This year, as we celebrate the 65th Anniversary of BD Performing Arts, we are looking back to honor the amazing individuals whose lasting contributions have brought us to where we are now. Throughout BDPA’s rich history, Rick Odello has been a pillar of our organization and today it is with mixed emotions that we announce his well-earned retirement.
Rick Odello and his family founded BD Performing Arts way back in 1957, and throughout his life played a huge role in the growth of The Blue Devils from a junior drum and bell corps to a 19-time DCI World Champion. As a member of the corps, Rick played snare drum and often pulled double duty as an instructor and arranger. The Blue Devils were quickly making a name for themselves under his watch, and upon aging out in 1974, he continued to work with the A Corps percussion section until 1981, influencing young minds who would carry on his legacy
“My first experience with Rick was in 1976 as a member of the Blue Devil snare line. He instinctively knew that in order to create a national championship caliber drum corps, you needed to teach the performers much more than how to drum. You had to teach them to believe they personally could achieve anything, and that they had to work as a unit and believe in each other. This was possibly the greatest lesson for me, as an instructor, and I have used this approach in my entire instructional career,” said current Blue Devils Percussion Caption Head/Arranger, Scott Johnson.
After his successful run at DCI titles in the late 70’s, Rick shifted his focus to the youngest members of The Blue Devils family by teaching The Blue Devil C Corps. He took his boundless energy and passion for the activity and influenced the lives of countless kids, while raising four sons of his own, most of which would follow his footsteps as members and instructors of The Blue Devils. In 2000, he eventually took over as Corps Director of BDC and later took on the additional responsibility of BDB Corps Director in 2004. He has continued to work with both ensembles in some capacity to this day.
“Rick is a man who understands the importance of the activity and the immeasurable impact it can have on a young person’s life. He gives tirelessly to the activity at the most fundamental level and has been the backbone of The Blue Devils family,” said Johnson. “Personally, I know that if not for him, I wouldn’t be where I am in my life with my teaching career. I also know that BD Performing Arts is much richer for the contributions of my mentor, and friend.”
Please join us in celebrating Rick’s legacy and wishing him all the best on this new chapter!
(More information about the new Blue Devils C Corps Director will be announced soon.)