Sandra Opie - DCI Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1995
The drum and bugle corps activity has seen many superb brass instructors, but few have been as excellent as Sandra Opie. Opie started her career in drum and bugle corps in the late 1950s instructing a small corps in Great Bend, Kan., called the Argonne Rebels. Never having marched in a drum corps, she was amazed at the newfound musical arena and immediately recognized its potential as a server of youth. At the time, Argonne was a tiny corps with only a few buglers, so Opie (a local vocal music instructor) decided it would be beneficial to enlist local band members into the corps. However, she was met with adversity. Many band directors didn't consider drum corps a legitimate form of music instruction. Eventually, she did get the local kids involved and her brass lines rapidly became noted for their technical abilities and musicality. It was in 1971 that Opie's horn line scored a perfect 5.0 in content analysis (only one of two corps to do this -- the other was Madison Scouts that same season).
Opie was also a well-respected judge, first with the Central States Judging Association and then with DCI. As one nomination letter stated, "I long to ... watch her stand proud and confident in the judges' critique and defend quite simply, but explicitly, that a tick was a tick and a 3.5 in content meant exactly that -- regardless of what corps you represented, or who you thought you might be (and regardless of your reputation, real or imagined)." To summarize, Opie's dedication crystallizes her character in one sentence: In all her years as a staff member of the Argonne Rebels, she never accepted any payment for her work.