Russ Jones began his life in this activity in 1948 with the Flint Skylarks Sr. Drum Corps. By 1958, he decided that there was a need to prepare kids for the Skylarks, so he started the Corvair Cadets for juniors with the help of fellow Skylarks Charlie Rice, Bob Cobb and brother Rudy Jones. As time went on, the demands of the junior corps forced him to retire from the senior group to concentrate on the demands of the younger kids. Under his guidance, the junior corps became the Guardsmen and rose to national prominence until they place fifth in the country in Class A at the US Open in 1971 just before the era of DCI.
As the corps struggled through the 1970's, Russ' creative talents led him to patent a spinning cymbal handle, several aluminum percussion carriers and eventually the first set of quint tenor drums sets in the country in the early 1980's.
As the cost of the drum corps activity pushed the Flint corps out of existence in the early 1980's, Russ diverted his attention to the winter guard arena. In 1984, he brought in Orlando Suttles to begin the legendary Studio One. Always working in the background, Russ worked with MCGC founding father John Robertson to bring Y.E.S. Club into the sponorship of Studio One. That connection continued until Russ' death in 1995. With his death came the death of Studio One, Y.E.S. Club and that entire genre of youth activity in the Flint area. Only in recent years has the participation in the Flint area began to grow again.
Brian has taught many units in the MCGC since 1983. Some of those units are: Bridgeport 7th Star, Rising Star, Flushing, and L'anse Creuse North. Brian has served as the MCGC Treasurer several times, including the early years of the circuit. He has always been there to make sure the MCGC ran smoothly. Brian has also been a vital part of organizing and running MCGC Championships for many years. No matter where Brian is working that day, he is making sure that all the different aspects of MCGC Championships are running smoothly.
Laura Goodman has been a part of the circuit since 1982. She has taught many units over the years such as Bridgeport 7th Star, West Bloomfield, Lakeview, L'Anse Creuse North, Bentley, Spirit of Windsor, Silhouette, Nuance, Trenton, and Garden City. Laura was the MCGC Secretary from 1983 until 1995. She then served as President for two years until 1997. Since then Laura has been the chairperson of the Championship Awards and Scholarship committees.
Lyn DiNard was an instructor and judge in the late 1970's. Lyn's commentary on judges tapes gave many of todays instructors and judges the guidance needed to continue in the activity. Lyn has been a supporter of the marching activity for many years and was a standard on the GLJA judging panel for the MCGC.
John Robertson was the founding father of the MCGC, organizing it in 1975 (as the International Color Guard Circuit) and serving as President and Contest Director in the circuit's formative years. An accomplished French horn player in band and drum corps, John went on to write drill and instruct for various Michigan & Ontario drum corps, marching bands & color guards before founding Providence Winter Guard in '83. John organized Youth Encouragement Systems (Y.E.S. Club) as a fund-raising arm to help support Providence and (later) Studio One. He was also one of the nine charter members of the Great Lakes Judging Association (GLJA).
Sharon MacLean is probably the most familiar voice in the MCGC. Sharon started in the circuit as an adult. She had marched in drum corps as a child and her goal is always to "give back a bit" of what she was given. She has given much. Sharon has been the director or instructor of many groups for many years. Sharon was a contest director for the MCGC for many years. Her voice announcing a show was a mainstay for several years. Sharon also served as President of the MCGC.
D. Scott Heister
Scott came to the MCGC fresh from marching with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. He didn't know how to spin a piece of equipment", but he sure could teach and write some amazing drill for our groups. Scott has worked with groups such as West Bloomfield, Bentley, Linden, Studio One and Ypsilanti. Scott also has served on the MCGC Board of Directors as President.
J. Stephen Yoder
Steve Yoder started with the MCGC in 1977. Since 1979, Steve had served on the Board of Directors in many positions, including President and Vice President. Steve was also a member of the MCGC Judges Associations (GLJA & MCGJA) since its inception. Steve served as not only a Color Guard judge, but also as a Percussion Judge. Steve was an instructor, designer or director for many of our circuit’s prominent groups including: Bridgeport 7th Star, East Side Connection, West Bloomfield, Flushing, Forte’, Northcoast Academy Winter Guard, Garden City, Glassmen Winterguard, Chesaning, CMU Metamorphosis, Arthur Hill Percussion and NorthCoast Academy Percussion.
Tom Weidner came to Bridgeport and the MCGC in 1982. He quickly became involved with the circuit and became President in 1983 and remained in that position for several years. Tom was responsible for continuing the Bridgeport tradition of excellence in marching when he started 7th Star in 1982. Tom continues to support MCGC and is one of the vital cogs in the wheel that keeps the MCGC Championships contest running smoothly.
Inducted: 1998 (deceased)
Dan Divish was a GLJA judge for many years. He spent many hours in the stands adjudicating the MCGC units. He is instrumental in organizing many parlor sessions for instructors and judges over the years. The three tier system was being put into play and Regional A Class was being added. The activity was changing from being a marching activity to being more focused on body. He spent hours educating the judging community in Michigan about these new ideas and how WGI viewed them. He was at every GLJA event supporting the activity and very involved in setting up the MCGJA. Although Dan lived in Ohio", he spent many hours in Michigan striving to make the MCGC a better place to participate.
Nephew of the late Russ Jones, Dannie was a prominent drill writer for Studio One and many other groups from the Flint area. He served as MCGC Vice President and worked to educate the instructors on what judges expected out of the competing units.
Nephew of the late Russ Jones. Before Phil became the music that fills the time between unit performances, Phil was an instructor. Phil sponsored a color guard from Chelsea for many years. His support didn't stop there. Until 2019, Phil spent hour after hour every weekend from January until April making sure the music started when it was supposed to for each unit and that the levels were correct to make the soundtrack the best possible for the performers. Without Phil at the controls, the music our groups rely on to perform to wouldn't have happened.
Before Joey became a judge, he was responsible for putting guards on the floor like St. Charles and Chesaning. Those two units were a few of the very first guards in the the MCGC in the early 1980's. Joey's groups were always the tough ones to beat. Joey has since become very involved in what is now known as the MCGJA, formerly know as GLJA. He spends many hours giving units input on how to make their shows more effective. Joey is also the founder of West Michigan Winter Guard (WMWG).
Marci Carlberg, along with Joey Orefice, is responsible for putting out such outstanding groups in the 1980's such as St. Charles. Marci has been a vital part of the West Michigan Winter Guard organization for over ten years. Although Marci has never held an MCGC Board position, she has been an active part of the membership for many years. Marci currently supports the MCGC as Equipment Caption Head for the MCGJA.
Duane Comerford was part of the group that originally founded and set the wheels in motion for the MCGC in 1975 and the following years. His work is the reason that so many of us have a strong circuit of which to be a part.
Manjit Gill was very influential serving as Contest Director/Coordinator during a period of great growth and development. She defined that position for many years to come. She has been an instructor with many MCGC groups over the years. Manjit holds the distinction of teaching different groups with Scott Heister and Steve Yoder in the same season (and still being sane at the end of it). She continues to be a tabulator for MCGC and serving on committees and other functions as needed.
Dave Watt has been involved with the MCGC in some capacity for close to 20 years. His contributions to the color guard activity", both indoors and outdoors, have been tremendous. The list of units Dave has been involved with is extensive – too long to list. In the beginning, there was The Bandettes, Forte’ and Lakeview Chrysalis. In 2004 alone, he was involved with fifteen MCGC groups on some level (and some out of state). Dave has also played a key role in instructing, inspiring and mentoring many of our circuit’s instructors, judges and administrators. He concentrates on training “up and coming” instructors from his independent groups to become the next group of designers, technicians and judges within our circuit. When thinking of the West Michigan Winter Guard groups alone (Forte’, Crescendo and Interplay) over 45 names (as of 2004) came to mind immediately as instructors and designers in the MCGC, as well as MCBA, BOA, WGI and DCI – some of whom have gone on to national success, including an original four-year member of BLAST!
Dave has not only contributed to the color guard world as an instructor, designer, mentor and friend, but he has also played a key role in the administration of the MCGC and WGI. Dave has also played a significant part in the continuing education and growth of our circuit’s units, instructors and judges, spearheading the MCGC’s 2003 mission to educate our instructors on design and technique principals and promote growth within our WGI classes. The fruits of his labor are evident in the number and strength of our Regional A and WGI classes over the last few years, as well as the obvious increase in quality of design by our circuit as a whole. At our instructor and student clinics, Dave has generously volunteered his time and offered free show consultations to any member our circuit. Dave’s effort and dedication to the activity is evident in the higher quality design seen throughout our circuit at all levels.
Mike Robinson has been involved with the MCGC since the mid-90's. He has instructed many class champions as well as served on the MCGC Board of Directors. He was incredibly conscientious as he performed the duties of the MCGC Treasurer. He even performed these tasks efficiently and effectively while living in California for a year.
Mike always brought a calm, level-headed reasoning to board meetings. He asked the important questions which made all pause to see the situation from another side. More important than all the hours served as a board member, Mike has been a mentor. He has trained others to be instructors and freely given of his analytical skills including providing "judges tapes" to any unit that asked.
Mike has given many hours of his time giving input to groups that needed consulting or an outside opinion. He has "saved the day" for many units with his cool, calculated commentary and encouragement. Mike has never asked for recognition of all the time and effort that has meant so much to so many of us. He is the true "Hall of Fame" model.
Rich Hogan has been involved with the MCGC since the beginning of the percussion classes as an instructor and judge. He attended the WGI Academy, and studied with several of the leading percussion judges. Rich has also taught several groups over the years including Huron Valley Percussion, Novi Percussion, NorthCoast Academy and Arthur Hill Percussion.
In addition to all of these programs he has helped to develop, his most influential contribution to the MCGC is to the current competing percussion units and staff. He has had the privilege of instructing current staff members of Great Lakes Percussion, Eastside Fury, NorthCoast Academy and DeWitt Ice.
Rich has numerous students marching in almost every independent MCGC ensemble. Many of these members and other students he has taught are also involved in the Drum Corps activity including Cadets, Cavaliers, Glassmen, Crossmen, Bluecoats, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard and most of the other "Top 12" Drum Corps. This brings his contribution to the growth of the MCGC to an unparalleled level.
Rich has greatly influenced the activity as a judge, instructor, director and so many have been able to take their groups higher thanks to his contributions.
Inducted: 2007 (deceased)
Dean Christopher served the MCGC as a unit director, staff member and designer of Trenton and Cassopolis. He served for years as a judge and as a trainer for new judges. He also served on the Executive Board and many committees. Along with this were many years of dedication to all of the pageantry arts including marching band and drum corps. Dean was also a dedicated educator.
Deceased - 2006
Dan Love has previously served as President for 2 years and Contest Coordinator for 4 years. He has also served as a Director-at-Large and on many committees. He chaired or served on the Rules Committee each year between 1997 and 2005. Dan began his winter guard experience in 1988 as a member of Lakeview Chrysalis. Afterwards, he went on to perform with the Forte' Winterguard. Dan also instructed the following winter guards: Lakeview, Allegan, Troy Athens Alias, Phoenix, South Lake Entourage, Linden Wings, and Wings Independent. Dan was instrumental in facilitating the first WGI Regional in Michigan at Troy Athens HS in 2006.
Stephanie has been involved with the MCGC since 1988. She marched with Lakeview Chrysalis (88-91), Studio One (92-94) and Forte’ (95-96) winter guards. She has also taught several color guards around Michigan: Troy Athens “ALIAS”, Lakeview Moniker, Ypsilanti, Epiphany of Lakeland, Plymouth-Canton Open and Interplay. Stephanie has been involved with the administrative side of the circuit since 2001, initially assisting with Championships Awards. Since then, her role evolved to meet the needs of the membership and administration by developing new communication tools and processes to aid in the management of our ever-growing circuit. Stephanie served on the Board of Directors as Contest Coordinator for 2 years and Secretary for 1 year. She also served on the Awards, Design, Rules, Badges and Championships committees. She managed all design and communications projects, primarily the MCGC website for many years.
Juno Orefice served as the Judge Coordinator for the MCGC from 2002 until 2019. He helped develop the judging side of the association from the ground floor and fostered the growth of judges as well as unit membership. He helped implement hands-on clinics for students, judges training and judges journals. His attitude of “it’s for the students” has been maintained and professed over his many years of service. His philosophy and guidance to our circuit judges and units has helped the MCGC maintain a national exposure. Under his tenure we have judges who have become WGI affiliated and units that have achieved semi-finals, Finals and Class Champions. He continues to work in the pageantry arts as a visual designer and an active judge for bands, guards and Drum Corps International.
Derek Smith is a widely respected adjudicator and clinician in West Michigan. As a public school teacher in the Northview School District in Grand Rapids, he has had an exemplary career and continues to also impact young people positively in the classroom. He has the natural ability to teach in a way that is positive, constructive and most importantly, enjoyable. Besides Interplay, he still writes for and helps many winter guards and fall marching bands. Derek is a credit not only to MCGC, though we are the ones fortunate enough to experience his talents year in and year out, but to the entire winter guard activity.
Dennis Guy has been involved with MCGC since 1991 as a volunteer with Troy Athens ALIAS winter guard. He was a founding member of the ALIAS Parent Group in 1992 and held several positions within the group for 15 years. Dennis was the show chairperson of the first 9 MCGC competitions hosted by Troy Athens ALIAS and AKA.
Dennis was a member of the MCGC Board of Directors as a director at large and served for 9 consecutive years from 1994 to 2002 and helped build the MCGC into the organization it is today. He worked diligently to promote the circuit, traveling across the state visiting numerous schools and helped to expand the circuit from about 25 units to more than 60 units during that time. He has also worked on the championship committee, the scholarship committee and the merchandise committee.
Kathy Guy has been involved with the MCGC since 1991, starting out as a parent volunteer with Troy Athens ALIAS In 1995, she help to organized the AKA middle school guard and the LITTLE ‘A’s’ elementary school guard and brought them into the circuit. With three daughters in the winter guard activity, Kathy remained an active member of the ALIAS Parent Group for 15 years.
Kathy began volunteering on the MCGC merchandise committee in 1994 and she became the chairperson in 1996, and is currently in her 16th year in that position. Kathy continually enjoys the interaction with the MCGC staff, judges, directors, parents and most importantly the marching members. Another one of her responsibilities has been maintaining and updating the circuit’s photographic history for display at championships.
Inducted: 2012 (deceased)Orlando Suttles was the instructor for the Spartan Marching Band (SMB) Colorguard from 2002 to 2012. Prior to joining the SMB staff, Orlando worked with the guards at Chesaning, Flushing, Linden and Farmington High Schools. He also spent time with Independent World class winter guard Third Edition of Montrose, which competed in its final season during 2006. Orlando became the coach of State of Art in 2006 and has been a part of winter guard at MSU ever since. Orlando was also a judge for the Michigan Marching Band Association and the movement caption for MCGC and WGI. He earned a psychology degree from MSU and spent time professionally in the banking industry.
Blair Kuhn is a graduate of Bridgeport HS where he was also a member of the Bridgeport 7th Star Marching Band & Winter Guard. He received his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Communication & Film Studies from Eastern Michigan University.
Blair’s been active in the pageantry art for over 30 years, having performed as a percussionist with the Saginaires Drum & Bugle Corps 1982-84, Northern Aurora Drum & Bugle Corps 1885 & The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps 1986. Along with his background in percussion, Blair is an accomplished Color Guard & Drill designer, with over 20 years of experience. Blair was the visual designer for Eastside Fury Percussion, from 2007-2010 & Co-Director / Designer of Ancora Winter Guard 2007-2014. Blair currently designs for The University of Michigan Winter Guard and Marching Band, along with the Chippewa Valley HS Winter Guard.
Blair currently holds the position of Judge Coordinator for the MCGC & Visual Caption Head for the Michigan Competing Band Association. Currently Blair is an active adjudicator for The Michigan Competing Band Association, Michigan Color Guard Circuit, Drum Corps International & Winter Guard International.
Kari Lynn Clark
Kari Lynn Clark graduated in 1982 from Oxford High School. Sixteen years and three children later, she served on staff with Little A’s Winter Guard from Troy, MI. The next ten years saw her continue to work with teams in Troy, Avondale, Brandon and Oxford High Schools, as well as EVOLUTION and Interplay Winter Guards, both successful independent programs competing with Winter Guard International. Kari has been on staff with the color guard of Grand Blanc Schools since May of 2009, having taken on the role of Color Guard Director in April of 2011.
Ms. Clark has served the past 17 years on various committees, tabulating and contest directing shows, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Color Guard Circuit. She currently serves as the Contest Coordinator for the MCGC and is the Registrar for Grand Blanc High School.