World Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Executive Committee Appointees

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Four well-known members of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame have been appointed to serve as members at large on the organization’s executive committee. The four have been active over seven separate decades, beginning in the late 1940s. The four men are: Rip Bernert, of Blackwood, New Jersey; Roman Blenski, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Riggie Laus, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Bob Peterson, of North Mankato, Minnesota.

They will attend their first executive committee meeting on Labor Day weekend, as part of the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony and annual general meeting. The Hall of Fame is independent of Drum Corps Associates (DCA), but the induction ceremony is traditionally held during DCA’s three-day championship tournament weekend, to be held this year in Rochester, New York.

The Hall of Fame’s operating guidelines allow for the appointment to the executive committee of members at large, to supplement the specific duties of members of the executive board. Officers of the Hall of Fame, and their positions are: George Bull, President; Joseph Campos, Vice President; Jim Cossetti, Executive Secretary; Robert Neuhoff, Long Range Planning Chairman; Dick Filkins, Membership Committee Chairman; Anne Woodhams, Treasurer; Darcy Davis, Programs Chairman; Joe Capone, Chaplain; Bill McGrath, Jr., Historian; Carol Hooton, Systems Information Chairman; Roy Wilson, Public Relations Chairman.

Induction banquet master of ceremonies is Michael Del Vecchio.

The new executive committee members, and their year of inductions in the Hall of Fame are:

Rip Bernert, 1979. He was a soprano bugler in the Howard C. McCall Junior Drum Corps and was their soloist when they won the American Legion (AL) national championship in 1947. He was music and drill arranger and instructor for the Audubon Bon Bons from 1950 until 1977. He joined Archer-Epler Musketeers in 1951 and became their drill arranger and instructor in 1952, retaining those duties until the mid 1960s.

Roman Blenski, 1996. He began playing bugle in 1957 at the start of a lifelong involvement with the drum and bugle corps community. He was also color guard, drill and bugle instructor for a number of corps from 1958 to 1961. He is the long-time executive director of Drum Corps Midwest (DCM) and has also served as executive of Pioneer junior drum and bugle corps, and co-ordinator of the Drum Corps International Division II and III corps.

Riggie Laus, 1986. In the nine years after winning his first competition as an individual soprano player, he won every local, state and national individual contest he entered, retiring undefeated in 1965. Returning home from active duty in the Pacific during World War II, he marched with several community bands before beginning a quarter of a century commitment to the Pittsburgh Rockets in 1948. Between 1958 and 1982, he instructed many Pennsylvania drum and bugle corps, including Tarentum Red Knights, who were three times VFW state parade champions; Meadville Thunderbirds; Quasars; Sharpsburg Cadets; General Butler Vagabonds; Pittsburgh Rockets Juniors and Steel City Ambassadors

Robert E. Peterson, 1994. His 40 years of drum corps involvement began with the St. George Cadets. During more than four decades of activity, he taught drumming to more than two dozen corps, and founded the All States Judging Association and judged contests for the Mid Atlantic, Eastern States, Drum Corps International (DCI) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA)w associations. He played in the Holy Name Cadets’ drum line in the mid 1950s, and later played with Hawthorne Caballeros. He played a snare drum in the first parade of the Hawthorne Caballeros alumni drum and bugle corps.

Since its founding in 1976 by the late Vince Bruni, of Rochester, NY, membership in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame has grown from six charter members to more than 400 regular and associate members from 20 states and two Canadian provinces, who have contributed to the activity across North America, Europe, Africa and Japan.

Hall of Fame members in the United States live in: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Canadian members come from Ontario and Quebec.

More information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is available at

Posted by on Tuesday, May 30th, 2006. Filed under DCA News.