The individuals to be inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame on September 3 rose to prominence during the “glory years” of the 1950s and 1960s. Most are still active today, with several marking more than 50 years of continuous involvement in the drum and bugle corps community.
This year’s inductions will take place during a mid-day banquet and award ceremony to be held in Scranton, PA, as part of the Drum Corps Associates Labor Day weekend championships.
The 2005 inductees selected by the Hall of Fame screening committee include:
Jim Bowser of Grasonville, Md, whose career as a snare drummer spanned the years 1946 to 1988. His early involvement was with the Kenwood Cadets and Monumental Drum and Fife Corps.
He began drumming with the Yankee Rebels of Baltimore in 1956, then played in the drum line of the Reilly Raiders from 1957 to 1966. He was runner-up in the 1957 VFW national individual snare contest and won the title in 1958 and 1959. He joined the Yankee Rebels Alumni Corps as a snare drummer in 1988.
In the late 1950s, he also instructed a number of Maryland corps, including St. James, Dundalk and Walbrook junior corps and the Williamsport senior corps. From 1964 to 1966, he was percussion technician with Reilly Raiders. He also served as a member of the Reilly Raiders executive board from 1961 to 1965.
He was honored with lifetime membership status in the Reilly Raiders organization in 2000.
Don Mihok of Jenkintown, PA, between 1944 and 1952, played snare drum with three different junior corps: Rising Sun, Osmond Post and Howard C. McCall Post. While drumming for the Osmond Post corps in 1949, he won the VFW national junior individual snare drum contest.
He played snare drum with Archer-Epler Musketeers senior corps from 1956 to 1958 and won the VFW national senior snare title in 1957.
Mihok taught the percussion sections of a number of Pennsylvania corps, including Vasella, Haeton Heights, East Germantown junior corps, and Bangor Yellow Jackets senior corps. He also began teaching the Reilly Raiders Alumni drum line in 1997.
Over the years, he served as a percussion judge with the Mid-Atlantic and All-American judges associations, Drum Corps Associates and the Catholic Youth Organization, adjudicating both band and drum and bugle corps contests.
Ralph Pace of Mays Landing, NJ, between 1965 and 1974, performed with both of Pennsylvania’s Musketeers drum and bugle corps: Vasella and Archer-Epler. In his capacity as drill designer and instructor, beginning in 1970, he created memorable shows, emphasizing a total visual entertainment package, for a number of well-known corps, including Blue Rock, 27th Lancers, Chicago Cavaliers, Crossmen, Phantom Regiment, Spirit of Atlanta, Reading Buccaneers and Yankee Rebels.
He twice had two of his junior corps finish in the top 10 nationally: 27th Lancers and Crossmen, and Cavaliers and Phantom Regiment. He served as an execution and general effect judge for 10 years, primarily with the National Association of Judges.
Kenny “Ace” Peterson of Penn Yan, NY, was a soprano soloist when he first played with Geneva Appleknockers senior corps in 1951, and he’s still a soloist with Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corps and Ghost Riders mini-corps in 2005. He spent two different periods performing in contests, parades and winter concerts with the Appleknockers: from 1951 to 1964 and from 1982 to 1985. In between, he served as corps director for the Appleknockers.
Before moving to St. Joe’s Alumni in 1994, he was lead soprano player with the Empire Statesmen. He has performed with Ghost Riders since 1997, serving as administrator as the same time. He was brass instructor for the Tri-County Cadets and Appleknockers between 1958 and 1964, and taught both brass and marching to the Firebells, Appleknockers and the Mello Dears all-girl corps between 1957 and 1998.
He judged music and marching in many parades and contests between 1958 and 1970. Other top soprano players consider him to be one of the best soloists in the past half century of drum corps activity.
Richard Pronti of Canandaigua, NY, has contributed to the drum and bugle corps movement as a horn player, drum major, color guard member, visual designer, staff consultant and judge. He initiated the individual and ensemble contests as part of the Drum Corps Associates Championship weekend.
He played horn and marched as drum major with Shortsville Shamrocks in upstate New York from 1958 to 1967. For several years in the 1960s, his involvement with the Shamrocks overlapped his duties as winter drum major with the Emerald Cadets of Rochester and horn player with Geneva Appleknockers.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he marched in the Syracuse Brigadiers’ color guard, was drum major of the junior Appleknockers and the Suburban Knights senior corps of Buffalo.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he served as the visual designer for a number of corps, including Appleknockers juniors, Dunkirk Patriots, Tri-Town Cadets and the Shamrocks.
Since 1992, he has been a visual staff consultant with Hawthorne Caballeros. His service as a judge dates back to 1974. He has been a visual judge, caption head, president or past president of the New York Federation of Judges over that 30-year period. He has also been a visual judge in Drum Corps Associates.
Elmer “Red”Winzer of Philadelphia, PA, in a career spanning more than 40 years, has been a top-notch horn player, music arranger, brass instructor, drill designer and instructor. Between 1957 and 1973, he played baritone horn with Reading Buccaneers and the USAF Drum and Bugle Corps in Washington, DC.
Between 1967 and the mid-1990s, he was either the music arranger, brass instructor or brass caption head for many top-ranked corps on the Eastern Seaboard, including Blue Rock and Haddenfield Royaleers, and several senior corps, including Emmaus Sentinals, Reading Buccaneers, Yankee Rebels, Archer-Epler Musketeers, Yankee Rebels Alumni and Reading Buccaneers Alumni.
He has judged all music captions for the Mid-Atlantic Association, Drum Corps Associates, Drum Corps International and the National Judges Association. He was one of the first arrangers to adapt classical music to field show routines, including Verdi’s “Requiem,” Stravinski’s “Firebird Suite” and Shostakovich’s “Fifth Symphony.”
Since its founding in 1976 by the late Vince Bruni of Rochester, NY, membership in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame has grown from six charter members to more than 420 regular and associate members from the United States and Canada, who have contributed to the activity across North America, Europe, Africa and Japan.
The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization honoring those individuals who have, over a number of years, contributed significantly to the development and continuing excellence of the activity through individual or collective effort. The organization also seeks to preserve the history of the drum and bugle corps movement in North America by selecting a noteworthy junior and senior “Corps of the Decade.”
An important part of the Hall of Fame’s purpose is to enhance a feeling of good fellowship among the many individuals and organizations involved with drum and bugle corps activity, thereby enhancing constructive contributions in all areas.
More information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is available at www.worlddrumcorpshof.org/.