Reading Buccaneers Announce 2010 Visual Staff

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The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps announced its visual caption design and instructional team for the 2010 season.

The goal for 2010 is simple: to make an already formidable visual program even stronger. “Historically, we’ve done well presenting challenging and crowd-pleasing visual programs that were well-coordinated with the music book,” said Staff Coordinator Carl Ruocco. “And things came together particularly well in that way in 2009. I know we still have more room to grow and push the envelope in terms of overall visual design and performance. This team is exceptional with a proven track record of success, and I’m excited about how this corps will look in 2010.”

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.

Alexander Higgins (Visual Instructor). Alex returns to the Buccaneers for his fifth 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 high school band director in southern New Jersey, 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 (2006-2009), the Crossmen (2005) and the Reading Buccaneers (2006-2009).

Christopher Vitale (Visual Instructor). Chris Vitale returns to the Buccaneers for his third season as a visual instructor. Chris holds a Bachelor of Music Education (2004) as well as a Masters of Music in Instrumental Conducting (2009) from the University of Delaware. From 2004-2007 he served as the Director of Bands at Penns Grove High School in Carneys Point, New Jersey. Chris marched with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps in 1999, 2001, and was a soloist in 2002. He served as a visual instructor with the Crossmen and Hawthorne Caballeros prior to joining the Reading Buccaneers for the 2008 season. Chris is an adjudicator for the USSBA and an acting visual consultant to the George Mason Indoor Drumline. He is an active visual designer for several high school bands in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Currently, Chris is a High School Band Director at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia.

The Buccaneers welcome Krissy McMullen (Visual Instructor) to the staff. A Reading native, Krissy is a 1982 graduate of Reading High School, where she was a flute and piccolo player in the Red Knights Marching Band. She was a marching member of the Buccaneers from 1983-1986, where she played the French horn bugle. She moved to western New York for the next 23 years (after meeting her husband Mike in the corps) and returned to the Buccaneers, marching mellophone in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She also performed with the Buccaneers Alumni corps in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and is currently the Alumni Association Membership Chairperson. Her teaching experience includes three years with the Lower Dauphin High School Marching Band as a visual and musical technician and she has been a field visual judge with Cavalcade of Bands since 2008. McMullen is an operating room nurse in the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

The Buccaneers also welcome Allison Fassnacht (Visual Instructor) to the staff. A native of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Allison joined the Buccaneers in 2002 as a flute/piccolo player and learned to play soprano. She marched mellophone with the Buccaneers in 2003 and 2005 – 2009, taking 2004 off to‘rook-out” with the Crossmen. A 2005 graduate of Penn State University with a degree in biotechnology, Fassnacht also marched in the Penn State Blue Band for three years. Her teaching experience includes three seasons with the Conestoga Valley High School Marching Band and two seasons with the Morris Knolls High School Marching Band. She currently works in biopharmaceutical research and development at GlaxoSmithKline in King of Prussia, PA.

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 Thursday, October 22nd, 2009. Filed under DCA News.