Colts Director Recognized With George Bonfiglio Award

August 13, 2018

Bonfiglio Award

At this year's Drum Corps International World Championships, Colts Director Vicki MacFarlane was recognized with the George Bonfiglio Chairperson’s Award. Now in its seventh year of being awarded, the Bonfiglio award is given annually to a person who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, service, and effort on behalf of Drum Corps International. The recipient of the award is selected by the chair of the DCI Board of Directors, Kathy Black, and the DCI Executive Director, Dan Acheson.

"What a mix of emotions! I am beyond honored, humbled, proud, and appreciative ... all those sorts of feelings," said Colts Director Vicki MacFarlane. "It's always great to have the Colts in the headlines, and this award is particularly special coming off such a fantastic season. This was by far my favorite summer to date, and I look forward to many more! An extra thanks to Kathy Black and Dan Acheson, who are amazing leaders in our activity."

Vicki was a member of the Colts in 1994 and 1995 as a baritone player. After a few years teaching band in eastern Iowa, Vicki began volunteering with the Colts. This led to a teaching position with Colt Cadets in 2001, and then being asked to be the Colt Cadets director for the 2002 season. The corps in 2001 had 18 members, but by 2012 had over 75 members and was a perennial Open Class finalist. While director of Colt Cadets, Vicki also served as chair of Drum Corps International’s Open Class Advisory Committee for several years. For the 2013 season, Vicki became the director of the Colts, and just finished her sixth season as director. In addition, she serves as director of youth programs for the Colts Youth Organization and is a member of the IN STEP: Women In DCI initiative. Vicki is currently the only female World Class corps director.

"I admire Vicki's focus on education, and her prior service as Open Class liaison demonstrated her commitment to nurture and grow the activity," said DCI Board Chair Kathy Black. "As the only woman currently serving as a World Class corps director, she is a role model in the marching arts. And her energy and enthusiasm is an inspiration!"

George Bonfiglio was the founder and longtime director of the 27th Lancers, as well as one of the “founding fathers” of Drum Corps International. Bonfiglio served as the first chair of the DCI Board of Directors and was a driving force behind the growth and increased prominence of drum corps in the marching arts from the 1970s through the 2010s. Bonfiglio was inducted as part of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame Class of 1985. You can read more about Bonfiglio and his contributions to the drum corps activity here.

Tom Lizotte, long time staff member for both Colts and Colt Cadets, worked with George Bonfiglio at the 27th Lancers in the 1980s. He was a close friend of Bonfiglio's, and is a close friend and mentor of Vicki's. He has been involved in the drum corps activity since 1977 and has seen many transformations in the leadership in the activity.

"It is totally appropriate that Vicki be given the Bonfiglio award, in that they share many important qualities," Tom said. "Their personal styles are very different, but they both are passionate, achievement-driven people who value family and drum corps as an extended family. They understand the human element of the activity. Both are can-do people for whom no task is too small. I have vivid memories of George digging into an engine at one of the Lancers' (frequent) bus breakdowns, and a usual sight is Vicki pitching in hauling props or doing whatever is necessary to renovate the corps hall. Both have high expectations and support good teaching. This award being given to Vicki is also appropriate given a bit of Lancer history. In 1986, I was brass caption head. I wanted to bring in a former North Star/Cadet mellophone player, Michelle Ledoux, as my head tech. With the exception of Sandra Opie, female brass instructors didn't exist back then in drum corps. Bonfiglio was all for us bringing Michelle on board, and he strongly supported her work. It was visionary and smart. When it came time to speak to the horn line before the performance we knew deep down would be the corps' last-ever, he deferred to Michelle. The path to recognition for women in this activity has been too long and too slow. George Bonfiglio was an early leader in hiring Michelle and making his daughter Denise program coordinator, and Vicki is carrying that torch. Very ftting."

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