Brackens Board of Directors and Instructors
Executive Director - Phil Bigelow
This is my 56th year in the marching arts activity.
In my career, I marched in Bracken and I'm an original member of Crossmen, where I aged out. Since then I've taught a couple of High School Bands and Drum Corps. In 2008 I joined the Raiders (DCI Open Class) where I stayed for 12 years.
I was a volunteer, part of the Administration, became a board member then President of the Board. I helped start their Indoor Guard program, Winter Star and their indoor percussion program, East Coast Percussion.
I am retired and have a Business Administration degree from Strayer University
In 2010 I joined the Bracken Cavaliers Alumni Corps as part of the mellophone line and in 2020 I became the Corps Director and Board Vice President. In 2022, I became the Executive Director.
We are in the process of starting a drum corps for differently abled individuals aged 18 and older. The corps will be named Diversity. We are looking to start early 2023.
I am married to my lovely wife, Beth, for 42 years and have three grown children, Erin, Christopher and Max. All three are involved in the arts in various ways.
I look forward to making Bracken the best it can be.
Board Treasurer - Tony Arena
I joined the PAL (Police Athletic League) Cadets Jr. Drum and Bugle Corps in the fall of 1966, I was 11 years old. I didn’t have any musical talent or training when I was introduced to PAL by a school-mate. I learned to play a soprano bugle (valve/rotary). I marched in PAL for 13 years and then taught M&M for 2 years. While in PAL I met Debbie, now my wife. My daughter Nicole was also in drum corps. One of my greatest thrills was to march on the same field together with her. This happened in 2008 in Rochester, NY. During the DCA Alumni Spectacular show on Sunday morning with the Boston Crusaders Senior Corps. I am currently in 3 Alumni Drum Corps’, The Reilly Raiders, The Bracken Cavaliers and the Magnolia Vagabonds. I am the treasurer for Bracken and Reilly Raiders. I now play a baritone bugle (three-valve). I have played in Alumni Drum Corps’ for 29 years. I was inducted in the PA Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2009. I am a Lifetime member of the Reilly Raiders. I also play in a Big/Jazz Band, Soundwave, since 2009. I sing baritone in The Garden State Chorale, since 2005. Other than music, I have a passion for collecting classic TV and Movie memorabilia. I currently have almost 1000 items, all displayed on the entire second floor of my house (Tours available upon request). My 15 minutes of fame came in an article published in the Philly Inquirer on Halloween, October 31, 2010.
Board Secretary/Business Manager - Diane McDevitt
I started my Drum& Bugle Corps career in 1996 as the Banner Carrier for The Reilly Raiders in addition to being the e-mail coordinator for them attaining The Silent Strength Award in 2005 and Induction into The Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2010. When the Bracken Cavaliers organized the Alumni Corps, I went with them to assist with some administration areas. I continue with this function today as Secretary and Business Manager.
Board Member/Equipment Manager - Personal Manager
Coming from a long line of vocal and instrumental music teachers, I began singing and playing instruments from a very young age, with the trumpet as my main (and favorite) instrument. My Music Teacher Mother liked to tease me that I knew how to read musical notes before words (True or not? We will never know). Although I made my chosen career path in the business community, my love for music has never ended nor faded and, over the years, I have been in many community bands, singing groups, as well as brass and percussion ensembles. I only recently came into the Drum and Bugle Corp family, joining in 2018. I currently play the mellophone in Bracken Cavaliers Alumni Drum and Bugle Corp as well as Reilly Raiders Alumni Drum and Bugle Corp, and trumpet in The Philadelphia Freedom Band. I sing in a vocal music choir, play in a bell choir and am enjoying every minute of all of it! I am married and live in West Norriton Township, PA.
Chuck Smith - Music Arranger
Drum corps membership: Duquesne “Dukes" 1954-57, - Pittsburgh "Rocket's", (baritone & contrabass) 1957-64 & 1968-’69 - Archer Epler "Musketeer's" Upper Darby, PA, 1964-'67 and 1987-2016 - "Reilly Raider - Musketeer's"1968, - (Alumni Corps:) Archer Epler 1987- 2021- Bracken Alumni 2013-2021.
Horn instruction afﬁliates: Duquesne "Dukes" 1957-59. C.D. of A. "Girls", Butler, PA, 1963. Lincoln Post "Invaders" Philadelphia, 1965-67. Lyndora "Girl's", Butler, PA
1968-69, General Butler Vagabond's 1969, Pittsburgh, "Rockets" 1968-69 - Philadelphia P.A.L. 1970-79, - Bracken "Cavalier's", Bristol, PA 1973, and 1996-'98. - Bux-Mont "Raiders, Souderton, PA 1974, Archer Epler "Musketeer's Corps and Chorus 1987-99, - Bracken Cadet’s Alumni - 2015-2016.
Music arranging afﬁliates:Music arranging ‚afﬁliates: Duquesne "Dukes", - Butler C.D.0f A.,- Lincoln Post "Invader’s”,- Pittsburgh "Rockets" (1969 DCA show), - Lyndora "Girls", - Butler "Vagabond's", Brookhaven "Crusaders", - Tri-Community Cadet's, - Audubon
"Bon Bon's", - Steel City "Ambassador's", - Philadelphia "P.A.L Cadet's", - Bucksmont "Raider's", -
Bracken "Cavalier's", Archer Epler "Musketeer's.
Ef Deal - Horn Instructor/Arranger
Ef Deal joined the Audubon BonBons at the age of 10, and has been teaching horn lines ever since. She won her first national championship individuals contest at the age of 12 and has won or placed seven times in the Buglers Hall of Fame I&E championships. She has been a featured lead soprano in the BonBons, Blue Rock, and the Golden Knights, and has been brass instructor for the Cramer Hill Rough Riders and the South Jersey Vagabonds before joining the staff of the Bracken Cavaliers.
Bruno Ciaralli - Drum Instructor
Bio to come