Following a chance encounter at the Iowa Bandmasters Conference in 2003, then-Colt Cadets Director Vicki (Schaffer) MacFarlane shared all the great things going on with the Colt Cadets. She encouraged Kent Crawford to come and check it out. Kent was the band director at Maquoketa High School.
Kent stopped by for a spring rehearsal, joined the brass staff that summer, and beginning in 2004, served as brass caption head for the Colt Cadets for the next 11 seasons.
Kent did incredible work for many years with the Colt Cadets brass ensemble, annually taking young — often beginning — brass students and, with care and expert advice, turning them into brass players with a great future and outlook. He belongs in the Colts Hall of Fame because of his positive impact and highly effective inﬂuence on generations of Colts brass players.
Another wonderful Colts brass teacher, Tom Lizotte, had this to say about Kent: “His love for the Colt Cadets and quality brass playing is palpable. His practice of being a lifelong learner has been inspirational to me. For a number of years we taught the Colt Cadets together, he as brass caption head, I as a program and performance consultant. He was never threatened having another voice enter the picture and was very ﬂexible with his plan. Often I would ﬁnish a visit and Kent would immediately get in touch with a boatload of good questions. When we talked about an approach to performance issues, he swung into action. When next I visited, those issues had obviously been addressed — and solved.”
In 2012, Tom’s colleague from Maine, Terry White, would become the Colt Cadets brass arranger. Terry shared his thoughts on Kent’s nomination, “As I got to know Kent, and both of us being of the same age, I felt very comfortable with Kent personally and admired his approach working with younger students. He was very caring and spot-on with his teaching concepts. It was very apparent that the kids adored him. The quality of sound he was able to get them to produce was far more mature than other students their age. Over the next few years, we shared many of our teaching experiences and I found that we had more in common than one would imagine. I was able to continue our relationship by writing some arrangements for Kent’s high school band.
”Aside from his incredible work as an educator, Kent would also use his CDL skills to drive the Colt Cadets equipment trailer when the group needed a driver. Truly one of the most giving and humble people to ever teach our students, it is with great pride that we induct Kent Crawford into the Colts Hall of Fame.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” This adage certainly applies to J.J. Miller. Brenda and Jim, J.J.’s mom and dad, did everything they could to help the Colts organization, and J.J. continues the effort.
J.J.’s run with the Colts began as a drummer and it ended as its drum major. As J.J.’s nomination read: “He was so important during some difﬁcult years for the Colts. The Colts lost many members to other corps, and fought some years just to survive.” J.J. never quit believing in the Colts organization and his positive attitude, leadership and concern for others helped the corps navigate the transition to a new sound and a new vision for the Colts. At a critical time for the Colts, J.J.’s ‘never give up and never give in’ attitude pushed the Colts to continue to compete at the highest levels of the drum corps activity, giving other young musicians the chance to share the same amazing experiences previous Colt members shared with him. Without a doubt, J.J.’s efforts helped the corps evolve into the top notch corps it continues to be today.
But J.J.’s involvement didn’t stop when he aged-out of the drum corps activity. He became a member of the instructional staff, a tour director, and today, a volunteer driver for the corps on tour, and a member of the board of directors. J.J. has never stopped helping the Colts. By today’s standards, he is kind of a superhero: Federal prosecutor by day and volunteer driver for the Colts by night!
A Hall of Famer is someone who excels at what he does and makes everyone around him better. This deﬁnition ﬁts J.J. perfectly. He continues to volunteer in a variety of capacities helping the Colts to be an extraordinary youth organization. The Colts Drum & Bugle Corps is extremely proud to welcome J.J. Miller into the Colts Hall of Fame.
Jeff Bridges, former visual designer and program coordinator for the Colts and fellow member of the Colts Hall of Fame, fondly recalls his ﬁrst meeting with Emily: “I am smiling today like I did the day Emily came over to us after she ﬁnished her softball game in Tripoli, Iowa. Curious, happy and informing us she played trumpet. Little did we know at the moment what we all learned very quickly ... Emily was going to be more than just a great member.” In her six years in the Colts organization, Emily Neuendorf quickly moved from being a rookie to being a valued member of the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps. From 1993 to 1999, Emily moved from the soprano line to leading the corps as its drum major. During this period of time, the Colts were also a Top 12 ﬁnisher at DCI ﬁnals every year but one (‘97).
Those Top 12 experiences became very important for her as she became the Colts drum major. Members of the Colts had the privilege to watch her grow up before their eyes and she became the kind, take charge leader so many know her as today. Emily helped others in any way possible and she always found a kind word to pull someone up. Her leadership on the podium took the corps to a 13th place ﬁnish in 1997, and 12th place ﬁnishes at DCI ﬁnals in 1998 and 1999. After competing in the Allentown show in ‘99, Emily had the opportunity to participate in a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. with the drum majors of the Madison Scouts and Denver’s Blue Knights.
Emily wondered to Alan Smith during her age-out year – “What if I’m not feeling it?” Anyone who knew Emily realized very quickly that Emily ‘felt it’ in her years with the Colts. She felt it as a member of the soprano line and she felt it as the drum major. It was obvious from the memorable DCI video of her on the podium at the completion of the Colts performance in 1999 that she was feeling it, and her leadership allowed the corps to feel it as well. Emily set the standard for service, dedication and leadership that continued with a recent term on the Colts board of directors.
As one of her peers wrote in her nomination, Emily was always “all in” when it came to the Colts. Tonight, with respect, honor and gratitude the Colts organization is “all in” and extremely proud to induct Emily Neuendorf into the Colts Hall of Fame.
Peggy Swift was a staple to the Colts organization in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. She was one of the two person staff that ran the day-to-day operations of the Collt Drum & Bugle Corps. Her commitment and dedication to the corps at that time was second to none.
Peggy was the “go to person” in the Colts ofﬁce during this period of time. She took care of anything that needed to be done in order for the corps to move. She just made it happen, and it seemed nothing was impossible for her to handle. If the corps needed a bus, a place to rehearse, an overnight resting place, a group of chaperones, or even food, Peggy seemed to have the answer. Every ofﬁce that runs efﬁciently has their own Peggy Swift and the Colts were unbelievably fortunate to have the “real” Peggy Swift in their ofﬁce.
Peggy was ever-present. At winter camps Peggy made sure things that needed to be done were done. As summer tour arrived, Peggy traveled with the corps and endured the same traveling, housing, and sleeping conditions the youthful members of the corps experienced.
No matter what the situation, Peggy always displayed a positive attitude. Peggy, (who was affectionately called “Norma,” by many members of the corps), was not only the mother of her own children, who marched during this time period, but also the matriarch of the traveling corps in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Peggy provided never-ending encouragement, but at the same time, when the situation dictated, she delivered a motherly reprimand.
It is with humility, honor, pride and unending gratitude that we welcome Peggy Swift to the Colts 2019 Hall of Fame class.