Glenn Opie and Len Piekarski have been elected to the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame by the Hall of Fame Legacy Committee. "I was elated! I was really surprised and happy. It's a big honor," Piekarski said, after learning of his Hall of Fame induction.Likewise, Opie expressed similar surprise upon discovery of his election. "I only found out about it yesterday, so I'm still coming down off the ceiling!" Opie said. "I had no idea what was going on! I had no idea that I would be selected to it. I never felt that I had done all that much." Piekarski has been a longtime friend of fellow inductee Opie, and said, "I couldn't think of a bigger honor," than being inducted with his friend. Opie expressed similar sentiments. "I think highly of Lenny! He's a great guy!" Opie, of Great Bend, Kan., led the Argonne Rebels from 1949 to 1973, a tenure which saw the corps earn 13 Kansas State American Legion Championships, three American Legion National Championships, one VFW State Championship, seven Great Plains Drum and Bugle Corps Association Titles and several other national titles. "He is the person who gave a group of kids from Central Kansas a chance to excel; a chance to be the best in the world. And through his dedication and motivation, Argonne responded to that. Championships are won, and forgotten. But the lessons that Argonne learned while climbing that hill are not. That is Glenn's legacy," according to Jeff Yeager, who nominated Opie to the Hall of Fame. Opie, a U.S. Navy veteran, has been a lawyer in Great Bend since 1956, and has been active in the Kansas legal community. Opie's nomination was also backed by former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who said, "I strongly support Glenn's election to the Hall of Fame. Doing so would bring recognition to a man whose presence is long overdue." Piekarski, of Mundelein, Ill., began his drum corps career at the age 7, as a snare drummer with several Sons of the American Legion corps on the Northwest side of Chicago. Later, was a marching instructor for the Cavaliers from 1957 to 1968. Corps that he was affiliated with won 11 junior and senior national championships. "His consistency of excellence in designing drill, teaching precision execution, and motivating others is a foundation for today's competitive drum corps. Len's story should be heard by all," according to Les Dlabay, who nominated Piekarski to the Hall of Fame.Piekarski, also a U.S. Navy veteran, became a drum corps judge. Off the field, Piekarski was a mailman, and he also coached youth baseball, football, softball and basketball.
The Legacy Committee of the DCI board recognizes that those who have been away from the activity for several years may not be well known to current members of the board and hall of fame members, and DCI does not want those persons disadvantaged through the regular election process. Opie and Piekarski will be honored next January, along with the others elected by the board and current hall of fame members. Nominations for the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame are due by March 15, 2003. Please look at the attached PDF to learn more about how to nominate someone.