Chris Baughman served as drum major of the Colts from 1993-1996. We may rarely again witness that span of time on the podium leading the drum corps — any drum corps. He was drum major of the Colts in 1993 when the corps broke into the fabled Drum Corps International Top 12 — a tough feat for a corps so comparatively underfunded. It was his first year as drum major. Chris was drum major in the next three years of Colts Top 12 achievement — 1994, 1995, and 1996. This continuity of leadership and spirit was a gift to an activity in which drum majors often turn over each new season. Mature beyond his years, Chris‘ relationships were strong with fellow members as well as staff and Colts administration. One person put it this way, “When I grow up I want to be just like him!” That was a brass instructor and 2016 Colts Hall of Hamer — the late Dean Musson.
How would others have witnessed Chris’ contribution to the corps? A fellow corps member said it best, “Hardworking, not above the rules, humble and internally motivated to excel. He made an effort to be everyone’s drum major. He made it a point to eat lunch with every section; he spent time with every member — he knew them all. He woke members in the morning with music; he wasn’t so serious that he couldn’t laugh so there was humor and warmth in his structure. He was kind, friendly, talented, and passionate. He gave the corps energy when he was on the podium with a positive fan relationship. Chris didn’t just conduct, he performed, and he set us on fire every night and every day.”
Following his 1996 age-out year, Chris served as Colts brass instructor in 1997 - 1999 and again 2001 - 2004. He passed on his drum major counsel to several Colts drum majors while serving on the brass staff during those years as well as teaching brass technique and skills.
Some of the above years were especially difficult for the Colts. In one of Chris’ drum major years, 1995 on tour in the east, the corps lost a beloved long term parent volunteer whose sudden death shocked the group at the peak of their competitive season. In 1998, Chris was on tour as a brass instructor when the Montreal freeway bus accident occurred. These were crisis years where his experience counted in caring for Colts members during the highest pressure point of the season.
Christian Baughman is one of the most genuine men you will ever meet. And now, his ever growing resume includes membership in the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps Hall of Fame.
A little over 20 years after founding his company, Cook Medical Group, Bill decided to start a drum corps. Few could imagine the impact Star of Indiana would have on the drum corps activity during its run at the DCI World Championships from 1985 to 1993, nor the further influence it would have as the Tony Award-winning production, “Blast!”
But that is not why Bill & Gayle Cook deserve recognition in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. DCI staff writer Michael Boo recounts that when the 27th Lancers fleet was mired by mechanical problems, Cook sent buses from his own Star of Indiana fleet to pick up the stranded corps members. When the Cavaliers’ food service trailer was destroyed by fire while on the road in the middle of summer, Cook sent Star of Indiana’s food truck to the corps to get it through the season. When the Troopers fell on tough financial times, Cook arranged for his friend John Mellencamp to fly to Wyoming to perform a benefit concert for the corps.
For the Colts, it was the horrible bus accident of 1998. After a free day in Montreal, and on the way to the show that night, the three buses were in an accident. Six people were sent to the hospital, and the rest of the corps went to the stadium. Bill Cook not only sent three buses to Montreal to rescue the Colts in a very difficult situation, he was driving one of the vehicles himself. The members and staff pulled together that summer, and the Colts bond was made even tighter.
For that reason alone one would garner support as a Hall of Fame candidate. But the Cooks’ support did not end there. Bill & Gayle have been financial supporters of the organization throughout the years.
“Bill loved drum corps. All drum corps,” longtime DCI television producer Tom Blair said. “He and his wife Gayle arrived at drum corps shows early and sat in the stands from the first corps to the last. He saw the positive influence of the drum corps experience and provided that experience to as many people as possible.”
We are honored to welcome Bill & Gayle Cook into the Colts Hall of Fame.
Fifty years ago this summer, Sonia Hickson had a vision to expand the existing corps in Dubuque by offering younger kids (generally eleven years and up) to join the drum corps without the time commitment of the “older” corps. The birth of the Legionaires “B” corps was formed and Sonia became its first director.
Sonia believed that no individual should be turned away regardless if they had any experience so long as they had a desire to learn how to march, play a bugle, beat a drum, or twirl a flag. And once the kids were dressed in their uniforms and carrying their instruments off the bus, we’re not sure who was more excited — Sonia or the new members about to march in their very first parade.
Sonia’s enthusiasm, passion and love for the Colts did not stop after her years as director of the “B” corps and Colt .45 Cadets. As time went on, Sonia turned her talent to raising money for the organization. In those days, there was no internet or social network to solicit funds or spread news about the Colts — but there was the “Sonia Network.” She had an infectious charisma to meet and deal with all of Dubuque from the very youngest Colts member to the most distinguished business VIPs in the city. And as a lifetime resident and independent business owner, she had innumerable contacts and followers that she called upon whenever funds were needed by the Colts.
Until her passing in December 2014, Sonia was a faithful supporter and consummate advocate and fundraiser for the Colts organization. The Colts values were also Sonia’s values and she was a true ambassador for the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. And she is now a member of the Colts Hall of Fame.
Jim Killoran was named the first executive director of the Colts orgainzation in 1977. But by this time, he already had a decade of accomplishments with the group in other capacities.
Jim wrote the very first marching drill for the Legionnaires field show when they began competition in the late 1960s. He also taught marching during that same time, and for several years to come. But marching was not the extent of his teaching. Jim was an English teacher at Wahlert High School for nearly four decards. The Colts had a great bond with Wahlert High School with many of its members from the late 1960s and early 1970s attending the school. The passion Jim had for the Colts certainly led many of these students to find out what drum corps was all about.
Jim also had a passion for the emerging art of winter guard. He was instrumental in the formation of the Colt .45 Color Guard that was not only one of the Midwest’s finest units, but a national power house as well. The guard would go on to win many state competitions, the Midwest Color Guard Circuit Championship, and finally the 1976 V.F.W. National Championship. That same year the Colts Color Guard finished 3rd at the Drum Corps International Color Guard Championships in Philadelphia.
Jim became a respected adjudicator for Drum Corps International primarily in the areas of marching performance and general effect. He judged into the late 1980s and went on to consult for many high school marching bands.
On this 40th anniversary of his announcement as the first executive director of the Colts, it is only fitting and truly deserving that Jim Killoran be inducted into the Colts Hall of Fame.Tom Reilly
For over 20 years, Tom has contributed and worked behind the scenes to raise money and provide financial guidance to the Colts Youth Organization. His impact on the organization has been profound albeit in most instances quiet and subtle. His efforts helped the Colts navigate through some particularly trying times and we certainly owe our continued success and solid financial footing to Tom’s guidance and leadership.
In 2000, when the Colts needed a loan to purchase their first building at 1101 Central, Tom — then a senior loan advisor at EDSB — was instrumental in securing the necessary funding when other banks in Dubuque were not comfortable with the ambitions of the nonprofit. Tom has contributed money to the Colts over the years because he believes in the mission and the positive effect the Colts have on the community. Tom was willing to take a chance on the Colts because of those beliefs. He approved the loan, and set the organization on a new path.
In 2008, Tom became a member of the board of directors. As a board member, he helped the organization create awareness with people in the business and financial communities. His reputation in the local community and his passion for the Colts and the mission convinced these potential donors that the organization was a “good investment.” He directly or indirectly raised large scale donations that allowed the corps to not only just survive — but to thrive. His personal commitment gave those looking on the confidence that the organization was in good hands.
Few people know of Tom’s work behind the scenes. He’s quiet and unassuming. But his efforts have impacted the Colts and the young people it serves every bit as much as those currently in the Colts Hall of Fame. A truly deserving honor for a humble and great man.