Reading Buccaneers Announce 2012 Coordinators

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The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps is pleased to announce the team of exceptionally talented designers and instructors who will lead the corps’ production and educational program for 2012. The group, comprised entirely of veteran Buccaneers, is already hard at work assembling another world-class program sure to entertain fans and provide members with a great educational experience.

The staff has been carefully assembled by World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Carl Ruocco, who returns to the Buccaneers for his eighth consecutive season as Staff Coordinator. Carl will be joined by Bobby Jones, Mark Lortz, Johnny Trujillo, Steve Vincent, Greg Tsalikis, Hank Manfra, Paul Cullen, Shannon Hall, Chris Feist and Mark Thurston in leading the Buccaneers staff. We will have additional staff announcements as we approach our annual Membership Day open house on Sunday, November 27.

“The mission of the Reading Buccaneers is to provide its members with a world-class educational experience in the performing arts. We’ve assembled a world-class staff to deliver on that mission,” said assistant director Bill Snook, who oversees staff selection and retention for the corps. “These individuals have all demonstrated their commitment to the type of educational and performance experience the Reading Buccaneers provides to its members. We know they will work well together as a team because they have been doing so for several years now. And we’re excited to provide some new opportunities to very talented people who’ve been a key part in the success of this organization over the years. We’re thrilled about what the Buccaneers will bring to the field in 2012.”

Carl Ruocco (Staff Coordinator) is looking forward to his eighth year heading the Buccaneers staff. “This is a fantastic team of designers and educators,” said Ruocco. “Our members will be taught by some of the very best in the drum corps activity and will perform a program designed by exceptionally creative artists. We have so many great things to build upon from our success in recent years, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s program develops.” 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 of Atlanta and Santa Clara Vanguard as well as his storied tenure with the Buccaneers. 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.

Bobby Jones (Program Coordinator, Visual Designer). We are thrilled to announce Bobby Jones’ promotion to the role of Program Coordinator, in addition to his role as Visual Designer. Bobby returns to the Balance in Blue for his sixth year, having produced award-winning visual programs for the Buccaneers in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He made an immediate impact when he first joined the Bucs staff in 2005 when he produced a world championship visual program and was named staff member of the year. In addition to his work with the Buccaneers, Jones is a much sought-after designer and consultant for marching bands, drum corps, indoor guards and drumlines. He is also an adjudicator for USSBA. His drum corps resume includes design work for the Crossmen, Jersey Surf and Hawthorne Caballeros, among others.

Henry Manfra (Visual Caption Head). We are pleased to announce the promotion of Hank Manfra to Visual Caption Head. Hank returns to the Buccaneers visual staff for his eighth consecutive season. 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. A perennial Buccaneers favorite staff member, 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 Technical Operations at DC Comics.

Mark Lortz (Brass Arranger). A celebrated composer, arranger, and educator, Mr. Lortz is currently Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Stevenson University (MD), where he is also the music arranger for the university’s Mustang Marching Band. He was previously employed by the Carroll County, Maryland Public Schools, where he oversaw the high school’s orchestra, concert and marching bands, percussion wind ensemble, color guard and music technology programs. 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. Lortz has already made a significant contribution to the success of the Buccaneers as arranger for the corps’ standard-setting front ensemble for many years.

Paul Cullen (Brass Caption Head). We are pleased to announce the promotion of Paul Cullen to Brass Caption Head as he returns for his second season with the Buccaneers. Paul is a 2003 graduate of The Berklee College of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Film Scoring and also studied conducting and trumpet performance. Paul has served as a music arranger and consultant for several marching bands and has also served as a music designer and editor for many independent and scholastic winter guard programs throughout the United States. Paul enjoyed a long and distinguished career with the Brigadiers Drum & Bugle Corps as a member, drum major, board member and staff member from 2001 through 2009. In 2008, he also taught on the brass staff of DCI’s Boston Crusaders. Paul joined the Buccaneers brass staff in 2011 as the full-time mellophone instructor and was also a brass instructor with the DCI World Champions, The Cadets. Additionally, he is an adjudicator for USSBA. Paul is a full-time health care administrator and resides in North Wales, PA with his wife Lisa and their children; Madison and Riley.

Johnny Trujillo (Percussion Arranger & Caption Head). We are pleased to announce the promotion of Johnny Trujillo to Percussion Arranger and Caption Head. A 2006 graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Johnny returns to the Buccaneers, where he has taught the standout quads section since 2007. Trujillo is currently band director at Norristown High School, where he leads the concert band and piano programs. He has also served on the percussion staffs of the Buccaneer Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps and The Cadets. He has marched with the Bushwackers (2004) and DCI’s Phoenix (2001–2003) and the Cadets (2005–2006).

Gregory Tsalikis (Front Ensemble Arranger & Coordinator). We are pleased to announce Greg’s promotion to Front Ensemble Arranger in addition to his role as Front Ensemble Coordinator. Greg returns for his third year leading the Buccaneers front ensemble. Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Greg has been an active musician for nearly his entire life. Greg has appeared on stage with groups such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Mercury Baroque, the Yellowjackets, and as a soloist with the Houston Wind Symphony. His drum corps experience includes playing timpani for the Bluecoats from 2000 to 2005, for the Buccaneers in 1999 and 2001, and leading the Troopers front ensemble in 2007. Earning his MM in percussion performance from Rice University, Greg has also studied privately in the fields of composition, conducting, and music theory. Currently, Greg is an active consultant and clinician for many high school bands in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as the front ensemble arranger for the Towson University Marching Band, and technician with the George Mason University indoor drum line. When he is not teaching, you can catch Greg on stage with the Columbia Orchestra in Columbia, Maryland.

Christopher Feist (Program Advisor, Assistant Percussion Caption Head). We are pleased to announce Chris Feist’s appointment to the role of Program Advisor and Assistant Percission Caption Head. In this role, Chris will provide valuable assistance to all captions and the full ensemble, with a particular emphasis on percussion. 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, USSBA and the Mid-Atlantic Percussion Society. He was inducted into the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame in 2009, and lives in Reading with his faithful lab Newman.

Mark Thurston (Percussion/Program Consultant). We are very pleased to welcome marching percussion legend Mark Thurston back to the Buccaneers as a consultant to the percussion program and the full ensemble. Thurston marched in the Crossmen snare line from 1979 to 1982 and joined the percussion staff in 1983. He subsequently served as Crossmen’s percussion caption head and arranger from 1984 to 1996. He was inducted into the Crossmen Hall of Fame in 1993. A nationally recognized and respected adjudicator, including a significant tenure as a DCA percussion judge, Thurston became an indoor percussion judge for WGI in 1996, beginning a significant and impactful association with WGI that lasts to this day. Thurston was Percussion Education director in 1997 and 1998 and in 1999 became Director of Percussion, a position he still holds. Recognized as a driving force behind the significant growth of the indoor percussion activity, he was inducted into the WGI Hall of Fame in 2006. In addition to his work with the Crossmen, Thurston’s drum corps instruction and arranging resume includes stints with Spirit of Atlanta, the Westshoremen and the Reading Buccaneers. He lives in Limerick, PA with his wife Marci and their two children, Emmi and Luke.

Stephen Vincent (Color Guard Designer & Caption Head). Steve’s marching experience includes five years with the Westshoremen, five years with the Sunrisers and fourteen 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 ten years. He has taught the Souderton High School indoor guard for six years, Allentown’s The Guard for fifteen years. He has also instructed the West Chester University color guard and has thirteen years experience teaching guard at Downingtown and Souderton High Schools. He led the Buccaneers color guard to the 2010 DCA caption title, and was inducted into the Buccaneers Hall of Fame in 2010.

Shannon Hall (Assistant Color Guard Designer). A native of Pennsauken, New Jersey and a resident of Wilmington, Delaware, Shannon was a standout performer with the 2008 and 2009 Buccaneers color guard and returns for his third season on the staff. 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 William Penn High School (DE) indoor guard, and he has taught and designed for the Broadneck High School (MD) marching band and Allentown High School (NJ) marching band. 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. He also poses for A Wish Come True in his spare time.

The Buccaneers thank Richard Hammond, Jay Bocook, Gino Cipriani and Minesh Shah for their dedicated service and contributions to the Buccaneers and wish them well in their new roles.

The Buccaneers are seeking members in all sections for the 2012 edition of the Balance in Blue. On Sunday, November 27, 2011, the Buccaneers will host Membership Day 2012, at Twin Valley High School, Elverson, PA. Registration begins at 11:00. All persons interested in learning more about membership in the Reading Buccaneers and being part of the 2012 corps are invited to contact Membership Manager Karen Wildonger to indicate their interest. Visit for more information or email membership [at] readingbuccaneers [dot] org.

Founded in 1957, the Buccaneers are an education-oriented musical organization. The Buccaneers were founding members 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, 2009 and 2010 – all six undefeated championship seasons. At the 2009 DCA World Championships, the Buccaneers earned the highest score in DCA history, with a 99.025 out of a possible 100 points. In 2010, the Buccaneers set or extended DCA records for most consecutive wins, most consecutive world championships (6) and most overall world championships (10). From 2005 through 2011, the Buccaneers won a record 64 consecutive contests.

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Posted by on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.