World Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Announces 2010 Inductees

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Seven individuals widely recognized for their versatility and innovative ideas and projects will be inducted as regular members of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, at the group’s annual meeting in Rochester, New York on Labor Day weekend. The mid-day ceremony will also include the induction of well-known contest announcer Wes Hobby, the winner of the President’s Lifetime Achievement award for 2010.

The group’s pre-noon exhibit of memorabilia, social hour, awards luncheon and annual general meeting will be held Saturday, September 4, one of the events during the annual Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship tournament weekend. Although the induction ceremony is traditionally held during the tournament weekend, there is no connection between DCA and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees have made contributions to the drum and bugle corps community over a span of six decades, beginning in 1950. Two of the new inductees, Don Angelica and Dick Mercurio, are deceased, with their contributions being recognized posthumously.

The other five new regular members of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame are James (Jimmy) C. Gruber, of Freeland, Pennsylvania; Mike Linton, of Cheektowaga, New York; Rick Morey, of New Hartford, New York; John Oddo, of Bay Shore, Long Island, New York and John Zimny, of Elk Grove, California.

Don Angelica (deceased)

Don Angelica’s visions of musical and visual excellence helped push drum and bugle corps activity to new levels of achievement. While serving as the chief judges administrator of Drum Corps International (DCI) in the 1970s, he was able to influence the scoring system to encourage instructors and designers to explore new musical themes and new visual design patterns for field shows. He proposed that drum and bugle corps participants view their activity as part of a much larger scale of activity, which includes all types of music making. He was well known to music leaders outside the drum corps movement, once taking some of his students to Lincoln Center to observe a rehearsal of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by his friend Leonard Bernstein. He was known as one of the top music adjudicators on the continent. In addition to serving as DCI’s judges administrator from 1975 to 1984, he also served as brass caption co-ordinator. He was the music arranger and instructor for many nationally known corps, including Hawthorne Caballeros, Casper Troopers and Holy Name Cadets, later known as Garfield Cadets. He was considered one of the best soprano soloists of his time, performing with Hawthorne. He was a music student of Hall of Fame member Dr. Bernard Baggs. His drum corps activities began when he joined Holy Name Cadets in Garfield, New Jersey in 1954. After leaving the Cadets in 1958, he was solo soprano with the Caballeros from 1959 to 1966. He was one of the charter members of the DCI Hall of Fame, inducted in 1985. He was also a charter member of the class of 1984 Garfield Cadets. He passed away in 1987.

Jim Gruber: Freeland, Pennsylvania

Jim Gruber’s record of drum corps activity is a model of consistency, with participation as a performer and administrator over 35 years all with the same organization: Reading Buccaneers. Although the Buccaneers were selected by World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as the corps of the decade for the years 2000 to 2009, the organization faced a serious crisis in the mid 1990s, following seven straight below average seasons. In 1995, he was selected executive director at a meeting to determine if the corps should cease activity or continue. Although his only previous drum corps administration experience was serving as membership chairman in 1977 and 1978, he made an immediate positive impact. During the following four seasons, the Buccaneers regained their Drum Corps Associates (DCA) top 10 status, rising to second place in the finals by 1999 and settling on classical music as a continuing theme. Under his direction, the Buccaneers won five straight DCA titles from 2005 to 2009, scoring 99.025 in 2009, the highest score ever recorded in the finals. During this championship reign, the Buccaneers won 47 consecutive contests. He was DCA’s director of the year in 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2007. During his 14 years as executive director, the Bucs have finished in DCA’s top three in 10 of those years. His initial involvement with Buccaneers was as a horn player. He played mellophone and French horn from 1975 to 1981, alternated between soprano and baritone from 1989 to 1991 and played mellophone again in 1996 and 1997. While he performed in the horn line, the Bucs won DCA titles in 1979 and 1980. He is a charter member of the Buccaneers alumni corps, established in 1987. He was inducted as a lifetime member of the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2010. He was named a charter associate member of the Hall of Fame in 2001 and was inducted into the Reading Buccaneer Hall of Fame in 1999.

Michael Linton: Cheektowaga, New York

Mike Linton is one of the most versatile individuals in the drum and bugle corps community, having marched in every position, including drum major, color guard, drum line and horn section while also setting high standards as a judge, instructor, visual designer and administrator. He has contributed to the success of several of the best-known corps in western New York since the 1960s, developing a number of championship color guards. He has served as a visual judge in all captions with organizations in the United States and Canada, including the New York Federation of Judges from 1974 to 2004, the Canadian Judges Association from 1984 to 1986 and New York/Pennsylvania Judges Association from 1972 to 1978. He held a number of positions with the Rochester Crusaders over many years. He was executive director from 1998 to 2009, assistant director in 1996 and 1997 and show co-ordinator from 1997 to 2006. He handled Crusaders visual show design in 1979, instructed the color guard in 1980 and 1981 and from 1983 to 1987 and was visual staff technician from 1988 to 1991 and again in 1996. He created the visual design for Hamburg Kingsmen from 1974 to 1977, Rochester Patriots in 1981 and Imperial Regiment in 1975 and 1976. He marched in every section of the Crusaders, including the color guard in 1971, drum line in 1972, 1973 and 1988, soprano section from 1979 to 1981 and 1984 to 1987, drum major in 1983 and 1989. He also played soprano horn with Rochester Phoenix from 1974 to 1977. His drum corps career began with Rochester’s Grey Knight Squires junior corps, playing cymbals, soprano horn and snare drum between 1960 and 1970.

Dick Mercurio (deceased)

Dick Mercurio was the lead snare drummer for one of New York state’s first junior super corps in the early 1950s. Under the influence of World Drum Corps Hall of Fame drum instructor Bobby Thompson, he became widely known for drum line arrangements that cleverly integrated rudiments to support and enhance the musical arrangements. He was a respected percussion judge for a number of associations, including the New York chapter of the All American Judges Association from 1956 to 1974, New York Federation of Contest Judges in 1975 and 1976 and Drum Corps Associates (DCA) from 1968 to 1972. He had a long association with Syracuse Brigadiers, playing snare drum from 1955 to 1964, and arranging for and instructing the drum line in 1963 and 1964. Earlier, he played snare drum with the Polish Legion of American Veterans (PLAV), a forerunner of the Brigadiers, in 1954 and 1955. He also arranged for and taught the drum line of Fulton Gauchos senior corps in 1961 and 1962. From 1960 to 1976, he arranged percussion parts and instructed such top New York state junior corps as St. Joseph’s of Batavia, Auburn Purple Lancers, Frankfort Starlighters, Syracuse Marauders and Yankee Marauders. He first played snare drum with the Italian American Veterans junior corps in 1950 and 1951. When he was lead snare with American Legion Post 41 junior corps, the group went undefeated in 1951 and 1952 while winning two New York state championships. He played snare drum with Brigadiers alumni corps from 1996 to 2002.

Rick Morey: New Hartford, New York

Rick Morey’s abilities as both visual designer and show co-ordinator for Syracuse Brigadiers allowed the corps to win five Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship titles in six years: in 1997 and then four years in a row from 1999 to 2002. In a very successful run as one of DCA’s top corps, the Brigadiers finished either first or second in championship tournaments from 1997 to 2004. He served as director of the Brigadiers in 2004 and 2005. He was the visual designer and instructor for Pioneer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin when the corps advanced to the Drum Corps International (DCI) semi-finals in 1999 and 2000, the highest standing in the group’s history. He has also served as visual designer and instructor for two other well- known DCI corps: the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa and Magic of Orlando. He handled the visual design and instruction for Steel City Ambassadors of Pittsburgh from 1984 to 1990, Brigadiers in 1992 and 1993, Rochester Empire Statesmen in 1994, when the corps won its second DCA title. He served as New York Federation of Contest Judges visual caption co-ordinator from 1974 to 1978 and chief judge from 1978 to 1986. He is a past president of the New York Federation of Contest Judges. Since first adjudicating in 1974, he has judged the visual caption for New York Federation of Contest Judges, DCI and DCA.

John Oddo: Bay Shore (Long Island), New York

Not only is John Oddo an expert drummer and instructor who maintains consistently high standards, many of his students have become instructors throughout the drum corps community. Throughout more than 40 years of activity he has served as percussion arranger, instructor, and consultant for many top ranked corps in both Drum Corps Associates (DCA) and Drum Corps International (DCI). He served as percussion caption judge with the New Jersey chapter of the National Judges Association in 1983 and 1984. He was percussion instructor and consultant with Syracuse Brigadiers when the corps won four straight DCA titles, beginning in 1999. He was percussion instructor with Sunrisers in 1989 and served as both arranger and instructor with Connecticut Hurricanes from 1993 to 1995 and New York Skyliners from 1989 to 1992. He was arranger and instructor with Bengal Lancers of Trumbull, Connecticut from 1976 to 1979. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he was arranger, instructor or consultant for several nationally recognized junior corps, including DCI finalists Sky Ryders of Kansas; Bridgemen of Bayonne, New Jersey; St. Ignatius All Girls of Hicksville, New York, five times World Open champions and three times DCI Class A champs; Long Island Grenadiers of Medford, New York and New York City Lancers. His first involvement dates back almost 50 years to 1962 when he began to play snare drum with Babylon Islanders. From 1968 through 1973, he played snare drum with St. Joseph Patron Cadets junior corps, which became St. Rita’s Brassmen of Brooklyn in 1969. He is the founder and percussion director of Rage, Long Island’s first independent indoor marching percussion ensemble. He has also served as arranger and instructor for Park City Pride alumni corps of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

John Zimny: Elk Grove, California

By the time he reached the age of 50, John Zimny had been involved in drum and bugle corps activity for more than 40 years. He began playing a soprano horn with the Viscounts of McHenry, Illinois in 1956 at age eight. In 1961 the corps won the national Sons of the American Legion Championship. By the late 1960s, he was soprano soloist with Chicago Royal Airs. Following his involvement at the junior corps level, he marched as a soprano horn player with the Air Force Academy drum and bugle corps from 1968 to 1971. He later served as chief arranger for the Academy. He is best known for his work as music arranger, teacher and program co-ordinator with Sacramento Freelancers beginning in 1976 and extending through the 1990s. In the early 1970s, he was brass instructor with Des Plaines Vanguard and Ottawa Crusaders in Illinois. He taught the brass section of the Knights in 1986. In addition to his work with various drum and bugle corps, he has been a music teacher in the Folsom, California school system. Downbeat magazine named his group the best middle school jazz band in America.

Wes Hobby: President’s Lifetime Achievement award winner

The odds are that anyone who has attended a major drum corps contest or listened to the introductions on classic Fleetwood Records contest recordings has heard the voice of Wes Hobby. He is also the narrator on the Fleetwood “Reflections” series of recordings. For more than 40 years, he served as the stadium announcer at major junior and senior contests across New England and beyond. He graduated in 1948 after two years of study at Boston’s School of Radio, Television and Theatre and worked as a staff member and sports announcer at a number of radio stations in New England. During his morning radio show on station WADS in Ansonia, Connecticut he began playing a drum corps selection on the air each day. There were no drum corps recordings available to the public yet: his selections were tapes borrowed from Frank Ogle of the Connecticut Hurricanes. The Hurricanes invited him to announce their contest in 1958, the first of a steady stream of engagements over the next four decades. He has been the announcer for such notable events as Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championships, the Barnum Festival, the World Open championships, Mission Drums, the U.S. Open championships, Blue Grass Nationals, Parade of Champions, the Grand Prix contest, An Evening With The Corps in Carnegie Hall, the Connecticut American Legion state championships, the SuperBowl of Music and Drum Corps International (DCI) East championships. His voice has been heard by audiences in such well known venues as Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, Meadowlands Stadium, Newark Symphony Hall, University of Kentucky and many other local stadiums and concert locations. Many drum and bugle corps fans refer to him as “the voice of drum corps.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the social hour before the Hall of Fame’s luncheon and induction ceremony. For ticket information, visit the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame Web site. at

An important part of the Hall of Fame’s purpose is to enhance a feeling of good fellowship among individuals and organizations involved with drum and bugle corps activity, thereby enhancing constructive contributions in all areas.

Since its founding in 1976 by the late Vince Bruni, of Rochester, New York, membership in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame has grown from six charter members to 444 regular and associate members from the United States and Canada, who have contributed to the activity across North America, England, the Netherlands, the Middle East, South Africa and Japan.

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization honoring those individuals who have contributed significantly over many years to the development and continuing excellence drum and bugle corps activity. The organization also seeks to preserve the history of the drum and bugle corps movement in North America by selecting a noteworthy junior and all age (senior) corps of the decade. The two corps chosen for the decade ending in 2009 are the Cavaliers and Reading Buccaneers, both winners of five championships between 2000 and 2009.

Posted by on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010. Filed under DCA News.