For 2017, three very talented people will join the 123 others already enshrined in DCI's Hall of Fame. The new additions will be officially inducted during the week of the 2017 DCI World Championships this August in Indianapolis, and will be introduced in person during the conclusion of the DCI World Championship Semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Color Guard Instructor, Blue Devils
TJ Doucette has made an impression on the drum corps activity through more than 30 years of instructing the Blue Devils color guard.
Doucette was raised in a multi-generational drum corps family and started her marching career in the IC Reveries Junior Corps in Massachusetts, the predecessor to the 27th Lancers. She performed for an amazing 17 years before embarking on her teaching career for a variety of Boston area drum corps and winter guards. After moving to California in 1982, she began working with the Blue Devils B winter guard and four years later joined the staff of the Blue Devils color guard.
Doucette has made a significant contribution to the Concord, California corps winning an unprecedented 18 color guard caption awards during her tenure, which helped lead the corps to 12 of its DCI World Championship titles.
But the competitive success Doucette has achieved in her position is a mere side note to the lasting impression she's made on thousands of students she's taught, mentored and inspired.
“Her students have always been and continue to be her first priority, and her passion for them is unparalleled,” DCI Hall of Fame member Pete Emmons says. “Be it a sixth grader at a local educational clinic that picks up a flag, rifle, or saber for the first time, or a five-year veteran of a champion guard, her expectation is the same—Excellence. It's only her method and approach that changes to fit the needs of each student. I have never seen a teacher who can adjust to abilities with such ease and proficiency.”
DCI Hall of Fame member Shirley Stratton Dorritie, added, “She has achieved this by providing a growth-focused, positive, and educational program—from which her hundreds of students have emerged ready to step into positions of leadership and responsibility.”
“TJ's leadership, knowledge, and patience as an educator is the best in the business,” 2016 DCI Hall of Fame inductee Denise Bonfliglio said. “It's an extremely difficult endeavor to mold the lives of young adults who have a vision and a dream to be the best in all they set out to do. Breaking bad habits, teaching focus, new skills, stamina, and professionalism is no small task when you're at the top of the competitive ladder.”
In addition to Doucette's time with the Blue Devils, she has also worked with a variety of other top WGI Sport of the Arts, high school and international color guards. She has presented educational clinics across the United States and in South America, Europe, and Asia.
Percussion Arranger and Instructor
As an instructor and arranger, Paul Rennick has been instrumental in altering the landscape of marching percussion in a modern era of drum and bugle corps.
A former member of the 27th Lancers, Rennick made a name for himself leading an up-and-coming Carolina Crown percussion section in the late 1990s. Since then he's served as an arranger and percussion caption head of Phantom Regiment and currently Santa Clara Vanguard, taking home a number of Fred Sanford Best Percussion Performance Awards at the DCI World Championships during his tenure.
DCI Hall of Fame member Charles Poole first knew Rennick when he marched in Poole's storied 27th Lancers drum line in 1985, commenting, “I was immediately impressed by the passion, intensity, and focus that he offered to the program, qualities that would be hallmarks of his professional life. He has always demonstrated a strong sense of humanity and understanding in all his educational endeavors. He truly represents all that is positive about our beloved activity.”
Rennick's educational approach is one that is rooted in higher education. He has served on the faculty of the University of North Texas (UNT) since 1991, leading the institution's indoor drum line to a bevy of awards with the Percussive Arts Society. In his position he's attracted countless young musicians to UNT, creating a veritable marching percussionist factory of students who go on to perform with and teach drum corps across the country.
“Through the years, I've observed that Paul's students are very loyal and speak highly of their experiences under his direction,” said DCI Hall of Fame member Scott Johnson who serves as the Blue Devils director of percussion. “Clearly, these students enjoy the process and challenges while they grow as musicians, the sign of a great instructor and mentor. Paul's lines push the Blue Devils—and me personally—to achieve at a higher level.”
K.J. Stafford agrees. Stafford studied under Rennick at UNT while performing in his drum lines at Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment. He now serves on the percussion staff of Santa Clara Vanguard.
“Paul has an unbelievable ability to demand perfection, musicality, and precision, while still maintaining an educational atmosphere of positivity and complete professionalism,” Stafford said. “He holds his staff completely accountable to make sure that every decision is student-centered and every member of the group is treated with complete professionalism and respect.”
Rennick is also renown for his percussion arranging. He has continued to do this with assistance from his wife Sandi, who writes for the front ensemble. Together, they have created some of the most nuanced percussion arrangements in DCI history. As Stafford recounts, “His holistic style of writing situates the percussion ensemble scoring seamlessly and purposely alongside the brass scoring, elevating the entire music ensemble.”
Director/Assistant Director, Cavaliers
Bruno Zuccala started his decades long Drum Corps International career with a simple request to observe and volunteer for the Cavaliers.
“Bruno contacted Cavaliers visual designer Steve Brubaker in the mid-1980s, requesting an opportunity to observe our process and volunteer for a few weeks in the summer in order to improve his teaching and judging skills,” former Cavaliers director and 2005 DCI Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Fiedler said. “We were so impressed with his knowledge, commentary and commitment to the craft that we asked him to join our visual staff the following year for as much of the summer as he had available, and the rest is history.”
That history included 27 years of service to the “Green Machine,” in positions that included color guard caption head, staff coordinator, assistant director and corps director. After the Cavaliers, Zuccala became color guard caption supervisor for the Cadets and also served as that corps' assistant director. In addition, he has worked with corps including the General Butler Vagabonds and Boston Crusaders and has been inducted as a member of the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Known for his caring attitude and infectious sense of humor, Zuccala's greatest achievement in the drum corps arena is perhaps his commitment to education, a natural extension of his life outside of marching music, having spent more than 30 years as a teacher and administrator in western Pennsylvania.
“Bruno has touched thousands in the DCI community with a gentle, yet constantly determined commitment to excellence, always coaching and encouraging with the demeanor of the consummate educator,” said former Cavaliers color guard member David Benoit. “Bruno's thorough training and extensive experience as an educator made him an irreplaceable staff member. To DCI, he contributed a lifetime commitment to education.”
“He was a guiding force on any staff to which he dedicated his time,” adds DCI Hall of Fame member Michael Gaines, who worked alongside Zuccala with the Cavaliers. “He taught the teachers and fought ferociously for the wellbeing of the students. He has dedicated his drum corps career to empowering young people to feel confident and to become the leaders and teachers of the future.”
In all of his interactions, Zuccala has the ability to motivate and create learning opportunities that transcend music and movement on the football field—ones that leave lasting impressions felt by students and colleagues alike.
“Bruno taught me that the daily mental and physical challenges of tour have deeper purposes which serve to develop life-fulfilling skills that lend success to what's beyond DCI,” says Benoit. “Learning these skills helped make the great accomplishments of my life—marriage, becoming an airline pilot, and others yet-to-come—possible.”