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(Left to right) Steve Barnhill, Jim Tabuchi and Michael Cesario were recognized for their leadership during the 2017 DCI World Championships in Indianapolis.
Courtesy: Drum Corps International

2017 DCI Directors of the Year

By: Chris Weber
          Release: 08/30/2017
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Each year, one Open Class and one World Class corps director is honored for their leadership during the DCI World Championships.

Determined by a vote of their fellow corps directors at the end of the summer, this year's award winners include Steve Barnhill of the Open Class Vanguard Cadets and the Mandarins' Jim Tabuchi.

Stepping in as director of the Vanguard Cadets in the fall of 2011 after previously serving as a brass staffer and assistant director, in the last five years under Barnhill's direction, the corps has never finished lower than second place. His competitive accolades include three Open Class World Championship titles, including this August when the Vanguard Cadets mounted a late-season come-from-behind surge to the top of the standings.

Announced as the Dr. David Kampschroer Leadership Award winner the night of the Open Class Finals in Michigan City, Indiana, Barnhill was also honored for the award in front of an audience at Lucas Oil Stadium during the World Championship Semifinals in Indianapolis.

“It's an honor, especially whenever you're recognized like this by your peers,” Barnhill said. “The camaraderie among Open Class directors is very high, and I'm very touched.”

In addition to his work as director of the Vanguard Cadets, Barnhill additionally serves as a member of DCI's Open Class Advisory Committee.

Helping to lead the Mandarins to its most successful season since the corps joined DCI's World Class division in 2003, executive director Jim Tabuchi is 2017's Dr. Bernard Baggs Leadership Award winner.

“It is truly an honor for me to stand amongst all the directors who received this award in the past,” Tabuchi said.

A banner season for the Mandarins, Tabuchi's corps found itself in contention for a first-ever World Class finalist berth for much of the 2017 season before a strong 13th place finish at this year's DCI World Championship Semifinals. Showing major progress over previous years, this year's finish marked a four-placement improvement over 2016.

Recognizing that it takes an army of supporters and crew for a corps to thrive while getting down the road each summer, Tabucchi is quick to note that the Director of the Year nod is more representative of the efforts of his collective organization than of his own personal accomplishments.

“This award represents what the Mandarins have done, not what I have done personally,” he said. “I have so many people in the organization to thank, and it's not only the people who are with us today, but all those who have been working with us over several decades. I appreciate the opportunity to take the organization to the next level, but all our successes started 54 years ago with our organization's founding fathers.”

In addition to being recognized for his exceptional work behind the scenes within the Mandarins organization, Tabuchi also was elected to serve a three-year term as part of the Drum Corps International Board of Directors in January.

Another honor that is presented each year as part of the DCI World Championships is the George Bonfiglio Chairman's Award, named in memory of the founder and longtime director of the 27th Lancers. The award is given to a person who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, service and effort on behalf of Drum Corps International.

The 2017 Bonfiglio award was presented at the conclusion of the DCI World Championship Semifinals to DCI artistic director Michael Cesario.

Serving as artistic director since 2010, Cesario has stepped down from the position after the 2017 DCI summer season transitioning the role over to longtime DCI adjudicator Lee Carlson beginning in 2018.

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