World Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Member George Bull Obituary

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WDCHOF_100X100Funeral services for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame charter member George Bull, one of six individuals inducted in the organization’s first ceremony in 1976, were held on Monday, September 8. He passed away on Wednesday, September 3.

He is survived by his wife Betty S. Bull (nee Rose.) He was the devoted father of the late Angela Renee Ryan, and cherished stepfather of Dorothy Cardwell and Steven Rose; grandfather of Joseph Ryan and his wife Sarah, Sean Ryan and his wife Patricia, and step-grandfather of Teresa Foster and her husband Brett, Scott Paletar, Melissa Dyer and her husband Frank, and Annette Cardwell. He is also survived by two great-grandchildren and 10 step-great-grandchildren.

George Bull served as secretary of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame for 25 years, then assumed the president’s position in 2003 following the passing of founder Vince Bruni. He stepped down as president in 2007 when Bob Glovna became the third president in the history of the Hall of Fame.

He had been associated with the Yankee Rebels of Baltimore, Maryland for more than half a century, and was widely admired for his administration and organizational skills. The Yankee Rebels won the American Legion national title three times under his leadership in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was also a leader in the development of alumni corps activity, with the Yankee Rebels being one of the first corps to help popularize the alumni movement by playing traditional music from the so-called “Golden Era” of drum and bugle corps activity.

Yankee Rebels originated as the Hamilton Squadron, a junior unit established in the 1930s by Joseph Sedlak. He also organized a senior drum and bugle corps at Hamilton American Legion Post 20 in Baltimore for veterans returning from World War II. The group became known as the Yankee Rebels in 1949, reflecting the ambiguous status of Maryland during the Civil War, when allegiances were split between the northern Union and southern Confederacy. George Bull became corps director in 1954 and began an extensive rebuilding which resulted in the corps winning the American Legion national championship in 1969, performing Civil War tunes and depicting two armies battling on the drum corps contest field.

He attracted an outstanding instruction staff over the years, including future World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members Skip Groff, John Flowers, Bill Hooton, Truman Crawford. Joe Sedlack also became a Hall of Fame member in 1979. The Yankee Rebels enjoyed financial stability throughout the years through proceeds from the March of Champions contest which George Bull oversaw. He also had a hand in presenting the Dixie Stinger concerts which provided similar support for the alumni corps which flourished for more than 20 years.

The original Yankee Rebels disbanded in 1977, but a large, active alumni corps came to life in 1988 and flourished until 2010. He served as director initially, but stepped down in 1992 when long time friend Phil Gentile, also a Hall of Fame member, took the reins.

The late Vince Bruni of Rochester, New York founded the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1976. The six charter members were Vince Bruni, George Bull, Jim Costello, Henry “Lefty” Mayer, Harvey Olderman, Vinnie Ratford. The Hall of Fame now includes 472 regular and associate members from the United States and Canada who have contributed to the activity across North America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Middle East, South Africa and Japan.

For more information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, visit the web site at:

Posted by on Friday, September 5th, 2014. Filed under DCA News, FrontPage Feature.