Drum Corps International (DCI) gave several special awards on finals night as the corps wrapped up their 2009 seasons.
Director of the Year
Fred Morris, director of the Troopers from Casper, Wyo., was selected by his peers as the World Class Director of the Year for 2009.
“I was recovering from making finals for the first time in 23 years and was sitting there trying to figure how we were going to set up our block for our placement on the field for retreat,” Morris says. “It is quite an honor to be selected as Director of the Year from your peers who have been doing this a lot longer than I have. I`m very happy and proud of my accomplishments here with the Troopers.”
In Open Class, Ibe Sodawalla, director of the up-and-coming Legends, was voted as the 2009 Open Class Director of the Year by his peers.
The Most Improved Awards are peer-determined and are awarded to an Open Class drum corps. This year it was Legends. Although Legends’ history dates back to 2001, the 2006 season marked the drum corps’ first summer tour. This year, Legends finished 10th overall in Open Class (up five spots from its highest placement ever in 2008).
The Most Improved award showcases the corps that achieved the greatest improvement in on-field performance in the directors’ estimation.
“I will never forget … looking up at the crowd after the final note on finals night,” says Ashley McNees, a member of the front ensemble. “I was sad and happy because it was my last chance to ever be on that field in uniform and for Legends the first of many [Finals appearances].”
Top Drum Majors
The Jim Jones Leadership Award is an annual award given to an outstanding drum major nominated by his or her director and selected by DCI Hall of Fame members. The award recognizes excellence in corps leadership and conducting skills and includes monetary scholarships for first, second and third place drum majors.
This year’s top drum majors are Stephanie Lee from the Santa Clara Vanguard and Kelly Koch from Legends in World and Open Class respectively. Read about Koch’s experience at Legends in the article “A True Legend.”