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HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Members of the Bluecoats Hall of Fame are individuals whose history of outstanding contributions and
dedication are worthy of the highest level of recognition by the organization’s board of directors. 

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Class of 2019 - IVA JOHNSON

Iva Johnson began her volunteering and “guard mom” life in 1981 when her daughter Nancy became a member of the Bluecoats. She helped by maintaining uniforms, hauling equipment, and starting the corps’ first souvenir stand along with her husband Neil, who was inducted into the Bluecoats Hall of Fame 1990. She opened her home to members who needed a place to stay and continued her volunteering by cooking and serving meals on the 'chuck truck', sewing flags, and tailoring and cleaning uniforms. Iva and Neil were the first Bluecoats ever to be chosen as Drum Corps International “Volunteers of the Year” at the 1990 DCI World Championships in Buffalo, NY. Iva remains involved by now cheering loudly from the stands, and will forever cherish her time working with the Bluecoats

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Class of 2019 - KEVIN STAHL

Kevin Stahl has been involved with Bluecoats for over 20 years. He first joined the Bluecoats in 1996 as a member of the baritone section, he was section leader in 1998, and was the horn sergeant in 1999. In his age-out year he was awarded Most Outstanding Brass Performer, Most Outstanding Marching Performer, and Bluecoat of the Year. In 2000 Kevin joined the instructional staff of the Bluecoats and in 2002 and 2003 he served as the Visual Caption Head. Following a brief departure, Kevin returned to the Bluecoats visual staff in 2007 where he has remained ever since. In the more than 40 letters of support for Kevin’s induction it was often mentioned that he has played a vital role in the Bluecoats rise that now includes a DCI World Championship. In the words of former Bluecoats Executive Director David Glasgow “Kevin was likely the single-most outstanding member and section leader I've ever experienced at the Bluecoats. His work ethic, commitment, and his ability to lead by example was and is unmatched.”

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Class of 2019 - CHARLES STEWART

Charles Stewart was selected as the Bluecoats “Rookie of the Year” in 1993. He was the drum major in 1994 and 1995 and became known for his tenacious work ethic and outstanding leadership qualities. Following his age-out season he was asked to join the brass instructional staff working under Doug Thrower and Dave MacKinnon. As an instructor he was a mentor to many members helping to instill the history and pride of being a Bluecoat. For several years Charles has served the corps as a director and instructor with the Bluecoats Drum Major camps and with the Blue Way Interactive Instructional Experience that have benefitted hundreds of high school students from throughout the country. Charles, a proud graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky, is currently the director of bands at Jeffersontown High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Class of 2018 - JOHN LOWE

Since retiring as a band director in 2010 John has devoted most of his summer to being the food service manager during the five weeks of spring training and as transportation manager for the summer tour.  He serves as the lead driver planning routes, working with the different state regulations, and handles the schedules of the various drivers needed to get the Bluecoats down the road.  In a nomination support letter Tina Guy stated “John is a father figure, friend and mentor to many at Bluecoats.  He is always willing to do whatever needs to be done and always with a smile on his face.”

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Class of 2018 - BRAD PALMER

Brad Palmer has been a percussion instructor with the Bluecoats since 2003 working primarily with the section known as “the front ensemble.”  This includes the mallet instruments, keyboards, timpani, drum set, auxiliary percussion and electronic effects.  Bluecoats Hall of Fame members and music arrangers/composers Tom Rarick and Doug Thrower credit Mr. Palmer with taking the Bluecoats front ensemble to the top of the drum corps activity.

Brad is a co-founder of DoubleStop Percussion, a Birmingham, Alabama based company that provides percussion instruction for all levels of experience in over twenty schools across the southeast.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Arts from Middle Tennessee State University.

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Class of 2018 - JAY WISE

Jay Wise is from Stark County, Ohio.  He began his drum corps journey in 1986 as a member of the Bluecoats hornline.  After aging-out he became an instructor with the corps and was eventually named assistant director until departing in 1997.

Over the past 6 years Jay has been very involved with the Bluecoats alumni. He helped form Rhythm In Blue, a group of alumni musicians that perform annually at several community and civic events in the Canton/Stark County area.  Jay has spearheaded the alumni social media activity and assists with the annual Bluecoats History Night during spring training.  He is already at work on the alumni corps involvement in the Bluecoats 50th anniversary in 2022.

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Class of 2017 - David GLASGOW

Dave began his 18 year tenure with the Bluecoats as a member in 1999 playing euphonium. Dave’s leadership skills were quickly noticed as Dave became the Corps’ Drum Major the following year. Dave continued to be a leader and immediately following his age out year was asked to be the Corps Tour Director in 2002.

In 2004 when the Bluecoats were ready to hire their first ever fulltime Executive Director, they knew where to go. At the young age of 24, Dave took the reins of the Bluecoats and for the last 14 years has built the organization into the World Class operation it is today capped off by winning the World Championship in 2016.

On the field the Bluecoats under Dave’s leadership have enjoyed unprecedented success as leaders in innovation and fan favorites across the country. Additionally, Dave has expanded programming to include indoor winter guard programs, support of Rhythm IN BLUE, production of drumlines for the Browns and Cavs, along with locally supporting En-Rich-Ment, a youth music education program for under-served urban you.

Off the field Dave has also built a world class organization on top of the foundation he was given. He has expanded the Bluecoats revenue streams in countless ways through new and successful programs and initiatives. He has built a first class administrative and support team of staff and to solidify the Bluecoats organization and to propel it into the future.

Additionally, he has earned the admiration of the entire Drum Corps community twice earning him the Director of the Year Honor. Dave has a passion for the Bluecoats and for helping young people thrive. He has created a magnetic environment where his kind warm and energetic demeanor impact everyone he touches.

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Class of 2017 - GENEVIEVE GEISLER

Genevieve quickly established herself as a DOER…someone who worked incredibly hard and could develop many key parts of our operation. Genevieve initially took over the Bluecoats food service operations, volunteer efforts, Bingo operations, and much more. In 2006 Genevieve was named the Corps Operations Director where her role further expanded to managing the merchandise operation and all of the Corps accounting functions and much more. Every operation Genevieve has touched has grown, evolved, and become a true model of excellence for the activity.

Genevieve’s tireless efforts, undeniable commitment, and exceptional skills and knowledge have elevated every aspect of the Bluecoats in season and offseason operations. Today the Bluecoats operate a World Class organization because of the efforts of Genevieve. What may be more remarkable about Genevieve is her ability manage so much while also fostering a compassionate, caring, welcoming environment for members, staff, and volunteers. She has continued and expanded the “Family” environment and culture the Bluecoats embody.

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Class of 2016 - JOHN & SUZANNE YERKEY

John & Suzanne Yerkey began their many years of service to the Bluecoats when their daughter Ellen joined the corps in 1985. Mr. Yerkey began his volunteer work as a driver of one of the buses and the equipment truck. Mrs. Yerkey helped with the uniforms and with the meals.

The couple took over the Bluecoats souvenir operation where they spent several weeks each summer selling corps related items at shows around the country. They helped design a T-shirt that became iconic on the drum corps circuit – “10 Reasons Why Drum Corps is Better Than Band.”

Even after Ellen aged out of the corps the Yerkeys continued to volunteer with the corps. They often opened their home to corps members and became surrogate parents to hundreds of Bluecoats who were away from their own homes and family.

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Class of 2015 - JAY & PENNY PILLO

Penny Pillo or “Aunt Pen” (as she was known) supported the Bluecoats food service program and served as a volunteer bus driver during the Bluecoats formative years in the mid-1980’s.

Jay Pillo also also began his journey as a Bluecoats volunteer during the mid-1980’s. He provided security and countless other support functions for the corps before becoming a truck and bus driver.

While touring together Penny and Jay fell in love and were married soon after, but they didn’t let their new married life stop them from being key contributors for the organization. This dynamic duo spent the next 10 years on tour with the Bluecoats as volunteers and drivers.

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Class of 2015 - PHIL & MARILYN BOOTH

As the corps took the field in 1984 after a year absence, the new Bluecoats quickly identified Phil and Marilyn Booth as the corps “mom and dad”.   Phil or “Bubba” (as he was affectionately known) worked tirelessly as the corps mechanic and all around “fix everything guy.” Marilyn or “Mare” began helping as a mom as her three children Mark, Matt, and Michelle all marched in the Bluecoats in various years. Marilyn helped in the food truck, with uniforms, and soon became a bus driver as well.

For the next 11 years, Phil and Marilyn were on tour all summer long driving vehicles, helping with food service and repairs, and essentially doing whatever was needed to keep the corps going on the road.

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Class of 2014 - WILLIAM “BILL” DUFF

William Duff’s career with the Bluecoats began in the fall of 1973 when the idea was presented to him of a world class musical organization that would travel the United States from coast to coast performing in front of large crowds of people. This organization was to be known at that time as The Canton Police Boys Club Drum and Bugle Corps and was being formed at Police Boys Club just down the street.

The following summer of 1974 William and the Bluecoats stepped onto the field of completion for the first time at the state championships in Columbus Ohio. Marching from 1974 till 1978 William played the soprano horn for the Bluecoats. In 1979 the Bluecoats went inactive, but William still stayed active with the corps by working at the Police Boys Club and taking care of the Bluecoats equipment. The summer of 1980 brought the Bluecoats back onto the field, but William had to step into a couple of new roles. Instead of playing soprano horn for the corps he had to switch to play baritone horn due to low number of lower brass players. Parent volunteers were very short handed that year too and William ended up driving the equipment truck also for the corps summer tour. William marched and drove for the Bluecoats till his age out year in 1982. In the fall of 1983 after another season of no Bluecoats on the field Ted Swaldo approached William and told him he was planning on bring the corps back and would he help with getting the corps back. From that day in 1983 till now William has been driving trucks, painting buses, and drilling those silver pennies the Bluecoats wear around their necks.

William lives in Canton with his three children Marsha, Elizabeth and Nick. William works at American Road Machinery Company in Minerva Ohio and shortly here in the near future plans to retire and start spending more time traveling in the summer with the Bluecoats driving truck.

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Class of 2013 - ROGER WALKER

Roger Walker began his service with the Bluecoats as a volunteer parent in 1996 when his daughter Teresa joined the Bluecoats’ Color Guard. Teresa marched 4 years in the Bluecoats, but Roger continued his involvement and currently is in his 17th year with the organization.

Roger has been a tireless worker and major contributor the Bluecoats’ behind the scenes transportation efforts. He not only has driven truck for these 17 years but he has been a huge contributor in constructing and maintaining the Corps two key assets, the Equipment and Kitchen Trailers. The Bluecoats continue to have some of the activities’ premier equipment and Roger is directly responsible for keeping it in perfect working condition while also making modifications and improvements.

Additionally, Roger has served on the Bluecoats Board of Directors since 2003 and he is a steadying force throughout the year in doing whatever needs to be done for the organization.

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Class of 2012 - MARGE HAAS

Marge Haas became involved with the Bluecoats as a Bingo volunteer in 2002 and has since been an important part of the Bluecoats Bingo game’s success.

In 2005, Marge served a critical role as the game went through a difficult transition and through the last 10 years and today she not only donates hundreds of hours of her time each year but she serves as an important consultant and advocate for our game.

Marge’s contribution to the Bluecoats can best be stated by simply saying, the Bluecoats Bingo game would not be the success that it is today without her dedication.

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Class of 2012 - Dale & Laverna Williams

Dale & Laverna Williams began their service to the Bluecoats as parents and volunteers in the founding year of 1972. For the next ten years, they were the consummate parent volunteers supporting their three children Marty, Sandy, and Sherry who marched in the Bluecoats. From working the food truck, to driving buses, to supporting fund raising and operations they worked countless hours and did it all at the ground level which helped establish the Bluecoats in their beginning and set the stage for the future.

The Williams also had an integral role in the Corps’ on the field appearance. Dale Williams helped establish the now famous helmet and plume that continues today and Laverna worked tirelessly making uniforms, accessories, and flags. Because of their efforts, the Corps made it on the field in grand style.

The Williams’s biggest role during these humble years was their most important – their role as Corps Mom and Dad. They were there to care for and nuture these young Bluecoats as they began their road to history. Dale and Laverna Williams embody the spirit of volunteerism and service and the organization is forever grateful for their significant contribution.

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Class of 2011 - DINAH ARMEY

Dinah Armey became involved with the Bluecoats as a parent and volunteer in 1993 and continued her service to the organization for the next 10 years.

After 4 years of working on the food truck, Dinah took it upon herself to get her CDL after a person injury so she could drive bus and continue to serve the organization. She also supported souvenirs, was the Corps seamstress, volunteered at virtually every winter camp, and served on the Board of Directors. Dinah is also credited with starting what is now one of the member’s favorite traditions “Christmas in July”.

Dinah’s unconditional service, infectious personality, and ability to give a sense of belonging to all that she touched have endeared her to the Bluecoats family forever.

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Class of 2011 - Debbie Pietrangelo

Debbie Pietrangelo began her service to the Bluecoats as a parent and volunteer starting in 1997 and continued through 2010.

During Debbie’s 13 years with the Bluecoats she supported the Corps wherever needed and spent countless hours in her primary role as the Corps Seamstress. Debbie did an exceptional job ensuring the uniforms and flags were impeccable and making the Corps look truly amazing on the field. In 2006, Debbie was named the Volunteer of the year for her outstanding service and for ensuring that a challenging visual effect in the show was executed to perfection.

Debbie embodies the spirit of volunteerism and service and the organization is forever grateful for her significant contribution.

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Class of 2011 - TOM RARICK

In 2009, Tom assumed the role of percussion arranger/composer for the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps, after serving as the front ensemble arranger since 2002. Prior to his involvement with the Bluecoats, he was a marching and staff member with the Cadets of Bergen County.

Tom is currently a percussionist with the United States Air Force Band, stationed at Bolling AFB Washington, DC; a position he has held since 1997. He received a Bachelor of Arts in percussion performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he studied under Dr. Gary Olmstead and Dr. Jack Stamp.

Tom is in demanad as an arranger, clinician, consultant, and adjudicator for groups across the country. He is proud to be a signature artist for Innovative Percussion and also endorses Evans Drumheads.

Tom currently resides in Laurel, MD with his wife Tricia, and their dog Petey.

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Class of 2010 - DERRICK MERGEN

Derrick Mergen has served as a member of the Bluecoats Board of Directors since 2001. Derrick’s Drum Corps roots date back to the early 1960’s when, at the age of eight, he began his marching career with the Cambria Cadets Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps from Ebensburg, PA. He enjoyed eleven summers in the horn line with the Cambria Cadets before entering college, and later returned to serve as the Corps Director in 1980. Marriage, career, and fatherhood became priorities during the 1980’s and 1990’s but Derrick remained a passionate Drum Corps fan and ultimately returned to the activity in 1999 when his son Kurt joined the Bluecoats organization. Derrick and his wife Irene live in Indiana, PA. Derrick contributes creative media and data-processing efforts to the Bluecoats, and assists with the corps website.

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Class of 2009 - CAROL “AUNT BUFF” NEWTON

Carol “Aunt Buff” Newton became involved with the Bluecoats in 1993 when a friend’s son marched in the corps. He marched one year with the Bluecoats, but she remained with the corps for the next 13 years as an avid volunteer. From airport runs to helping at Bluecoats bingo to managing the food service programs for days and weeks at a time, Aunt Buff did whatever was needed of her during the winter camps and much of the summer tour for thirteen seasons. She and her husband Carl also housed international students for months at a time, making participation in the Bluecoats an affordable opportunity for them.

Sadly, Aunt Buff passed away in 2005 on the day of Pro Football Hall of Fame Drum Corps Competition.

 

Class of 2009 - Dave M

Dave brought a vast wealth of experience to the Bluecoats when he joined the staff in 1994. His experience dates back to the 1970s when he was the musical director of the Ventures (Kitchener, ON). Dave was elected to the Bluecoats Hall of Fame in 2009.

Dave resides in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and has taught, written, and consulted for drum and bugle corps in Canada, the United States, Korea, and Japan for many years. Additionally, he is an active music judge for U.S. Scholastic Band Association, New York Field Band Conference, Ontario Drum Corps Association, Michigan C.B.A., and Indiana State Music Association.

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Class of 2009 - DOUG THROWER

Douglas Scott Thrower is a free-lance composer/ arranger/ trumpeter from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He has been a brass instructor for the Bluecoats since 1992 and has arranged for the corps since 1997. He has instructed and arranged for many bands and drum corps including Troopers, Dutch Boy, the Kiwanis Kavaliers and the Canadian Knights (1986 Class A World Champions). He currently composes and arranges for numerous high schools and universities. In addition to marching music he arranges for various ensembles (jazz and symphonic) and theater groups.

Doug studied with Don Johnson at Humber College in Toronto and studied jazz performance at McGill University in Montreal. He has recorded performances for the C.B.C. and can be heard on four recordings with the McGill Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Gordon Foote.

Doug with his wife Evelyn Blackwell has two daughters, Shelby and Claire.

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Class of 2004 - FRED MORRIS

Recently retiring as director of the Troopers from Casper, Wyoming, Fred was a key member of the Bluecoats instructional staff, support staff, and board of directors from the mid 1980’s through the mid 2000’s.

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Class of 2004 - GERALD BROWN

Gerald “Jerry” Brown and his wife Fran served as very active volunteers from the early 1990’s through the mid 2000’s in a variety of capacities.

In addition to serving as a member of the Bluecoats board of directors, Jerry was an important member of the corps’ transportation team and served as the organization’s treasurer. Perhaps Jerry’s most profound contribution to the organization was his and Fran’s establishment of the corps’ bingo game in 2002, a fundraiser that continues to be an important revenue source for the Bluecoats to this day.

Jerry & Fran retired from the Bluecoats in 2005, and currently reside in Seville, Ohio.

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Class of 2004 - FRAN BROWN

Fran and her husband Jerry served as very active volunteers from the early 1990’s through the mid 2000’s in a variety of capacities.

In addition to serving as a member of the Bluecoats board of directors, Jerry was an important member of the corps’ transportation team and served as the organization’s treasurer. Perhaps Jerry’s most profound contribution to the organization was his and Fran’s establishment of the corps’ bingo game in 2002, a fundraiser that continues to be an important revenue source for the Bluecoats to this day.

Jerry & Fran retired from the Bluecoats in 2005, and currently reside in Seville, Ohio.

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Class of 1997 - CARL GANNON

Carl started his drum corp career in 1961 marching 13 years with the Marion Cadets. Upon aging out, he was hired to be the Bluecoats’ head percussion instructor, a position he filled from 1975 until 1983. Under his direction, the Bluecoats percussion section won high percussion at the US Open in Marion, OH in 1978, 1981 and 1982. Carl also served as the corps’ staff coordinator from 1978-1983 and assistant director from 1980 -1982. Carl currently resides in Marion, OH were he is still an active percussion arranger and educator.

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Class of 1996 - BILL TIETJEN

Bill Tietjen served many key roles within the Bluecoats organization in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  While he drove both bus and truck, served as a board member (including a term as President), he’s perhaps best remembered as the corps media manager during that time.  He launched the Bluecoats annual yearbook video project, took many outstanding candid and on-field photos, and handled public relations duties in his time with the organization.

In addition, his younger son Michael often traveled with the corps as volunteer and his wife Marilyn, became of the Bluecoats’ regular bus drivers.

Individuals previously inducted into the Bluecoats Hall of Fame have had deep ties to the corps by residency in the Canton, Ohio area, but Bill Tietjen’s commitment to the organization and it’s mission has endured even as he’s made his home in Cleveland, Ohio, Washington, DC and now Philadelphia, PA.

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Class of 1995 - SANDY POGLITSH

Sandy Poglitsh and her husband Rudy were active volunteers for the Bluecoats from the late 1980’s through the late 1990’s, managing the corps food service program and coordinating volunteers.

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Class of 1995 - MARLENE WAGNER

Marlene and her husband Tom are some of the most prolific volunteers in the organization’s history, having assisted in a variety of ways from the mid-1970’s until the mid-2000’s.

Marlene assisted Tom in the corps’ food service operation for many years, feeding the corps from a “uhaul” trailer pulled behind their car in the early years. Later, they managed the program on the corps’ first semi-trailer kitchen truck, when the corps first began placing in DCI finals. Marlene also served as an important member of the corps’ sewing team for many years. In the later years of her involvement, Marlene played an important role in the start-up of the organization’s bingo game.

Today, Marlene and Tom reside in North Canton, OH, only a few blocks from the Bluecoats’ offices.

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Class of 1995 - BETTY MCCAULEY

Betty McCauley and her husband Ralph served as a key members of the corps’ administrative and support team from corps’ founding through the mid-1990’s and to this day remain strong supporters and huge fans. Betty will always be remembered for her homemade strawberry jam, cole slaw, and “bubba” burgers!

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Class of 1994 - BRAD GESSNER

Brad Gessner is a long-time member of the Bluecoats leadership and support team. A member of the corps in the early eighties, Brad filled many important roles with the organization over the years, including manager of the corps’ merchandise program from the early 1990’s until the late 2000’s, and President of the Board of Directors from the mid 1990’s through mid 2000’s.

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Class of 1993 - TRUMAN CRAWFORD

Colonel Truman Crawford served as the Commandant of the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps from 1973 – 1998, and arranged for the Bluecoats brass section from 1975-1978. He is also a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame. Colonel Crawford passed away in March of 2003, and is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

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Class of 1993 - TERRY STAN

Terry marched in the Bluecoats drum line from 1977 through his age out year of 1980. At that point, he continued his involvement as a member of the drum staff in 1981 and 1982. When the corps re-formed in 1984, Terry was selected as a member of the corps’ board of directors. In this capacity, he carried out the show coordinator responsibilities for the Bluecoats sponsored Innovations in Brass competition and later the Pro Football Hall of Fame Drum Corps Competition. In this position he established a ticket sales data base and a bulk mailing which generated advanced ticket sales for both competitions. He occasionally helped out as a bus driver when needed.

He retired from the Bluecoats in 2006 but closely follows their success at local contest sites and via the internet. He and wife Natalie live in North Canton and spend the majority of their time following the college, high school and golf careers of their sons Garret and Trevor.

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Class of 1992 - LINDA SWALDO

Linda Swaldo served as a very important member of the corps’ administrative and support team from the mid 1980’s – through mid 1990’s and continues to be a huge supporter of the organization to this day.

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Class of 1992 - TED SWALDO

In 1984, Ted took over the Bluecoats as Executive Director, a volunteer position he held until his retirement in 1994. During his tenure, Ted’s management abilities, and enthusiasm became the catalyst, which not only propelled the Bluecoats into national recognition as a competitive unit, but also as a role model for other youth organizations throughout the country.

The Drum Corps activity recognized his contribution, and twice elected him as Drum Corps Midwest’s “Director of the Year”. Furthermore, his peers honored Ted by electing him to two terms as Chairman of the Board for Drum Corps International.

Although he retired as Executive Director in 1994, Ted has continually remained active with the Bluecoats having served as business manager, board member, and now Director Emeritus. Ted recently retired from his “real job” as President of ASC Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of automotive parts. He has been honored locally for his work on numerous civic projects, and was selected for the “Distinguished Service Award” by Tri-State University.

Ted and his wife Linda were elected to the Bluecoats Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Class of 1991 - LARRY HERSHMAN

Larry Hershman joined the Bluecoats organization in the fall of 1985 as the corps’ first Program Director. After re-forming in 1984, the Bluecoats had finished in 27th place in both the ‘84 and ‘85 seasons. The stated goal for Larry was to help the corps break into DCI’s top 25. Under Larry’s tutelage the corps finished 15th in 1986 and then in Madison, Wisconsin on August 15th of 1987, the Bluecoats broke into the top 12 with an 11th place finish. Larry retired from the Bluecoats in 1991 after five successful top 12 finishes.

Larry returned to the corps in 2000 as Program Coordinator after the corps’ 1999, 13th place result. 2000 saw the Bluecoats back in the top 12 and on the road to the success of today. Larry remained program coordinator through 2003, during which time he helped orchestrate the management structure change that saw the first ever full- time corps director.

Prior to being involved with the Bluecoats, Larry was Director of the Westshoremen Seinor corps from Harrisburg, PA and was the Program Director for the United States Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. He was a founder of the Keystone Indoor Drill Association (Pennsylvania’s largest indoor color guard circuit), was Chief Judge and Judging Coordinator for Drum Corps Associates and was a founder of Five Star Brass Productions Inc.

Recently retired from his “real job” as Vice President of the billion dollar US operations of SKF, he continues to reside in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and serves as Vice President of Drum Corps Associates.

In addition to the Bluecoats Hall of Fame, Larry is a member of the Cavalcade of Bands Hall of Fame, was a 1992 inductee into The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, a 1997 inductee into the Keystone Indoor Hall of Fame and in 2009 received the Lifetime Meritorious Service Award from the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

 

Class of 1991 - CHUCK STAN

Chuck became active with the Bluecoats in 1977 when son Terry and daughter Lisa marched their 1st season with the corps. When the corps re-formed in 1984, Chuck was selected as a member of the corps’ board of directors. While on the board, Chuck played a prominent role developing fund raising opportunities. His efforts solidified a long time relationship with fellow Bluecoats Hall of Fame Inductee Richard Kempthorn. Being friends and business associates in the community, Chuck and Richard developed a strategy which resulted in funding for corps busses. He also assisted with overseeing the Innovations in Brass and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Drum Corps Competition events that the Bluecoats sponsor. Chuck’s business knowledge was an asset to the board of directors.

The Bluecoats family lost a great friend of the corps when Chuck passed away in 2003.

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Class of 1991 - RICHARD KEMPTHORN

Richard “Dick” Kempthorn was an active supporter of the Bluecoats in the 1980’s and 90’s, providing personal financial assistance and in-kind donation of services through his company, the Canton-based car dealership Kempthorn Motors.

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Class of 1991 - Bill Hamilton

Bill started his marching career as a charter member of the Bluecoats in 1972. After marching in the corps for seven years, Bill stayed on to serve as brass instructor, brass caption head, and then tour coordinator before serving as corps director until 2003. In his role as corps manager, Bill is responsible for managing the day-to-day logistics of keeping a top 12 drum corps on the road. He was elected to the Bluecoats Hall of Fame in 1991, and holds a degree in music education from Bowling Green State University.

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Class of 1990 - DON LEININGER

Don Leininger, the business manager of a Massillon based drum & corps corps that competed in the VFW & American Legion National Championship competitions in the 1970s, served as a key advisor and fundraiser in the founding of the Canton Police Boys Club Drum & Bugle Corps, the program that would later develop into the Bluecoats.

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Class of 1990 - TOM WAGNER

Tom and his wife Marlene are some of the most prominent volunteers in the organization’s history, having assisted in a variety of ways from the mid-1970’s until the mid-2000’s.

In addition to serving as a Bluecoats board member throughout his time with the corps, Tom managed the corps’ food service operation for many years, feeding the corps from a “uhaul” trailer pulled behind his car in the early years. Later, he managed the program on the corps’ first semi-trailer kitchen truck, when the corps first began placing in DCI finals. Tom also served as bus driver in the 1980’s and 90’s. In the later years of his involvement, Tom served as the organization’s treasurer and played an important role in the start-up of the Bluecoats’ bingo game.

Today, Tom & Marlene reside in North Canton, Ohio, only a few blocks from the Bluecoats offices.

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Class of 1990 - NEIL JOHNSON

Neil Johnson began volunteering in 1981 when his daughter Nancy became a member of the Bluecoats. He and his wife Iva were very active volunteers for the Bluecoats from 1981 – 1990, specializing in the management of the corps’ merchandise program. Neil started the corps first full- time souvenir stand with just a button-maker, along with Iva. Iva and Neil were the first Bluecoats ever to be chosen as Drum Corps International “Volunteers of the Year” at the 1990 DCI World Championships in Buffalo, NY. Neil also served for many years on the Bluecoats Board of Directors, assisting with accounting and financial management, and was also an assistant executive director of the corps.

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Class of 1990 - TOM JAKMIDES

Tom Jakmides was a founder, instructor and long-time director of the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps.

Tom, a Goodyear Executive and former member of the Massillon, Ohio based drum & bugle corps that competed in the American Legion and VFW national championships, teamed up with Art Drukenbrod to pitch the idea of a drum & bugle corps program based out of the Canton Police Boys Club operated by J. Babe Stearn and Ralph McCauley. He and Art brought the instructional & design expertise to the start-up corps, while Stearn & McCauley recruited the membership and provided the administrative support.

Tom served as the corps’ director and co-director until 1983.

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Class of 1989 - WALTER DEUBLE

Local businessman Walter Deuble was instrumental in the founding of the Canton Police Boys Club Drum & Bugle Corps (the precursor to the Bluecoats), serving as a very important financial supporter of the corps in it’s early years. Walter helped the corps purchase its first bus, first brass & percussion instruments, and first set of uniforms.

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Class of 1989 - RICHARD L FREDERICK

Richard “Dick” Frederick served as the Attourney of the Canton based Timken ball bearing company at the time of the founding of the Canton Police Boys Club Drum & Bugle Corps (the program that would later become the Bluecoats). He was as a key financial supporter of the corp, and assisted greatly with the purchase of the Bluecoats’ first kitchen trailer. Dick also served as a member of the board of directors for the Canton Police Boys Club and the Bluecoats.

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Class of 1989 - J BABE STEARN

J. Babe Stearn spent the majority of his professional life as a law enforcement officer, first as a patrolman and a lieutenant in the Canton Police Department and later as the Stark County sheriff. Stearn became the first Jewish officer hired when he joined the Canton Police Department in 1937. He spent 10 years on the force before he began his official association with the Canton Police Boys Club. He was appointed director of the club in 1954.

While serving as the Director of the Canton Police Boys Club, J. Babe Stearn was instrumental in the founding of the Canton Police Boys Club Drum & Bugle Corps music program in 1972 – the program that would later develop into the Bluecoats.

J. Babe Stearn passed away in 2007 at the age of 92.

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Class of 1989 - ARTHUR J DRUKENBROD

Canton businessman Art Drukenbrod was a founder and long-time instructor, administrator, board member, supporter and fan of the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps.

Besides being a businessman, Art was a musician who had played his drum with many of Canton’s big bands over the years. He was also a member of Canton’s American Legion and VFW’s national champion senior drum and bugle corps. Along with Tom Jakmides, Art provided the drum corps knowledge and instruction during the corps’ early years, while Ralph McCauley and J. Babe Stearn recruited the members and provided administrative support.

Art served as a board member, and was a huge fan and supporter of the Bluecoats up until his death in 2002. In memory of his contributions to the organization, the 2002 Bluecoats honored him by wearing “Art’s Corps” patches on their uniform jackets.

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Class of 1989 - RALPH MCCAULEY

Ralph McCauley, former Canton police officer, assistant director and director of the Canton Police Boys Club, is a founder and long-time administrator and supporter of the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps.

In 1972, Ralph and J. Babe Stearn, both of the Canton Police Boys Club were approached by local businessmen and former Canton & Massillon corps members Art Drukenbrod and Tom Jakmides about starting a drum & bugle corps for the youth of Canton, Ohio. Later that year Ralph, Art & Tom travelled to Marion, Ohio to witness the U.S Open, one of the largest drum & bugle corps competitions in the nation at that time. Inspired by Philadelphia’s P. A. L. (Police Athletic League) Cadets, upon their return the trio began work on the establishment of a drum & bugle corps music program based out of the Canton Police Boys Club – the program that Ralph would later name “Bluecoats”.

Ralph and his wife Betty served as a key members of the corps’ administrative and support team through the mid-1990’s and to this day remain strong supporters and huge fans.