Reading Buccaneers Announce 2009 Hall Of Fame Inductees
The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps and the Buccaneer Alumni Association announced today that Josh Decker, Chris Feist, Bill Snook and Lee Umberger will be inducted into the Buccaneers Hall of Fame at the corps’ annual year-end banquet on Saturday, November 28, 2009.
“The Buccaneers Hall of Fame was established in 1995,” said Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Gary Koenig, himself inducted in 1998. “So many people who have dedicated themselves to make the Buccaneers the organization what it is and has been, and so many deserve recognition for their service to this organization. But there are a handful whose dedication, talent, passion and work have made an indelible imprint on the Buccaneers and the drum corps activity, and it’s a pleasure to honor them in this way.”
Josh Decker obtained his Bachelors degree in Music Education from West Chester University in 2000. He also earned a Masters degree in Music Education from WCU in 2004. Josh began teaching in 2001 in the Pennsauken Twp., New Jersey School District as an elementary school band director. After a year and half he moved to Lancaster County where he became the band director for Conestoga Valley High School, where he still teaches, in a different role. Josh’s first experience in drum corps was with the Westshoremen as a horn player in 1996 and 1997. He returned to drum corps in 2001 as a Buccaneer, where he started in the horn line until being selected as a drum major in his first year. Josh became the head drum major in 2002, a position he held through the 2008 season. During that time and under his leadership on the podium the corps was constantly in Drum Corps Associates’ top ranks and eventually won four consecutive championships from 2005 to 2008. Today Josh serves as horn instructor for the Buccaneer Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps. Josh was an outstanding member, conductor and leader of the corps during his tenure, drawing many comparisons to a certain legendary Buccaneers drum major from years past, but without a mace. He earned numerous drum major awards and is a highly respected member of the drum corps community.
Chris Feist joined the Buccaneers in 1981 as a bass drum player and continued in that position in 1982. Chris was a member of the Crossmen drum line from 1983 through1985. During his time with the Crossmen and through 2000, Chris served as percussion caption head and in various roles including arranger, caption head and staff coordinator for various local bands, as well as North Penn high school. He has also been a percussion judge for Cavalcade of Bands and Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society. Chris returned to the Buccaneers in 2001 alongside Rich Hammond, as the battery/snare instructor. Chris has remained in that position to this day. The Buccaneer percussion section’s relentless pursuit of excellence starts with Chris’s leadership. The success of the percussion program and the Buccaneers in general would not have been possible without Chris’s efforts. His constant attention to detail and vigilant eye for organization are true keys to his and the corps; success. And although his responsibilities to the drum corps are as a percussion instructor, Chris takes an active role in the improvement of the entire organization. In 2005 Chris founded the Membership Steering Committee, and he continues to form and lead this group each season. The MSC is a group of members of the drum corps who take specific leadership positions Their goal is to discuss issues and concerns of the marching membership and take steps to prevent those concerns and issues from becoming problems. This group is very successful and contributes to the physical and mental well-being of the membership. Chris has been an extraordinary member, instructor and leader with the corps for over eleven years.
Bill Snook began his life in the Buccaneers in 1984 as a bass player in the drum line which won the best percussion award at DCA finals. He played two more years in the line in 1985 and 1990. He was a member of the Buccaneer Alumni bass line in 1988. For 20 years, Bill has instructed drumlines at Blue Mountain High School and Conrad Weiser High School, and is currently working with the Brandywine Heights High School drumline and color guard. Bill was a committee member for the successful Mini-Grand Prix races sponsored by the corps in the late 80s and early 90s. He has been on the Big Sounds in Motion committee chairing logistics and security for past 13 years. He is the creator of the Big Sounds website, the original 50th anniversary website, and for the past seven years has designed the Big Sounds program, the announcer’s script, and all other printed materials for the show. Bill has also worked with the Drum Corps International Eastern Classic committee for 23 years, leading the souvenir area for 20 years. He has also been involved in the Berks Jazz Fest for 10 years as a Buccaneers representative. In addition to the above, Bill drove the Buccaneers equipment truck for several years, and in 2006 was named the corps’ Quartermaster. In this vital role, Bill is responsible for maintaining equipment, grooming the field, repairing trucks and mowers, among many other things which contribute to the success of the corps. Much of this work is done during non-rehearsal time. Bill is also the guy driving the truck through the night to arrive at a show site in the early hours of the morning, then joins the crew lining the practice fields before the corps arrives. It’s not unusual for Bill to be doing work for the corps five days a week in the on-season and several nights a week in the off-season. Bill’s untiring work directly and indirectly with the corps, and his efforts in promoting the corps to the general public have made him an invaluable asset to the Buccaneers organization.
Lee Umberger has a rich and diverse history in junior drum corps and the all-age drum corps activity. He has a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s degree in music composition from West Chester University. Lee marched with the Westshoremen in the 1980s and 1990s and was a soprano soloist during their 1996 Championship Season. Lee joined the Buccaneers in 1997 and served as a horn line member and later as part of the brass staff. He joined the design team in 2001. In 2003, Lee took on the role of brass arranger and produced the rich and stylistically diverse scores for the Buccaneers entitled; "The Sea" and in 2004 "Innovations! The Passions of Shostakovich." Lee was elevated to Program Coordinator in 2005 as well as brass arranger, and led the corps’ return to world champion status. His 2005"Variations in B" program set a new standard for DCA. Lee continued in both of these roles in 2006 with “Exotic Impressions” and in 2007 with the corps’ 50th anniversary “Blue Era” program. Lee has also designed for various local and area high school and middle school bands, and the Buccaneer Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps. He was band director at Eastern Lebanon County Middle and High Schools from 1991 until 1996, and from 1996 – 2005 was the middle school band director for Governor Mifflin School District. Currently, he serves the Governor Mifflin School District as a principal at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School. Lee’s guidance and talents in musical arranging and program coordination brought the Buccaneers to new levels of excellence and set a standard for other corps to follow.
“The thousands of men and women who call themselves ‘Buccaneers alumni’ are our organization’s greatest achievement,” said Buccaneer Alumni Association president Robert Miller. “The quality and impact of their experience with the Buccaneers would not have been possible without the extraordinary contributions of people like Josh, Chris, Bill and Lee. On behalf of all Buccaneers alumni, I’m proud to thank these fine inductees for all they’ve done and continue to do.”
“I am very proud,” said Buccaneers corps director and Hall of Fame member James C. Gruber. “I’ve had the pleasure of working very closely with Josh, Chris, Bill and Lee over the years. They are truly representative of what makes this organization so special and what enables us to deliver a world-class experience to our members. Each of them, in his own way, has made a lasting impact on this great drum corps.”
Decker, Feist, Snook and Umberger join 70 other members of the Buccaneers Hall of Fame. Each of these individuals has made a lasting impact on the Buccaneers and the drum corps activity:
1995 inductees: Norman DeTemple, Bruce Englehart, LaVern Rohrbach, Roy Miller, Ron Gehris, Edward Johnston, John Flowers, George Parks, Ned Baldinger and Frank Ferraro.
1996: John Ferraro, Willard Marcks, Tony Yaklich, Roland Hoffman and Elmer Winzer.
1997: John Derr, Diane Koenig, Michael Vilardo, Joe Jasinski and Donnie Solinger.
1998: Wilson Goodwin, Glenn Rhine, Bruce Young, Gary Koenig and Jack Wells.
1999: Norm Cimerol, Jim Gruber, Lou Werner, Candy Golding and Robert Weidenhammer.
2000: Thomas Brown, Grant Hill, Earl Price, Mike Doherty and Wayne Kauffman.
2001: Bill Battaglia, Louis Tierno, Fred Windish, Gary Smith and Darrell Weyman.
2002: Victor Brown, Mike Luckenbill, Donald Walls, Rich Koenig and Henry Smith.
2003: Ronald Ferraro, Phil Rabenold, Dan Fitzpatrick and John Rozum.
2004: Tom Bitner, Robert Gruber, Bernard Brown and Howard Nagel.
2005: Lois Tierno, Joel Miller, Randy Kerschner and Curt Rissmiller.
2006: Glen Brumbach, Francis Chupick, Matt Krempasky and Amy Snook.
2007: Ron Fisher, George Price, Carl Bagenstose, Roberta Doherty and Rich Hammond.
2008: Ken Honsberger, Ralph Pace, Jay Landis and Randy Mutter.
2009: Josh Decker, Chris Feist, Bill Snook, and Lee Umberger
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 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, 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, and tied the record for most DCA championships, with nine.
Formed in 1981, the mission of the Buccaneer Alumni Association is to reunite all past members of the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps in camaraderie and fellowship, to engage in the parade drum & bugle corps activity, to encourage the growth of the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps, to maintain the commitment to excellence generally associated with said Corps, and to perpetuate drum & bugle corps in general as an art form and entertainment medium. The Buccaneer Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps was formed in 1987 as a program of the Buccaneer Alumni Association.
The Buccaneers are sponsored in part by Ray A. Master American Legion Post 217, Topton, Pennsylvania
For more information, visit www.readingbuccaneers.org.