Award Recipients

2023 Champion Award Recipient: Mayor Michelle Wu

In 2023, Inspire Arts & Music honored Mayor Michelle Wu, Mayor of the City of Boston as our Champion Award Recipient!

Throughout her term as Mayor of the City of Boston, Mayor Wu has kept the arts close in her leadership. We are honored to welcome Mayor Wu to the 10th Annual Concert in the Park and as she joins a long list of leaders for the arts!

The Champion Award was established in 2017 to honor individuals who have been extraordinary leaders for the arts and their local communities. Our previous Champion Award Recipients include local leaders such as former Mayor Marty Walsh, and philanthropic role models Raj and Padma Vattikuti, and Jim and Cathy Stone.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our 2024 Champion Award Recipient!


2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the Arts. Special attention is given to those who have spent their lives influencing and impacting youth through the arts. Inspire Arts & Music values the selfless giving of heart and mind of the tremendous individuals who are recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award. This year, we are proud to recognize Gerry Dolan and Barbara Gobbi DiRusso as our 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients!

Gerry Dolan – Music Education Professor at Gordon College

Gerald J. Dolan, Jr. serves as the Coordinator of Music Education Practicums and Director of the College Jazz Ensemble at Gordon College. After a thirty-six-year career serving the Ipswich Public Schools, Gerry recently retired as Fine Arts Director and Director of Bands having conducted the high school Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Pep Band, and Jazz Ensemble.

Mr. Dolan has studied conducting with Malcolm Rowell and Frank Battisti. He holds degrees from St. Michael’s College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Currently the Music Director of the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras (NMYO), Gerry is Conductor of the NMYO Wind ensemble. He teaches Instrumental Conducting and Music Education at Gordon College Graduate Summer Degree Program. He also has served as a Visiting Lecturer in The Ithaca College Music Education Department. Mr. Dolan served as a conductor of the United States Youth Wind Ensemble, Assistant Conductor of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell Youth Wind Ensemble, and Music Director of the Ipswich Community Band and Jazz Ensemble.

Mr. Dolan received the 2003 Olmstead Award for excellence in secondary school teaching from Williams College and was honored by the Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association (MMEA) with the 2002 Lowell Mason Award. As a 1993 Fulbright Scholarship recipient, he served as Head of Music at the Speedwell School, in Bristol, England. Gerry received the 2015 Paul Smith Hall of Fame Award from the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association and a lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of Jazz Educators. Mr. Dolan is also a proud member of the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps Hall of Fame.

He has been a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League, Fulbright Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, and Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association and is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout New England and the United Kingdom.

Barbara Gobbi DiRusso – Producer/Director of Plymouth’s National Alumni Drum & Bugle Corp Concert

Lovingly known as “The Plymouth Lady,” Barbara Gobbi DiRusso has served as the producer/director of America’s Hometown Celebration’s National Alumni Drum & Bugle Concert for the past 22 years.

Born in Boston and raised in Allston, Barbara grew up in local drum and bugle corps, an identity she would carry with her for life. First taking the field with St. Anthony’s of Allston in 1957, she eventually found her way across the city in Dorchester to join the Boston Crusaders in 1959. Barbara spent nearly her entire adult life involved with the Boston Crusaders and alumni corps, Crusaders Seniors, holding positions such as performer, volunteer, board member, performer again, and eventually director of the Crusaders Senior Corps in 2001.

In 2002, Barbara joined America’s Hometown Celebration as the Producer/Director of the Alumni “Reunion Concert.” Over the past 20 years, Barbara has played a key role in the Plymouth, MA-based Thanksgiving celebration, coordinating the headline concert and scouring the country for new talent for the televised parade.

Barbara has earned several accolades for her service to the music community. She was named the Mass Drum Corps Hall of Fame “Women of the Year” in 1999, named an Honorary Member of the Hawthorne Caballeros in 2012, inducted into to the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2015 and most recently, inducted into the America’s Hometown Celebration Hall of Fame in 2024.

Previous Champion Award Recipients

2023 - Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu
Mayor, City of Boston

2022 - Bob Schifellite

Bob Schifellite
President of ICS, Broadridge

2021 - Raj and Padma Vattikuti

Raj and Padma Vattikuti
Vattikuti Foundation

2020 - Jim and Cathy Stone

Jim and Cathy Stone
The Stone Foundation

2019 - Bob Reynolds

Robert Reynolds
CEO, Putnam

2018 - Jay Hooley

Jay Hooley
CEO, State Street

2017 - Martin J. Walsh

Martin J. Walsh
Mayor, City of Boston

Previous Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees

2023 - Tony DiCarlo

Tony DiCarlo

2023 - Frank & Karen Raffa

Frank & Karen Raffa
Beverly Cardinals Alumni Association

2022 - Cathy Connor-Moen

Cathy Connor-Moen
Norwood Public Schools

2022 - Eileen Cunningham

Eileen Cunningham
St. Ann’s Colorguards

2021 - Mary Flannery

Mary Flannery
RAW Art Works

2021 - Dolores Zappala

Dolores Zappala
Blessed Sacrament Colorguard

2020 - Marietta Phinney

Marietta Phinney
Riverside Theatre Works

2020 - Paul Pitts

Paul Pitts
Boston Latin School