Drum Corps International
Corps members honored with leadership and scholarship awards
Austin Baker of the Cavaliers received one of two Jim Jones Leadership Awards during the 2016 DCI World Championships.Photo by: Drum Corps International

Corps members honored with leadership and scholarship awards

by Lauren Wilcox

Each year, Drum Corps International recognizes some of its best and brightest corps members with scholarships and awards that are presented as part of the DCI World Championships.

This year’s scholarships recognized 13 performers representing 10 different World and Open Class corps.

The Jim Jones Leadership Award is presented annually to one drum major from an Open Class corps and one from a World Class corps as selected by a panel of DCI Hall of Fame members.

This year those honors went to Austin Baker of the Cavaliers and Noah Koch of Legends.

As the first Cavaliers member since 1999 to win this award, Baker is humbled to receive the acknowledgement and thankful to his fellow drum majors and corps members in the activity.

“It’s a huge honor,” Baker said after receiving the award during the DCI World Championship Finals this August in Indianapolis. “I wasn’t expecting to win it. I can’t really accept it for myself because of everything I’ve learned from all of the great leaders in the Cavaliers and honestly, other corps too. Being able to interact with other drum majors and learn from them … it’s been an honor.”

In addition to the Jim Jones Leadership Award, Baker, who is a fifth-year member of the Cavaliers and a music education major at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, also received the Gary Czapinski Memorial Scholarship.

Receiving the Open Class Jim Jones Leadership Award was Legends member Noah Koch. A mathematics major at Indiana Wesleyan University, Koch spent the last three summers as drum major of Legends in a career that spans a total of nine years with the Kalamazoo, Michigan corps.

“While I am honored to receive the award, I cannot help but give credit to all of the incredible role models and mentors who I have learned from throughout my time with Legends,” Koch said. “Thank you to the phenomenal staff of Legends, to the dedicated members of Legends, and to my wonderful parents. Your unwavering support motivates me to be better every day.”

Koch is not the first Legends drum major to be honored with the Jim Jones Leadership Award. His sister Kelly received the same honor in 2009.

“Noah is an extraordinary leader; one who has gained the respect of his peers and demonstrates all that we expect from the members at Legends,” Legends Executive Director Ibe Sodawalla said. “ I am proud of Noah for this recognition and appreciate his work ethic, passion, and commitment to Legends.”

Eight additional scholarships were presented as part of the DCI World Championship Semifinals on August 13 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Awarded in 2016 for the 10th straight year, the Friends of DCI Scholarship provides educational funding to corps members after spending the summer away participating in a drum corps. This year’s award winners are Ruth Williams of the Boston Crusaders and Sierra Rogers of the Academy.

Also administered by the Friends of DCI program and supporting corps members who are majoring in music education, Samantha Dimatteo of the Cadets and Shawn Coleman of the Colts received the Richardson’s Scholarship.

Dimatteo also received the George and Patsy Bonfiglio Scholarship. Lorhan M Tiger of Spirit of Atlanta additionally received the honor, which is awarded by the 27th Lancers Foundation.

Alex Aribieter of Carolina Crown is the recipient of the Jim Ott Scholarship, which is presented to a current corps member who demonstrates leadership qualities and is pursuing higher education in the music field.

Also recognizing music majors, the Fred J. Miller Memorial Music Education Scholarship was awarded to Philip Andrews of Carolina Crown.

Named after the late DCI Hall of Fame member who served as a judge for more than 30 years, the Rodney Goodhart Memorial Scholarship was presented to Sean Rees of the Academy.

The Dutch in DCI Scholarship is awarded annually to Netherlands natives who march with DCI drum corps. Ilja Boone and Kirsten van der Kraan of Phantom Regiment and Ruben Zeldenrust of Blue Devils B each received $1,000 scholarships as part of the program.

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