2015 World Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Lifetime Achievement Awards
Two individuals with outstanding lifetime achievements will be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame on Friday, during the organization’s 39th annual ceremony to be held September 4 in Rochester, New York, one of the special events during the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournament weekend. They will hold regular membership status along with seven other new inductees.
John Ratzenberger, the Emmy Award nominee widely known for his portrayal of mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the television comedy Cheers, is the winner of this year’s Distinguished Professional Achievement award. He credits much of his success in later life to the performance training he received as a drummer in St. Ann’s Loyalaires drum and bugle corps of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Joe Cicippio, currently marching as a drum major with Reilly Raiders alumni drum and bugle corps, is the winner of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He survived five years of psychological and physical abuse while being held hostage in the Middle East.
Details of their lengthy achievements are as follows.
John Ratzenberger: winner Distinguished Professional Achievement Award
John Ratzenberger was a familiar figure in North American households from 1982 to 1993, when he played know-it-all mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the television situation comedy Cheers. Since then, he has voiced characters in every animated Pixar film. Beyond his acting career, he speaks on behalf of American manufacturing and job training.
He grew up in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, Connecticut. His experience playing in the drum line of the St. Ann’s Loyalaires drum and bugle corps as a boy provided important performance training that he applied later in his career.
He began acting while a student at Sacred Heart University. After graduating from college, he worked as a carpenter as he started his performing career. He lived in London for 10 years, touring as a member of an improvisational comedy group and playing minor roles in more than 25 films, including The Empire Strikes Back, Superman and Ragtime. During his audition for Cheers, he suggested creating a talkative “know-it-all” character, which led to his casting as mail carrier Cliff Clavin, constantly spouting trivia to fellow bar patrons, always dressed in his postal service uniform. He has been featured in every Pixar movie released since 1995, voicing the animated characters Hamm the piggy bank in the original Toy Story and two sequels, the Abominable Snowman in Monsters, Inc., Mack Truck in Cars, the waiter Mustafa in Ratatouille and construction foreman Tom in Up. He is slated to continue performing in the corporation’s future films.
He is still seen on television. He performed on Dancing with the Stars in 2007. From 2004 to 2008, he produced and hosted the Travel Channel documentary series Made in America, learning how everyday items are made. He wrote a related book about the series, We’ve Got it Made in America: A Common Man’s Salute to an Uncommon Country.
He is engaged in a number of social issues, producing environmentally conscious packaging materials as a co-owner of the company Eco-Pack. He co-founded Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, a foundation aimed at encouraging young people to explore careers in manufacturing. He is involved in the nationwide Mobile Outreach Skills Training program. Additionally, he has worked to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes.
Joseph Cicippio: winner President’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Joe Cicippio’s drum corps career began in 1940 when he joined the Nuss-O’hara-Todd Junior Drum and Bugle Corps in Norristown, Pennsylvania at the age of nine. He was immediately drawn toward playing the snare drum, a choice that would prove monumentally important at a very significant point later in his life.
He also marched in the Nuss-O’hara-Todd Senior Drum and Bugle Corps along with several veterans from World War I and returning World War II veterans until 1948. The Nuss-O’hara-Todd Junior Corps then changed names and became the Invaders, under the direction and instruction of Hall of Fame member Bill Mitten and Joe Mountain. Both men were responsible for instructing horns, drums and marching and maneuvering (M & M). He served as the original drum major for the Invaders and in 1951, at the age of 21, accepted Bill Mitten’s invitation to join the Reilly Raiders, playing tenor drum. He also accepted a position as an M & M instructor for Hattle-Taylor Post Junior Corps also based in Pennsylvania.
He marched with Reilly until he was drafted into the United States Army in September, 1954. He served until 1956. When he returned home, he joined the Invaders Alumni Corps for about one year, since with one child and another on the way, he was needed at home.
He has a very impressive resume in the world of business. He worked in the banking industry for more than 25 years from 1948 until 1974. Between 1975 and 1978, he served as Assistant to the President of Carson Helicopters in Saudi Arabia. Upon completion of this contract, he was asked to stay on and head up several of companies outside the Middle East with operations located in London. From 1984 until 1986, he served as Comptroller of American University of Beirut and Medical Center, located in Beirut, Lebanon.
An amazing and terrifying aspect of his life occurred on September 12, 1986 when he was abducted by Shiite Muslim kidnappers at American University. He was held hostage and subjected to numerous physical and psychological atrocities at the hands of his captors for more than five years until he was finally released on December 2, 1991.
“One of the things that helped me to get through this horrible ordeal was the use of percussion drills and rudiments that I had learned with the Reilly Raiders,” he says. He adds, jokingly, “I am the best two-fingered drummer in the world,” as he demonstrated on the table in front of him, using his two index fingers as “drum sticks.”
“This was the best thing that I could do to get through this difficult experience,” he says.
Upon returning home to the United States, he eventually found his way back to the Reilly Raiders and he has been serving as one of the drum majors since 2003. He loves being a part of the Reilly Family and continues to be a major inspiration to everyone in the Reilly Raiders and to everyone that meets him. The Reilly Raiders are very pleased and honored to have Joe Cicippio serving as one of their Drum Majors.
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.
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 481 regular and associate members from the United States and Canada, who have contributed to the activity around the world.
For more information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame visit the web site at http://www.worlddrumcorpshof.org