The Connecticut Hurricanes...










                                                   


                                                                           of 1969…

                                                                                           

The final year of the decade turned out to be a wonderful experience for everyone associated with the Hurricanes. Not to say this season was great from beginning to end, but marching off the field in Rochester on August 31st as the newly crowned DCA World Champs goes a long way towards sweetening the memories of the hard work, sweat and some disappointment it took to get there.


Coming off  a moderately successful year in 1968, a season in which the Corps posted four victories, plus four 2nd, one 3rd and one 4th place showing, the Hurricanes placed a disheartening 6th place (3.7 pts. out) in the championship contest of 68’…..unfamiliar territory for a corps that had been so dominant in recent years.

1969 was a new year however, with a new resolve to once again stake claim to the top spot. Joe Genero and Ray Luedee again led the brass and drum lines, respectively, and Director Chuck Tomlinson brought in Bobby Daniels to write and teach the drill. Daniels, the once flashy drum major of the Hurcs, had the daunting task of replacing the great M&M duo of Ed Condon and Bobby Woods. He’d gained notoriety in recent years, teaching corps such as the Milford Shoreliners, St. Aedans Emerald Cadets and the New London Surfers and proved to be a worthy choice.
  
The musical show began with an intro of “Les Preludes” into an off the line of the “Queen of Sheba March,” followed by a powerful arrangement of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” “Rhapsody in Blue” was brought back for the concert, followed by a jazz version of “Walk on the Wild Side.” The exit was the Hurricanes signature number, “Hang ‘em High” and “Magnificent Seven,” presented in a 60 yard company front that never failed to bring the crowd to its feet. The finish line finale was “Sprach Zarathustra,” more commonly known as “2001…a Space Odyssey.”

Chuck Tomlinson came up with a fresh approach to get the Corps ready for our first appearance at our show, Fresh Air Fanfare on June 7th….Camp! A full weekend at a remote location, without distraction, devoted to transforming a winter of learning into a cohesive competitive corps. As it turned out this camp would be the first of what was to become a spring ritual for many years to come. The Corps showed up at Camp Hazen in Chester Conn. on a Friday night in May and practiced until Sunday night. The recipe was drill all day and music till’ midnight. For sure, everyone can remember marking time in puddles of their own sweat well into the night! Genero, Luedee and Daniels came to this camp loaded for bear…they were focused and relentless. They imparted and reinforced upon the Corps their tenacious attitude and brought us away from the weekend conditioned, focused and possessing a work ethic and confidence that would pay off as the season progressed.


The 69’ Hurcs didn’t start the season as hoped, very good, but still ironing out a few kinks. This corps was bolstered by the confidence Genero, Luedee and Daniels had in the total package, they knew what they had built and never wavered in their knowledge that they had the horses to make it special. Our first contest was down the river in Stratford and we came in 3rd. The next show was Syracuse where we came in 4th, followed by a trip to Boston for “Mission Drums” and a 3rd place finish. In the fourth show on the Fourth of July weekend at the “Barnum Festival”……we came in 4th. At this point, we’d been bested by the Skyliners, Buccaneers, Caballeros and the Sunrisers. The staff still promised a turn around, hey, the competition was excellent, but the spreads weren’t insurmountable! The pivotal show, no doubt, came in Altoona, Pa. on July 12th. We finally posted a victory, by 1.3 over the Yankee Rebels, albeit, they were the only real contender there, but we had none the less, tasted victory. A week off from competition provided valuable practice time, and we took advantage of it and came away with the feeling we’d hit our stride. 
 
July 26th brought us to Carlisle Pa. where our victory at the Altoona show was regarded with indifference by the other corps. We heard rumblings to the effect of…”big deal, they only beat the Yankee Rebels.”…. it’s not as if that was easy to do! However, that sentiment was put to rest that night, you see, we won the show, beating the Yankee Rebels again, also the Buccaneers and the Skyliners as well! Rainouts in Baltimore on August 2nd and Lewisberg on August 9th didn’t short circuit or slow our momentum one bit as we eagerly looked towards our next contest… “The Dream.”  Anyone who’s ever attended this storied show at in Jersey City surely appreciates the magical atmosphere that permeates the air at this show. The Hurricanes electrified the crowd with a monstrous performance, out distancing the Yankee Rebels, Skyliners, Sunrisers and Caballeros, and in doing so, captured the coveted “Dream” title for the third consecutive year, clearly establishing the Hurcs as the corps to beat. Going to the championships as a favorite gave us confidence…a confidence that was, however, tempered by the knowledge that anything could happen. It certainly wouldn’t be a cake walk. Joe Genero, Ray Luedee and Bob Daniels prepared us well that weekend. They worked us with a sense of urgency, yet still maintaining a focused control….they were such master motivators! In the preliminary contest we bested the field, but only narrowly, outscoring the 2nd place Skyliners by .4 tenths. Going on last at finals as the top seed is special….knowing all of your peers are watching seems to make the jitters go away while at the same time causes the adrenaline to spike. We did a spirited job and held off some fierce competitors. At retreat on that Labor Day weekend, ours was the final score announced…we had won… we were on top of the World! Being crowned the 1969 DCA World Champions was indeed an amazing feeling!

The ’69 Corps had overcome a rough start and turned it into a memorable and exciting championship season. Many years later, reflecting on his 20 year reign, Joe Genero would state, without hesitation, that the performance at the Dream in 69’ was, in his opinion, “the greatest performance in Hurricane history.” Every member of the “Long Green Line” came away from that season with special memories of this year……….1969!

 The 1969 season, as magical and rewarding as it turned out, was in effect, an exclamation point on an entire decade. The Hurricanes, led by drum major Joe Genero, closed out the decade of the 60’s having gone into competition against fifty four opponents…of those, only sixteen corps managed to beat the “Men from Connecticut “on occasion.  The Hurricanes prevailed in nine major contests in the 60’s including; 1962 & 63’ Northeastern Circuit Championships, the1964 World Open Championship, 1967 American Legion National Championship, and the 1967, 68’ & 69’ National Dream Contest, and also reigned as the 1967 & 69” DCA Champions. Additionally, the Corps placed 2nd in five major contests; including the 1961 Northeastern Championship, 1966 American Legion Nationals, the 1966 National Dream as well as the 1965 & 66’ DCA Championships. As a consequence, the Hurricanes are the only corps with a winning record against every corps that took the field of competition against them over that ten year period, thus establishing themselves as the premier senior corps of the decade!                      

                                         


                                                1969 Connecticut Hurricanes Roster



                         Chuck Tomlinson,* Director/Bus. Mgr………George Biancarelli,* Asst. Director

                                  
                               
                                                                      Hornline

                                                  Joe Genero,* horn instructor/arranger…


Bob Glovna*… Dennis Pavone… Richie Levine… John “Huey” Uhelsky… Robert “Pop” Allen*… Fred Steiner*…

Fran Laskowski… Charlie “Gus” Bell… Willie Patterson… Harold “Pittsburgh  Dave” Younkin… Al Riccuti…

Nick Pisani… Arnie Juliano… Bill Saunders… John Donovan… Clint Moser* … Alwillis “Willis Reed” Marina*…

Bill Thorpe…George Rutkauskas…Thomas “Buke” Bonacum*… Fred O’Donnell…Art Gilbert…Wilton Ramos…

David ”Sidney” Convertito… Matty Moales… Kevin Dunn… Art Hlywa... George “Gabby” Clendennon*….

John Fisher…  Mike Kasper… Clifford “Kippy” Green*… Jimmy Pepe*…  Mike Pahonek… Richie Savo*…

Phillip “Snake” Zambrello…  Rowland Libby… Bobby Chop*…  Steve Bondi… Victor “Batman” Poulin*…

Curt Golder… Mike Cooper… Mike Pruess… Vin Viglione… Rich Overton…  Paul Appuzzo…

         
                                                   
                                                                   

                                                                     Drumline
 
                                                  Ray Luedee,* drum instructor/arranger…


John Bodnar… Jim Donnaly… Kenny Convertito… Ray Luedee*… Corky Schofield… Bob Findley…

Ray “Rosey” Flowers… Fran Germinaro… Milton “Whispers” LaBonte*… Sal Genovese*… Ben Struski…

Phil “Lurch” Lechak… Donny Crowley… Melvin Claybourne… Jimmy Dugan*… Joseph “Pepe” Odoardi…

Howard “Nitch” Nitschke*… Dave Ruot*… Dave Bartrum… John “Moe” Marchitto… Gordon Shanks…

Mike Baronowski… Louis Briley*…

                                                           
                                                                           

                                                                    Color Guard
                                           
                                                    Bob Daniels, drill instructor/writer...


                                    Jimmy Edgeworth,* Captain... Harvey Olderman,* Sergeant...


Rich Tardi… Tom Gleason…Bruce Gordon*…   Richard “Iggy” Dominguez… Frank DePatra*… Bill Wallace*…


Bill Stokes…Albert Douglas… Jim McCaffery*… Joe Horbal*… Raymond DeProfio*… Gary Root… Ray Ruff…


Albert "Moose" George... Vinny Vitale… Chuck Huneke*…  Walt Karlowicz… Franny Gallo*...

                                                                              

                                                                Quartermasters
              
      George Doylak*…Harold Rourke*…Dick Perragaux*…Al Silva*…Marfie Tufano*…Manny Teofilo*...

 


Compiled and written by John Fisher                                                                     * = deceased