Buccaneers Announce 2009 Visual, Color Guard Staff

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The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps announced its visual and color guard design and instructional team for the 2009 season.

“This staff is exceptional,” said Buccaneers Staff Coordinator Carl Ruocco. “The Buccaneers have traditionally enjoyed a strong visual program. This is due not only to the talent of the staff and membership, but also its commitment to teamwork and building a well-coordinated program. This visual team works well together and designs and teaches a program that fits seamlessly with the musical production.” Ruocco expects to continue in that tradition in 2009. “We will raise the visual bar again this year,” he said.

Bobby Jones (Visual Designer and Caption Head). Bobby returns to the Buccaneers for his third year, having led the visual program in 2005 and 2008. He made an immediate impact when he first joined the Buccaneers staff in 2005, producing a world championship visual program, a feat he repeated in 2008. In addition to his work with the Buccaneers, Jones writes and teaches for many high schools in the mid-Atlantic region and has written and taught for the Crossmen, Hawthorne Caballeros, Carolina Gold, Kingston Grenadiers and Jersey Surf, among others. A testament to his impact and talent, he was named 2005 Buccaneers Staff Member of the Year by members of the corps.

Steve Vincent (Color Guard Designer and Caption Head). Steve returns to the helm of the Buccaneers color guard program for the second consecutive year. His marching experience includes five years with the Westshoremen, five years with the Sunrisers and eight years with the Buccaneers, as well as three years with the Threshold and Black Watch indoor guards. He has also marched at Millersville University and North Penn High School, where he was drum major. His teaching credentials are equally considerable: Vincent has taught guard at the Buccaneers, Westshoremen and Sunrisers for seven years. He has taught the Souderton High School indoor guard for six years, Allentown’s The Guard for ten years. He also instructs the West Chester University color guard and has thirteen years experience teaching guard at Downingtown and Souderton High Schools.

Hank Manfra (Visual Instructor). Hank returns to the Buccaneers visual staff for his fifth season. In addition to his work with the Balance in Blue, Hank has been the visual designer for the Morris Knolls High School Marching Band, of Denville, New Jersey since 2002. He has designed and taught various other northern New Jersey bands as well. He marched with the Bushwackers for nine seasons (1993-1994, 1996-1997, 1999-2003), where he also taught on the visual staff in 2001. A 1999 graduate of the School of Visual Arts with a degree in cartooning, Hank is currently Manager of Pre-Press Services at DC Comics.

Lou Zanine, Jr. (Visual Instructor). Lou’s marching and teaching resume is extensive and impressive. A graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education, has been a marching member of the West Chester University Marching Band (1981-1984), the Crossmen (1980-1984), the New York Skyliners (1996); the Westshoremen (1997) and the Reading Buccaneers (1998-1999, 2003, 2005, 2007). His drum corps teaching experience includes stints on the brass staffs of the Crossmen (1985-1989) and the Buccaneers (2000-2002) and on the visual staffs of the Skyliners (1995) and the Buccaneers (2004, 2008). He has also served many high school and indoor guard and percussion programs, including the Conrad Weiser High School marching band (1983-1989), the Central Bucks West marching band and indoor guard (1988-1989), the Upper Darby marching band (1990), the Liberty (MD) marching band (1998-1999) and indoor color guard (1999), the Governor Mifflin High School marching band (1996, 2000-2005) and indoor guard (2005), and the Wilson High School marching band (2003-2008), indoor guard (2004-2008) and indoor percussion (2008) programs. Zanine currently lives in the Reading, PA area and works for the Vanguard Group.

Alexander Higgins (Visual Instructor). Alex returns to the Buccaneers for his fourth consecutive year on the staff. Higgins received his degree in music education with concentrations in trumpet and euphonium from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Currently a band director in northern New Jersey for fourth-, fifth-, sixth- and ninth-grade students, Alex marched with the Crossmen as a trumpet player (2003) and as a drum major (2004) and with the Reading Buccaneers (2006), where he filled three different blanks at mellophone. His teaching includes various marching and music instructor positions at Upper Darby High School (2003-2004), North Penn High School (2004-2006), West Essex Regional High School (2006-2008), Bridgewater-Raritan High School (2006-2008), the Crossmen (2005) and the Reading Buccaneers (2006-2008).

Chris Vitale (Visual Instructor). Chris Vitale returns to the Buccaneers for his second season as a visual technician. Chris holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of Delaware. Following graduation in 2004, Chris became director of bands at Penns Grove High School in Carneys Point, New Jersey. Since the fall of 2007, Chris has been a graduate wind band conducting student at the University of Delaware, where he serves as a graduate assistant with the UD athletic bands and works with the wind ensemble and the symphonic band. He began marching drum corps in 1999 at the age of 17 with the Crossmen. He marched two additional seasons with the Crossmen in 2001 and as a flugelhorn soloist in 2002. Chris served as a visual technician with the Crossmen in 2006 and the Hawthorne Caballeros in 2007 before joining the Buccaneers in 2008. Chris also serves as an instructor and visual designer for several schools in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Monica Hammond (Color Guard Instructor). Monica is a second grade teacher in New Jersey. A graduate of Kean University, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree in education as a reading specialist, Hammond’s drum corps marching experience consists of stints with the Sunrisers (1997, 1998, 1999) and the Buccaneers (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006). In addition, Hammond is a two-time WGI medalist (1998 and 2000) with the Emerald Marquis winter guard. From 1998 through 2008, Monica has taught color guard at Immaculata High School (NJ). Her drum corps resume includes the Connecticut Hurricanes (2000) and the Reading Buccaneers (2007, 2008).

Louis Hellinger (Color Guard Instructor). Louis returns for his second consecutive year with the Balance in Blue, focusing again on weapons work and body movement. A marching veteran of the Emerald Marquis indoor guard, the Westshoremen and the Sunrisers, Hellinger has taught the Black Watch indoor guard, the Sunrisers and the Reading Buccaneers. He is currently the visual designer and color guard designer for West Orange (NJ) High School.

On Sunday, November, 30, 2008, the Buccaneers will host Membership Day 2009, at Twin Valley High School, Elverson, PA. Registration begins at 11:00. All persons interested in learning more about the Reading Buccaneers and being part of the 2009 corps are invited to attend. Please visit the corps’ web site at www.readingbuccaneers.org for more information.

Founded in 1957, the Buccaneers are a non-profit, education-oriented musical organization. The Buccaneers are a charter member of Drum Corps Associates and won the first-ever DCA world championships in 1965. Additional titles followed in 1968, 1979, 1980 and, most recently, in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 — all four undefeated championship seasons.

The Buccaneers are sponsored in part by Ray A. Master American Legion Post 217, Topton, Pennsylvania

For more information, visit www.readingbuccaneers.org.

Posted by on Monday, November 17th, 2008. Filed under DCA News.