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Retirement of Denise Bonfiglio

CADETS Arts & Entertainment Announces Retirement of Denise Bonfiglio as CEO; Names Vicki Ferrence Ray as Interim CEO

Cadets Arts & Entertainment (CAE), the non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that oversees The Cadets Drum Corps, today announced that CEO Denise Bonfiglio has decided to retire from the organization. The CAE board of directors has subsequently appointed Vicki Ferrence Ray as interim CEO, effective immediately.

CAE Board Chair Mark Herzing said the board would begin a search for permanent leadership in the next few weeks.

“On behalf of the CAE board of directors, we want to thank Denise for her service and dedication to The Cadets, and wish her well in her retirement,” said Herzing. “Denise has had a distinguished career that spans decades and is a member of the WGI Hall of Fame, the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame, and the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.  The results of Denise’s efforts for CAE are reflected in the lives of the young people who have had a chance to be Cadets in 2021 and 2022, as well as for the future generations who will be able to be part of this program because of her efforts to ensure its survival and growth.” 

Ferrence Ray, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, has more than 20 years of youth program development and non-profit experience. She served as the Executive Director for Youth Education in the Arts (YEA), where she was responsible for leading all aspects of the organization from 2018-2019. She currently serves on the CAE Board of Directors as the Compliance Officer.

Prior to her service to YEA, Ferrence Ray was Chief National Programs Officer for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, the nation’s premier youth leadership development organization. She provides expertise in executive leadership, organizational planning and development, youth protection, and non-profit compliance.

Ferrence Ray is an alumna of the 1992 Cadets.

“I look forward to working closely with the CAE Board to achieve our strategic goals,” said Ferrence Ray. “I have been involved in all facets of The Cadets and am extremely confident in our ability to continue to build a successful program for the future.”

“The CAE board is excited that Vicki has agreed to step in as interim CEO to strengthen our organization,” said Herzing. “Her leadership will also allow us to finalize contracts with 2023 Design and Instructional Staff, complete preparations for 2023 auditions and maintain our focus on operational and governance opportunities from the 2022 season that need to be addressed.”

Herzing also announced that Bob Morrison has agreed to serve as a Special Advisor to the CAE Board of Directors during this transition. Morrison is a nationally recognized leader in the arts education and non-profit fields. A former member of the Crossmen (1979-1982), Morrison worked with DCI Hall of Fame member Thom Hannum on the Garfield Cadets percussion staff (1983-1986). After his time with The Cadets, Morrison worked with Santa Clara Vanguard between 1987 and 1992. During his career, he was a contributor for four DCI World Championships and three High Percussion Awards. He was elected to the Cadets Hall of Fame in 2002 and the DCI Hall of Fame in 2019.

Morrison was the co-founder, board chair and Executive Director for Arts Ed NJ before stepping down in June of this year, following nearly two decades at the helm. He is currently the founder and CEO of Quadrant Research, the nation’s preeminent arts education data analytics and market research firm.

Also, Herzing noted that the CAE Board of Directors is actively recruiting additional advisors to serve in an Oversight Committee, which will advise decision-making, identify ways to improve the Board governance process, and proactively address operational shortcomings.

Further information about the CEO recruitment process and staffing will be forthcoming, and CAE will update everyone on this progress and actions going forward on the Cadets website (


The Cadets Brass Staff will host an informational webinar for anyone and everyone interested this Wednesday, November 3, at 7PM EST.

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