive surgery. Because of the range, motion, and use of the hand that violin playing required, practicing became a good form of physical therapy. Although doctors did not expect her to regain any wrist function she persisted for six years to regain about 70 per cent use of wrist motion.

She studied with Joseph Silverstein at Boston University and Sylvia Rosenberg at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where she received her Bachelor of Music Degree. Studying at Tanglewood she met Jahja Ling, former Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, who suggested in 1984 that she audition for a violin vacancy. In addition to since providing more than 20 years of service to the orchestra, she has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Music Academy of the West Orchestra in Santa Barbara, served as concertmaster for the Monterey County Symphony and enjoys performing chamber music concerts throughout the bay area.

She maintained her connection to drum and bugle corps over the years, occasionally judging contests.

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2018 Presidents Message

Posted on December 28th, 2018 by Dan Rippon

Link for PDF File of Presidents Message

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Passing of member Wes Hobby

Posted on November 19th, 2018 by Dan Rippon

Wes Hobby, voice of drum corps for more than 40 years passes away at age 90

Milton “Wes” Hobby Jr., known widely as the voice of drum corps for more than 40 years, passed away at the age of 90 on November 14, 2018 at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut. He was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2010 for lifetime achievement in drum and bugle corps activity.

Anyone who has attended a major drum corps contest or listened to the introductions on classic Fleetwood Records contest recordings has likely heard the voice of Wes Hobby. He is also the narrator on the Fleetwood “Reflections” series of recordings.

For more than 40 years, he served as the stadium announcer at major junior and senior contests across New England and beyond.

He graduated in 1948 after two years of study at Boston’s School of Radio, Television and Theatre and worked as a staff member and sports announcer at a number of radio stations in New England. During his morning radio show on station WADS in Ansonia, Connecticut he began playing a drum corps selection on the air each day. There were no drum corps recordings available to the public yet: his selections were tapes borrowed from Frank Ogle of the Connecticut Hurricanes. The Hurricanes invited him to announce their contest in 1958, the first of a steady stream of engagements over the next four decades.

He was the announcer for such notable events as Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championships, the Barnum Festival, the World Open championships, Mission Drums, the U.S. Open championships, Blue Grass Nationals, Parade of Champions, the Grand Prix contest, An Evening With The Corps in Carnegie Hall, the Connecticut American Legion state championships, the SuperBowl of Music and Drum Corps International (DCI) East championships.

His voice has been heard by audiences in such well known venues as Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, Meadowlands Stadium, Newark Symphony Hall, University of Kentucky and many other local stadiums and concert locations.

A graduate of Bassick High School, University of Bridgeport and Leland Powers in Boston, he served in the United States Army in Germany during the Korean War. After serving in the military, he worked at many radio stations, including WSKI, WADS, WNAB, WICC and WSTC.

He is survived by Lorraine, his wife of 55 years; daughters Maureen O’Donnell of Monroe, Connecticut and Shaune Montini of Naugatuck, Connecticut and son Thomas Hobby of Brightwaters, New York; eight grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.

Visitation was held Saturday, November 17 from 10 am to12 pm, with a service at noon at Spadaccino & Leo P. Gallagher Community Funeral Home, 315 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, Connecticut. Burial followed immediately at Mountain Grove Cemetery, Harvester Road, Easton, Connecticut.

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Passing of member Ray Cappiccille

Posted on November 4th, 2018 by Dan Rippon

Hall of Fame’s Ray Cappiccille passes away from heart failure

Ray Cappiccille, who was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2004, passed away on Wednesday October 24 from congestive heart failure. According to his wishes, there was no public viewing. Expressions of sympathy and cards can be sent to his wife Jean at 201 Holly Court, Whiting, New Jersey, 08759.

Ray Cappiccille’s drum corps career began in 1950, when he began a long time association with the Holy Name Cadets—later the Garfield Cadets–playing French horn. During his years as a playing member, Holy Name Cadets won the American Legion national championship in 1950, 1953 and 1957, the last championship before the corps became known as Garfield Cadets. He was the drill designer/instructor for the Garfield Cadets from 1967 to 1973 and their program coordinator from 1974-1978.

From 1963 until 1981, he judged marching/general effect with various associations including New York All-American, National, Mid Atlantic, Drum Corps Associates (DCA), Drum Corps International (DCI), and Winter Guard International (WGI).

He continued playing French horn with the Hawthorne Caballeros from 1957 to 1965, and switched to the mellophone when he joined the Hawthorne alumni corps in 1994.

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.

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization honoring those individuals who have contributed significantly over many years to the development and continuing excellence of drum and bugle corps activity around the world.

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2018 Inductee videos on YouTube

Posted on October 21st, 2018 by Dan Rippon

Congratulations to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 inductees!

Introduction videos for new inductees in the Distinguished Professional Achievement, President’s Lifetime Achievement and
Regular Member categories that were shown during the inductee banquet in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on August 31
have been uploaded by Gail Langan to YouTube.

The links below are in alphabetical order.

Gino Cipriani – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Chick Corea – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Erik Julliard – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Danny McBride – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Diane Nicholeris – 2018 World Drum Corps Hall of Fame Inductee  *Audio muted due to copyright issues

Jeff Prosperie – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Jeff Sacktig – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Lou Tierno – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee

Jim Wedge – World Drum Corps Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee


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Passing of member Jim Cossetti

Posted on July 2nd, 2018 by Dan Rippon

Hall of Fame’s Jim Cossetti passes following long standing medical issues

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Jim Cossetti passed away peacefully on June 28 at age 73, following some very serious and long lasting medical issues. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at ceremonies held in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2002. He was also a member of the International Trumpet Guild, the Bugler’s Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

A celebration of life service will be held on Friday July 6, 2018 with visitation beginning at 10 am and service beginning at noon at the Maclean-Chamberlain Funeral Home, 339 West King’s Highway, Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations to help defray the cost of medical expenses incurred. Visit to make a contribution.

He had an extensive background in performance, administration and instruction in the drum corps community. In 1975 he assisted with the formation of Archer-Epler, the first successful alumni corps. By serving on the steering committee of the Great Alliance of Seniors (GAS), and as its first president, he helped set the stage for enormous growth in drum and bugle corps alumni activity that took place over the following 20 years. He was director of Archer-Epler from 1988 through 1995.

He also assisted with the coordination of members for the Pride of Eastern Drum Corps, which performed twice at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

He was a soprano soloist with the Archer-Epler Musketeers and the Reilly Raiders/Musketeers in the 1960s and with Archie’s Alumni Corps and then with the Reilly Raiders Alumni. He later performed with the Music Express Drum and Bugle Corps.

He was a strong tenor voice in the alumni chorus of the Musketeers and continued to sing with the New York Skyliners Alumni Chorus. He also performed with the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Chorus.

His career as a brass instructor began in 1964 at Archer-Epler and continued from 1969 through 1974 with Blue Rock. He taught the Musketeers’ horn line in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

A 1962 graduate of Northeast Catholic High School, he studied Psychology at University of Delaware. In the late 1960s, he served as a private in the Pennsylvania and Delaware Army National Guards. Later in life he worked in construction as a consulting engineer and owned his own corporation.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years Dorothy; children Michelle (John Peiffer), Kristen (Raphael Lauro), and Jamie (Christopher McDade); sister Donna Marie Wiater; grandsons Jason, Domenick and Owen and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

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Make your Banquet Reservations

Posted on July 2nd, 2018 by Dan Rippon

As we approach the Fourth of July, it’s time to remember to make your commitment and payment for the Hall of Fame banquet.


CLICK HERE for Banquet Information and Form


I hope to see many of you in Williamsport.


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Hall of Fame Pins available for Sale

Posted on June 17th, 2018 by Dan Rippon

The WDCHOF is offering a new Lapel Pin that can be proudly worn by its Regular and Associate members. This circular pin is 1” in diameter, enamel over metal and depicts our Hall of Fame logo. It can be worn on your jacket, hat, lapel or anywhere you would like to show that you are a member of this distinguished organization.

The cost of the pin is $5.00 which includes shipping and handling.

Payment can be made through PayPal – submit to, or by check made payable to the WDCHOF. Please include your mailing address along with your payment.

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

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2018 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Erik Julliard

Posted on May 23rd, 2018 by Dan Rippon

Top Secret Drum Corps organizer and director Erik Julliard to be inducted into Hall of Fame as 2018 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner

It’s no secret that organizer and director Erik Julliard has produced one the best drum corps in the world: the widely popular and admired Top Secret Drum Corps of Basel, Switzerland. He will be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as the 2018 winner of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, during the Hall of Fame’s annual banquet and induction ceremony in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Friday August 31.

Top Secret originated in 1991 when seven talented local drummers founded the group to play more than traditional carnival drum marches. The annual carnival named “Fasnacht” showcases Basel’s rich drumming tradition. It’s estimated there are more than 3,000 drummers active in the city at any given time.

Basel drumming style is adapted from military drumming exercises and drills dating back to the Middle Ages. This serious traditional style is often used to accompany traditional Swiss marching tunes. Top Secret retains some of the military nature of traditional Basel drumming but adds an upbeat, humorous tone with routines that may include Latin rhythms, stunning visual effects such as drummers dueling, tossing, juggling and twirling sticks, flagpoles shooting fireworks, other lighting effects and intricate marching routines. Although Top Secret wears 18th century style military uniforms and displays the precision of bands of the Swiss army, the group is not affiliated with any military unit. Members, most with regular day jobs, are highly motivated, practicing almost every day of the year to achieve the high performance levels.

There hasn’t been anything secret about the group, enlarged from the original size to permit a marching show, since its first performed at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland in 2003. Top Secret was one of the first non-military, non-British Commonwealth units to perform on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. Top Secret returned to Edinburgh in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015.

Under Erik Julliard’s leadership, Top Secret helped found the annual Basel Tattoo in 2006. His organizational skills, creativity and emphasis on perfectionism have given military music a new look. Under his direction and choreography, music groups from around the world inspire the Basel audience. Top Secret’s appearances around the world help him cultivate relations with many other music directors and event organizers.

Over the past 15 years, Top Secret has travelled the world to perform across Europe, the United States, Australia, Canada and South Africa. They are featured in a Swiss television documentary film recounting their rise to world fame through exposure at the Edinburgh Tattoo. In 2016, the drum corps performed during the spectacular 90th birthday celebration for Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

In addition to presenting the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Erik Julliard, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Williamsport will honor individuals in several other categories.

Diane Nicholeris, a former drum and bugle corps color guard captain who now performs with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and iconic jazz pianist Chick Corea, who once played lead soprano on a single-valve bugle, will be inducted for Distinguished Professional Achievement. The ceremony will also include the induction of six new regular members and five associate members.

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2018 Regular and Associate Member Inductees

Posted on May 2nd, 2018 by Dan Rippon

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame will induct 11 new regular and associate members

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame class of 2018 will include 11 new regular and associate members. The 2018 banquet and induction ceremony will take place in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Labor Day weekend, one of several special events to be held during the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournament weekend on September 1, 2 and 3. There is no formal connection between the two organizations although the Hall of Fame induction banquet is traditionally held on the DCA championship weekend.

The six regular Hall of Fame inductees are: Gino Cipriani, brass: Danny McBride, visual; Jeff Prosperie, percussion; Jeff Sacktig, visual; Lou Tierno, administration; James Wedge, brass. The five associate member inductees and are: Rich Hammond, Bill Ives, Charles King, Peter Propfe, John Riley.


The new regular Hall of Fame members and their areas of specialization are:

Brass: Gino Cipriani of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Gino Cipriani’s brass sections have performed at the top of the scale for more than 25 years. In the years he has served as brass caption head his corps have won 20 top awards, including seven Drum Corps International (DCI) championships, eight Jim Ott high brass awards and Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championships with Reading Buccaneers in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2017. His meticulous instruction technique, which demands a high level of performance consistency, has inspired a wide range of drum corps performers. His DCI titles were won with two corps: Blue Devils in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999 and the Cadets in 2000, 2005 and 2011. High brass awards came with Blue Devils in 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999 and the Cadets in 2000, 2005 and 2015. His instructing career includes service with Syracuse Brigadiers, Magic of Orlando, Santa Clara Vanguard and Boston Crusaders. Before his instructing years, he played soprano horn with three junior corps: Florida Vanguard, Florida Wave and Blue Devils.

Visual: Danny McBride of Wilmington, Massachusetts
Danny McBride’s exceptional talents in visual design and instruction have made an enormous impact across the drum corps and competitive winter guard spectrum in North America and the United Kingdom. His visual design innovations were first put on display in the early 1980s, when he produced world-class silver and gold medal finalists in Winter Guard International (WGI) competitions. He was designer and instructor in 1984 when Hawthorne Caballeros won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship to top off an undefeated season. In various years beginning in 1979, he was visual designer and instructor for several other top-level corps: Avant Garde, Garfield Cadets, 27th Lancers, Bayonne Bridgemen and Connecticut Hurricanes. His top achievements include winning five top visual scores in DCA finals. In nine different years, he designed the show of a corps that finished in the DCA top three. He was associated as a designer, instructor or member with corps that were Drum Corps International (DCI) finalists five times. He also designed the memorable 27th Lancers reunion performance for DCA. Over a ten year period beginning in 1968, he played soprano horn with four different corps: Wynanstkill Killmen, Speigletown Speiglearies, Avant Garde and 27th Lancers. He has also judged visual captions with DCA and several regional judging groups.

Percussion: Jeff Prosperie of West Point, New York
Jeff Prosperie is the only drummer to win individual snare championships with Drum Corps International (DCI) and Percussive Arts Society (PAS), both in 1988 as section leader of the Phantom Regiment drum line, and Drum Corps Associates (DCA) in 2007 as percussion section leader of the West Point Hellcats. His score of 98.5 is the highest ever recorded in PAS competition. He was instructor and arranger with the University of North Texas band in 1989 and 1990 when the percussion section won the PAS national championship. He has also taught Phantom Regiment, Louisiana Expressions, Louisiana State University and is currently section leader and principal drummer with West Point Hellcats. His percussion judging experience extends across the Pacific Ocean for participation in Drum Corps Japan events. He has also judged with DCI, Winter Guard International (WGI) and PAS. He has judged 15 DCI world championships and 13 DCI individual championships. He has been a percussion professor at the University of Louisiana,

instructor at Baylor University and principal percussionist with Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Natchez Opera, Acadia Symphony Orchestra, Garland Symphony Orchestra and extra percussionist with Dallas Symphony Orchestra. His snare drumming experience includes time with Bayonne Bridgemen and Star of Indiana before joining Phantom Regiment.

Visual: Jeff Sacktig of Woodstock, Georgia
Jeff Sacktig has excelled as a performer and instructor with groups in both key North American drum and bugle corps associations: performing on soprano horn with 1983 Drum Corps Associates (DCA) champion Sunrisers then playing soprano when Garfield Cadets won the Drum Corps International (DCI) championship in 1987. As instructor and designer for the Cadets, he has been part of six more DCI world championships and several medalist placements. He was visual designer when Cadets 2 won the DCA championship in 2016. He was part of the design team that led Carolina Crown to a third straight DCI medalist finish. In his first season with Atlanta CV, the corps finished second in DCA finals. He was inducted into the Cadets Hall of Fame in 2008 and the DCI Hall of Fame in 2015. As a performing member of the Cadets he was featured soloist, horn sergeant and the first non-drum major to be named Cadet of the Year. In addition to designing drum corps shows, he has worked extensively with winter guards, indoor percussion groups and marching bands. His drum corps involvement began when he played soprano horn with St. Matthias Blue Max from 1977 to 1982.

Administration: Lou Tierno of Pottstown, Pennsylvania
After performing in the brass section of the Archer Epler Musketeers from 1980 to 1984 Lou Tierno moved to the Reading Buccaneers, still performing as he became a key administrator in the successful campaign to rescue a unit that was almost ready to close the doors. The Buccaneers horn line had dwindled to about 15 members when he and Hall of Fame administrator Jim Gruber began to turn the operation around. He served as business manager initially, with duties including loading and driving the equipment truck and lining the field. He was assistant director when the Buccaneers completed six consecutive Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship seasons from 2005 to 2010. He has been director of the corps since 2017. He earlier served as DCA assistant treasurer in 2013 and treasurer from 2014 to 2016, converting the hand written bookkeeping method to an updated online system. He was elected to the Buccaneers Hall of Fame in 2005.

Brass: James Wedge of Rowley, Massachusetts
Jim Wedge is widely considered a pioneer in brass arranging. He was a major force from the first years of Drum Corps International (DCI) through his innovative arrangements for 27th Lancers of Revere, Massachusetts. Between 1967 and 1982, his work with 27th Lancers produced such drum corps standards as Crown Imperial, Danny Boy, Shenandoah and Rawhide. During many of those groundbreaking years with Lancers, he was also the arranger and instructor for other prominent Massachusetts corps including Dukes of Marlboro, Pembroke Imperials, Jeanettes of Lynn. In the 1980s, he also worked with Fitchburg Kingsmen and East Coast Jazz. Other drum corps he worked with reached high levels: multiple Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) championships, multiple World Open championships, champions with DCI North, DCI East, DCI Midwest, DCI West. His emphasis on quality of sound, a constant search for musicality and pursuit of new sounds and teaching methods had a major impact on those he taught. Four members of the Dukes of Marlboro horn line, with no training other than their drum corps background, all went on to become music teachers. He is a member of the DCI Hall of Fame and the Massachusetts Hall of Fame. His drum and bugle corps career began when he played baritone horn with St. Rose Scarlet Lancers of Chelsea from 1954 to 1962, alongside Chick Corea, inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2018 for Distinguished Professional Achievement.


The 2018 World Drum Corps Hall of Fame associate member inductees are:

Rich Hammond of Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Rich Hammond has been a percussion caption/coordinator and arranger for many well known Pennsylvania drum and bugle corps for more than a quarter of century. During that period, he served as director of Cadets 2 and Cadets 2 winter percussion. He has also worked with Reading Buccaneers, Glassmen and North Penn Indoor Percussion. From 1989 to 1991 he was percussion tech for both Crossmen and the Westshoremen. During almost a decade of activity in the 1980s, he played snare drum with Crossmen, Reading Buccaneers and Hamilton Knights.

Bill Ives of Media, Pennsylvania
Bill Ives has been a key figure in the movement to preserve the history of drum and bugle corps activity. He has amassed a staggering 16,000 items: memorabilia, souvenirs, programs, newspaper and magazine articles, corps buttons and badges and more than 230 vintage uniforms. For the past 20 years he has displayed many of these items regularly at drum corps events in the United States and Canada. He has also created a detailed computerized listing of drum corps in the USA and Canada. He has served in various committee and management positions with groups including Jersey Surf and Archer Epler Musketeers. He has marched in various color guard positions with the Musketeers. He was named Musketeer of the year in 1982; received the Spirit of the Musketeer award in 1996; was named Drum Corps International (DCI) volunteer of the year in 2011. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

Charles (Charlie) King of West Palm Beach, Florida
Charlie King’s years of close involvement with Connecticut Hurricanes began in 1976 when he played baritone in the horn line. He was a corps member when Hurricanes won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship in 1981. He has worn many hats during his years of involvement, including serving on the board of directors and the advisory board. He has also been president of the Hurricanes alumni association. He ran the corps souvenir table for 15 years and served as a volunteer on the DCA committee, assisting with vendor coordination. He has been a member of the team running the FanFare DCA contest for more than 25 years. He is a charter member of the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame.

Peter Propfe of New Hartford, Connecticut
Peter Propfe served as director of the Connecticut Hurricanes in 1998 and 2014 and has held other positions on the board of directors since 1995. Prior to this service with Hurricanes, he was director of Connecticut Vagabonds from 1980 to 1988. He began his drum corps activity playing first soprano horn with the Vagabonds in 1967. He then played soprano and mellophone with New York Skyliners, beginning in 1974. Since then, he also played mellophone with Connecticut Hurricanes, Connecticut Alumni and Skyliners alumni.

John Riley of Lansdale, Pennsylvania
John Riley began his long history of percussion activity as a performer, instructor and judge when he started playing snare drum with PAL Cadets in 1979. He has worked as instructor, consultant or caption head with such well known corps as Reilly Raiders alumni, Jersey Surf, Riptide indoor percussion group, Skyliners, Crossmen, Westshoremen, East Coast Jazz, Sunrisers, Archer Epler Junior drum corps. He also served terms as Westshoremen operations director and Westshore Cadets operations director. In earlier years, he played snare drum with Black Watch, Bridgemen and C

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