Years of activity by 10 new Associate inductees cover eight decades from 1940 all the way up to today

Posted on July 15th, 2021

Years of activity by the 10 new Associate members to be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHOF) during a ceremony in Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 20 cover all the years from 1940 right up until today. 

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.  The individuals to be inducted in the class of 2021 are:

Joe “The Colonel” Brancati has been continuously performing for more than 80 years, beginning in 1940 when he played solo soprano with Lions Club Junior drum and bugle corps.  He also played solo soprano horn with H. Daly Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) drum corps, Bill’s Boys and ROMEO Cadets. Along the way, he was instructor for Flagstaff–Perth Amboy in 1945, the first African American corps in New Jersey history.  In 1948, he was cofounder, instructor and featured soloist with Amboy Dukes.

He won the Interstate Circuit individual soprano title in 1958 and 1959.

He has been a journalist with Drum Corps World and Drum Corps Heritage Magazine.  He received an award for service, along with astronaut John Glenn, from the governor of Kentucky.

He has served in a number of administration positions, including treasurer and business manager for Bill’s Boys.  He has been director of the ROMEO Cadets since 1989.

He became a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame in 2010 and was inducted to the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame the following year.

John Carr is currently DCA president after serving as treasurer and board member since 2016.  He is well known for taking the initiative in establishing the March of Champions contest in Kingston, one of DCA’s most popular and well-attended shows for more than 25 years.

He began playing soprano horn with Hawthorne Muchachos at age 11 in 1968, continuing until 1978 when the corps disbanded.  He has been involved with the Muchachos Foundation since its inception in 2012, currently serving as president.  The Foundation provides scholarships to young people in today’s competitive drum corps.  Active members of both DCI and DCA corps have received scholarships worth more than $20,000 in total.  As well, the Foundation provides funds for special families at holiday times.

The March of Champions originated as a fund raising project for the Children’s Home of Kingston.  He is treasurer of the board of directors, assisting with financing, development and fund raising.  The Home serves boys from age six to 18 with residential and outpatient clinical care.

After the Muchachos disbanded, he was part of the team that merged the Imperial Knights, Dynamic Royal Aires and Valley Grenadiers to create Fantasia III, with corporate sponsorship from Burger King.  In addition to serving on the board of directors he was show designer and marching instructor.

Brad Coleman is a triple threat drum corps veteran who has performed in both percussion and horn sections; marched as drum major; served as both a percussion and drill tech. 

His drum corps career began in 1974, when he played double tenor and tympani with N.J. Saints.  During his time with New York Skyliners from 1976 to 1983 and again in 1993, he was assistant drum major and tympani and drill technician.  While a member of the Sunrisers from 1985 to 1990 and 1994 to 1997, he was drum major and soprano horn player.  He was percussion tech with Hawthorne Caballeros in 2002.

He has enjoyed two lengthy terms with New York Skyliners Alumni, serving as drum major and brass tech for 10 years from 1998 to 2008 and from 2016 to the present.

He was inducted into the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2017.

Mike DiMuro already loved the music of the Big Swing Band era when school friends invited him to a Ridge Culver Statesmen drum and bugle corps practice in 1953.  He played soprano bugle with the corps through 1958.  He was prompted to learn more about music and improve his performance level by Ridge Culver Statesmen instructor Lois Weibolt, who continuously encouraged him by regularly adding new lesson plans to help acquire higher skills.  

He performed with the Rochester Crusaders horn line from 1959 to 1965 as soprano soloist, including the Crusaders’ American Legion national championship performance in 1965.  His original drum corps days ended when he joined the United States Army in 1966.

He returned to drum corps activity in 2010, performing with Prime Time Brass ensemble.  He has been a soprano soloist with St. Joe’s Alumni Corps since 2011.

Fran Haring has been the familiar announcer voice at DCA championship and regional contests for 35 years.  Many drum corps members have heard him introduce them on the field for their entire marching careers.  His professionalism and style elevate drum corps events, raising the excitement level and image of each performance.  His voice is familiar at many drum corps ceremonies and formal gatherings.

Away from the microphone, he has been a Drum Corps World contributing writer since 1983.  He was one of the staff members who produced the DCA Championship Yearbook in 1983, 1984 and 1985.  He was publicity director of the Long Island Sunrisers from 1980 to 1982.

In addition to announcing every DCA championship contest for more than three decades, he has been at the microphone for such prominent events as the DCA Alumni Spectacular, American Legion National Championship, DCI East and DCI Central championships, National Dream Contest, Drum Corps Grand Prix, Hershey Spectacular, Parade of Champions, Drumfest.  He has also emceed such well-known events as the Yankee Rebels Dixie Stinger, Reading Buccaneers Spring Preview, Inter-Service Academy Drum Corps Championships and the 2014 Army/Navy game.

On the field, he played French horn/mellophone with Sacred Heart Crusaders in 1971-1976 and French horn with Sunrisers from 1977 to 1983.

He was inducted into the Sunrisers Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Maryland Drum and Bugle Corps Hall of Fame in 2021.

Chris Maher is one of the principal historians and archivists in the drum corps community.  His significant contributions as a researcher, conservator, writer, photographer and database/web architect over more than 20 years have evolved into the online museum Drum Corps Xperience (DCX, available at dcxmuseum.org), which houses the history of thousands of drum corps, past and present. 

His collection includes repertoires, contest scores, photos and videos, with audio excerpts coming soon. He is one of the leading photographers in the drum corps community, taking pictures for Corpsreps, DCA and Drum Corps World since 2005.

He is currently working with Bill Ives, WDCHOF 2021 President’s Choice award winner, to document more than 230 vintage uniforms in Ives’ collection for display on DCX.

He played in the percussion section of the Westchester Horizons in the 1970s, and since 2002 has volunteered in a parent support position with Lehigh Valley Knights, Crossmen, Phantom Regiment and Blue Devils.

Shirley “Babe” McGrath was a member of the Emerald Cadets Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps of Rochester, (Irondequoit) N.Y. in 1962, the Emerald Statesmen in 1966 and 1967 and the Emerald Cadets competition color guard in 1968 and 1969.  She was a member of St. Joe’s Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps of Batavia, N.Y. in 1970 and 1971 and a member of the Phoenix Senior Drum and Bugle Corps of Rochester, N.Y. in 1976. 

She was in the St. Joe’s Alumni Corps from 2009 through 2012 as an instructor and Honor Guard Captain in 2011 and 2012. She was Captain of the Honor Guard for Bugles Across America at the DCA Championships, and a member of the Empire Statesmen Honor Guard for two competition seasons

In 2008 and 2009 she assisted Darcy Davis in the streamlining of the WDCHOF induction ceremony. She later became the banquet chairwoman from 2010 through 2014.

In 2011 Shirley promoted the idea of making an audio-video presentation for each new inductee to Bob Glovna, for viewing at the induction ceremony. Gail Langan secured the special audio-visual equipment needed for those presentations and Frank Dorritie, with his professional background in studio-music production, guided that process to a successful conclusion.  This initiative was one of Shirley’s more noteworthy contributions in modernizing the annual WDCHOF ceremony.

Dennis “Dino” Myers was a contrabass player with Reading Buccaneers when the corps won back-to-back DCA championships in 1979 and 1980.  Off the field, he has been business manager for three different corps and since 2014 has been co-chair of Reading Buccaneers Alumni’s popular Music in the Mountains indoor show.

He has been involved in drum corps activity for most of his life, since he was introduced to the activity in 1957 when at age 10 he joined the Pleasureville, Pennsylvania American Legion Post 799 parade corps.

More than 60 years later, he still plays contrabass with two alumni corps: Buccaneers Alumni since 2010 and Hanover Lancers Alumni since 2014.  He also played with Yankee Rebels Alumni from 1984 to 1992.

He was business manager with York White Roses junior drum and bugle corps in 1970 and 1971; Reading Buccaneers in 1979 and 1980 and Buccaneers Alumni from 2014 to 2018.

Before he switched to contrabass, he played bugle with York White Roses from 1964 to 1968, then performed with Yankee Rebels and Reading Buccaneers at various times between 1969 and 1982.

He also supported marching arts activities during his years as marching and drill instructor with New Oxford, Whitehall, Dover and Penn Manor high school bands from the mid 1970s through the late 1990s.

He was inducted into the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame in 2016.

Bill Siddon had an early start in music and marching.  He started playing trumpet in grade 5; played in the high school band the following year; joined the hometown Rensselaer Valiant Crusaders junior drum and bugle corps at age 11 in 1953, playing single valve soprano horn.  He became a solo soprano player three years later and drum major in 1957, replacing future Hall of Fame member Alan Smythe.  He joined the Interstatesmen in 1960, playing solo baritone until 1967.

After a year with Syracuse Brigadiers, he found his long time drum corps home with New York Skyliners, marching from 1969 to 1975.  During his years on the field, Skyliners won the DCA championship title in 1971.

He instructed several corps during the 1960s and 1970s.  He was both horn and drill instructor for Averil Park Cavaliers from 1963 to 1965.  He was horn instructor for Berkshire Pom Poms all girl drum and bugle corps and Pittsfield Skyhawks and drill instructor for Capital District Defenders in 1977 and 1979.

After taking time off to raise his family and teach corps in the Albany, New York and Pittsfield, Massachusetts area he joined the newly formed Skyliners Alumni Drum Corps in 1993, playing baritone for 15 years, becoming assistant drum major for two years then drum major in 2011.  He retired from drum corps activity in 2017 at age 74.

Dan Wildonger has helped keep the wheels moving for the Reading Buccaneers since he joined the organization in 1997.  While he played mellophone or baritone in the horn line for the following 10 years, he was also active with administration duties.

The Buccaneers have won 13 of their total 17 DCA World Championships while he has been contributing on the field and in administration duties.  These include six undefeated championship years from 2005 to 2010; four titles from 2012 through 2015 and three from 2017 to 2019.

He served on the Buccaneers membership committee from 1997 through 2004.  He became secretary to the board in 2005, remaining in that position until 2014.  He has been the assistant director since 2015.

Many of his contributions to corps activity are behind the scenes.  He is often the person driving a truck, placing lines on the field or making sure water bottles are available to corps members, tasks completely separate from formal administration duties but just as important to keep the whole operation running smoothly.

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