Starting her drum corps career as a member of the Norwood Park Imperials from Chicago, Marie Grana-Czapinski has made her mark in the marching arts activities as a top-notch visual adjudicator, from color guards to marching bands to drum corps.
In the 1970s and 1980s under the mentoring of DCI Hall of Fame member Donald Angelica, Czapinski worked with a variety of corps including the Finleyville Royal Crusaders, Seneca Optimists, Madison Scouts and Spirit of Atlanta, in the process gaining valuable insights as both an instructor and a judge.
Donald assigned her to the DCI World Championship judging panel in 1976 and she has never looked back. She was natural as a judge and was immediately accepted by the DCI community in the dual role of instructor and judge. Since that first opportunity, she has been a regular fixture on adjudication panels for the DCI World Championships and other major regional contests.
As a judge, Czapinski is noted for her ability to communicate clearly and concisely, the instructor at heart always eager to give the competing corps constructive feedback to improve future performances. She is widely respected for her knowledge, enthusiasm and honesty in her interactions with every drum corps, regardless of their level of accomplishment. All drum corps enjoy the same attention, boundless energy and passion she exhibits in her work.
Marie’s judging tapes will always be memorable and are always in demand by the corps members to listen to after a performance, as she talks to them, cheers for them and encourages them to dig down and give their best consistently. Her insight, questions, and commentary are respectful and beneficial to the corps, yet ask you to dig deeper as a designer, instructor or performer to maximize the performance.
In more than 40 years as part of the judging community, Czapinski has served on various committees to revise and improve the DCI, BOA and WGI judging systems, as well as educate new and current adjudicators. “Marie has been integral in mentoring countless new judges and was continually on the lookout for emerging talent to join our ranks,” DCI Judge Administrator John Phillips said.
With a penchant for continually educating herself with the latest skills and proficiencies in an ever-changing activity, Czapinski is one of only a small handful of judges who are qualified to judge every one of Drum Corps International’s visual captions.
Marie is a co-founder of Winter Guard International, and the only person to hold Hall of Fame memberships in all 3 elite organizations: WGI, BOA and DCI.