Volunteers serve as the backbone of every drum corps, providing much-needed assistance and support to ensure that performing students can take part in the life-changing drum corps experience.

Drum Corps International’s Volunteer of the Year awards highlight some of the most devoted and hardworking individuals in all of Marching Music’s Major League — those whom, without their dedication, the spectacle just wouldn’t shine the same.

Following a selection process administered by Drum Corps International's Friends of DCI program, the following 2023 recipients will be recognized this August during the DCI World Championship Semifinals in Indianapolis.

Dr. Tom Freeman
The Cavaliers

Dr. Tom Freeman

Dr. Tom Freeman

Nominated by multiple individuals, Tom Freeman’s work on behalf of The Cavaliers and the drum corps activity as a whole has been an invaluable contribution.

Freeman, a medical professional, has worked with The Cavaliers’ medical team for more than 30 years, and has played an integral role in the Marching Arts Safety & Health Project (MASH) since its inception as the Drum Corps Medical Project in 2007. Freeman has provided his insight and services to countless drum corps organizations beyond just the Rosemont, Illinois corps.

“Tom understands the unique physical demands of the drum corps activity and uses that knowledge to improve the experience of the members,” said fellow Cavaliers medical team volunteer Dr. Brenda Brak. “He is very interested in preventing injuries so drum corps participants have positive experiences and reach their potential.”

Beyond his hands-on work, Freeman’s annual list of recommended training shoes for drum corps performers has provided a key resource to influence healthy rehearsal habits.

“He spends countless hours researching athletic shoes every year in order to provide marching members with the much-anticipated annual ‘Dr. Tom’s Shoe List,’” added MASH chairperson Laura VanDoren. “Which helps to guide members’ shoe selections for safe participation in drum corps.”

Yvonne Moss
Blue Devils

Yvonne Moss

Yvonne Moss

A volunteer with the Concord, California corps for more than 30 years, Yvonne Moss has contributed to Blue Devils members’ experiences in countless tangible and intangible ways.

According to CEO and executive advisor David Gibbs, Moss — a former sixth-grade teacher — has contributed to members’ tour fees and housed performers annually, beyond her own organizational volunteer responsibilities.

“After seeing the Blue Devils at a local show, she asked if she could be a part of it, even though she didn't have kids of her own in the corps,” Gibbs said of Moss’ introduction to the corps. “Our Booster Club members gave an enthusiastic, ‘Yes!’ The rest is history.”

Among many volunteer roles, Moss has provided airport runs for corps members, helped manage the corps’ food truck, provided leftover food to local food banks, and worked concessions at local Bay Area sporting events to help raise funds for the corps.

“Recent members know her best for her high-energy work at our beloved 'Devils Food' truck, at camps and on tour,” Gibbs said. “She not only makes sure the food line is ready, she also makes sure to greet each member as they come through.”

“Yvonne Moss indeed personifies the true spirit of a great drum corps volunteer,” he added.

Rick Woodall
Boston Crusaders

Rick Woodall

Rick Woodall

A volunteer member of Boston Crusaders’ board of directors and longtime manager of its touring “fleet” of vehicles, Rick Woodall has devoted more than 20 years of his life to supporting the Boston corps and its mission to provide a positive educational experience.

Referred to by Boston Crusaders COO and executive director Chris Holland as the “grandfather” of the corps’ members and staff, Woodall has made a point to know and support the many individuals who have participated in various aspects of the organization.

“He knew the name and background of every member,” Holland said. “He was a central figure and organizer for the parent volunteers. Rick’s spirit and leadership extended to the administration team and teaching staff. All who interacted with him walked away more inspired and more connected to the mission.”

Holland, who described Woodall’s nomination for Volunteer of the Year as “long overdue,” emphasized the positive attitude and influence Woodall has brought to the corps in each and every year of his involvement, even despite recent medical challenges.

“Whenever he is on campus, the members and staff flock to him for a fist bump, a hug, and usually a selfie,” Holland said.

“Rick’s ability to communicate has been impacted by his illness, but he can text and his eyes and body language are easy to read,” he added. “His love of the corps keeps him going. His love of the activity keeps him going. And make no mistake, he is still a person who brings volunteers together.”