“The Hall of Fame is the highest honor to those individuals who make a significant contribution to WGI, and who have in some way influenced the course of our history. Their contribution may be made through artistic standards, administrative leadership or adjudication.”
Our very own Director of Education and Product Development, Neil Larrivee, will be inducted into the WGI Hall of Fame on Wednesday, April 13. The induction will take place just before the start of the 2016 WGI World Percussion Championships in Dayton, Ohio.
This post announcing Neil’s induction was written by WGI Marketing Intern Hannah Corson and appeared on the organization’s News page:
“Simply put, Neil Larrivee will not leave a stone unturned in his quest to be the best at what he does.” Peter Tileston, King Philip Regional HS Music Director 1983-2010.
His desire to set new standards has not gone unnoticed, as he has been honorably elected into this year’s WGI Hall of Fame. He will join 58 others who have received this highest honor because of their significant contributions to the activity. Larrivee will be inducted in a ceremony to take place Wednesday, April 13, just prior to the start of the 2016 Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.
If there is one thing that Neil Larrivee has known his entire life, it’s drumming. Growing up, Larrivee was surrounded by music due to his father and uncle’s involvement in a rock n’ roll band. While his father managed the band, his uncle was the drummer, which spurred Larrivee’s interest in percussion. This interest quickly turned into a passion.
Larrivee was named Percussion Director and Arranger as well as Co-Marching Band Director of King Philip Regional High School in 1985. During his time at King Philip, Larrivee helped to lead the marching band to numerous championships on the state, regional, and national levels as well as 10 New England Championship high percussion awards and 6 USSBA Championship high percussion awards. While the marching band excelled, Neil felt the need to take the band program to the next level. In 1995, King Philip fielded its first indoor percussion ensemble. After their WGI debut in 1996, the group went on to win the WGI Scholastic World silver medal in 1997, 1998, and 2001 and a gold medal in 2000. Additionally, King Philip’s Scholastic Concert World ensemble received a silver medal in 2001.
After leaving King Philip in 2002, Larrivee became the pit arranger for Dartmouth High School. While at Dartmouth, the indoor percussion ensemble received a WGI Scholastic World medal for five consecutive years, including a bronze medal in 2004 and 2005, a silver medal in 2006 and 2007, and the prestigious gold medal in 2008 and 2009.
Ed Devlin, Blessed Sacrament Director and Hall of Fame member, states, “Neil’s best strength is his passion for the activity and any project that he becomes involved in.”
This passion was not only shared with high school band programs, but also with various drum and bugle corps. Neil spent numerous years with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps of Allentown, PA where he served as Pit Director and Arranger from 1993 until 2008. Over the course of these years, Larrivee played an integral role in helping the corps claim four DCI World Championships along with four high percussion awards, resulting in his induction into the Cadets Hall of Fame.
Neil has also arranged for notable drum and bugle corps such as The Bluecoats, Northern Star of England, and Jubal of the Netherlands. More recently, he has worked with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps as the Percussion Arranger.
Neil Larrivee has not only served as a magnificent educator over the years, but also as a trusted partner of WGI. From 1997 to 2002, he was a member of the WGI Percussion Advisory Board and Steering Committee. Larrivee played a crucial role in helping to shape the indoor percussion activity during a major stage of development. He also conducted educational sessions on programming for newer groups in the circuit.
“In my opinion, Neil Larrivee’s greatest contribution to the indoor percussion activity is as the Director of Education for the Vic Firth Company,” says WGI Hall of Fame member Tom Aungst. In the midst of teaching and working with WGI, Larrivee has dedicated much of his time to advancing the activity through his role at Vic Firth. As Director of Education and Product Development, Neil develops products and tackles problems such as the risk of hearing damage in performers. Because of his involvement with Vic Firth, Larrivee is at the forefront of innovation for indoor percussion.
Over the years, Larrivee has become a giant in the world of percussion and will only continue to guide the activity to the next level. Tileston believes, “His sphere of influence has grown through his determination, station, and commitment.”
Currently, Neil Larrivee judges, presents clinics, and holds a prestigious position at Vic Firth. In his spare time, as an avid concert attendee, Neil will often be found taking in live performances of jazz, orchestral music or contemporary chamber music in Boston or where his travels may take him.