DCA Announces 2010 Directors Of The Year

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DCA is pleased to announce that Holly Marino (Fusion Core) and Jim Gruber (Reading Buccaneers) have been nominated and voted in as directors of the year by their peers, the directors of DCA member corps. The directors felt that they would like to recognize a director in both open class and class A.

Holly Marino, the director of Fusion Core (class A) started her drum corps career as when she was 11 years old when she joined her friends in the St. Ignatius Girls Drum and Bugle Corps in Hicksville, LI. She played soprano there from 1976 in the feeder corps. She moved to the main corps in 1977 and started playing her mellophone in 1978 and was a member until 1981. Holly rejoined the Corps in 1987 when it was restructured as a co-ed, senior corps and renamed New Image (later named Sound of Long Island). It was here where she met her husband Ralph. She remained with the group until 1990. She and Ralph joined the Bills Boys Parade Corps from Mineola, LI and the Golden Eagles from West Sayville LI from 1999-2005. Holly was a member of the Skyliners Alumni Corps in 2001. She also marched in the competitive corps until 2006. She served as assistant director for the Skyliners competitive corps in 2005 and 2006.

In September of 2007, after a prompting from long time drum corps friends Maurice Banks and Willy Carmona a new corps was born. Ed Bopp?s ?Fusion? Color Guard helped to establish the groups not for profit status and the ?Core? was based on the seven initial friends who built the group from the beginning. Gretchen Endres and Ralph Marino have also been driving forces in the building of the ?Core?. In after a few short months of planning, an open house occurred and the rest is history.

Holly, a mother of six with four children and husband marching in the Corps was asked why? ?The youth are the future of this activity and I wanted to build place where an entire family could march.? 

In Clifton, NJ (2007) Fusion took the field for the first time. Holly says, ?It felt like watching your child take its first step.?

Holly recalls how the activity impacted her as a child. She tells about the feeling of being part of a large extended family and wanting to bring those experiences to Fusion. Holly is a preacher of mutual respect and camaraderie between corps. She tells of a memorable moment at the 2nd show for Fusion in Virginia. This is where the Corps was housed with the Rochester Crusaders. A solid bond was formed between the two Corps that the membership and administrations would never forget.

Holly credits the foundations of mutual respect built within her Corps for the success of the group. Fusion, in just three short years has climbed the ranks to the title of World Champion. When asked what it felt like to win the title, she states ?I was full of emotion, pride, and very excited for the members (especially the ones who have been here since the beginning) ? the hard work paid off, it was like Christmas!?

DCA congratulates Holly on being named the Class A director of the year!

Jim Gruber, the director of the Reading Buccaneers (open class) started his drum corps career with the Buccaneers in 1976. Playing in the horn line he played the mellophone, French horn, soprano, baritone and alto horns. During his time as a marching member with the Buccaneers, the Corps won titles in 1979 and 1980. He was a charter member of the Buccaneers Alumni Corps that formed in 1987. 

In the mid 1990s the corps was faced with seven below average seasons. In 1995, Jim was selected the executive director where he was faced with two options: to either cease operations or to move the Corps forward. Under Jim?s direction, there was no choice but to move the Corps forward. The following four seasons, the Corps regained their DCA top ten status. During Jim?s 15 year directorship, the Buccaneers have finished in DCA?s top three in 11 of those years. The Buccaneers have set a record in winning six straight DCA titles from 2005-2010. 

Jim, being characteristically humble and low-key, deflected attention away from himself and to his extended corps family. ?This is quite an honor and I am grateful to my fellow directors for this recognition,? said Gruber. ?There are so many people in our organization who work extremely hard to provide our members with the best experience possible and who work tirelessly to be better than they were before ? as designers, teachers, administrators, members, and so forth. They are the reason for our success as an organization and this recognition wouldn?t be possible without them.?

Jim was inducted into the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame in 1999. He was named Charter Associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2010, Jim was inducted into the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame. In addition, Jim has been selected for this director of the year award by his peers in 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2007. 

DCA congratulates Jim on his continued exceptional leadership and for being named open class director of the year! 

Posted by on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010. Filed under DCA News.