Drum Corps International

Tom Blair - DCI Hall of Fame

Tom Blair

Inducted in 2015

If you’ve seen drum corps on television, in movie theaters, or on home video in the last three decades, you have seen the work of Tom Blair.

Since 1984, Blair has edited, directed and produced Drum Corps International’s broadcasts from TV to the cinema. A former percussionist with the Glassmen and Cavaliers, Blair has come through the ranks as a performer, arranger, instructor and judge; and that experience has forged a life-long commitment to drum corps.

Throughout a diverse television career, Blair has worked on projects ranging from coverage of the NCAA Final Four to the Summer Olympics to the Super Bowl, and even “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Along the way he’s cultivated contacts with talented individuals in the industry who now regularly spend the first part of August each summer joining Blair’s production team for the DCI World Championships.

“These are some of the best in the business who work for much less than their normal rate because of their respect for Tom,” longtime DCI broadcaster and Hall of Fame member Steve Rondinaro said. “Once Tom gets them in, the performance excellence of the corps keeps them hooked.”

Focused not only on the current-day video production of DCI events, Blair also has made it his mission to preserve the legacy of Drum Corps International. “He values our history and has perhaps done more to preserve it than anyone,” Rondinaro says.

Blair was the force behind the DCI Legacy Collection DVD set, a project during which he painstakingly restored and re-edited World Championship performances from 1974 through 1999 from original broadcast tapes. In a time when video technology has progressed by leaps and bounds, he’s also guided DCI’s move from VHS tapes to DVDs and most recently to Blu-ray disc with high definition audio and video. At each step along the way he’s spent countless hours pushing technology to bring new life to DCI’s storied past.

“Never complacent, he works hard to innovate,” said Mike Mabbott, a longtime producer and director on Blair’s World Championship production team. “His extraordinary ideas percolate for years and soon enough Drum Corps International becomes the beneficiary of his innovations. After restoring ancient masters of DCI’s greatest all-time performances he called me and talked like a proud father.”

With an exceptional commitment to excellence that Mabbott credits to Blair’s formative years as a corps member, he continues to strive to make drum corps look their best at all times and in all media. Preserving and protecting drum corps’ image has always been his first and utmost priority.

“Tom believes what is on the air must faithfully represent what is on the field. The trouble is there’s so much on the field and all at the same time,” Mabbott says. “He stretches the limits of television to capture the essence of each performance.”

Hall of Fame Induction Speech

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