2017 World Drum Corps Hall Of Fame Associate Members

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Nine individuals from the United States and Canada with a long history of drum and bugle corps activity and experience will become associate members of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame during the 2017 induction ceremony to be held Friday, September 1, in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn (formerly Rochester Plaza), 70 State Street, in Rochester, New York.

Hall of Fame vice president and associate membership committee chair Bob Findley announced the names of those selected for 2017 membership. They are: Dee Darch, Christopher Feist, Lorne Ferrazzutti, Bill Flaker, Delores Gentile, John Girardi III (deceased), Gail Langan, Frank Rogers, and Stephen “Skip” Vargo.

Dee LeFrois Darch of Buffalo, New York
For more than 40 years of service beginning in 1975, Rochester Crusaders senior drum and bugle corps recognized contributions by Dee LeFrois Darch with three separate awards: Lifetime Achievement in 1997, Crusader of Hall of Fame in1999 and Directors Award in 1986. She served on the board of directors for more than 25 years, including serving as board chair from 1982 to 1986. She was Crusaders’ liaison to Drum Corps Associates (DCA) for more than 10 years. While with Crusaders, she marched in the color guard for 10 years. She also marched in St. Joe’s Alumni Corps honor guard for five years.

Christopher Feist of Reading, Pennsylvania
Christopher Feist is currently staff coordinator with Reading Buccaneers drum and bugle corps. He previously served as assistant staff coordinator for a year in 2013 and snare technician, battery coordinator and percussion staff member for more than 10 years starting in 2001. His involvement with Buccaneers began when he played bass drum in 1981 and snare drum in 1982. He then played snare drum with Crossmen drum and bugle corps in 1983 and 1985. He was snare technician and percussion staff member with Crossmen from 1988 to 1992.

Lorne Ferrazzutti of Burlington, Ontario
When Lorne Ferrazzutti taught the Toronto Optimists drum and bugle corps, his drum lines were undefeated in every junior national championship contest from 1959 to 1966, while Optimists were sweeping to 11 consecutive national titles. During that time, he taught six Canadian individual snare drumming champions. He was a champion snare drummer himself while performing with Toronto Jesters senior drum and bugle corps and was instrumental in the amalgamation of the Jesters and Hamilton Viscounts to form the Canadian Commanders drum and bugle corps. He has been teaching the drum line of the world famous Burlington Teen Tour Band since 1977. He is a charter member of the Toronto Optimists Alumni drum and bugle corps, missing very few practices or performances in more a decade of involvement. He began drumming in the bugle band at Western Tech High School in Toronto in the early 1950s, forming a lifelong friendship with Barry Bell, also an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

William Flaker of Manchester, Connecticut
Drum corps fans have been reading Bill Flaker’s show reviews and personality features for more than a quarter of a century, dating back to his first days as staff writer for Drum Corps World (DCW) in 1990. He is also currently staff writer with Drum Corps Associates (DCA) and has served on DCA’s public relations staff since 2012. He was the public relations coordinator with Connecticut Hurricanes from 2004 to 2011. He wrote the history of the Hurricanes for DCW’s History of Drum and Bugle Corps Volume 2. He marched in the Hurricanes world champion honor guard from 2003 to 2011. He was visual instructor for Connecticut Royal Lancers in the early 1980s and has served as visual judge with Eastern Marching Band Association. He is currently timing and penalty judge and show coordinator for Musical Arts Conference, which includes units from New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Delores Gentile of Joppa, Maryland
Delores Gentile is highly accomplished as a performer and administrator. She was executive secretary for Yankee Rebels from 1967 to 1975 and Yankee Rebels Alumni Corps from 1988 to 2010. She also assisted corps director George Bull, a charter member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, with secretarial support for his Hall of Fame duties. She was an important staff member with the Dixie Stinger fund raising concert for 19 years, responsible for all mailings, food preparation and service to attendees. She played baritone horn with Belles of St. Mary’s drum and bugle corps of Gloucester New Jersey from 1953 to 1961, named Corpsman of the Year in 1959. She won three individual baritone competitions. After leaving St. Mary’s in 1961 it was almost 30 years before she again started playing the baritone horn with Yankee Rebels Alumni Corps in 1988, performing with the group until 2010

John Girardi III (deceased) of Kew Gardens, New York
John Girardi III was lead soprano and soloist during all his years of drum corps activity: with New York Skyliners from 1977 to 1996 then with Skyliners Alumni for another eight years as soloist and instructor. His first drum corps involvement was as lead soprano with St. Joe’s Brigade from 1966 to 1977. He was named to the Skyliners Hall of Fame in 1993 and posthumously to the Bugler’s Hall of Fame in 2011. He was widely admired as a leader and mentor, writing, assisting with arrangements and instructing many drum corps around New York City, including Bayonne Bridgemen, New York Crimson Kings and Conquest Alliance of the United Kingdom.

Gail Langan of Milford, Connecticut
Everyone attending the induction banquet is already familiar with the major contribution Gail Langan has made to Hall of Fame activities: she has been producing the induction video features since 2011. She also conceived of and produced the videos for Buglers Hall of Fame induction ceremonies from 2010 to 2012. She has conducted video interviews with prominent drum corps personalities. She is a founding member and board member of the Drum Corps Experience virtual museum, which debuted online earlier this summer. From 2010 to 2015, she handled public relations for Park City Pride Alumni. Gail Langan played lead soprano with ND-ettes drum and bugle corps (Notre Dame Girls High School) in Bridgeport for five years, winning four major championships: the 1969 and 1970 World Open All Girl Championship; the 1970 U.S. Open All Girl Championship and the 1970 Greater New York Circuit All Girl Championship. The following year, she was assistant brass instructor with ND-ettes. She played soprano and mellophone with Park City Pride Alumni from 2004 to 2011 and more recently played mellophone with St. Rita’s Brassmen Alumni.

Frank Rogers of Staten Island, New York
Frank Rogers received the Lifetime Member Award from New York Skyliners in 2004 for contributions that began as a baritone horn player in 1976. Over the following years, he served as visual tech and in various business management positions. Since 1996, he has served the Skyliners Alumni drum and bugle corps as a board member, visual designer and instructor. He was visual tech for two Division 3 DCI corps: the Cadets of Brooklyn and Spirit of Newark. He has marched in both Skyliners and Skyliners Alumni mini corps. His drum corps activity began in 1967 when he played baritone horn with Our Lady of Angels Blue Angels. His long list of championships includes: Blue Angels, Long Island Circuit champions in 1973 (undefeated) and 1974: Cadets of Brooklyn, Garden State Circuit Division 3 champions in 1998; Skyliners DCA Class A champions in 1999 and 2002; Brass Menagerie, Buglers Hall of Fame Garfield Regional Ensemble champions, 2012.

Stephen “Skip” Vargo of Oxford, Connecticut
Skip Vargo is a member of the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame, and has been a valuable member of the Connecticut Hurricanes organization since playing baritone from 1972 through 1984. For the following two years, he taught and provided redesign services for the visual program and marched as assistant drum major. He was treasurer on the board of directors from 1986 until he left for a job assignment in Michigan in 1991. He returned as treasurer in 1994, serving until 2005. He was a key board member in developing the charter, bylaws and articles of incorporation for filing with the state. He was one of the Hurricanes’ representatives to DCA for many years. He helped run the Hurricanes DCA Fanfare show. He is a charter member of Park City Pride and has performed with Connecticut Alumni for the past four years. Before joining the Hurricanes, he played baritone with Trumbull Troubadors from 1965 to 1971 and Connecticut Yankees in 1971 and 1972.

The new associate members will be introduced individually by the induction banquet master of ceremonies, then come forward to accept congratulations and their awards while their picture is shown on a large screen at the front of the banquet room.

The 41st annual Hall of Fame banquet will also include the induction of six new regular members, 2017 Distinguished Professional Achievement inductee Billy Cobham and the President’s Lifetime Achievement award winner.

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.

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, founded in 1976 in Rochester by the late Vince Bruni, is a non-profit organization honoring those individuals who have contributed significantly over many years to the development and continuing excellence of 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 each decade since the 1940s.

For more information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame visit the web site at http://www.worlddrumcorpshof.org

Posted by on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.