Certain names and faces, whether they know it or not, have shaped the fabric of drum corps history.

Decades of performing arts on football fields across the country have been directly impacted by the work from some of the world’s most accomplished musicians and artists.

For many drum and bugle corps fans, some have probably already come to mind — perhaps it’s Leonard Bernstein, Maynard Ferguson, George Gershwin, or Dmitri Shostakovich.

One whose work arguably takes the cake, though, in terms of its echo across years of drum corps history, and its continued usage and propensity for audience entertainment, was born in 1940, in the host town of the 2023 Drum Corps Associates World Championships, Rochester, New York.

That’s Chuck Mangione.

Mangione is a musical icon in the drum corps activity — one whose music has graced the scores of countless productions under the headings of Drum Corps Associates, Drum Corps International and more.

Eternally grateful for his contributions to drum corps history, Drum Corps Associates is set to honor Mangione as part of its 2023 DCA World Championship events in Rochester, September 1-3.

“Chuck Mangione’s music has been integral to some of the most memorable moments in drum corps history,” DCA president John Carr said. “DCA is excited to say thank you to Chuck Mangione for all of his musical gifts to the world, and especially to drum corps.”

Historically-speaking, hundreds of performing ensembles under the overarching drum corps heading have popularized Mangione’s work over the past five decades and beyond. Whether it’s “Land of Make Believe,” “Children of Sanchez,” “Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor,” or any number of Mangione staples, drum corps yearbooks and repertoires are chock full of his name.

Drum Corps Associates’ tribute to Mangione is scheduled for September 1, as part of the annual Individual and Ensemble and Mini-Corps competitions held Friday night of the DCA Championships. The Friday night tribute event, as well as all of DCA's championship weekend events, will be broadcast live via Box 5 Media.

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Slated for 8 p.m. ET at the Rochester Convention Center, the tribute will be led by well-known DCI broadcast personality Steve Rondinaro, who served as Mangione’s on-screen partner during a feature appearance on the live broadcast of the 1983 DCI World Championships.

1983 DCI World Championships
Steve Rondinaro and Chuck Mangione on the sideline of the 1983 DCI World Championships in Miami.


Fans in attendance will be treated to performances of several of Mangione’s works by the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Corps, as arranged by Larry Kerchner. The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame will also make a special presentation as part of the event.

“Our goal is to say thank you to a man who gave the world, as well as the drum corps world, so much pleasure in his music, performances and dedication to education,” Carr said.

As part of its celebration, DCA is selling T-shirts commemorating the organization’s tribute to Chuck Mangione. Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go toward a charity donation made in Mangione’s honor.

Purchase a Chuck Mangione Tribute t-shirt

Beyond Drum Corps Associates’ Chuck Mangione Tribute, Friday night’s DCA championship festivities will feature a slew of solo, ensemble, and mini-corps performances throughout the vicinity of the Rochester Convention Center. The event is free of charge, and proceeds from sold merchandise will be donated to local charities.

And with the opportunity to take part in drum corps history, as DCA pays homage to one of the activity’s most revered icons, the event serves as a can’t-miss for any drum corps fan.

“Friday night of the DCA Championships is a special night in any season, with a festival atmosphere fit for any fan of drum corps or music as a whole,” Carr said. “The addition of this year’s Chuck Mangione Tribute adds the cherry on top of an entertaining night for attendees of all ages.”

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