Funeral Service For Hall Of Fame Member Bob Zazzara

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WDCHOF_100X100Mass of Christian Burial service was held Saturday, July 2 for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Bob Zazzara, 79, of Elmira Heights, New York. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Saturday, June 25 at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania. The service was held at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Elmira, New York. Interment with full military honors followed at St. Mary Our Mother Cemetery in Horseheads, New York. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Robert G. Zazzara Music Scholarship Fund at Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, 301 South Main Street, Horseheads, New York 14845 or by visiting Click on the “make a donation” drop box.

Born in Holley, New York on July 23, 1936, he devoted his life to his family, the church and 53 years of music education as a high school music teacher, adjunct professor at Ithaca College and numerous positions with drum and bugle corps and related organizations throughout upstate New York and southern Ontario. He is predeceased by brothers Peter, Jim, Joseph and sisters Angie and Carmela.

Bob Zazzara’s contributions to the drum and bugle corps movement across western New York span six decades, beginning with the Holley Fire Department drum and bugle corps when he played snare drum in 1950 and soprano bugle in 1951. His activities eventually stretched across the Canadian border when he served as brass instructor of Scarborough Cardinals from 1980 to 1982.

He played soprano bugle with Brockport Grenadiers senior drum and bugle corps in 1952 and 1953 and Rochester Crusaders in 1961.

His career as an instructor began in 1957 when he was horn arranger and instructor with Salamanca Black Knights. At the same time, he was drum instructor for Hose Company Number 4 drum and bugle corps in Dunkirk. He was also the brass arranger and instructor from 1958 to 1960 while he carried out the same duties with the Black Knights.

During the 1960s, he arranged for or taught horn sections for a number of corps: Mello Dears all girl junior drum and bugle corps of Owego, Rochester Crusaders, Wellsville Blue Devils, Dansville White Sabers, Owego Kickapoos, Apalachin Grenadiers and Mark Twain Cadets of Elmira, serving as Cadets’ corps director at the same time. He returned as brass instructor for two of the corps in later years: the Crusaders in 2003 and 2004 and White Sabers from 2006 to 2009.

He judged drum, music and color guard captions for more than 55 years for several organizations, including the Red Carpet Association, Drum Corps Associates, Drum Corps East, Drum Corps International and the Canadian Judges Association. He is a charter member of the New York Federation of Contest Judges, serving as the initial president in 1974. He also judged music for the NY-Penn Judges Association from 1958 to 1961 and the All American Drum Corps Association from 1959 to 1973. During American Legion rules congress sessions, he created the concept of content analysis in the pursuit of developing new judging systems for evaluating field music.

He earned a BS in Music Education from SUNY (State University of New York) Fredonia, graduating in 1961. In 1966 he earned a Masters Degree in Vocal Music from Ithaca College, where he had been a lecturer since 1992. He served as guest conductor for concert bands, jazz ensembles, instrumental and vocal concerts at about 200 locations across New York and Pennsylvania. He received the New York State Choral Conductors Association Award in 1997. While stationed in Germany from 1954 to 1957, he was first trumpet player in the concert, marching and jazz bands of the United States Army 2nd Armored Division Band and conducted the band chorus at the same time.

He also served as a marching band consultant and instructor for many high schools in western New York. He carried his interest in music beyond the education system to the community at large, serving as the conductor of the Mark Twain Barber Shoppers, the Elmira Symphony and Choral Society as well as the Elmira Little Theater as both a conductor and actor. He also served as the vocal music director at the Bristol Hills Music Camp for 25 years. He was a respected adjudicator for the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) solo/ensemble and major organization festivals.

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.

Regular World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members are honored for their dedication, contributions and achievements over a long period of time in categories including administration, arranging, adjudication, instruction, innovation and design. Associate members have dedicated at least five consecutive years of service to any drum and bugle corps as a performer or in a support role.

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

Posted by on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016. Filed under DCA News, FrontPage Feature.