Dean and Sandra Carlson have been significant contributors to the Colts Youth Organization for more than a decade. Their son, Jon, was a member of the Colts brass line in 1985 and 1986. Sadly, Jon was involved in a motorcycle accident that took his life.
To honor their son and his love for the Colts organization, Dean and Sandra established the Jon Carlson Memorial Scholarship fund by donating a full line of new Yamaha brass instruments to the drum corps, knowing that the Colts sell these gently-used instruments after each season. The profits from the sale of these instruments was used to fund this scholarship, which annually assists members of the brass line who are in need of financial assistance in order be a part of the Colts. We are able to continue providing the Jon Carlson Memorial Scholarship to brass members each year due to the Carlson's generous endowment of brass instruments.
From their home in Urbandale, Dean and Sandra visit our rehearsal site at the Waukee show each year to meet the scholarship recipients. This one-on-one appreciation for these corps members continues to be a source of joy for them, knowing what the drum corps experience did for their son Jon, and what it continues to do for our young performers. Having the opportunity to meet each of the students whose lives are affected by their support is something they treasure. In addition to the scholarship fund, Dean and Sandra have also been generous annual contributors to the Colts since the late 1990s.
It is with honor and thanks that we welcome Dean and Sandra Carlson into the Colts Hall of Fame for their generous contributions to our organization, and specifically for the help they have provided our brass members by making it possible for them to follow their dreams of full membership in the Colts. It is an honor and a privilege for us to celebrate Jon's life each year through the scholarship program that the Carlsons have established in his name.
There have been many individuals deserving of this Hall of Fame honor, but perhaps no one more deserving than the late Dean Musson.
Dean joined the Colts staff in 1992, and had an immediate impact on the brass line. Dean was instrumental in creating the powerful sound that the Colts brass line was known for during the 1990s. His influence when teamed with Colts Hall of Fame brass arranger Chuck Naffier, helped propel the corps to its first DCI finals appearance in 1993. The Colts would go on to perform in the DCI finals in six of the next seven years. Although Dean left the Colts after the 1999 season, his time with the Colts proved to be the most successful in the corps' history.
But the story of Dean's time with the Colts goes beyond statistics and placements. He did not just teach students how to play an instrument. He engaged his students in a way that compelled them to seek higher purpose as a performer. Dean taught from his heart and in doing so, found a way to touch each student's soul. He found ways to motivate and encourage people to be the best they could possibly be, even at times when that seemed impossible. Dean had a way of finding humor in difficult situations when others could not, and he used this gift to create a positive atmosphere where students could succeed at the highest level.
Although his time on earth was cut short, his lessons, influence, and powerful personality are still felt today by the students whose lives he influenced. It is with pride, honor, and gratitude that we induct Dean Musson into the Colts Hall of Fame.
When you look at the characteristics typical of inductees into any Hall of Fame, you will find individuals who in some way have played a significant role in the growth of the organization or have affected it in a way that is still felt for years to come. The same can be said for Gene Steichen who played a key role as a corps member and staff member during a difficult and critical period in the Colts development.
Gene's association with the corps began in 1973 as a member of the Colt .45 Cadets brass section, and continued through his age out year in 1982. Gene had a unique gift and talent for solidifying the family atmosphere during a time when this was dearly needed. The corps was going through a transition period with a lot of new members, and a massive influx of members from outside of Dubuque. This transition might have jeopardized the tradition of family values that the corps had established during its early years, but Gene played a key role in keeping that family tradition alive while the corps was going through this transformation.
As a corps member, and even as a staff member, Gene always had a unique way of keeping members focused, and instilling that feeling of family that exists today. His optimism, enthusiasm and commitment to the Colts were influential on many corps members lives. He preached about not running from problems, but instead resolving them by facing them head on, and having fun in doing so. Gene welcomed new members with open arms and embedded in them a desire to excel and to never give up, while fostering a family feeling within the corps.
Gene has also been a key donor to the corps over the years. The Colts were a big part of his life when he was young, and continues to be a big part of it today. It is with thanks and honor that we welcome Gene Steichen to the Colts Hall of Fame for being an influential, generous, and dedicated part of the Colts family.
Joe Stecher's contributions in service to the Colts for over 25 year have been numerous as president of the Colts Booster Club, president of the Colts board of directors, chaperone, cook, truck driver, bus driver, bingo caller, and floor worker. Joe also chaired many fundraising events for the corps, worked at events chaired by others, and served as chair at the Colts annual "Music On The March" shows. There are likely many other equally important contributions Joe made that we have missed over his many years of service to the corps.
Joe began his involvement with the corps to support four of his children who marched with the Colts and Colt Cadets. He saw how much the Colts were a positive influence on the lives of his children, so he was there every step of the way with them and for the corps. For example, the Colts used to perform in exhaustingly long and sometimes very hot Midwest parades in the summer heat. When we did, Joe was there beside them looking for members who might be affected by the heat, and ready to assist in providing water, or other assistance as needed. At times when it was necessary to make a trip to a local medical facility to help members who were ill or in need of help, Joe was always there to lend a hand.
Joe never looked for, nor wanted, acknowledgement of his service. It was his belief that his job as a parent was aided by the character-building aspects the Colts organization provided. So he approached everything he did for the corps just as a parent would in nurturing, supporting, and developing the growth of our members.
In honor and thanks for many years of quiet and dedicated service to our organization, we are proud to accept Joe Stecher into the Colts Hall of Fame.