Atlantic Indoor Association Hall of Honor
AIA recognizes those notable personalities who have contributed to our legacy of success in the circuit. Nominations will be reviewed by the AIA Board of Directors and current AIA Hall of Honor members for their Leadership, Direction, and Guidance they have provided through the years. AIA would like to recognize individuals who have given a majority of their life to supporting the indoor performing arts we all love while influencing and inspiring many of the next generation of talented instructors and performers in the color guard, percussion, and winds activities within AIA and WGI.
Each AIA member organization may nominate one individual for hall of honor consideration. Input your information below as the nominating representative for your organization. You may be contacted for further information or clarification if necessary.
Hall of honor nominations must be submitted by March 6th 2020 for consideration in 2020.
New hall of honor members are recognized at each regions championships event.
Hall of Honor Members
Les Sims has been a part of AIA since its inception in 1995. While in AIA, he has performed, taught, and served on the AIA Executive Board in various roles. He is currently the President of AIA South. AIA has greatly benefited from Les’ contributions to the circuit. In 2018, Les led the relocation of south championships to Crown Coliseum. This move gave the membership an opportunity to perform in a WGI championships style venue and a great season ending championship. His leadership style enables the Executive board to efficiently move through issues, actions items, and new business in the weekly meetings. Les is well respected by his peers and is an outstanding ambassador for AIA.
Les has always been passionate about the activity. He was a founding member of the Wilson Visual Productions Company, now known as CVP. His philosophy is, it is about the kids and giving back is from his heart. From his humble beginnings to his current involvement with the AIA Board of Directors and development of the Cumberland Independent program, Les has always been approachable, quick to respond, helpful and passionate. If a group needs help, Les doesn’t hesitate! He has been invaluable in pushing us forward while keeping us rooted with his past experiences and knowledge of AIA traditions.
Donny Franklin started his love of color guard almost 40 years ago in 1978 with Indian River. During his career, Donny has instructed thousands of students and worked in many different capacities. These have included high school marching bands, summer camps, clinics, band director workshops and college courses. People like David Duffy, Tim Gauldin and others have been in classes Donny has instructed and have gone on to have their own illustrious careers as instructors of World Class guards. Many of Donny’s former students have gone on to participate in drum corps, world class color guards, or have become guard instructors at every level.
Donny has worked with many high school band programs in the Virginia Beach area. Under Donny’s direction Grassfield high school has developed into a mature, nationally ranked program. At Grassfield, he has hosted many WGI Regional and AIA Championship contests representing AIA in the highest fashion at both the local and national level of competition. Most recently, he was instrumental in starting a feeder program at Great Bridge Middle School. This program attracted over 120 students that feed various schools in the area.
Donny’s Principal writes:
“It is quite apparent when looking at his longevity, contributions, and success, that Donny is a very deserving candidate for this recognition. Most importantly, Donny drives and pushes his students not to win, but to do their best and feel good about their efforts with no tears or regrets. In other words he is teaching them to do their best rather than focus on being the best”.
Jason Heard has served AIA in many capacities during his career. Jason has the strong reputation of building up numerous band and winter programs under his watch. The AIA programs at Cleveland, Smithfield-Selma, and Clayton High Schools experienced many “firsts” during his tenure. These achievements include BOA / WGI regional finalists and WGI World Championships finalists in guard and percussion. In 2016, he chartered a new Indoor Winds group to compete for the first time at WGI. As of 2019, Cleveland Winds is a 4 time WGI medalist with two world champion titles; 2016 Open Class gold medalist, 2019 World Class gold medalist. He continues to be on the forefront of the performing arts activities and has a vision to build and grow programs with sustainability. He also has served AIA as a judge since 2008.
Jean Coulet du Gard writes:
“Jason Heard continually works on how to set the students up for success by giving them all the tools they need to succeed in a competitive environment as well as life in general. Many people may not realize the countless hours he spends outside of the classroom, or after school rehearsals to ensure the positive learning environment for these students. He is a silent force, but one that helps deliver a powerful message to all that come in contact with him.”
Lyn has been involved with AIA since the inception of the circuit. Lyn has been the Guard instructor at Havelock High School since 1994 and also worked with the East Carolina University color guard. She has created a strong love of the arts for many students during her time as an instructor. Many of her students have followed in her footsteps to teach a program of their own.
Julie Rishell Hill, a former student and assistant writes:
“Lyn always taught the value of working hard for what we wanted. She never accepted mediocrity from anyone. She was very passionate about making sure that we were not only amazing performers, but also amazing people. I had had the opportunity to teach alongside Lyn with Panache. It has been a dream come true. I honored to have the opportunity to work under the woman who made me who I am today. In watching her interact with her current performers, she continues to instill the same goals and worth ethic that she has since she began teaching.”
Bob Nicholson has been involved in AIA since 1995. Bob has designed and taught many units in AIA at the local and WGI national level and has served on the Executive Board on multiple occasions. He was AIA President for 6 years as 1st Vice President for the AIA North Region. Bob Nicholson has been involved as a marching member, instructor, judge, and administrator for some of the nation’s finest bands, drum and bugle corps, winter guards, and circuits. Bob has had success at every level of the Winter Guard activity and continues to be a clinician across the Mid-Atlantic Region. 2016 was Bob’s 11th year with James Madison HS and his 6th year with JMU Nuance.
Kent Baker writes:
“Not only is Bob an excellent instructor and leader for his students, but he is also a mentor for so many instructors in the Atlantic Indoor Association. His years of experience in the sport gives him a wealth of knowledge which he selflessly uses, not only to help his teams grow, but also to help educate other instructors on how to design and improve their shows. Bob’s dedication to this sport and to his students is motivating and appreciated by many”.
Lindell Palmer has been involved in the color guard activity for over twenty years. He began performing in AIA with Park View HS and Revelation Winter Guard of Richmond, VA. At the time of induction, he was the director of the Stonewall Jackson HS and Stonewall Independent Winter Guards. Stonewall Independent was the WGI Independent A Silver Medalists in 2013 and under his director was perennial WGI Open class finalist. He also has choreographed Chantilly High School, Fauquier High School, and Act 1. Currently Lindell serves as the director and lead choreographer of Mason Open and Color Guard Designer and Caption Head for the Raiders Drum Corps.
AIA has been heavily influenced by Lindell’s involvement. Many former students have gone on to perform with world class organizations in both DCI and WGI as well as teach their own units in AIA North. One parent wrote “I know they will all perform well under your guidance. You are the master color guard teacher.” Success on the national stage has not changed Lindell. He remains humble while still being a very positive role model for his groups and to all of AIA.
Ruth has been involved in AIA in various capacities for many years. She has been around since its inception as a parent while her daughter Kim was performing in the mid to late 90’s. She then became involved as a timing and penalties judge and ultimately moved into the internal role of coordinating the timing and penalties judges regarding assignments and delivery of training materials. Since 2000, she has also been the show coordinator for all of the AIA South contests. Her service in this function has been outstanding as she ensures that the show runs as smooth as possible. She is instrumental in setting schedules, ensuring tabulation and digital devices are set up and working properly, and managing a lot of the troubleshooting that takes place during a show that many never see. Her reporting on show issues and recommendations are always spot on. All judges love to work with Ruth. Her attention to detail is second to none and she always delivers her service with a smile even in the most difficult times.
Tony “Baba D” McCain, first became part of AIA in 1995. He attended VCU, majoring in Physical Education & minored in Dance and Choreography. 2015 marked his 32nd year being involved in pagentry. He served in AIA as a board member, instructor, and performer. He performed with The Light Brigade World Winter Guard in 05-06, Footnotes Visual Musicians, Carolina Gold, and Lee-Davis Senior Guard. He has taught numerous camps, clinics, workshops, worked with units on AIA, WGI, BOA, USBands, TOB, TIA, NJA and Collegiate performance levels. Tony has adjudicated for USBands, Fiesta-val, numerous band contests alike and has taught over 1000’s of performers. His students have gone onto perform with Revelation, Innovation, Carolina Crown, Madison Scouts, Carolina Gold, Revolutionary, Bluecoats, JMU, ODU, UVA, VA Tech, East Carolina, Norfolk State, VUU, Benedict College, St Augustine, Liberty U, VSU, Footnotes, and ASG. At the time of his induction, Tony was the Color Guard Coordinator for Lee-Davis Guards, Ezibu Muntu African Dance Theatre Co-Artistic Director, and University of Richmond’s-Ngoma African and Contemporary Dance Ensemble Artistic Director. Mr. McCain is known for his energetic and entertaining programs. He inspires his groups to work hard, strive for the best, remain humble, and the only time,” you look down on someone is to give them a hand to pull them up!” He instills to this day, that life lessons are learned in this activity to his students, peers alike and you can do anything!
Kevin served AIA in many different capacities over the years. He was involved with timing and penalties, show announcer, and the show coordinator for the northern AIA contests. Kevin’s ability to be totally flexible in the most stressful situations is a significant strength for him. Kevin was very instrumental in optimizing the digital technology. Many visiting judges praised AIA on how efficient the AIA shows were run and how everything “seems to have been taken care of”. A chief judge from another circuit was brought in and praised Kevin’s efforts by indicating that “the AIA contests are the most efficient contests from a logistics standpoint that he had ever attended”. Kevin was diligent to attend all board meeting calls and give detailed reports on show performance and recommendations. This is a great reputation to have in the public eye to support out AIA Brand. Sadly, Kevin relocated to Florida at the end of the 2016 season and is sorely missed by AIA.
Paul Orsett writes:
“For the past numerous seasons I have grown to get to know Kevin and a warm, giving and hard working man. I have had the utmost confidence in him in the numerous roles he has taken on throughout the various seasons. You can always depend on him to have shows ready to go and if something needs attention, he is the first in line to volunteer. AIA will miss his energy and dedication and wishes him all the best as he moves into the next part of his life!”
Bob is a longtime AIA, WGI, BOA, and DCI Judge. At the time of his induction, Bob was the Education Director for AIA and also for DCI Europe. He has over 40 years of teaching experience in Drum Corps, Marching Bands, and Winter Color Guard. He designed the current scoring system for Drum Corp Europe which is currently being used in 16 countries. Bob was instrumental in re-energizing the color guard judges training program here in AIA. Bob put a tremendous amount of effort to individually work with judges on their specific training plans and provide feedback so that the units in AIA received the best adjudication possible.
Jason Derting writes:
“Bob has a definitive passion to teach judges and instructors. Over the past years, Bob has been an integral part in helping all AIA judges to become better at their job. He devotes countless hours each week listening to all the judges commentary, giving feedback and following up with conference calls to help us do our job better. He teaches us how to give the best information possible to the units, improve recognition skills and numbers management.”
Bob also worked with AIA instructors to understand the process of critique and how to take in feedback and apply it to their groups. You will see Bob, even in his off time, working with instructors to give them as much information as possible to succeed. Bob is very specific in his assessments and it is very evident that he spends countless hours of his time and strives to see AIA units improve, instructors to understand the process, and judges to become well respected adjudicators.
Bob has continued to expand the indoor marching activity through his involvement with Cleveland Winds. The Cleveland Winds program has represented AIA at WGI since 2016 and is a 4 time WGI medalist including; 2016 Open Class gold medalist, 2019 World Class gold medalist.
Jean has been an instructor in AIA since the early 2000’s as well as a nationally recognized designer for Stanbury and Creative Costuming. Jean is responsible for consistently teaching and designing guard programs who continually represent AIA in the utmost fashion on the WGI national stage. His programs have brought a higher level of sophistication to Atlantic Indoor Association that can be seen in his beautiful flags, exquisite uniforms, and extraordinary show designs. His work and teachings have served as a blue print for young designers throughout our circuit and have brought a new standard of excellence.
Jason Heard writes:
“Jean has given most of his life to color guard. He works tirelessly to ensure all of his groups experience success. His incredible work ethic inspires his students to live up to all expectations and strive for greatness. Many of his students have followed his lead and are experiencing much success throughout the Atlantic Indoor Association and throughout the country. Jean continues to be a mentor for his past and present students. He works to ensure all students understand that anything worth having requires hard work.”
“First and foremost Jean is a technician. He wants his students to have the basic fundamentals in guard and in life. While many of his students will not continue color guard after graduation, they have been given character traits that will make them successful in all of their future endeavors. He works to ensure all students understand, “that anything worth having, requires hard work.” This is a theme that is lost in this generation. His students leave his program as better people and ready for whatever the world has to hold. He has had a positive impact for 1,000+ young adults. We have been blessed to have this technician of life!”
At the time of her induction, Carly was the Communications Secretary AIA. Carly has gone on to serve in various capacities within the AIA Executive Board, including President of the North Region. She has also been part of AIA as an instructor and performer. Carly performed with Carolina Visual Productions, Innovation Open, and Midlothian HS Winter Guards before going on to teach the JMU color guards. JMU has been a perennial semi-finalist and finalist at WGI. Carly helped to build the JMU color guards from the ground up and within five years, honed them into an ensemble that placed ninth in the world at the Winter Guard International World Championships. Under her continued direction, JMU Winter Guard was the WGI Independent A class bronze medalist in 2018 and WGI Independent Open class finalists in 2019.
It has been written about Carly that she is extremely passionate about whatever she puts her mind to. She works tirelessly, she is never unprepared, and she is able to use her personal strengths and deliver powerful results.
Dwayne Barnes of CVP writes:
“The Carly of today is pretty much the same person, except for being more involved in the activity. There is no ego with Carly. She puts her guard and others before herself. She is humble and kind. She joined the AIA board years ago as the Communications Secretary and many of us think she does an amazing job of informing us of what is going on. Frankly, this is the best communicating we have seen from AIA under her watch. Carly represents AIA in such a positive light and we need more people like her”.
Master Sgt. Daniel P. Valadie is a percussionist with the Ceremonial Brass and the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. Daniel graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from James Madison University in 1995. He went on to become the band director at Christiansburg High School in Christiansburg, Virginia, and later became the associate band director at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia. In 2007, Mr. Daniel completed his Masters in Music at George Mason University. Daniel has taught and composed/arranged music for a number of indoor and outdoor Percussion Ensembles throughout Maryland and Virginia. He has performed with such artists as Bill Watrous and Steve Houghton, and has performed with the Lynchburg Symphony, the Jefferson Choral Society, and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. His former teachers include C. William Rice, Todd Johnson, Mark Thurston and Marty Hurley.
Daniel currently serves on the AIA Executive Board at the Percussion Chief Judge. Daniel has demonstrated over the years continued dedication to fostering the growth of the percussion units and judging in AIA. During his tenure as Percussion Chief Judge AIA percussion unit accomplishments, including WGI medalists in both marching and concert categories, locally and nationally demonstrate that the percussion activity is thriving in our circuit. Daniel continues to focus on improvements to AIA and the judges continually train and reinforce solid judging philosophies under his watch. Many judges look to Daniel for direction, guidance, and encouragement. Daniel is a strong advocate to the AIA circuit and we all are very appreciative of his longtime service to the percussion staffs and performers.
At the time of his induction, Mr. Landini was one of two Band Directors at Powhatan High School in Powhatan, Virginia. He served in various capacities with the Powhatan Bands and Ensembles. The percussion program in Powhatan County under Mr. Landini’s guidance grew to cover the high school marching band percussion section, two indoor drumlines, and five concert percussion classes covering grades 6-12 as well as solo performance development. Mr. Landini has a B.M. in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and studied with Mr. T. Howard Curtis, Mr. Mike Boyd, the late Mr. Donald A. Bick, Mr. Jim Jacobson and Mr. Barry Dove among others. Mr. Landini performed two seasons with Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps in the front ensemble. He has served as a percussion instructor with the Virginia Helmsmen, Tarheel Sun, and various programs around the state of Virginia. At the time of his induction, Mr. Landini was an active member of PAS, NAFME, VMEA, VBODA, and an educational artist endorser for Dynasty USA Percussion, Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, and Evans Drumheads.
Neil spent many seasons on the AIA Executive Board as the percussion representative and was instrumental in the growth and guidance of the percussion activity in AIA’s formative years. He always represented the needs of all AIA performing units while on the Executive Board by bringing in new proposals to shape the activity. Neil also represented AIA in the highest fashion by serving as the primary liaison to WGI for hosting separate WGI percussion and color guard regionals for over ten seasons. Finally, and most importantly, Mr. Landini is married to his wife Melissa. They have one son, Jake, two daughters, Brooke and Selena
At the time of her induction, Shannon Proctor-Nystrom was the Director of Color Guards at Wakefield High School, a position she held from 2003 to 2018. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a BS in Business Management and also a graduate of Meredith College with a teaching license in Dance K-12. She has been teaching color guards for over two decades. During that time, she has led such programs as South Granville High School, Scotland High School and Cape Fear High School to success within AIA as well as on the regional level. As a performer, Shannon has marched in the winter activity with Blessed Sacrament, The Study and Carolina Visual Productions.
While Shannon was Color Guard Director at Wakefield, the program blossomed into one that was nationally recognized. The Wakefield Maroon Winter Guard made its first trip to WGI World Championships in 2006 and went on to earn placement in finals in both A and Open Class on multiple occasions, including a 4th place finish in 2008. The Wakefield Silver Winter Guard earned finalist positions in many WGI Regional Championships, as well as AIA Circuit Championships medalist honors. Wakefield Independent was also a 2008 Independent A Class WGI World Championships finalist.
Her influence on the color guard activity has been seen not only as one of the top designers, but also as a teacher. Her students have gone on to perform with such independent ensembles as Wakefield Independent, First Flight, Pride of Cincinnati, Aimachi, Northern Lights, Carolina Visual Productions, Impact Independent, and Reynolda, as well as many collegiate marching bands. Wakefield Independent was actually begun as a reaction to alumni from the Wakefield program wanting to continue to spin under her leadership. Many of her students have also furthered her legacy not only as performers but by serving as instructors for scholastic and independent color guard programs throughout North Carolina. However, Shannon’s greatest pride in her students has come when they take the life lessons learned in her program and go on to become successful in whatever pathway they choose – color guard or otherwise.
In an activity that is often dominated by male designers and instructors, Shannon has been a strong female role model for performers and designers – both female and male alike. Her work ethic and willingness to accept nothing but the best from herself and her students is remarkable. Most of her successes have been achieved without the help of a large staff that is often seen with the groups on the national scene.
At the time of his induction, Tim had been teaching percussion at Tunstall High School for 24 years and was the founding director of the Virginia Helmsmen. The Virginia Helmsmen and the Tunstall Concert Ensemble were perennial finalists and medalists at WGI under his direction. Tim also served on the WGI advisory board for many years shaping the percussion activity nationally. He has consulted with many AIA high school groups and represented AIA on the national level. Tim and his wife Debra have raised two children who were both highly active in the winter percussion activity.
AIA has benefited from Tim’s involvement early on in helping to charter the percussion activity in the circuit. His marching and concert units were one of few founding member units competing when the percussion activity started in AIA. His participation, support, and guidance enabled AIA to grow into the level of participation we see now.
Dwayne Barns founded Carolina Visual Productions over 30 years ago and the organization continues to thrive. At the time of his induction, Dwayne was the Executive Director of Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps. He is a former member of the Long Island Kingsmen, 27th Lancers, and Sky Ryders Drum and Bugle Corps. He has instructed many units in AIA over the years as well, most notably his long tenure with East Wake HS.
Dwayne has kept CVP thriving representing AIA on the national level. Dwayne has offered opportunities of performers of all ages to participate in color guard within the CVP family including; CVP shorties, CVP cadets, CVP, CVP Encore. His former members concur that he makes sure to tell the CVP history to the new members and welcome the vets and alumni back with open arms. Jordan Hurley writes: The best example of this comes each year just before CVP’s first show of the season. Dwayne gathers the entire guard, any vets, staff, etc around and welcomes everyone into the family. It’s typically an emotional moment for the vets because we know that no matter where you go or what you do, once you’re family, you’re always family.
At the time of his induction, David Duffy was the Band Director and Winter Guard Director at West Johnston HS in Benson NC. Under his direction the West Johnston band performed in many local, regional and national events including the Bands of America Grand Nationals many times. The West Johnston Winter Guard was a perennial finalist at Winter Guard International during David’s tenure. David is a graduate of James Madison University and is a former marching member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. He also was the former director of Nelson Co HS, Powhatan HS, and Bassett Middle School.
Many will remember his contributions to AIA as founding director of Dominion Winterguard and The Study Winterguard as well as being responsible for guiding them and many other units into WGI World finals while continually carrying the banner for AIA. He also served at the A Class representative on the WGI advisory board for many years.
In one of his nomination letters, it states that “David has had more of an artistic impact on our activity and the guards in our local area for two decades than any other instructor/designer I can think of. My long term view of David that I have of him is as a teacher who has influenced thousands of students in a positive manner, and he has passed along the color guard tradition to many local and nationally recognized instructors and judges.” His creativity has been successfully represented at the national level year after year with the numerous color guards listed above.
Scott Gordon was a member of AIA since its inception supporting multiple color guard and percussion units and was been an integral part of the success of AIA. He is a graduate of Liberty University, a former member of Star of Indiana and at the time of his induction was the Band Director at Powhatan HS. AIA benefited from Scott’s involvement early on in pioneering the percussion activity in the circuit. His unit was one of approximately 4 competing units when the percussion activity started in AIA. Scott also served on the Executive Board and helped to develop the infrastructure to support and grow the percussion activity in AIA to the levels of participation we see today.
Scott hosted WGI Percussion and Color Guard regional contests at his school with great success and in doing so presented AIA and our region in the utmost fashion on a national stage. His organization hosted AIA Championships for multiple years as well. Scott worked continually for many years hosting the AIA Website to effectively communicate updates to the membership all policies, procedures, and schedules and provided this support “free of charge”.
In 2004, Scott submitted the concept and chartered the formation of the “AIA Hall of Honor” and was responsible for the induction of Dave and Darlene Priester. It is only fitting that Scott is recognized as a Hall of Honor recipient for his outstanding contributions to the circuit.
At the time of his induction, Jeffery Dale had been instructing color guard students for over sixteen years, twelve of which he had been an independent instructor in AIA. Jeffery successfully built a nationally competitive program, First Flight, that has fostered and nurtured many noted color guard writers and designers. First Fight has represented AIA on the national level since its inception and has been a world finalist 7 times and has won numerous WGI Regional events. Jeffery has consistently held the education and positive life changing experiences of the members of his unit as the highest priority. His passion and dedication to education has encouraged many of his students to become instructors for other local units where they are able to pass on their knowledge and love of the art. At the time of his induction, Jeffery had also offered an annual spin clinic, for six years, serving hundreds of high school units, their members and instructors. Approximately 100 – 125 individuals from AIA attended this clinic yearly. Jeffery’s love of color guard influenced many through the years as he’s been a role model, mentor and friend to both his colleagues and students.
In addition to the work with his unit, Jeffery has been an avid supporter of AIA. Jeff served on the Executive Board of Directors for multiple years and also produced the first ever AIA yearbook for the circuit. In working with other volunteers and member units, Jeffery displays commitment and unwavering resolve to increase educational opportunities and develop our students of today to become our instructors and leaders of tomorrow. Jeffery Dale has been and continues to be an ambassador of AIA and education in the performing arts.
At the time of his induction, Warren Rickart’s performance, instruction, and judging career had spanned over a 22 year period and started this affiliation with the Sport of the Arts. His continued role holds significance to all the performers, educators, and fellow adjudicators nationwide. Warren has performed with Miller’s Blackhawks, the Colts, and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, building a foundation for his future that was destined to be bright.
After his performing years came to a close, Warren immediately jumped into the activity on the other side of the warm-up block by teaching groups at James Madison High School, Oakton High School, and Herndon High Schools respectively as well as others throughout the county.
Warren is the epitome of an educator. As the AIA Director of Judge’s Education, Warren mentored and trained many judges for AIA. Warren’s spirit for teaching inspired many to make the leap to the judge’s community. His insightfulness, knowledge, constructive and supportive feedback, elevated our judging community to new heights.
Warren represents the Atlantic Indoor Association on the national level as a sought after WGI movement and general effect judge for over two decades. He represents our circuit in the utmost fashion. The impact of his expertise and passion is felt nationwide. Whether it is the performer learning how to correct a turn out from taped commentary, to the instructor getting advice in critique, or the many fellow judges who look to Warren for leadership, guidance, and encouragement, Warren’s passion for color guard is felt by all.
Warren’s dedication to the Sport of the Arts spans over thirty years but his affect on the quality of adjudication, the sustainability of many high school programs, and the improvements units made weekly is evident at every AIA competition. Warren Rickart was a pillar of the AIA community and most deserving of AIA’s highest honor not only for his accomplishments in AIA and WGI but for his boundless spirit and unwavering passion for education in the arts.
Jody Jones was an integral part of the success of AIA since the inception of the circuit. He has been involved in AIA as an instructor, a board member, and as a performer. He did these roles SIMULTANEOUSLY and not in succession which makes this even more impressive. At the time of his induction he was the AIA Color Guard Coordinator. As Color Guard Coordinator Jody was always an advocate to all of the units. While serving on the Executive Board of AIA in the roles of President and Color Guard Coordinator, he always strived to provide support to the units and instructors in any way he could as a board member and a fellow instructor. He has been especially mindful of the new units coming into the circuit and was there in many ways to support them on their new journey into AIA. In addition, he was always available at any time to lend a helping hand to other board members, show coordinators, show hosts and directors in helping a show to operate as smoothly as possible. He worked continually to ensure the success and growth of AIA. It was not uncommon for the board to get emails from him at 3am providing solutions for AIA.
Jeff H. Richardson states: “For Jody, It’s not about placement. It has always been about the guard members themselves and whether they are growing as performers and more importantly as young mature adults in this ever-changing world”. When everyone else is tired and worn out, he never seems to run out of energy and enthusiasm. Jody Jones is the ultimate “Cheerleader” of the Color Guard World.
Tracey Hedrick served AIA in many different capacities since the circuit’s inception in the mid 1990’s. Tracey participated in numerous leadership roles within AIA as a board member and color guard coordinator, and at the time of her induction contest coordinator. She has primarily been color guard instructor for Roanoke Rapids HS. She held this position for 18 years, which speaks clearly to her dedication to her program and to her kids. Her programs were consistently unique, thought provoking, and always changing from year to year. At the time of her induction Tracey was a successful elementary school teacher in the Roanoke Rapids school system.
Her contributions as the contest coordinator are myriad, and she dedicates numerous hours of her personal time to coordinate AIA shows. Though many of her activities may not have been apparent to the average person, anyone who participated in, judged in, or hosted a show knew exactly how valuable Tracey was to AIA. Her attention to detail was second to none. Tracey’s tireless efforts included communication with show hosts, units and judges, compiling schedules for all shows, preparing tapes, running the recap programs, making judges sheets, coordinating the judges and tabulation areas, running critiques, and much more. Her passion for doing things right was notably beneficial to individual show hosts, because when a problem arose Tracey was one step ahead, and usually had the solution in place or not far behind.
Visiting judges always commented on how organized AIA shows are compared to other shows around the country. Tracey had the ability to juggle many different tasks and tough situations and she always carried with her the same warm, friendly demeanor regardless of the situation. Just like the Right Guard commercial from long ago, you will “never see her sweat.” Her professionalism, values, and work ethic are qualities we recognize and respect.
Paul Orsett has been an integral part of AIA since its inception in the mid 1990’s and at the time of his induction Paul was the 1st Vice President for AIA. Paul continued on to become President and later lead AIA through a reorganization into two regional bodies. During the formative years of AIA North and AIA South Paul served at the AIA Executive Director retiring in 2019.
Paul Orsett served many roles during his tenure with AIA. He was been an instructor of various units within the circuit, and his attention to detail in instruction was outstanding. He was always the prepared director who came into critique with his questions in hand. He most definitely led the discussion about his units and was the epitome of accountability. He introduced the activity to people like Jay Jernigan, Trey Alligood, John Leonard, Jeff Dale and Michael Townsend to name a few. All of these individuals have gone on to teach, design and perform at the highest levels of WGI. Paul definitely embodies the belief of “Teaching Tomorrows Teachers.”
His contributions to the improvements and reliability of the sound system used at all contests are tremendous. He implemented a standard set up for each of the shows. He introduced the concept of running a show without CD’s and completely utilizing digital technology for playbacks which practically eliminated the incidents of re-starts. He continues to develop the process and local talent for announcing at shows. The professionalism demonstrated by the announcers is a tremendous asset to the circuit and promotes a positive image to all who attend AIA sanctioned shows. He continues to be an active volunteer for WGI and represents AIA in the highest fashion. He is one of the announcers at the WGI World Championships; and you can hear his voice announcing the best color guards in the country.
His contributions to AIA as 1st Vice President were numerous. He put in long hours working on communications, budgets, planning, judges support, and as facilitator of the board meetings just to name a few. His dedicated work with improvements in the financial system and policies to ensure AIA’s continued financial success is alone worthy of this recognition.
Doug Casteen has served AIA as a judge since its inception and is currently the Chief Judge responsible for recruitment; education and assignment of all color guard adjudicators for AIA sanctioned events. The ongoing education and development of qualified adjudicators for the pageantry arts as well as the development and betterment of competing marching and musical units in AIA has been realized under his direction.
Doug Casteen is originally from Raleigh, NC and is a graduate of NC State University. He has been judging marching bands and color guards for the last 18 years. He is a former member of Avant Garde from Saratoga Springs NY, the 27th Lancers from Revere, MA, and the Star of Indiana from Bloomington, IN. He has been active as an adjudicator for many judges associations for marching band and color guard. Some of these include USSBA (Pennsylvania), SCBDA (South Carolina), ISSMA (Indiana), CIPA (North Carolina), and FFCC (Florida). He has instructed various marching bands and winter guards throughout the Southeastern US. At the time of his induction Doug was in his 6th year as a General Effect Judge for Winter Guard International and in his 4th year as Chief Judge for AIA.
Many AIA instructors and judges have had numerous opportunities to work with Doug through the years and all can attest to his endless concern and dedication to this activity. When taking the role of AIA Chief Judge, it was his goal to build on the successes of the previous AIA judges’ administrators. Recent accomplishments that our units have experienced nationally make it clear that things are in good shape for the AIA color guard community. He continues to focus on improvements from the judging area, and when the opportunity presents itself, he makes things better. Under his direction, the judges continually train and reinforce the WGI judging philosophy and values. In addition to leading the local judges, he supplements panels with nationally based judges who continue to provide the AIA units a variety of viewpoints and evaluations. Many nationally based judges who come here communicate how impressed they are with AIA and continually request return visits. He ensures the continued bonafication status of the judging association with WGI. The job of chief judge is a nonstop exercise in patience, communication, and problem resolution. It is a balancing act of huge proportions and more often than not, thankless.
His presentation into the AIA Hall of Honor is took place in his hometown and was an opportunity to give tribute to the person who has supported AIA and driven improvements in the judging community for many years.
Karen Watkins was an integral part of the inception of AIA. She was the first AIA president, a color guard instructor for several member units, and dedicated herself tirelessly to the success of AIA and to the advancement of the indoor activity. Ms. Karen Watkins was one of the founding board members and served for five years as AIA’s first president.
During the formative years Karen provided sound guidance and strong leadership. Her vision for the circuit was one of growth. Not just growth in terms of size, but in finding ways to better serve the young people involved in the activity. Karen has worked as a color guard instructor for several AIA member units, served as a competition coordinator and facilitated AIA championships several times during the first few years. Under her leadership AIA began working toward becoming a bona-fide affiliate of WGI, and, AIA branched out through Virginia, Maryland, and eastern and central North Carolina. Karen helped to institute a program of growth in adjudication by insisting on quality training and a program of evaluation for adjudicators. She has dedicated herself tirelessly to the success of Atlantic Indoor Association and to the advancement of the indoor activity. Through her leadership AIA was transformed from an idea into an organization which has served thousands of young people for more than twenty years.
The Priesters were an integral part of the inception of AIA, and laid the foundations for judging and operations. Their efforts bear witness to their tireless dedication to our children.
Darlene held a special place in the world of pageantry as a judge, instructor, and avid supporter of making color guard a unique experience for all performers. Darlene’s own experience began as a small child watching her grandfather and father instruct drum corps in Ohio. At the age of ten, she began performing with the Brook Park Rangerettes. While a member, the Rangerettes won consecutive VFW National Championships and Darlene earned the Junior Drum Major National Championship. She also marched as a bugle and mellophone player with the Port Clinton Sweethearts, the Buckeye State Caballeros, and the Ohio Caballeros Drum and Bugle Corps. She and other Drum Corps members later formed the Commanderes, a Ladies Senior Color Guard. At the age of 21, Darlene began judging with the All American Judges Association in Cleveland, Ohio, along with her father, Jack, and her brother, Dennis. She became the first woman to serve as assistant chief and chief judge for the American Legion competitions.
In 1978, Darlene brought her husband David into judging. Together they judged parades and marching competitions. When they moved to Virginia in 1980, they both joined the National Judges Association. Darlene learned the aspects of movement and equipment captions, while David learned General Effect. Together, they headed up TOB Chapter 12, the southernmost region within the organization. Darlene took great care in making sure the chapter ran as effectively as possible. She was often seen explaining terminology and helping new instructors to understand how their shows were judged.
For many years, Darlene volunteered for Winter Guard International. She started on the refreshment staff and worked her way up to become one of the top tabulators, often working during the World class performances. In 1991, David and their daughter, Darcie, joined her at WGI. All three staffed the Richmond and Mid-Atlantic Regionals, as well as volunteering at WGI World Championships.
Darlene also had two important roles outside the pageantry activity. Her most important was being a mother — a job she truly cherished and took great pride in. Darlene was also a substitute teacher for Prince William County Schools and worked with severe and profound handicapped students. A job that many would find difficult, Darlene enjoyed every minute. In fact, Darlene enjoyed working with students and felt that they came first.
With this belief in mind, Darlene and David noticed the decline of their judges’ association, Worried that the situation would only continue to worsen, they and several other people began discussions towards forming another organization. That organization became Atlantic Indoor Association.
Darlene also worked as a visual technician for Hylton High School’s marching band. She helped them win many first place marching and general effect awards, as well as overall first place awards.