Being associated with two or three major drum corps in a lifetime seems like a full marching palette these days. But in the case of new DCI Hall of Famer Dick Brown, elected this year by the Legacy Hall of Fame committee, three corps only amount to one-fifth of the corps he instructed or arranged for.

Dick Brown (right) in1952, his first year with the Skokie Indians. On the left is DCI Hall of Famer Bob Currie. Photo courtesy of
Dick Brown joined the Skokie Indians in 1952, and was their lead snare for six years. During that time, he also wrote and taught all their percussion arrangements. While Brown was with the corps, they went from seventh place in 1953 to second place in 1954. Due in no small part to his many contributions, Skokie went on to win the National Championship three years in a row, from 1955 – 1957. "I'm very honored, and it will be something that will always stick in my memory," Brown said of his election to the Hall of Fame. "It caught me by surprise. It's difficult to absorb something like this," Brown said. After retiring from the Skokie Indians as that corps lead snare player in 1957, Brown went on to teach and/or arrange for:
  • The Cavaliers
  • Royal Airs
  • Phantom Regiment
  • Madison Scouts
  • Racine Scouts
  • Kilties
  • Des Plaines Vanguard
  • Norwood Park Imperials
  • Troopers
  • Belleville Crusaders
  • Neisi Ambassadors
  • Belfontaine's Satan's Angels
  • Darious Geranus Dragons
  • Belleville Black Knights
  • Kewanee Black Knights
  • Morton Grove Cougars
  • Maywood Legion Post 133 Senior Corps  
"I went to the Indians right out of the service," Brown said of his drum corps beginnings. "It was something I got into, because I had been a musician in the service." Brown looks upon his years with Skokie as the pinnacle of his career. "The high point of my drum corps career was writing, teaching and marching with the Indians. I retired from Indians to be a judge, and judging became the thing I liked the most," Brown said. Later Brown was one of the original founders of the Central States Judges Association, and was its first director. His participation was instrumental in developing rules and procedures that were eventually adopted throughout drum corps, and which provide the foundation of today's judging. DCI Hall of Famer Earl Joyce also nominated Brown. In his letter, Joyce said, "The level of excellence and positive influence that was transmitted could only have a profound effect on all that were lucky enough to be involved with Dick in some way. His contributions to the activity may not have always been broadcasted, because it was his nature to blend in rather than upstage. As for his character, I am sure any member of the Hall of Fame would be proud to stand with him," Joyce said. Jay McGuffin of Lindenhurst, Ill., who nominated Brown, noted Brown's kindness in his nomination letter. "My association with Dick began in 1964 when as a youth I joined the (then) Skokie Vanguard, which later on became the 1968 World Open Champion Des Plaines Vanguard. I was still fairly young then, and new to "big-time" drum corps (I had formerly been with a tiny "B-Corps" for three years). So as I entered ranks of a major drum corps for the first time, scared to death, Dick was my drum instructor. Because Dick had been such a great drummer himself, as well as having taught major drum corps in the Midwest (Royal Airs, Vanguard, Norwood Park Imperials, and the Morton Grove Spartans, to name but a few) for so many years, he was already a legend. But to my surprise, Dick was (and still is) an extremely kind gentleman and friend who not only taught me to become a top-flight drummer (technically) but an inspiration to achieve greatness not only in musicianship but character as well. Dick was, and still is, a true gentlemen and master of his craft," McGuffin said. A full biography of Dick Brown will appear on in the coming weeks. The Hall of Fame selection process by the board of directors and hall of fame members is taking place the remainder of this month; the results will be announced during the week of April 5, 2005 at