At the 2023 DCI Semifinals, JW Koester was awarded the Dr. Bernard Baggs Leadership Award, recognizing him as the World Class Director Of The Year, as voted upon by all other World Class corps directors. Mandarins corps members and staff were on the field to watch JW receive the award; their chants of “J-Dub! J-Dub! J-Dub!” echoed through the stadium.
JW has decades of experience as a drum corps percussionist, educator, consultant, adjudicator, and administrator. He was elected to the DCI Board of Directors in 2023. His Mandarins involvement extends back to when his daughter was in the guard. JW was appointed Mandarins Corps Director in 2015. Under his leadership, the Mandarins placed 13th at the 2017 DCI World Championships, and in 2018 placed 10th at Finals for the first time in the Mandarins’ then 55-year history. The corps repeated its 10th place Finalist finish in 2019 and 2022. When the drum corps activity emerged from the COVID pandemic in 2021, JW and his team led the Mandarins to the DCI Celebration Tour with a field production as entertaining and exciting as previous Mandarins shows.
The Mandarins celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2023. JW continues to add to the organization’s rich history with this year’s show, Sinnerman, which wowed audiences nationwide and brought the drum corps another record-breaking season, including a 6th-place finish at DCI Finals.
Congratulations to JW on his achievement. We’re so proud of our Corps Director!