2008 World Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Inductees
The six new regular members who will be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame on Labor Day weekend have produced champions on the field in two countries, helped change the look of field shows, taken the activity to the Broadway stage and offered seminars and workshops as far away as southeast Asia.
The new regular members who will be inducted during the Hall of Fame’s annual luncheon, to be held at noon, Saturday August 31, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Rochester, New York are: Steve Cooley, of Dunkirk, New York; Larry Darch, of Buffalo, New York; Thom Hannum, of Amherst, Massachusetts; Art Hlywa, of Oxford, Connecticut; Harold ‘Robby’ Robinson, Sr., of West Chester, Pennsylvania and Neal Smith, of Canton, Massachusetts. Bob Cardaneo, of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, will also be inducted, as winner of the President’s Life Time Achievement Award.
The contributions and achievements of the 2008 regular member inductees are:
Steve Cooley: Dunkirk, New York
Steve Cooley has been a brass arranger or instructor for top-rated drum and bugle corps in western New York, southern Ontario and Pennsylvania. From 1961 to 1972, he played a baritone horn for the junior Geneva Appleknockers, the corps which grew out of the senior corps of the same name after the senior corps disbanded in the early 1960s. His contributions as a brass arranger and instructor began in 1970, with the Appleknockers, followed by five years with Dunkirk Patriots. From 1973 to 1979, he taught and arranged for the horn line of the Hamburg Kingsmen. In 1976, he also instructed the Rochester Phoenix horn line, when the two year old corps won the New York American Legion state championship with a 76-man horn line. He crossed the border to teach the Guelph Royalaires horn line in 1978. He began a 25-year association as arranger and instructor with Erie Thunderbirds in 1979. From 1979 to 1981, he was brass arranger and instructor for Steel City Ambassadors of Pittsburgh. He was arranger and instructor for Syracuse Brigadiers when the corps became active again as a parade unit in 1991 then returned to the contest field in 1992. Since the year 2000, he been a brass instructor with both Rochester’s nationally renowned all-age corps, the Crusaders and Empire Statesmen.
Larry Darch: Buffalo, New York
Larry Darch has been a leading percussion figure in the western New York drum and bugle corps community for more than 50 years. He has participated in every aspect of the activity, as a snare drummer, percussion instructor and arranger, business manager, contest chairman, board of directors member and percussion judge. He was a snare drummer with St. Joseph’s of Batavia from 1950 to 1962, as Mighty St. Joe’s was rising from parade corps status to national prominence. Between 1962 and 1967, he served at various times as St. Joe’s business manager, contest chairman and board of directors member. He was percussion arranger and instructor from 1968 to 1971. During the decade of his administrative and instruction service, St. Joe’s won the New York State American Legion championship eight times, the New York-Canadian championship four times, and the Canadian Open championship once. He played snare drum with two prominent senior corps: Hamburg Kingsmen and Rochester Crusaders. He served as percussion arranger and instructor with well-known junior corps in two countries: Guelph Opti-Knights of Guelph, Ontario, Silver Sabres of Kansas, Geneva Appleknockers Juniors and Rochester Grey Knights Squires. He has been closely involved as a drummer and instructor with Mighty St. Joe’s alumni corps, which began activities in late 1991. For 30 years beginning in 1962, he judged all percussion captions with six different associations: All American Association, New York State Federation of Contest Judges, Canadian Judging Association, Drum Corps Associates, Drum Corps International, New York State Field Band Conference. Three of his drum lines won national championships: Mighty St. Joe’s in 1968; Guelph Opti-Knights in 1970; Rochester Crusaders in 1972. He has served on the DCI championship judging panel four times. He has been an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame since 2001.
Thom Hannum: Amherst, Massachusetts
Thom Hannum took the pageantry of drum and bugle corps field shows to the Broadway stage, with the Star of Indiana’s Brass Theater production titled ‘Blast.’ He is a five time Drum Corps International (DCI) champion for arranging and instructing the percussion sections of the Cadets of Bergen and Star of Indiana. As a youngster, he played snare drum with Brookhaven Crusaders and the Crossmen. He served as arranger and instructor for Crossmen from 1978 to 1983, also serving as program co-ordinator during most of those years. He served as percussion instructor and arranger with the Cadets from 1984 to 1987, and spent three ground-breaking years with Star of Indiana. He is regarded as one of North America’s foremost percussion clinicians, presenting seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. He is a product consultant and clinician for Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Company, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and the Pearl Corporation. He serves on the Musicians Advisory Board for J. D’Addario & Company, Inc. helping develop and design drum heads for marching percussion groups. He is associate director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band. He is an active member of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) and has served as president of the Massachusetts PAS Chapter. He has published a textbook and workbook titled ‘Championship Concepts for Marching Percussion,’ accompanied by an instructional video demonstrating concepts outlined in the books. He is also a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.
Art Hlywa: Oxford, Connecticut
Art Hlywa has been one of the most highly regarded solo soprano players and horn instructors in Connecticut for more than 50 years. He was the soloist when the Connecticut Hurricanes, first known as the John H. Collins Post 24 Fife and Drum Corps, were re- organized in 1955 as a field corps. The Hurricane name was adopted after Hurricane Diane ravaged southern New England in 1955. He performed with the Hurricanes until 1969 and with the Connecticut Yankees senior corps from 1970 to 1971. He has been a soloist with the Connecticut Alumni corps since 1986. Between 1957 and 1973, he was the horn instructor for seven of Connecticut’s top junior drum and bugle corps: Derby Cyclones, Royal Lancers, Connecticut Classics, Golden Buccaneers, Milford Shoreliners, Stateliners and Troubadors. During the 1960s and early 1970s, he was also horn instructor first for the Hurricanes then the Connecticut Yankees. In 1986, he was a charter member, and is still horn instructor, of the Connecticut Alumni corps. He has served as chairman of the Hurricanes’ annual golf tournament, and as a board member and vice president of the Hurricanes alumni. He judged all horn captions for the Northeastern Judges Association from 1968 to 1973. He was inducted into the Hurricanes’ Hall of Fame in 2003, and has been an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame since 2002.
Harold ‘Robby’ Robinson, Sr.: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Robby Robinson, Sr. is the founding director of the Crossmen drum and bugle corps, the highly successful group formed by merging two junior corps in the Philadelphia area in 1974. The Crossmen finished in the Drum Corps International (DCI) finals 22 times in the following 30 years. He was a snare drummer with the Tri Community Cadets from 1952 to 1960. He was the snare drummer in the percussion quartet that won the annual Mid-Atlantic Individual/Quartet title from 1956 to 1959. He taught marching and manoeuvring to the Haddon Heights Vagabonds in 1960, then taught the percussion section of the 1st State Cadets of Delaware from 1961 to 1963. He was the marching and manoeuvring instructor for the Bellaires of Belmar, New Jersey from 1961 to 1966 and Tri Community Cadets from 1968 to 1971. He became director of Tri Community in 1971, then served as director of the Keystone Regiment from 1972 to 1974. He served as director of the Crossmen, formed in 1974 by the merger of the 507 Hornets and Keystone Regiment, until 1986. He is a member of the Crossmen Hall of Fame. He judged the marching caption for the National Association of Judges from 1961 to 1985 and percussion from 1961 to 1975. He was a member of the first DCI judging task force from 1981 to 1984.
Neal Smith: Canton, Massachusetts
Neal Smith’s design innovations helped change the look of field shows. 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. 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. 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. He performed with Boston Crusaders from 1961 to 1971 as soprano soloist and drum major. He has been a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) national champion four times: three times as a performer and once as designer. 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 27th Lancers, Rockland Defenders, Boston Crusaders, Connecticut Hurricanes, Rhode Island Matadors and Hawthorne Caballeros. 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.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony in downtown Rochester’s Crowne Plaza Hotel is part of the 2008 DCA championship tournament weekend. The Crowne Plaza is located across the Genesee River from the venues for the Individual and Ensemble (I&E) competitions, highly-popular mini-corps contest and an old fashioned outdoor drum corps party to be held Friday evening August 30, and just a few blocks from PAETEC Park Stadium, where the DCA preliminaries will take place on Saturday, followed by the Alumni Classic concert and DCA finals on Sunday.
New inductees of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame are elected annually by vote of the regular members All submissions are screened to insure the nominee’s activities and achievements over many years meet the qualifications and criteria required for nomination. Information forms approved by the screening committee are then forwarded to members of the selection committee with knowledge and expertise in four key areas: percussion, brass, marching and field presentation, and administration and judging. Each area is represented by three selection committee members.
The selection committee chooses 12 candidates for induction. Ballots, including nomination form information and supporting statements, are then distributed to 129 regular members, who vote by selecting one name in each caption with one additional ballot to be cast in any category. The six candidates with the highest number of votes become new World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members.
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 430 regular and associate members from the United States and Canada, who have contributed to the activity across North America, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Japan. Membership in 2008 includes 136 active and 104 deceased regular members and 166 active and 24 deceased associate members.
More information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is available at www.worlddrumcorpshof.org/