Passing of Gary "Chops" Czapinski

December 14, 2013

With great sadness we announce the passing of Gary 'Chops' Czapinski. In the 1970s Gary designed shows for the Toronto Optimists and the Seneca Optimists. The famous parachute of the 1977 Seneca Optimists was one of Gary's creations. The idea is said to have been inspired by Czapinski's walk through an elementary school one day where he saw students doing an exercise routine with a parachute coordinated to music. Gary will be missed by a great many in the Drum Corps and Marching Band communities.

Gary was instrumental in moving along DCI visual design, and he and his wife Marie have judged marching band and drum corps shows for years. Without Gary's nurturing and constant desire to be new, fresh and different, our activity would be very different today. Possibly a little less imaginative, colorful and forward thinking. He is truly one of the master visual 'producer/designers' of our time.

Gary is survived by his wife Marie, a drum corps, winter guard and marching band judge who was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame just this past August.

A celebration of Gary's life will take place for family and friends on Saturday, Jan. 11 in Chicago. A memorial fund has been setup in his honor. Contributions can be made to:

Chops Memorial Fund
c/o Marie Czapinski
7757 Van Buren Street #408
Forest Park, IL 60130