Champion Award

2023 Champion Award Recipient: Mayor Michelle Wu

Inspire Arts & Music is proud to announce our 2023 Champion Award Recipient: Mayor Michelle Wu, Mayor of the City of Boston!

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.

Join us in the park as we honor Mayor Wu with the 2023 Champion Award on Wednesday, June 21st at 5 pm!


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 Tony DiCarlo, and Karen & Frank Raffa as our 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients!

Tony DiCarlo – Contest Director for Drum Corps International, NESBA

Considered the face of DCI, Tony has made sure Drum Corps International’s competitive events go on without a hitch for the last three decades. Tony is perhaps best known for his work as a contest director for Drum Corps International and locally, the New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA). Over the years, Tony has played a key role coordinating the on-field operations of marching competitions both here in New England, and across the country.

Tony’s career in the arts began in the late 1960s with the Annunciators Drum and Bugle Corps. He aged out as a percussionist with the Boston Crusaders in the 70s before serving as a staff member, volunteer, and eventually leader in the New England drum corps scene. During his time as the Executive Director of Drum Corps East, he helped bring the DCI World Championships to Foxborough twice in 1994 and 2005, putting Massachusetts back on the map for marching music.

Tony holds many accolades for his contributions to the marching community. He is a member of the 2020 Drum Corps International Hall of Fame, 2001 Massachusetts Drum Corps and Music Educators Hall of Fame, as well as the 2005 Boston Crusaders Hall of Fame.

Frank & Karen Raffa of the Beverly Cardinals Alumni Association

Frank and Karen Raffa have given an immeasurable amount of their time and dedication to the Beverly Cardinals Alumni Association since 1988. Together they organized and ran a drum and bugle corps competition side by side every summer from 1988 to 2022 featuring the top-rated corps from the United States and Canada. It was through their hard work that the Beverly Cardinals raised over $300,000 in scholarships for the young marching members featured in the competitions held in Beverly and Lynn, Massachusetts.

Frank was a participant in the marching arts as a member of the Beverly Crusaders and St. Mary’s Cardinals from 1960 to 1972. Frank later went on to become an instructor for over 20 years with the Beverly, North Andover and North Reading High schools. Frank also served as a judge for local marching circuits including Eastern Mass and the New England Scholastic Band Association.

Karen began her marching career as a member of the St. Patrick’s Drill Team of Stoneham Massachusetts from 1965 to 1971. After aging out of St. Pat’s, Karen gave back to the activity as an instructor for many years. Tragically, Karen was taken from us this past December and our world and activity will never be the same.

Karen and Frank are receiving this award for their countless dedication to the marching arts and the positive influence they have had on thousands of students for nearly 35 years.

Previous Champion Award Recipients

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

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