Reading Buccaneers Announce 2010 Leadership Team

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The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps announced today the corps’ design and instructional leadership team for the 2010 season. The team includes the entire 2009 nucleus, plus the elevation of two highly talented and respected teachers and performers to more prominent roles

Returning as Staff Coordinator will be Carl Ruocco. Rich Hammond will reprise his roles as Program Coordinator and Percussion Arranger and Caption Head. Jay Bocook’s brass arrangements will be taught to the corps by a staff led by Caption Head Gino Cipriani. Mark Lortz will again write the front ensemble book and Christopher Feist will coordinate the percussion battery. Steve Vincent will return as Color Guard Caption Head. Bobby Jones will return as Visual Designer and Caption Head. Joining the leadership team will be Shannon Hall as Color Guard Designer and Hank Manfra as Visual Supervisor.

“Our first responsibility is to give our members a world-class experience,” said Corps Director James C. Gruber, “and that experience begins with a world-class staff. This team has proven its ability to assemble both a premier program and the staff to teach it. Our members will be learning from the best in the business. The folks on this staff not only amaze us with their individual talents as designers and teachers, they have also proven that they are a fantastic team. I can’t wait to see what they put together for 2010.”

Carl Ruocco (Staff Coordinator) is looking forward to his sixth year heading the Buccaneers staff. “I’m really looking forward to the coming year,” said Ruocco. “What we’re doing in Reading seems to be working out well for our members and the fans, and we want to build on it – continue as we’ve been doing, but only better. Our goal is always to be better than we’ve been – as designers and teachers, and as an organization.

A resident of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Ruocco has enjoyed a long and influential career in both the drum corps and marching band activities. As a teacher and administrator, his stellar drum corps resume includes service to Star of Indiana, Crossmen, Jersey Surf, Spirit from Jacksonville State University and Santa Clara Vanguard. He has been a long-time member of the New York Skyliners organization. He has judged the Drum Corps International world championships three times and the Drum Corps Associates world championships twice.

Rich Hammond (Program Coordinator, Percussion Arranger and Caption Head). A graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts, Hammond attended the University of the Arts and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He has been a marching member of the Hamilton Knights, the Reading Buccaneers and Crossmen. In addition, he has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. His drum corps writing and teaching stints have included the Crossmen, the Glassmen and the Reading Buccaneers, where he has produced five world championship percussion programs. In addition to his work with the Buccaneers, Rich has been Percussion Program Coordinator for Drum Corps International’s Jersey Surf Drum & Bugle Corps, where he led the Surf to a 2007 Division II percussion title. Hammond’s resume also includes work with the WGI world champion Hatboro-Horsham and the USSBA Group 6 Open Champion North Penn Marching Knights, where he is Director of Percussion. He was inducted into the Buccaneers Hall of Fame in 2007.

“Our goal for 2010 is to build on 2009’s success and give fans a vintage Buccaneers program, only better,” said Hammond. “We’ll continue showcasing our unique style and our commitment to excellence across the board – in every section, in every caption. I’m looking forward to another great year.”

Jay Bocook (Brass Arranger). Mr. Bocook returns to the Buccaneers for his third season. A celebrated composer and arranger, Bocook is currently Director of Athletic Bands at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where he previously served as Director of Bands. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Furman and a Master of Music from Northeast Louisiana University. He has written for many ensembles, including school bands at all levels and the United States Marine Band, as well as the nine-time Drum Corps International world champion Cadets, where he currently serves as Brass Arranger.

Mark Lortz (Front Ensemble Arranger). A celebrated composer, arranger, and educator, Mr. Lortz is employed by the Carroll County, Maryland Public Schools, where he oversees the high school’s orchestra, concert and marching bands, percussion wind ensemble, color guard and music technology programs. He is also an adjunct music professor at McDaniel College, in Westminster, MD. Lortz holds a Bachelor of Music in percussion performance and a minor in composition and piano from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned two Master’s degrees in music composition and music education.

Gino Cipriani (Brass Caption Head). Gino returns to the Buccaneers for his fourth consecutive year. From 1990 to 1999, he was a brass instructor for the twelve-time DCI world champion Blue Devils. He served the Cadets as Brass Caption Head in 2000 and 2001, and held the same post for the Magic of Orlando in 2002 and 2003. He held that post for the six-time DCI world champion Santa Clara Vanguard in 2004 and returned to the Cadets as Brass Caption Supervisor in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. His DCA resume includes work with the Syracuse Brigadiers and Hawthorne Caballeros. He joined the Buccaneers in 2007, and has led the corps to two brass caption titles.

Christopher Feist (Battery Coordinator). Chris has been a marching member of the Buccaneers and the Crossmen. From 1983 to 1988 he served as percussion caption head for the Conrad Weiser High School Marching Band, and from 1994 to 1999 served the Governor Mifflin High School Marching Band in a variety of roles, including percussion arranger, caption head and staff coordinator. His drum corps teaching experience includes the Crossmen and the Buccaneers, where he has taught since 2001. In addition, Feist has been a percussion judge for both the indoor and outdoor programs of Cavalcade of Bands and for the Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society.

Steve Vincent (Color Guard Caption Head). Steve’s 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 eight 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.

Shannon Hall (Color Guard Designer). A native and resident of Pennsauken, New Jersey, Shannon was a standout performer with the 2008 and 2009 Buccaneers color guard. He is a graduate of Pennsauken High School, where he performed with the marching band and indoor guard. He has also been a performer with the Black Watch indoor guard since 2006. As a teacher and designer, he taught the Pennsauken High School marching band and indoor guard from 2006 through 2008, and is currently teaching, designing and consulting with the Allentown High School (NJ) marching band, the Broadneck High School (MD) marching band and the William Penn High School (DE) indoor guard. Currently a supervisor in a marketing firm, Shannon has studied music education (voice concentration, piano minor) at The College of New Jersey and aspires to a future in music education.

Bobby Jones (Visual Designer and Caption Head). Bobby returns to the Buccaneers for his fourth year, having led the visual program in 2005, 2008 and 2009. He made an immediate impact when he first joined the Buccaneers staff in 2005, producing a world championship visual program in his first year. In addition to his work with the Buccaneers, Jones is adjudicator for USSBA. He also writes and teaches for many high schools in the mid-Atlantic region and has written for the Crossmen and Hawthorne Caballeros, among others.

Hank Manfra (Visual Supervisor). Hank returns to the Buccaneers visual staff for his sixth season, where he will assume greater responsibility for teaching and polishing the corps’ visual program. 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.

On Sunday, November, 29, 2009, the Buccaneers will host Membership Day 2010, 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 2010 corps are invited to attend. Please visit the corps’ web site at for more information or email membership [at] readingbuccaneers [dot] org.

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, 2008 and 2009– all five undefeated championship seasons. In 2009 the Buccaneers set DCA records for most consecutive wins and most consecutive world championships and posted the highest championship score in DCA history, a 99.025 out of 100.

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

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Posted by on Monday, September 28th, 2009. Filed under DCA News.