2024 Hall of Fame Inductee: Jeff Sacktig

2024 Hall of Fame Inductee: Jeff Sacktig

Joining the WGI Hall of Fame this year is Jeff Sacktig, a renowned Visual Designer and educator within our pageantry arts. Jeff is adding this WGI Hall of Fame induction to his prestigious collection, as he is a member of the DCI Hall of Fame, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, and the Cadets Hall of Fame. His passion for this activity runs deep.

Origins in the Marching Arts:

Jeff has been involved in the marching arts his whole life. His parents met in Drum Corps in the 1940s, and he spent much of his early life surrounded by the activity. His six siblings were all involved in some way growing up, so it was only natural that he started participating at nine
years old.

His first marching experience in Drum Corps was in 1977 at a local church group in Ridgewood, NY, St. Matthias Blue Max. From there, he moved on to an all-age corps, Sunrisers, and he eventually made his way to the (Garfield) Cadets, where he marched from 1986-1989 before aging out. He stayed involved with The Cadets on the visual staff until 1994. In 1995, Jeff took over designing and drill-writing until 2015. After stepping away from The Cadets for a year to focus on his family, he eventually returned to Drum Corps with Carolina Crown in 2017.

Venturing into WGI:

Jeff made his way into the WGI activity in 1991 by working with the Crimson Kings, a winter guard located in Chinatown, NY. “The only goal was to keep laughing and have fun,” Jeff says. He had no clue what he was doing when he started, but the kids there were incredibly disciplined, and he used that to his advantage and learned quickly.

“Our first year ever competing in WGI, Crimson Kings placed 3rd in their class,” he said. “This shocked everyone because no one knew who this little group from Chinatown, New York, was.” Under his direction, the group was an A class medalist and moved up to a top Open class team. When asked about his initial goals regarding his involvement in WGI, Jeff says, “I just wanted to put quality productions out there suited for the ensemble I had.” Little did he know his attention to detail and eye for design would land him one of the most prestigious achievements the activity can offer.

Over the years, Jeff has continued to work with many groups in all three branches of WGI: winter guard, percussion, and winds. A few notable groups he has worked with are Paramount, Emerald Marquis, Black Watch, St. John’s Productions, Salem Blue, Apex, Lassiter HS, Dartmouth Indoor Percussion, United Percussion, Cadets Winter Percussion, Forsyth Central HS, Odyssey Percussion, First Degree, and Cleveland Winds.

Connections Within the Activity:

In 2005, Tom Aungst, through their relationship with The Cadets, asked Jeff to come in and work with his percussion group, Dartmouth HS. Jeff was honored to help since he already wrote for the marching band at Dartmouth, and according to Jeff, “Tom’s the best, and of course, I would help him with anything.” That was the start of a great relationship with Dartmouth HS Indoor Percussion that continues today. “I’m honored Tom trusted me, and
we’ve put together some amazing productions over the years.”

Memories from the Activity:

When asked about his favorite memories over the years, Jeff claimed that many of his favorite ones didn’t involve the members’ performances but rather the community and environment they created together.

“St. John’s Productions was so special because the kids really needed this space in their lives,” Sacktig said. “We taught them about being better people as opposed to just flags in a gym, and I’m still in touch with many of these members to this day who say it was the best time of their

“Paramount is such a joy to be around because the performers are extremely talented, and the environment is so professional. It is never a bad day when you are around these people.”

“There are a few “lightning in a bottle” moments. One specific one is Black Watch 1999 in the Dayton Convention Center, where everything just clicked, and you could see the epiphany in the performer’s eyes. It changed the trajectory of that group for the next several years.”

“Then there are those special moments in the UD arena where the audience just connects with the show, and the place is electric. I have been fortunate to experience that a few of times with a couple of groups. But two specific moments with Dartmouth HS that stand out are their
Garden of Eden show and their Barbie show. The crowd was overwhelming, and I’m so happy the students were able to create that moment and take it in.”

Goals for WGI:

We asked Jeff what his goals are for the future of the activity and where he sees WGI 10 years from now. He says there has been such incredible growth throughout all divisions over the last few years, and he admires the fact that the sport has become more detailed. He highlights the word “Intricacy”. More things go on at once now and it takes more eyes and minds to ensure everything is produced and layered.

“As a designer,” Jeff says, “It challenges the production and creation of ideas. Visiting and revisiting every section to make sure all details are nuanced and fully realized. Even the soundtracks and technology have become so detailed and fully customized for each group that it creates a truly unique experience for the viewer.”


Jeff is “extremely honored and humbled” to be recognized by the WGI Hall of Fame. “It’s an honor to be amongst the names of some really exceptional people”. He shares this celebration with all of the people he has worked with over the years, stating “While this award recognizes an
individual, I have never been in this activity alone. I have been fortunate to work with many talented designers, instructors and performers and I share this honor with all of them.” Jeff admires that he is “just a part of a much bigger story”.