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The Cadets Hall of Fame Committee has announced the following is a nominee for the 2012 Class of the Cadets Hall of Fame.

Richard Chirichella

 

Nomination Letter:

 

I nominate Richard (Richie) Chirichella.  He was an outstanding leader and great role model as a drum major and a Cadet for many years.  He was a friend to everyone and was always there to help his fellow Cadet members. 

 

Even though he left most of us in the Cadet World with an empty hole in our heart when he passed away at the age of 18 from complications from a broken leg playing our annual football game at the  end of the season with the Muchacho’s.  His death was heard and missed from the whole drum corps world.

 

I nominate Richie because he was an outstanding person and proud to be a Cadet and wore the uniform with pride.

 

Lillian C. Yocovelli


Letters of Support:

 

This letter is to support the nomination of our brother, Richard Chirichella, into the Cadets Hall of Fame, class of 2011. Richie's dream was to be a Cadet when he started out in drum corps. He got to live that dream when he joined the Garfield Cadets in 1964. He played the base baritone bugle and progressed to the first baritone section in very little time. His skill was rewarded as he was given a solo in the concert portion of the 1965 program.

 

We can remember Richie always prodding us to leave for practice early enough as he never liked to be late. His devotion to the corps was evident as he was chosen “Cadet of the Year” in 1967. This was an honor he truly cherished and was well deserved. As time continued Richie's leadership qualities began to stand out. He started helping instruct the Cadet's Plebes, which was a beginner group of aspiring Cadets. He truly enjoyed doing this.

 

After some time, Richie's knowledge about the various aspects of marching, drumming, playing music, and leadership came to the forefront and he was chosen by the corps administration to be the Cadets Drum Major for the 1969 season. He undertook his duties with a sense of pride and commitment as he led the corps he loved. As a competitor he always pushed himself and the corps to be the best that they possibly could be on the competition field. And he set the example by being a positive role model for the Cadets to also be the best they could off the field of competition.

 

If the corps did not win, Richie was the first drum major to congratulate the winning corps' drum major. Richie remained as the corps drum major for the 1970 and 1971 seasons until his untimely passing in December 1971. We know he would have continued to contribute his time and efforts to the corps he loved after he aged out but the Lord had plans for Richie to lead, guide, inspire and direct from a heavenly field of competition.

 

Our parents and we would be so proud and honored to have our brother, Cadet

Major Richard Chirichella, inducted into the Cadet's Hall of Fame.

 

Thank you for your consideration,

“For Holy Name Shall Always Be”

Gerald Chirichella (1965-70)

Steven Chirichella (1967-71)

 


It is my privilege to send this letter endorsing the nomination of Richard (Richie) Chirichella into The Cadet Hall of Fame.  I first met Richie when I became the Cadet marching (visual) instructor.  We discussed the approach of drill and marching style we would attempt and gradually expand into the show and musical concepts over the next several years.

 

My first impression was of a 19-year old young man, going on 40!  The maturity was amazing.  He had a presence that allowed the staff to trust him in relaying what we were trying to accomplish to the corps members.

 

As a former drum major of The Cadets, I always felt that I conducted myself properly and put the corps’ best interest first.  Having had the opportunity to be around Richie, I remember thinking I was glad I didn’t have to follow him as the drum major – he was on a whole different level.

 

At the end of the 1970 season, I became the director of the corps.  At that time there was a very active booster club with a board of directors; wonderful, well-meaning people. However, trying to get them to understand what needed to be done was exhausting.  I made the decision to leave.  Suddenly there was a petition signed by the members of the corps to have me reconsider.  The next booster meeting I watched as the older members showed up dressed in shirts and ties. Richie addressed the boosters.  He was this now 20-year old, asking for their understanding of the members’ love of the corps and their hopes for the future.

 

 

It was astounding.  The petition was accepted; the outcome – the board resigned!  The thoughts going through my mind were many, one was we would ask worthy aged-out members to stay and help in all aspects of the corps, and, I could last a few more years.  I now knew who the next director would be.  Once again, I was glad I would not have to follow him.

 

Fate had other plans.  In 1971, Richie was taken from us, and many lives were changed.  For me, personally, time now moved in slow motion.  We pushed on, but the joy was gone.

 

There are so many Cadets worthy of being accepted into the Hall of Fame.  Those of us who knew and loved Richie need no explanation for those who did not.  Trust me; you missed knowing one of life’s exceptional people.

 

Richie and I would talk about the corps of the past, what was happening then, and what the future held for the corps.  In those conversations it was obvious that he loved The Cadets – the friends – the corps song – the uniform – the tradition.

 

Although Richie died when he was a young man, his memory still resonates for those of us who had the pleasure of sharing the field with him.  When this wonderful young man was laid to rest, he was wearing his Cadet uniform.  To the end, a Cadet.

 

Sincerely,
Hugh Mahon


Few Cadets qualify as true mentors to rookie Cadets.  Even fewer qualify as mentors to the Regular returning members of the Corps.  Richard “Richie” Chirichella was one of those unique individuals.  Starting with the CW Townsmen Drum & Bugle Corps, then moving to the Cadets as a baritone player, it wasn’t long before his leadership qualities were recognized and rewarded.

 

Richie was appointed Drum Major for the 1969, 1970 and 1971 seasons.  As Drum Major during the 1969 season, Richie had to also earn the respect of the “new” girl guard.  He helped the membership handle the transition from an all-boy corps to a co-ed corps brilliantly. 

 

When Richie got in front of the corps, whether on the field or off the field, he was truly respected by each member, not only because of his position as Drum Major, but because of his caring and instructional nature.

 

The Girls were added to the corps in 1969; in 1970 we toured the Midwest and Florida; 1971 brought the total show concept to the drum corps activity; all of these milestones were done with Richie in front of the corps.

 

Upon aging out in the summer of 1971, Richie continued his Cadet involvement as an assistant marching Instructor.  His instructional career, however, was cut short.  It was during an inter-drum corps football game between the Muchachos and the Cadets, where Richie encountered a leg injury that ultimately took his life.  

 

Full Cadet military honors were bestowed on Richie during the funeral service.  The impact of having such a beloved Cadet member taken from us so early in life was devastating to the membership and Cadet Family.  

 

Even though Richie’s involvement with the corps was short-lived, it is with the deepest respect and honor that I ask the alumni membership to elect Drum Major Richard Chirichella, posthumously, into the Cadets Hall of Fame.

 

Submitted by Greg Cinzio

Cadet Alumnus (1967-77DM)


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