Since 1985, the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame has honored individuals who have left their mark on the marching music activity. From instructors to designers to innovators, administrators and others, today's Hall is made up of more than 100 men and women influential in the history of drum and bugle corps. Each winter, members of the drum corps community participate in a nomination process, informing DCI's Hall of Fame Committee of those whom they feel should be recognized as part of drum corps' legacy. In April, current Hall of Fame members and corps directors participate in an election process to decide who will join the ranks of this prestigious society. Four individuals have been selected for induction as the DCI Hall of Fame Class of 2013. They will be recognized during the week of the 2013 DCI World Championships in Indianapolis.
Marie Grana-Czapinski DCI Visual Adjudicator
Starting her drum corps career as a member of the Norwood Park Imperials from Chicago, Marie Grana-Czapinski has made her mark in the marching arts activities as a top-notch visual adjudicator, from color guards to marching bands to drum corps. At the young age of 18, Czapinski made the transition from corps member to instructor with the Imperials. Soon after under the tutelage of DCI Hall of Fame member Earl Joyce, she learned the ropes of judging as part of the Central States Judges Association. In the early 1970s under the mentoring of DCI Hall of Fame member Donald Angelica, Czapinski worked with a variety of corps including the Finleyville Royal Crusaders, Seneca Optimists, Madison Scouts and Spirit of Atlanta, in the process gaining valuable insights as both an instructor and a judge. "While they were teaching corps together, Donald gave Marie the opportunity of a lifetime for a young judge," husband and 1999 DCI Hall of Fame inductee Gary Czapinski said. "He assigned her to the DCI World Championship judging panel in 1976 and she has never looked back. She was natural as a judge and was immediately accepted by the DCI community in the dual role of instructor and judge." Since that first opportunity in 1976, Czapinski has been a regular fixture on adjudication panels for the DCI World Championships and other major regional contests. As a judge, Czapinski is noted for her ability to communicate clearly and concisely, the instructor at heart always eager to give the competing corps constructive feedback to improve future performances. "Marie is widely respected for her knowledge, enthusiasm and honesty in her interactions with every drum corps, regardless of their level of accomplishment," fellow DCI judge Nola Jones said. "The last place drum corps enjoys the same attention and boundless energy that she gives the first place corps." "Marie's judging tapes will always be memorable and are always in demand by the corps members to listen to after a performance, as she talks to them, cheers for them and encourages them to dig down and give their best consistently," Santa Clara Vanguard CEO Jeff Fiedler said. "Her insight, questions, and commentary are respectful and beneficial to the corps, yet ask you to dig deeper as a designer, instructor or performer to maximize the performance," In more than 40 years as part of the judging community, Czapinski has served on various committees and subcommittees to revise and improve DCI's judging systems, as well as educate new and current adjudicators. With a penchant for continually educating herself with the latest skills and proficiencies in an ever-changing activity, Czapinski is one of only a small handful of judges who are qualified to judge every one of Drum Corps International's visual captions. "Marie has been integral in mentoring countless new judges and was continually on the lookout for emerging talent to join our ranks," DCI Judge Administrator John Phillips said. As she once was by the likes of Hall of Fame greats like Gary Czapinski, Rick Maass, Earl Joyce, Donald Angelica and others, Czapinski has in turn advised and inspired a whole new generation of instructors and judges. Czapinski is a member of both the Bands of America and Winter Guard International Halls of Fame, two organizations that she played a role in founding.
Bob Lendman Phantom Regiment Director 1976-1981
After Bob Lendman's two children joined the Phantom Regiment Cadets in the early 1970s, it wasn't long before the lively man with a gregarious personality was repairing buses, and chatting up staff, parents and corps members. He was named director of the organization's cadet corps in 1972, and was tapped to serve as director of the Phantom Regiment in 1976. A master of logistics—getting the corps from Point A to Point B—Lendman was instrumental in laying the groundwork for how drum corps travel and tour nationally today. "Everyone involved with the corps at that time recognized Bob's unique abilities to arrive at practical and simple solutions to complicated problems," Phantom Regiment Board President Tim Farrell said. "He was an innovator at everything from personnel to fleet, and from performance excellence to travel tactics." In his six years with Phantom Regiment, the corps enjoyed considerable competitive success, however, as Farrell notes, "More importantly, the corps had become proficient at long-range touring. The members were well rested and well fed, and the organization was financially stable. Bob Lendman transformed the Phantom Regiment into what it is today." After his time with the Regiment, Lendman became director of the Blue Stars in 1982, managing a rebuilding season that started with only 19 corps members at rehearsals. Recruiting new students at every tour stop that summer, Lendman helped get the corps back on its feet, finishing the season with some 70 members in its ranks. In the mid 1980s, Lendman moved to Bloomington, Ind. and became an indispensable logistical asset to Star of Indiana founder Bill Cook prior to the corps' creation. He never strayed far from the corps and often drove the equipment truck during the nine years of Star's existence. With his wife Allison, Lendman ran the DCI Mid-America Championship in Bloomington for several years and turned the event into a major community festival. Lendman was known for never being too busy to help and offer advice to other corps directors, staff and personnel. He did whatever it took to ensure that what the corps were doing behind the scenes, always put the well-being of the performing corps members at the highest priority. "Bob looked everyone in the eye, no matter what size corps they had and treated all with respect as he shared his knowledge with everyone," former Star of Indiana director James Mason said. "He took the time needed to explain and to teach," said Jaap Van Waveren, a former director of the international corps Beatrix from the Netherlands. Looking to bring an American drum corps model overseas, Van Waveren had the opportunity to tour the U.S. in the late 1970s with the Phantom Regiment under Lendman's watchful eye. "That was the strength of Bob Lendman, a never-ending patience to give answers on a lot of questions." After his time as a director, Lendman stayed active in the drum corps community, volunteering his time as an event staff member at the DCI World Championships and other events. According to former Phantom Regiment Director Pat Seidling, even after his time as a director, Lendman had a knack for making sure the people working behind the scenes with the corps were always taken care of—Getting a corps' souvenir trailer positioned just right or whisking away food service volunteers on a golf cart to the stadium to see their corps perform, and getting them back in time to have a hot snack ready to serve corps members. Lendman passed away in March of 2011 and will be inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame posthumously.
Ray Mar Mandarins Executive Director 1983-present
Leading his corps to an incredible eight World Championship titles, it may be hard to believe that the 30-year executive director of the Mandarins, Ray Mar, took on the leadership role knowing little about drum corps. According to Mandarins Corps Director Jim Tabuchi, Mar first became involved with the organization while sitting in a living room with a handful of fellow parents, discussing how to resurrect an inactive drum corps called the Mandarins. "At that very first meeting he took on the role of corps director without even knowing what drum corps was about," Tabuchi said. "It is rare to find someone who has demonstrated Ray's level of greatness by starting with so little and creating so much." Soon after taking the reigns of the Mandarins, Mar's corps found its success with a slow but steady persistence. Working to tailor the productions and annual summer tour of the Mandarins to the size and talent of the group, rather than reaching beyond its means competitively and financially, four years after assuming the director post, Mar saw his corps win its first DCI World Championship title in the A-60 Division (later called Division III and now Open Class) followed by another in 1988. The Mandarins have won a total of eight World Championship titles, including an unprecedented string of four straight from 1996 to 1999, a record that in DCI's more than 40-year history has not been repeated in any of its competitive divisions. "The success of his corps dispels the myth that size alone determines a championship-caliber corps," Pioneer director and DCI Hall of Fame member Roman Blenski said. Since his start in the early 1980s, Mar has served as a volunteer director, never taking a paycheck for his work, while supporting his family with a successful career outside of the drum corps activity. With a quiet and steadfast leadership style, he has served on various Drum Corps International committees, including the Division II & III Executive Board (now the Open Class Advisory Committee), and has twice been recognized as a DCI Director of the Year in 1992 and 1998. Though the Mandarins made the jump to Drum Corps International's World Class in 2003, Mar has remained a champion for DCI's Open Class, mentoring directors of current and startup corps. "Ray is always someone to go to for advice, as he is a good listener who is polite and direct," Blue Devils B director and Hall of Fame member Rick Odello said. "He is always decisive and has an opinion whether you agree with it or not. Ray has great courage to tell it like it is."
Steve Rondinaro DCI Broadcast Personality
The "face" and "voice" of Drum Corps International for more than 35 years, it wouldn't be an understatement to say that millions of individuals worldwide have seen Steve Rondinaro, as he's hosted DCI's television and movie theater broadcasts since the late 1970s to the present day. "For life-long drum corps fans, it's practically impossible to imagine watching the DCI World Championships on television or in movie theaters without being engrossed by what Steve says about the drum corps activity," DCI Staff Writer Michael Boo said. "Through the airwaves, he brings people right into the stadium." Rondinaro's drum corps career started like many others who have entered DCI's Hall of Fame, as a marching corps member. A young nine-year-old in New York, Rondinaro joined and spent 12 years as a member of the Watkins Glen Squires. He later co-managed and directed the corps, nearly achieving a 12th-place finalist spot in the 1975 World Championships in Philadelphia. Forging a successful career as a news reporter and anchor outside of drum corps, Rondinaro got his start with DCI's television broadcasts when asked by Hall of Fame Member Don Whitely to host a local PBS telecast of the 1976 DCI East competition in Allentown, Pa. A similar opportunity was offered in 1977 for the DCI Canada event in Hamilton, Ontario, and by 1979 he got his opportunity in front of the camera at the World Championships, sitting alongside jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson as co-host. Over many years Rondinaro has had the opportunity to work with a diverse array of broadcast hosts from actress Rita Moreno to sports broadcasting legend Curt Gowdy, using his unique experiences and talents as a drum corps "insider" to educate his television partners even if they have little or no familiarity with the drum corps activity. As Rondinaro's broadcasting career took him to Miami in the early 1980s, he wouldn't lose sight of managing a corps. There he helped reorganize the Florida Vanguard into a new corps, Florida Wave, a group that went on to win DCI's A-Class Championship title in 1984. "He led from the top by setting a direction and helped guide the people hired to run the daily duties of building great young adults through the drum corps activity," former Florida Wave staff member Jeff Bridges said. "Steve's unselfish acts helped shape the lives of hundreds of young adults who would never have had the chance if not for what he did and what he gave." Rondinaro has brought the same attitude he had as a corps director into his work on countless Drum Corps International broadcast initiatives. "Steve has lived it as a performer, instructor and corps director," longtime DCI broadcast producer and director Tom Blair said. "As a broadcaster his priorities have been the same, always asking, 'Will it help DCI?' 'Will it help the individual corps?' And, most importantly, 'Will it help the kids?' His compensation has never been about money. He lives to support drum corps and he has done so for his entire life." View all members of the DCI Hall of Fame.