With the kind of seamless, precise artistry that takes place during a drum corps show, few may realize the gears ticking beneath the surface of corps organizations in order to portray the appearance of fluid clockwork — hard-working volunteers.
DCI's Volunteer of the Year awards annually recognize the "best of the best" in that large pool of dedicated individuals, without whom each corps' powerful performances would not be possible.
Following a selection process adminstrated by Drum Corps International's Friends of DCI program, the 2017 recipients of this honor will be recognized this August during the DCI World Championship Semifinals in Indianapolis.
Jeff Manion | Madison Scouts
With an extensive laundry list of roles within the Madison Scouts organization, Jeff Manion has been a critical piece of the Wisconsin-based organization for the last 14 years.
Currently he serves as the vice president of the corps' board of directors, the event coordinator for the organization's Drums on Parade DCI Tour event, and the chair of its business development committee.
“Through his leadership, the corps re-emerged and made many difficult changes that were required to achieve stability both financially and programatically,“ Madison Scouts executive director Chris Komnick said. “All the while, Jeff would never hesitate to drive a bus on tour, prepare and serve food, or do anything the corps required.”
Manion's work on the Drums on Parade DCI Tour event, according to Komnick, has made a major difference for the City of Middleton, Wisconsin, and its surrounding businesses.
“Jeff has been a humble and effective volunteer over the past decade of his service to the Madison Scouts and Drum Corps International,” Komnick added.
Tina Guy | Bluecoats
Tina Guy has done it all for the Bluecoats.
Since 2006, Guy has filled a number of different crucial positions for the Canton, Ohio-based ensemble, the likes of which include food service, van driving, RV driving and bus driving.
Commonly known throughout the corps as “Mama Guy,” her son Drew was a member of the Bluecoats' snare line for the first five years of his mother's time as a volunteer.
“We've perhaps never had anyone in the history of our organization who has given their entire summer to the corps for 10 years in a row,” said David Glasgow, the corps' executive director. “She did all of this, while never taking a dime of payment from the organization.”
According to Glasgow, Guy went through the trouble of obtaining her own commercial drivers' license to operate the Bluecoats' sleeper coach when the organization transitioned to a significantly larger vehicle for its volunteers.
“Tina is the embodiment of what it means to be a volunteer that is truly committed to an organization and its mission,” Glasgow added.
Bill Symoniak | Colts
As its volunteer coordinator, Bill Symoniak has been a part of the Colts' organization for almost as long as some of the current performers have been alive, working diligently for the corps since 2002.
Now entering his 15th season with the Colts, Symoniak has overseen somewhere in the vicinity of 750 parents and volunteers.
"During our summer tour, Bill typically drives a van at night, but he's also found in the kitchen helping with what's needed throughout the day," executive director Jeff MacFarlane says. “He finds time to spend with students and supports members financially who may need assistance."
According to MacFarlane, Symoniak also has extensive experience in the Boy Scouts of America organization, having received a National Award of Merit from the organization in 2003.
“He has had a critical impact not just on the experience of our members, but the experience of all volunteers in our operation,” MacFarlane said. “The resiliency and duration of Bill's volunteerism makes him stand out amongst the great volunteers with which we've worked."