Hall of Fame Biographies

FRANK MILLER-Frank Miller, a graduate of SUNY Fredonia’s music program (BS) and Syracuse University (MMus) was the director of the Sherburne Central School Band and the Sherburne-Earlville Central School Band from 1965-1977.   Under his direction the band program amassed numerous awards and received local and national recognition.  These awards included grand championships at the North Syracuse Lion’s Festival (1969 & 1971), the Batavia Pageant of Bands (1975), first runner up for the grand championship at the 1975 Ridgewood, NJ Spring Festival of Bands and NYS Fair Champions in 1973.  They also took first place at countless parades throughout New York and Pennsylvania.  In addition, the band and the community annually hosts the Sherburne Pageant of Bands, the oldest and largest competition in the northeastern United States.

  In the fall of 1971 Sherburne-Earlville hosted a field band competition, The Gold Rush, which was to lay the foundation for the New York State Field Band Conference.  On February 6, 1972 the New York State Field Band Conference was formed at Sherburne.  During the early years of the NYSFBC Sherburne-Earlville consistently placed among the top bands in the conference.

  Of the NYSFBC Miller has this to say, “I’ve always been proud of our accomplishment of making a professionally judged competition for the shows our bands developed.  The formation of the NYSFBC was conceived in the interest of fairness to our students.  The rules and procedures were developed and implemented by the band directors in a series of meetings.  The concept and many of the organizational details seem to be meeting the test of time and progress.  The use of cassette tapes was an innovation of the conference that preceded their employment in drum corps judging.  That The Gold Rush at Sherburne-Earlville was the prototype of the NYSFBC event remains a source of pride (with thanks to the other bands that supported it with their attendance.”

  Retired but with continued business, civic and community interests, Frank Miller would like to extend his congratulations to his colleagues that were together at the invitation of the NYSFBC.  “I wish the conference continued success as a vehicle for the pursuit of excellence by the student members of each band.”

WILLIAM SPANG-William Spang was born in Sheridan, Pennsylvania in 1922 and attended West Chester State College.  He interrupted his college training to join the Army during WWII, earning the rank of Staff Sgt. as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles.”  After the military, he returned to West Chester State, graduating in 1948.  He was later recalled to active duty during the Korean War as a performing member of the 11th Airborne Division Band, and served as the director for the 11th Airborne Division Drum Corps in Fort Campbell, KY.

  He began his teaching career at Spring Mills, and later at Penns Valley, PA-prior to moving his family to Norwich in 1960 where he served as director of the high school bands and department chair.  He developed an award winning program in Norwich, including a very successful marching band that travelled to the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, the New York World’s Fair, the festival of States in Florida, the Olympics in Lake Placid, the Macy’s Parade in NYC, festivals in Philadelphia, Ontario, the International Sea Festival in Ogdensburg, the Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, VA, the Rochester War Memorial, the VFW Parade in Buffalo and many more.  

  During his tenure in Norwich, he helped form the group of prominent directors in Central New York who have since become known as the Founding Fathers of the New York State Field Band Conference.  He continued to direct the Norwich Band through the first ten years of conference membership, prior to his retirement in 1981.

  Mr. Spang attended Colgate University for his post graduate studies.  He obtained his Superintendent’s Certificate but chose to continue his career on the podium as it had become such an important part of his life.  His influence on those he taught extended far beyond teaching music.  He helped thousands of young people develop many important life long skills and memories.

  Bill and Jean, his lovely wife of 49 years, moved to Florida following his retirement, where they enjoyed many years together with family and friends.  He passed away on December 31, 2001.  Jean predeceased him three years earlier.  They are survived by three children, Ron, Carol and John, and their families, all currently residing in Florida.

ROBERT H. CODNER-retired as Director of Bands at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in 1991.  He was a graduate of Ithaca College where he received his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Music Education.  

  His first teaching assignment was in 1955 as director of the East Junior High School Band in Binghamton, New York where he taught for ten years.  In 1965 he joined the faculty of the North Central Schools as Marching Band Director and Assistant Concert Band Director at North Syracuse High School.

  In the fall of 1968 he was appointed the first Director of Bands at the new Cicero High School building.  During his tenure at Cicero High School, and later at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, he developed some of the finest marching, concert and stage bands in New York State.

  Under Codner’s leadership his marching band won the New York State Field Band Conference in 1978 at Cornell University and the Festival of States Pageant of bands in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1977 and 1981.  His concert bands received numerous “perfect scores” at New York State School Music Association’s spring large ensemble festival, and performed at the Music Educators National Conference Convention in Anaheim, California in 1974 and in Atlantic City, NJ in 1978.  The concert band also toured to San Antonio, Texas.

  Codner presided over the organizational meeting of the NYSFBC, held in the American Legion Building in Sherburne, NY on February 6, 1972.  At that meeting he was elected the first President of the New York State Field Band Conference.  He was appointed the Championship Show Coordinator in 1998 and held that position until his death in 1998.

BURT F. DUNLAP-Burt’s musical career began in the third grade in Vestal, NY where he began violin lessons.  As he progressed through elementary and junior high school he studied cello and string bass.  Upon entering Vestal High School he began tuba, which became his primary instrument.

  Mr. Dunlap entered SUNY Fredonia in 1961 and graduated from there in 1965.  During the school year 1965-66 in Addison Central School he taught elementary music, assisted with the high school band and led the junior high chorus.

  IN 1966 Burt became a member of the staff at North Syracuse Central Schools.  During his tenure there he taught at all levels of instrumental music including four years as director of the North Syracuse High School Band and his final seventeen years as director of the Roxboro Road Middle School Band.  Mr. Dunlap retired in June 2000.

  While at North Syracuse High School, it was Burt’s privilege to become one of the charter members of the New York State Field Band Conference.  He has been amazed at the growth of the organization and the high caliber of performance that all the participating bands have shown.  Burt wishes the organization much success.

DR. MICHAEL WILLIAMSON-Dr. Michael Williamson graduated from Ithaca College with a B. S. in Music Education, SUNY Stony Brook with an M. M. in Trombone Performance and New York University with a Doctorate in Composition.  He taught for 32 years in New York State including five years as the Director of the Vestal Band and 18 years as Band Director at Connetquot High School in Bohemia, Long Island, NY.  He spent the last five years of his career as Director of Bands at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  He is currently retired and living in Williamsburg with his wife Judy.  He has performed as a trombonist with the Tri-Cities Opera, Binghamton Symphony, Ice-Capades Orchestra, New York University Concert Jazz Band, Columbia, SC Concert Band, Williamsburg Classic Swing Orchestra and he has soloed with the Skipp Pearson Jazz Workshop in Columbia, SC.  His compositions have been performed by the New York University Concert Jazz Band, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, William and Mary Concert and Jazz Bands, Connetquot High School Wind Machine, Christopher Newport University Jazz Ensemble, Williamsburg Community Chapel Vocal Groups and Orchestra, Williamsburg Symphonia with Harris Simon Jazz Soloist, Cullowhee Festival Brass, Night Winds Flute Quartet, Jamestown High School Jazz Band and the Williamsburg Consort.  His composition for jazz quintet, “Caribbean Sunset,” was recorded by the Todd Coolman Quintet and released on his Artistshare recording, “Perfect Strangers.”  He passed away on July 31, 2018.

BRUCE BURRITT-A native of Solvay, NY, Bruce Burritt earned his B. S. Degree from SUNY Fredonia in 1961 and a Masters Degree from Ithaca College in 1969.  In the mid 1960’s he became the director of the West Genesee High School Band.  Under his direction the band won numerous awards.  West Genesee took first place at the NYSFBC Championships in 1974, 75, 76, 77 and 79.  They also won the overall championship at the St. Petersburg, Florida Festival of States in 1976 and brought home countless other awards at many out of state festivals.  West Genesee won the Grand Championship Award at the Sherburne Pageant of Bands (1967, 1968, 1969 & 1975), the Gorham Pageant of Bands ((1970), the North Syracuse Lion’s Festival of Bands (1970, 1972, 1973 & 1975) and the New York State Fair (1971).  Bruce remained on the marching band staff at West Genesee High School for many years.  Following that, he served as an administrator in several upstate New York school districts such as Milford, Port Byron, Avon and LeRoy.

RAY ELWOOD-Ray Elwood, a central New York resident since receiving a degree in Music Education fromSyracuse University where his undergraduate and graduate work was completed, lives in Cicero with his wife, Sue.  Sons Craig and Scott are married and still live in the area.  A Charter Member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, he performed in the percussion section until retiring from the Orchestra to devote the necessary time to the field band activity.

  He taught instrumental music and has been the director of concert and marching bands together with small ensembles at the Elementary, Middle, Junior and Senior High School levels in the North Syracuse Central School District.  Most notable, he was the director of the Gillette Road “Blue Blades” Concert and Marching Band and of the Cicero-North Syracuse High School Concert Band and the “Northstars” Marching and Field Band.  During his tenure as director, the Northstars were Grand Champions of the 1986 Citrus Bowl Music Music Festival; Open Class Champions of the Bands of America 1987 Grand National in Pontiac, Michigan; National Class Champions of the 1987 New York State Field Band Conference; Grand Champions of the 1989 Holiday Bowl Music Festival in San Diego, California; and marched in the 101st Tournament of Roses Parade before millions of spectators and television viewers.

  As a member of the New York State School Music Association he served as an Adjudicator, Clinician, Festival Chairman, State Percussion Chairman, NYSSMA Manual Percussion Committee Member, Sectional Festival Committee Member and Master Clinician Training NYSSMA Percussion Adjudicators.  He has served as a member of the Executive Council for the New York State Field Band Conference and for three years as its Conference President.

  Upon his retirement from Cicero-North Syracuse High School, where he served as Music Department Chairman, Concert Band Director, Percussion and Woodwind Ensemble Coach, he became the Show Coordinator for the New York State Field Band Conference Championship, a position he held for 14 years until retiring following the 2010 Championship.

  It has been his pleasure to have the opportunity to work for nearly 50 years with students, parents, volunteers, staff members, administrators and band directors to further music education and the understanding and enjoyment of music through the band and marching band activity.

  It is an honor to have been elected into the New York State Field Band Conference Hall of Fame.  Many individuals have devoted much time and effort to making the field band activity an important and influential part of young musicians’ lives.  To receive this recognition is indeed a privilege.

RICK MOREY-Rick, who lives in Utica, NY with his wife Barbara, has worked in the pageant activity for several decades as a designer with various winter guards, marching bands and drum and bugle corps and as an adjudicator.

  Rick established the New Hartford Winter Guard and served as a designer and instructor for them for almost 30 years.  He continues to be very active as a visual designer for championship marching bands in New York, New Jersey and New Mexico, as well as for the Rutgers University Marching Scarlet Knights.   This year he was privileged to design the 2014 Super Bowl Pre-Game featuring the combined Syracuse University and Rutgers University bands. He has had a longtime involvement in both DCI and DCA as a designer, program coordinator and consultant.  His DCI affiliations have included Pioneer, Magic of Orlando and the Colts.  In DCA, Rick has designed for the Steel City Ambassadors, Syracuse Brigadiers, Empire Statesmen and Windsor Regiment.  Rick is also honored to have been inducted into the Mid-York Color Guard Circuit Hall of Fame and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame where he serves as Chair of the Visual Screening Committee.

  As an adjudicator, Rick has judged for DCI, DCA, WGI, US Bands and BOA, as well as numerous marching band contests across the country.  A past President of the New York Federation of Contest Judges, Rich has also served as a clinician in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.  A retired high school counselor who was named New York State Counselor of the Year in 1996, Rick now works in the pageantry activity on a full time basis.

MIKE DiMEO-Mike, who lives in New Hartford, NY with his wife Bernadette, has worked in the pageantry activity for several decades as an educator, adjudicator, performer and past President of the NYSFBC.

  Mike started his career as a music educator at Westmoreland in 1969 and in 1976 he took over as the High School Band Director at New Hartford where he was in charge of the Concert, Jazz and Marching Bands.  The Marching Spratans won four NYSFBC championships under “Mr. D’s” leadership including the years 1982, 1990, 1991 and 1996.  Mike was also the NH Music Department Chairman from 1980-2002.

  Mike is a current member of the NY Federation of Contest Judges and he has also adjudicated for DCI, DCE, DCA and the Oklahoma State Field Band Championships.  He is also very proud of his drum corps past having served as a Brass Caption Head and soloist with the DCA Syracuse Brigadiers.  Mike has performed as a trumpet  player for groups such as the Four Tops, Temptations and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra as well as the Utica & Schenectady Symphony Orchestras.  He currently performs with the popular band “Classified” and conducts the Utica Pops Orchestra, New Hartford Citizens Band and the Utica College Band.

  Mr. MiMeo served as a member of the NYSFBC Executive Board from 1980 to 2002 as a Class Representative, President Elect, President and Past President.  He also served on the original committee that adopted the basics for the current scoring and classification systems used in the NYSFBC today.

WILLIAM PALANGE-Wiliam Palange retired from the Oswego City School District in 2010, completing a career spanning nearly 35 years as a music educator.  For more than 24 years he was conductor of the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and director of the Marching Buccaneers while in Oswego.  Prior to his tenure in Oswego, he taught in the Greece Central School District (Greece Olympia High School, 1976-78) and the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District (JE Jr/Sr High School, 1978-1985).

  A native of Camillus, New York Mr. Palange completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Miami (Coral Gable, FL.) where he was principal trombone in the UM Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Frederick Fennell.

  In his first full year of teaching at Greece-Olympia HS (1976) he assembled the first field band in the history of the Greece Central School District.  The Olympia HS “spartan” Marching Band competed in the NYSFBC competition in Holley during the fall season of 1977.

  In July 1978 Mr. Palange accepted a position as high school band director in the Jordan-Elbridge school district.  J-E’s “Marching Eagles” dominated NYSFBC Class B competition during that time, winning NYSFBC Championships in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1985.  In 1984, after a classification alignment, JE finished 4th in the National Class.

  During his tenure at Oswego (1985-2010) the Marching Buccaneers were Bands of America finalists in the West Virginia, East Tennessee and Hofstra University regional competitions.  Oswego finished 2nd in the NYSFBC National Class in 2000 and 2002, with third place finishes in 2001 and 2003.  They also appeared in the Phoenix (AZ.) Fiesta Bowl and National Pageant of Bands in December 1989 and 1999.  In April 1997 he received the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra Musicians Award as Outstanding Music Educator in Instrumental Music.

  Mr. Palange was extremely active in the NYSFBC for over 30 years, serving on numerous committees including sheet revisions, constitution and band classification.  He served as a Class B Representative and also as NYSFBC President.  He is responsible for the implementation of the Governor’s Cup award at the NYSFBC Championships and was responsible for commissioning an arrangement of “America The Beautiful” that was performed by the combined bands during the National Class retreat at the NYSFBC Championships.

  Mr. Palange appears frequently as guest conductor and clinician for band festivals, All County and Area All State events across the state.  He also remains very active as a professional trombonist, backing up artists Frankie Valli, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vinton, Bernadette Peters and the Temptations.  He has played in the big bands of Danny D’Imperio and Gap Mangione and is currently lead trombone with the CNY Jazz Orchestra, the Marion DeSantis Orchestra and the Bearcat Jass Band-all based in Syracuse, NY.  2016 will be the first of his four original concert band works (“Atlas”) published and distributed by Alfred Music.

  Mr. Palange resides in Oswego with his wife Bobbie who is a singer, former Choral Director at WG and Oswego Middle School and former Assistant Conductor of the Syracuse Children’s Chorus training and Junior Chorus.

BILL DAVERN-Mr. Bill Davern is the Director of Fine Arts for the West Genesee School District.  He is the former director of the West Genesee High School Symphonic Band, Concert Band “W”, Jazz Ensembles and West Genesee Middle School Symphonic and Jazz Bands.  Bill is in his 31st year at West Genesee.

  As the director of the “Wildcat” Marching Band, the group captured an unprecedented twelve consecutive New York State Field Band Conference National Class State Championship titles in 1989-2000.  In 1989, 1990 and 1991 his groups received recognition from the National Band Association, accepting a Certificate of Marching Excellence.  In Bands of America (BOA) regional championships, his bands won numerous Class AA titles, were the Mideast regional Champions in 1994, three-time Grand National Finalists and the 1990 Class AA National Champions.  Besides his duties at West Genesee, Bill has held the position of Guest Lecturer for the Marching Band Techniques course at the Ithaca College School of Music.  As a marching band adjudicator, he has judged for the New York State Field Band Conference and Bands of America.  Davern was a member of the Brass Staff for The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps.

  A native of Syracuse, New York and a graduate of the West Genesee program, Mr. Davern earned degrees from Ithaca College, Syracuse University and SUNY Oswego.  He has served on the executive boards of the Onondaga County Music Educators Association and the New York State Band Directors Association.  He is a Past President of the New York State Field Band Conference, was NYSFBC co-judge coordinator and was a board member of the Bands of America National Contest Advisory Committee.  In 2001, Bill was recognized by the Greater Camillus Chamber of Commerce and Eagle Newspapers as their “2001 Citizen of the Year” and in 2002 was the first recipient of the Syracuse Area Music Awards (“Sammy”) for Lifetime Achievement in Music Education.  Bill lives in Syracuse with his wife of 27 years, Patty, and his two sons, Shawn, 21, a senior Music Education major at Boston University, and Matthew, 191, a sophomore at the Rochester Institute of Technology studying Mechanical Engineering/Aerospace Option.

NICK M. BARATTA-He is a 1990 graduate of the New England Conservatory, with a BM in Music Education and Applied Percussion.  He was a student of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Frank Epstein and Vic Firth.

  From 1980-2000 he was a faculty member at the West Genesee Central Schools where he served in the following capacities: Junior High Band Director, High School Jazz Lab, Assistant Marching Band Director, MArching Band DIrector, teacher for all percussion students (grades 6-12) and coach for the Percussion Ensemble.  He has been the Creative Director/Wind Percussion Arranger for the West Genesee Marching Band since 1978.  West Genesee is a 34 time New York State Champion, and Festival of State National Champion in 1976, 1980 and 1984.  Other national accolades include: Bands of America Regional Champions in 1994, 1995, 2004, 2005: Bands of America National Championships, placing 3rd in 1985, 2nd in 1987, and in 1991 winning the Bands of America AA National Championship.  With distinguished honor, Nick has served NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) as an All State selector for Percussion 1990-1995.

  He has been a private percussion teacher from 1980 up through the present.  Nick was also the arranger/program coordinator for the Texas Sky Ryders, who were finalists in the 1991 DCI World Championships.  Nick has had compositions and arrangements performed at prestigious festival including: the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Chicago IL.; The Music Educators National Conference (Eastern), Springfield, MA; Band of America National Concert Festival, Chicago, IL; and Percussive Arts Society National Convention, Anaheim, CA.  Pieces for percussion ensemble have been performed, among others by the Eastman School of Music; The New England School of Music, Percussive Arts Society National Convention, Anaheim, CA; Kent State University; and The University of Utah.  Nick’s work, “Lullaby,” was released as a CD in 1995 by the University of Utah Percussion Ensemble on their “Classics Works” series.

  Currently, Nick is the designer/arranger and consultant with high schools across the country regarding their competitive marching band endeavors.  Additionally, he has just finished twelve arrangements to be recorded by noted jazz singer Nicole Henry on a soon to be released album, and is working on a composition to be recorded by the Nashville band Dynamo.  Nick has proudly been published by Alfred every year since 1987.

KEN TURNER-Ken Turner has an extensive history in music education and pageantry in New York State.  He served as Band Director at Tioga Central Schools and as Band Director and Supervisor of Music for the Johnson City Central School District.  He was an adjudicator at the very first Conference Championship and has been actively involved in various capacities in every championship since its inception.   Ken is a life member of the New York State Federation of Contest Judges and has served as a clinician for the conference on several occasions, making presentations on subjects ranging from effective programming and arranging to adjudication, judging systems’ development, coordination and show design.  He served for 6 years as the first Judge Administrator and Chief Judge for the New York State Field Band Conference and was instrumental in securing adjudicators of national and international reputation to insure the highest quality evaluations possible for our member schools.  He served as program consultant and musical arranger for several conference members including Johnson City, East Syracuse Minoa, Schenectady, Horseheads and Jamestown, and has been the music arranger for New Hartford for over 35 years.  Ken is a nationally recognized adjudicator for Bands of America/Music For All, and has adjudicated virtually every significant Marching Band event and championship in the United States.  He has served as Music and Brass Caption Chairman for the New York State Federation of Contest Judges, Drum Corps Associates (DCA), Drum Corps East (DCE) and Drum Corp International (DCI), and as a Judge Administrator and Chief Judge for DCI.  He has been a member of the DCI Task Force, Drum Corps 2000 Strategic Planning Committee and the DCI Rules Committee, and has served as a clinician and adjudicator at numerous state, national and international music events in North America, Europe and Japan.  During his tenure as the Director of Music for the Johnson City Central School District, the district was honored on 6 occasions by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as a Grammy Signature School, and was also recognized by NAMM as one of the Best Communities in America for Music Education.   Ken has continued to be an effective advocate for music education and the marching arts through his service as a member of the National Advisory Board for the Partners in Education at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, receiving special recognition from the Kennedy Center for his contribution.  He has also lobbied successfully on behalf of music education and the arts as a member of NAMM’s National Congressional Advocacy Committee.  He holds a U. S. patent for the revolutionary angled shell marching bass drum; an innovative marching percussion instrument awarded Best New Tool For Marching Band/Marching Arts by School Band and Orchestra Magazine at the INternational NAMM Show held in Anaheim, CA.  The instrument is also the subject of a presentation on its acoustic and ergonomic advantages given by the Watson School of Engineering at Binghamton University at the Acoustical Society of American’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Ken and his wife Suzanne reside in Apalachin, New York.  He is the President of ErgoSonic Percussion LLC, manufacturers of the Angled Shell Marching Bass Drum, Suspended Angled Bass Drum and Concert Toms and Balanced Projection Drum Sets.

TOM ARGY-Tom Argy has been associated with field bands since his first experience as a staff member at East Syracuse Minoa and Liverpool High School marching bands.  He has been a member of the New York State Federation of Contest Judges (NYSFJC) since its early years and currently serves as president of the organization.  He has served on the executive committee of the Federation in various capacities and has been the liaison between the NYFCJ and the NYSFBC.  Mr. Argy continues his association with the NYSFBC as chief judge at many of the fall contests and has been active as an adjudicator for Winter Guard International (WGI) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA).  He is also a member of the Hall of Fame in the Mid-York Color Guard Circuit, North East Color Guard Circuit and an associate member of the Drum Corps World Hall of Fame.  He has been a Championship Finalists judge many times for all of the above organizations.  Mr. Argy was also a member of the Syracuse Brigadiers Drum and Bugle Corps.

DON BURKE- is the former Director of Music for the Norwich City School District, where he served as Director of Bands at the high school from 1981 until his retirement in 2007. He began his teaching career in 1974 as the Director of Music for Mount Upton Central Schools. Don completed his undergraduate work at Duquesne University. His graduate studies took him to Duquesne, West Chester University, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Binghamton.

During his tenure at Norwich, the band program maintained a diverse and comprehensive curriculum.  He has conducted numerous award-winning concert bands, wind ensembles, brass bands, woodwind choirs and percussion ensembles.  Under his direction, Norwich won the Best of Class Award eight times at the annual Sherburne Pageant of Bands (1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007).  

As a graduate of Norwich, Don succeeded his mentor and former teacher, William Spang, a Founding Father and Hall of Fame member of the NYSFBC.  He served as an instructor for the Norwich Field Band beginning in 1975.  Following Mr. Spang’s retirement, Don assumed directorial responsibilities, helping to continue a strong tradition of excellence in the marching arts.  The band traveled extensively throughout the eastern United States, including several trips to Florida.  Their success in the NYSFBC was highlighted by winning three Governor’s Cup Trophies at the Carrier Dome.  

Don founded the NHS Jazz Ensemble in 1981, annually leading the group through an extensive performance schedule.  Highlighting tour itineraries were several trips to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and Canada.  Among their accomplishments were earning three perfect scores in the Sherburne Pageant of Bands Class AAA Jazz Ensemble Competition.  

In 2003, Don received the Chenango County Youth Bureau Award.  His background includes involvement in music theater as a performer and a director.  He has been active as an instructor, adjudicator and consultant for a number of jazz, concert and marching bands.  In addition, he has served as guest conductor for several All County concert and jazz ensembles.

VINNIE MONACELLI-Vince Monacelli has been a drill writer and color guard designer since 1976.

  Vinnie was a color guard and marching judge with the New York Federation of Contest Judges from 1979 to 1996. And judged for Drum Corps International (DCI) and Drum Corps East (DCE) from 1979 to 1981.  His career in the drum and bugle corps activity began when he played in the horn line of St. Joseph’s of Batavia.  His drum corps designing career began with the Watkins Glen Squires.

  Vinnie Monacelli has written for many bands and winterguards throughout the US and Canada for over 46 years.  In NY State alone, he has designed for Orchard Park, Medina, West Genesee, North Syracuse, Liverpool, Oswego, Baldwinsville, Eastridge, Lancaster, Jordan-Elbridge, Bishop Kearney, Hilton and LeRoy marching bands.  Throughout the years, he has written many memorable drum corps shows for the Crossmen, Bluecoats, Rochester Crusaders, Dutch Boy, Bushwackers and Empire Statesmen.  Currently, he is the drill designer for the Hawthorne Caballeros.

  A builder of Champions, this innovative designer was pivotal in uniting the East and the West when WGI was founded.  Vinnie has been particularly successful as a Winter Guard International instructor, winning five consecutive national color guard championships in the mid-1990’s with Bishop Kearney High School.  Vinnie created shows that are still benchmarks of performance excellence.  He also taught a number of WGI finalist winterguard including Cheshire, Eastburg, Eastridge, Holley, Orchard Park, Canandaigua Academy, Ventures, the Light Brigade, Braddock Independent and Winston Churchill High School.

  He is currently a member of the WGI Hall of Fame, Northeast Colorguard Circuit Hall of Fame and Drum Corps Associates Hall of Fame.

CHRIS & BETH CALHOUN-The NYSFBC is proud to name Chris Calhoun of Norwich, NY as the sole inductees into the NYSFBC Hall of Fame in 2019.  Beth’s induction is a special milestone for the NYSFBC as she is the first woman to be so recognized.

  It is fitting that Chris and Beth Calhoun are being named together as they have been long-time partners both in life and on the marching band field.  During their 35 years of marriage, over half of those years were spent designing and instructing marching bands together.

  Their marching band teaching careers began separately, however.  While she was attending Liverpool HS, Beth was asked to instruct at Phoenix HS, where she was hired in 1979 at the age of 16.  From 1979 to 1989, she made major contributions to the programs at Phoenix, Clinton, Cortland, Baldwinsville and Auburn High Schools, during a time that she was also building her teaching and designing legacy in the areas of Winter Guard and Drum Corps, together with Marching Band.

  Chris was hired in 1985 as the Co-Caption Head and Percussion Instructor of the Cicero-North Syracuse Marching band, becoming the Percussion Arranger Head in 1986.  He served in this role until 1991.  In 1987, at just 24 years old, his C-NS precision section earned the top percussion award at the BOA National Championships, with the band placing second in those National Championships.

  Their expertise came together when, in 1991, they both joined the staff of the Norwich HS Marching Band in Norwich, NY.  For most of the years from 1991 to 2012, Chris served as the Assistant Band Director, Program Coordinator and Percussion Arranger and Instructor while Beth served as the Color Guard Designer and Caption Head.  Among the accomplishments of Norwich during that time, they became the first and only band in NYSFBC history to win both the Small School2 and Small School 1 titles in back to back seasons (2003 and 2004).

  Beth and Chris wish to  thank the numerous students, instructors, designers and directors who trusted in them, and worked so hard by their side during the 33 year span of their NYSFBC careers, making this honor possible.

DAVID BOURNAZIAN– David was born in Worcester, Mass. and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in music from Boston Univ. as well as a Masters of Education at North Adams State College in Mass. After an honorable discharge from the Army, Mr. Bournazian toured the U.S. as an alto and tenor saxophone player in the Neal Hefti Band from 1949-1951. During the 1950s he performed with other noted contemporary jazz artists including Mel Torme, Frank Capp and the late Don Ellis From 1953-1963 he was the director of bands at North Junior High School in Pittsfield, Mass. In 1964 he became the director of bands at Mohonasen HS where he was the facilitator of the fine arts program, directing the jazz ensemble, concert band, marching band and indoor color guard programs until his retirement in 2005. His marching band entered competition in the New York State Field Band Conference in 1981. He served as a member of the visiting committee for the Middle States Association Commission on Secondary Schools from 1971-1973 and held numerous offices, including three terms as president of the Suburban Council Music Directors Association, in 1968, 1975 and 1977. David was a consultant and evaluator for Empire State College and won the Union College Excellence in Teaching. He was the guest presenter of awards at the 2004 New York State Field Band Conference Championships. David passed away in January of 2015

JACK LAMB– A native of Sioux Falls, Iowa, Jack received his undergraduate degree in music from Morningside College. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music. He began his teaching career as a part time music instructor with the Canandaigua City School District in 1957 and eventually became the band director at Canandaigua Junior Academy. In 1970 he became the director of bands at Canandaigua Senior Academy, a post he held until 1978. Under his direction Canandaigua Senior Academy won multiple grand championship titles at the Gorham, Seneca Falls, Batavia and North Syracuse band pageants as well as numerous awards out of state. The Canandaigua Wind Ensemble received consecutive 6 A+ ratings while he was the director. The Canandaigua Academy Marching Band entered field band competition in 1972, the first season of the New York State Field Band Conference. They won first place in Class B at the first NYSFBC Championship show in 1974 and won the Class A title in 1977. His marching band performed at halftimes for the NFL, CFL and North American Soccer League. Jack served as President of the NYSFBC in 1977 and 1978. He was also the coordinator of the NYSFBC Championship show from 1979-1987 and was largely responsible for moving the championships to the Dome. Jack was the presenter of awards at the 1988 NYSFBC Championships. In the early 1980’s he joined Columbia Pictures Publications in Miami, Florida, eventually becoming the director of Instrumental Publications for Columbia. Jack Lamb passed away in November of 2019.

JOHN BERNARD WEVERS – John Bernard Wevers was born on October 1st, 1951, in Copiague, Long Island, N.Y. (ironically, the town that he taught in for the last 28 years of his career). He grew up in Deer Park, Long Island and was the first or five children born to Bernard and Barbara (Nohejl) Wevers. He married Linda Johnsen in 1983 and had two sons, Douglas and John.

After high school John studied music education at The Kings College in Briarcliff Manor, NY and then received his BA from C.W. Post, Long Island University in 1976 where he studied Music Education. He then received is MA from Trenton State University in New Jersey where he studied Supervision and Administration. He received his Professional Diploma in Educational Administration from C.W. Post, Long Island University in 1988. After retiring, John continued his education and got his Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary.

John started student teaching at his old high school in Deer Park under the guidance of his former High School Band Director, Mr. Robert Luther, he also student taught in Northport High under the direction of Mr. Robert Krueger.  John received his first teaching job in South Brunswick, New Jersey and later moved on to a teaching job in Westfield, New Jersey.  In 1981, John moved back to Long Island and accepted a teaching job at West Babylon High School.  In 1984, John accepted the high school band director position at Copiague High School, which turned out to become the start of his 28-year long career there.  At Copiague, John turned the band into a marching dynamo starting out with less than 30 students and eventually increasing the size to 150 students.  The Copiague Band was involved in many performances over the years and won 17 Championships including 5 NYS Championships at NYSFBC in 1996, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006, and over 600 awards, citations and proclamations.  Copiague was grand champion at the Florida Citrus Bowl Competition, marched twice at Disney’s magic music days parade in Orlando, Florida, won 3 A Ratings and 3 Gold Ratings at the NYSMA Major Organization festival.  The band also marched in the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade for 25 years.  In 2004 the band was chosen to be in the movie “Lord Of War”, with Nicholas Cage.  The Band is in the opening parade scene of that movie.  In 2008, the band was chosen to be in the New York Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which was to be the highlight of John’s career.  In 2010, John was chosen by “school band and orchestra magazine” as one of 50 directors that make a difference in this country.

In addition, John became president of SCMEA (Suffolk County Music Educators Association) for the 1995-1996 season. He was also chosen to be guest conductor twice for HMEA (Hampton Music Educator Association), and was the Grand Marshal of the Copiague Christmas Parade.

John was a tremendous influence on hundreds of students over the years.  The one comment so many students have said to me over time was that John instilled in them never to be late for anything!  He would say “to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is unacceptable”.  Also, before each marching performance he would ask his students, “How are your feet”? TOGETHER, “Stomach”? IN, “Chest”? OUT, “Shoulders”? BACK, “Chin”? UP, “Eyes”? WITH PRIDE, “Eyes”? WITH PRIDE, “Eyes”? WITH PRIDE.

John had a vision, and his visions came to light, HIS band was a force to be reckoned with and when Copiague was at a show, other bands stopped and watched HIS band.

John retired from Copiague High School in 2012 due to health reasons.  He passed away on January 22, 2017, in his 65th year.

JOSEPH C. MCKAIN– Joe was born in Rochester, N.Y. on November 1st, 1943. He resides in Albion, N.Y. with his wife of 56 Years, Sandra. Together they have three beautiful children who have blessed them with 17 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Joe graduated from the Rochester City School District in 1961 and went on to earn his B.S. in music education at Ithaca College in 1965.

In his senior year, Joe completed his “student teaching” at Seneca Falls Mynderse Academy under the guidance of then Band Director Anthony Lapinsky. Joe recalls that this would later prove to be the most valuable part of his entire college experience. What he witnessed was a thriving band program that had managed to achieve a perfect balance between “indoor excellence” and “outdoor excitement”. “A quality marching band will fuel the support you need for the rest of your program” was Lapinsky’s message.

So when Joe began his teaching career in the small hamlet of Mt. Upton, N.Y. in 1965, he immediately formed a marching band consisting of 28 students. That band, with music in hand, performed at half-time for the very first time. The following year, Joe entered his band in the Sherburne Pageant where they earned placement awards in both parade and concert. An incredible feat for a school with 199 students k-12.

In 1967, Joe began what was to become a 32 year career in the Medina Central School District. On day one, following his best “sales pitch”, a show of hands revealed 35 students willing to march. Thus, the “Medina Mustang Band” was born. This fledgling group endured the usual growing pains. But Lapinsky’s words rang true. Parents began to “buy-in” and eventually the district’s purse strings began to loosen. Medina entered the NYSFBC in 1973 and hosted its first sanctioned event (Fall Festival of Bands) in 1978. The “Mustang Band” has been a conference member for the past 46 years.

Under Joe’s direction, the Mustang Band competed in various events throughout 13 states and Canada, including appearances at the “Kentucky Derby”, the “Indy 500“ and the “Salute to Israel” parade in NYC.  The Mustang Band was selected to be the featured  band at Coca-Cola’s centennial celebration held in the Omni Center, Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr. McKain, “Boss” to all who knew him, retired in 1999. But his band program lives on. At his request, he would like to share this honor with Jim Nashwenter , Gary Jones, and most deservedly, John Ryan.