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The Cadets Hall of Fame Committee has announced the following is a nominee for the 2011 Class of the Cadets Hall of Fame.

Greg Lagola

 

 

Nomination

It is my pleasure to nominate Greg Lagola to The Cadets Hall of Fame.  Greg is currently still with The Cadets and has been part of the design team since 1989.  His longevity and commitment alone is reason enough for his acceptance into the Cadets Hall of Fame but the work he has done over the years for the corps is truly outstanding.  Greg’s role with the corps is the guard choreographer, costume designer and program consultant.

Greg’s beginning with the corps was a crucial turning point for the color guard in 1989.  At that point in time the corps had risen to the top with a few DCI championships and was the corps of the 80’s by the end of the decade.  Primarily due to their strong brass section and visual program for the first half of the decade and then the percussion section followed the last half of the decade.  But the guard took until 1989 to rise to be the best guard in the country and Greg was a big part of that change.

Greg’s unique writing style and approach to musical phrasing was so different than the corps experienced prior to this time.  His organic use of his body as he manipulated a flag, rifle or sabre definitely gave the guard a new look.  And along with Marc Sylvester’s visual design package that staged and integrated the guard into the whole program, changed the look of the corps dramatically in the next decade.

Greg also took the guard’s costuming to new levels through the 90’s.  Up until 1990 the guard costume was mostly a version of the Maroon and Gold uniform the corps wears especially in terms of the color palette.  Greg stepped out of that realm and introduced color and design changes the guard has never witnessed.  

Through the years Greg’s impact has produced many great Cadet color guards and some of the best the activity has ever seen.

Now for me personally Greg has been a true asset when it comes to designing the visual presentation for the corps.  It’s a joy to work with someone who has a love and a passion for what they do.  The collaboration he provides to the program is invaluable.  He’s always positive, always creative, always easy to converse with, always looking for unique and cool interpretations of design.  Greg is a friend, a confidant and someone I continually use as I develop and write the drill for the corps each year.  I know Greg’s involvement with The Cadets is a true labor of love and we are fortunate to have him part of the team.

Outside of The Cadets Greg has a successful career as a fashion designer in New York City.  He’s been involved in the fashion industry for over 20 years. 

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

Jeff Sacktig

Member 1986-1989

Staff 1990-1991, 1993-1994

Visual Designer 1995-2001, 2003-present

Member Cadets Hall of Fame Class of 2008

 



 

Support Letters

 

I am writing, today, to support Greg Lagola for the 2012 Cadets Hall of

Fame.  I wrote in support of his nomination, last year, and was joined by a number of alumni in that nomination.  I believe wholeheartedly that this will be the case, once again.

 

Greg Lagola has been an integral part of the Cadets designed team since

1989, providing our corps with the best our activity has to offer in the way of conceptual design, costuming, and guard work.  His revolutionary approach to writing work is, perhaps, the best that DCI has ever seen, unique in its approach to musicality, shaping, and equipment manipulation.

 

As an adolescent, I grew up watching the Cadets color guard, knowing that I would one day be a part of this storied organization, and Greg Lagola's involvement in the corps played a pivotal role in my decision to audition in the Spring of 2001.  Greg's work is immediately recognizable for its nuance, its breath, and its attention to detail.  

Watching the Cadets perform his work in the 1997 ballad was a revelation for me as a performer; being privileged enough to perform that work, myself, opened my eyes to the sometime laborious, yet always amazing process through which he creates his masterpieces.

 

I was lucky enough to form a close bond with Greg over my three year tenure as a Cadet, and to this day, I view him as my mentor and guide when I write for programs.  Spinning his work in 2003's Rocky Point Holiday is, to this day, the highlight of my 26-year career in color guard.

 

Greg Lagola represents every aspect of what it means to be a Cadet: he is meticulous in his approach to creating moments that will be forever remembered in our activity; he is more than a instructor - he is a leader and guide throughout the season; he consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide his students with the best materials

and education without fail; most importantly, he has served and continues to serve as the inspiration for those whose lives he touches as they go forth to teach others in the performing arts.

 

It is no accident that the majority of the top colorguards in the nation in DCI, BOA, and WGI, are instructed by former students of Greg's.  Some of the most successful names in our community have performed under Greg's tutelage, many of whom who did so in the Cadets organization.  His legacy reverberates throughout our activity, and the lessons he taught us continue to be passed along to young performers just stepping onto the stage.

 

It is for these reasons that I nomination Greg Lagola to the 2012 Cadets Hall of Fame.

 

Marcus J. Hopkins

Cadets Colorguard 2001-2003

 


 

 

I write today on behalf of the thousands of performers who have had the privilege of being taught by Greg Lagola. It is with great pleasure that I recommend Greg for the 2012 Cadets Hall of Fame. Over more than two decades, Greg created an identity for the Cadets color guard, from choreography to concepts and costuming. His passion and dedication, level of taste and his undeniably unique style has helped shape the untarnished reputation of the Cadets Guard year in and year out.

I never got to know Greg on a personal level. I, like so many others, saw Greg as my choreographer and as the legend I had heard so many rave about. I was first introduced to Greg as a rookie in the 2003 Cadets Color Guard. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Though I had performed the choreography  of  many  great  writers  in  the  past,  Greg’s  work  was  unlike  anything I  had  ever  done.    With   his use of multiple planes, his effortless combination of equipment and body, his beautiful  ‘Greg  Logala’   stylistic nuances, his seamless phrasing and his thoughtful musicality, I was being introduced to a new world of spinning.

When I think of integrity of work, Greg immediately comes to mind. He holds such high standards for his performers and will not settle for his intent or his style choices being compromised. One can take days, months or seasons aspiring to make the work look as he had envisioned it. The quality and attention to detail it takes to even attempt a Greg Lagola masterpiece is something I prayed I could one day embody.

For three years, I was so lucky to be a Cadet and to learn from Mr. Lagola and the rest of my unbelievable staff. For three years, my color guards chased the championship guard trophy that we knew the Cadets deserved. I was so proud that I was in a drum corps whose color guard performed quality and standard setting  choreography  outdoors.    I  loved  knowing  that  our  book  was  harder  than  most,  even  if  we  weren’t   getting credit for it. Over the years, I performed  Greg’s  Rocky  Point  Holiday  flag  work  in  2003,  his  short   lived  but  visionary  ‘No  Hands’  silent  flag  feature  in  the  2004  ‘Jethro  Tull’  show,  and  his  artistic  audition   pieces that so few got the great privilege of being exposed to. Though my first two years in the Cadets color  guard  challenged  me  with  Greg’s  intricate  and  detailed  choreography,  it  was my  final  year  that   made him a true Cadet icon in my eyes.

In 2005, I was blessed. From the very beginning of this, my age out summer with the Cadets, we knew it would  be  a  special  year.  As  our  ‘The  Zone’  production  started  to  take  life  at         spring  training,  we  began  to   learn  what  would  later  become  my  proudest  performing moment  in  my  color  guard  career,  Bjork’s  'New   World' ballad as choreographed by Greg Lagola. Telling the story of a dreamlike regal chess match set to incredibly arranged music and genius staging, many have said this was one of the best ballad productions in DCI history and it is certainly amongst the finest choreography I have ever learned. Greg found a way to use three color guard sections to create the notes in his skillfully composed symphony. I still get chills watching the DCI Finals run of this piece. Each section weaved in and around each other, with breathtaking highs and lows, with the perfect balance found between compliment and contrast. It was the epitome of a show coming to life.

I tell people all the time that this was the most challenging work I ever learned. As anyone who has ever learned from Greg in the past can attest to, it takes hard work to keep up. After we finished learning the choreography over the course of only a few rehearsals, the members representing the white chess pieces, myself included, were asked to relearn the work on the other hand. If achieving what was in Greg’s   imagination was hard the first time around, perfecting the mirrored version would be quite a task. Left handed blade tosses and right handed hilt tosses were immediately thrown into our repertoire. We had to retrain our muscle to feel comfortable performing everything backwards from what we had always known. Being taken so far out of my comfort zone forced me to become truly ambidextrous and open to a way of spinning that felt foreign. I can vividly remember late nights in the field house with the sabre line, working so hard to prepare for the first competition right around the corner. Once again, Greg raised our standards and challenged us beyond our imaginations.

I  truly  believe  that  Greg’s  choreography  for  the  2005  ballad  is  what  made  me  fall in  love  with the feeling of spinning sabre. I gained a new understanding of how to use the weight of my equipment and how to dance with my sabre as an extension of my body. As a dancer finds therapy in their art, I found therapy in this equipment book many nights alone before I went to bed. I can remember, so clearly, my last ever warm up as a Cadets color guard member. My final step of warm up, as it was every night, was one last run through my ballad. I found a street light in the Gillette Stadium parking lot and under it I enjoyed every  count  of  this  work.  In  my  head,  I  thought  “I  can’t  believe  I  will  never  get  to  perform  this  after   tonight.”  I  didn’t  know  that  Greg  was  watching  me  through this  last  run.  He  approached  me  and  gave  me   compliments that to this day I hold  so  close  to  my  heart.  I’m  sure  Greg  wouldn’t  remember  a  second  of   that conversation, or even that it happened, but for me, it was a defining moment in my now 20 years of color guard. I had learned how to perform his work and that night, as I performed it in our Finals run and in our encore performance, I soaked up all the slow motion moments that you dream of as a performer. I knew, even then, that I was a part of something historical. That night, the Cadets won the color guard trophy for the first time in nine years. When people ask if I miss marching, my first instinct is to say no, and then I honestly think of that work. I have no regrets and I was truly blessed in every experience I got to have as a marching member, but if I could go back one more time, to one more place, I would perform that ballad again, as the powerful and beautiful white queen chess piece that Greg allowed me to believe that I was.

As I stated in the beginning of this letter, I never got to know Greg on a personal level. I am just someone who marched in the Cadets for a few years, like so many others. When I received a message that Greg was being considered for a nomination, I first was shocked that he had yet to be inducted and then I jumped at the chance to write my own letter of recommendation to repay Greg for all that he has unknowingly and selflessly done for me. I feel as though I represent such a large group of people. I never got  to  teach  with  Greg,  we’ve  never  gone  to  lunch  and  I  think  I  may  have  only  had  a  half  dozen  actual conversations with him, but as a Cadet, he shaped the performer that I was and most importantly the teacher  and  choreographer  I  am  today.  Greg  taught  me  what  the  word  ‘nuance’  means.    I  credit  Greg  for   my attention to detail and for the high standards I place on my students. I push them though the difficult learning moments, knowing that they can accomplish whatever is given to them and that it will help them grow into stronger, well-rounded performers. With his brief appearance in my life I learned so much about color guard as an art form, stylistic integrity, and most importantly, I gained a greater respect and appreciation for the activity that has and will continue to change my life.

On behalf of myself and so many of my Cadets color guard family, please accept this letter of recommendation to accept Greg Lagola into the 2012 Cadets Hall of Fame.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Bolduc

Cadets Color Guard Member 2003, 2004, 2005
Cadets Color Guard Captain 2005

Cadet of the Year 2005

For Holy Name Shall Always Be

 


 

 

I am writing this letter to Nominate Greg Lagola to be inducted into The Cadets Hall of Fame. From the first time I saw the Cadets of Bergen County in 1989 at Hofstra Stadium on Long Island to when I retired from being Caption Supervisor of The Cadets Color Guard in 2007 Greg Lagola has been the head Choreographer and Designer for the

Color Guard. His style and design has been a major force in the colorguard caption for the entire Drum Corp Activity. This is why I think he should be added to The Cadets Hall of Fame.

 

When I started marching at The Cadets in 1991 Greg was my teacher, challenging me in ways I had never even thought about before. He opened my eyes to handling flag, rifle and sabre in a totally new and exciting way. His choreography was always innovative and crafted to perfection by Greg’s incredible attention to detail.  In 1995 I became an instructor and was able to work side by side with Greg to learn even more about the process of design, color, manipulation of equipment, and coordinating a total package.  Greg inspired me during those years that in 1997 and 1998 I had become one of the choreographers for The Cadets Guard, again changing my roll and experiences with Greg.

Greg is such an amazing person, teacher, designer, and team player who has been involved with The Cadets since 1989. He should given the honor of being inducted into The Cadets Hall of Fame.

Thank you,

 

Jonathan Schwartz



Greg Lagola truly could be one of the most honorable men that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing in my life.  Positive expressions, such as, “everything happens for a reason”, holds true as it pertains to Greg Lagola.  Please allow me to explain.

 

In the fall of 1988, George Hopkins and I had conversations and he stated to me, ‘If you do not tell me who you want to teach the Cadets this summer, I will hire someone myself”.  That statement can scare anyone, especially if you know Hopkins.

 

He then made me aware of me someone that had called the office interested in teaching the Cadets. When I asked him who it was, he told me that he did not remember, but “Lagola something”.  My eyes lit up.  I then asked Hopkins what he said to him and he said  “nothing someone else took the message. I just found the number on my desk and threw it away”.  My heart began to beat and I asked him which trash bag it was in.  I remember, clear as day, looking threw the trash bin located outside the corps office for approximately 3 hours, and me being me, I found the number.  I took the number to Hop and told him to call him, this dude will be the future of the corps.

 

Hopkins asked me how I knew him. I told Hop I had seen him at local winter guard shows and his guard was my favorite. George asked if the guard was good and I said nope but I liked them. George relayed his inhibitive nature by stating “GREAT! Just what I need…another loser”.  I said to myself, “not this time George…not this time”!

 

Time went on and I was right.

 

When Greg walked through the door I said to myself, “Oh lord what did I do”. His work was crazy, and he cared about detail so much, that I did NOT understand what was going on!  As time went on, I started to understand that the small stuff is what matters the most when starting any design process.  I remember he yelled at me for 2 hours because I took a free hand out of a phrase that to him was the most important note in the show!  At that point, I started to learn about nuance. The learning experience did not stop there.

 

When he told me what the members were wearing for the summer, I said “NO…they can’t, they need a uniform”.  He then told me “NO…they need to look like people and that each member’s personality needed to be seen while performing”.  They need to feel comfortable.   It is not the clothes that make the performer; it is the performer that makes the clothes.

 

Greg was the first writer I worked with when I started my teaching career, and I must admit, the BEST one as well. As time went on, and he started to be known by all, he wanted nothing to do with the public persona.  He would beg me not to put his name on anything because he didn’t want anyone to know who he was.  He always tells me, “It is not about me (meaning Greg); it is about those kids having a great experience”.

 

I could go on and on about Greg, but for anyone who knows him, his touch turns all to gold.  He has taught many, MANY groups out of love and dedication…and not for the money.  

 

He has made a huge impact in the design aspect in our activity, as well as outside of our activity.  Whenever you say his name to anyone, a big smile always comes to their face.  He is admired by many and loved by all.

 

Greg taught me never to be afraid of chance.  He has insight and never looks back. He is a friend in and outside the activity.  You can call him anytime and ask a question, and he is there to help always, yet is not the type to ask help from others…for he wants people to spend their time making their lives better not concerning themselves about him.

 

I have known Greg and have worked with Greg for 20 years now and I must say, everyday is a new smile and a new experience, but most of all, a moment in time that all can truly cherish forever.

 

It is an honor and a privilege to write this letter on behalf of Greg.  He is truly an inspiration and his style and thought processes have enhanced this activity over the years more then anyone I know.

 

 

Thank you for your considerations.  If there is anything else that I can do, do not hesitate to let me know. This my friends is a no brainer!! He should be in hands down:)))

 

Respectfully,

April Gilligan/Martinez

 

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