Members of the Hurricanes inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Allen Arietano* Aungst Barbaro Bibeault Bradley Brubaker* Clarke Cluna* Condon* Curran
Daniels Delucia DeFrancisco* DeSantis Dorritie Dreitzer* Fallon Findley Flaker Flowers Friend
Friesing* Gabianelli Genero* Glovna* Hlywa Kelly Kerchner King Klesch Kulinski Sr.* Kulinski Jr.
Luedee* McBride McHenry* Morey Notaro* Oddo Olderman* Oravez Pace Parks* Ponzo Poulan
Propfe Ratford* Ruocco Russo Staffieri Sturtze* Smith Tardie Thurston Vargo Vitti Warga
Donnie Allen came to the Hurricanes for the 2004 season, first as a consultant and he later imparted his considerable ability as an instructor to markedly elevate the performance level of the brass line in that year.
His drum corps career began as a teen with the Purple Lancers of Auburn, NY. and St. Joseph’s of Batavia. On the senior side, Donnie has been an arranger/instructor and lead performer for the Rochester Crusaders, Syracuse Brigidiers, The Empire Statesmen and The Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corps. He has served as Music Director for Eastridge High School and the Bloomfield High School Marching Band, both of Rochester NY as well as writing for and instructing numerous organizations in the Northeast.
In 1992 and again in 1994 Donnie served as Music Director of an all-star group of more than 300 musicians who participated in the nationally televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He is a member of the New York State Contest Judges Association as well as a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Arietano, John *
John “Screech” Arietano arranged and taught the Hurricane brass line for five years throughout the 1990’s. Clearly a major talent on the senior scene, John’s music, e.g. the “Magic,” “Gospel” and “Ben Hur” themed shows delighted drum corps fans and his players alike.
John has been taking part in drum corps activities since he began performing in the brass line of St. Helena Cadets in 1958. He has been the brass arranger and instructor for several junior and senior corps over the years, beginning with the Brooklyn NY. Riversider’s in1967. Other well known corps he has taught includes the Sacred Heart Crusaders, Belleville Black Knights, Long Island Sunrisers and the Hawthorne Caballeros.
The Sunrisers won the DCA title four times: in ’77, ’78, ’82 and’83. He taught the Caballeros when they won consecutive DCA titles in ’84 and ’85. He was also with the Westshoremen in ’96, earning a seventh DCA title. John has also been involved with several high school marching bands. His formal music education includes earning an AAS Degree in Music Performance at Bronx Community College, a BA in Music at Queens College, and five years of private study in arranging, theory and technique. He has played in many jazz and Latin big bands and combos, community orchestras, wind ensembles and several mummers groups. He won DCA’s best soloist award in 2000 and has also been inducted into the Buglers Hall of Fame, the Sunrisers Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Tom Aungst served as a consultant for the percussion section of the Hurricanes in 2011 and 2012. His contribution certainly played a significant role in the high level of achievement realized by the percussion section through his guidance. Tom’s impressive resume as a performer, arranger, teacher and mentor are due, primarily, to his prodigious record of achievement at every level for over three decades with the Cadets...including serving as their percussion caption head since 1989. He has been affiliated with many organizations including the Caballeros, Fusion Core, Cadets2, the Blue Stars and Pacific Crest.
Tom received a Bachelor in Music Education from West Chester University in Pa. and a Masters in Jazz Performance at Rutgers University. He is currently the Percussion Director for the Dartmouth school system in Dartmouth Mass. Tom is a proud member of the WGI Hall of Fame, the Cadets Hall of Fame, the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame
Cosmo “Gus” Barbaro, a PhD in World Music, brought a highly regarded level of sophistication and expertise to the Hurricane percussion, from 1981-1983 and again in 1991. He also brought a hard boiled, street smart, worldly approach to teaching that fit perfectly with the likes of Pepe Notaro and the rest of the staff. His arrangements, fresh and complex, transformed an excellent line into perhaps, the best of it’s time.
Gus has been affiliated with a number of the best known corps in upstate New York, and several other areas. At various times, he was associated with the Geneva Appleknockers, Auburn Purple Lancers, Rochester Crusaders, Dutch Boy of Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario and the Chicago Cavaliers. He has served as a judge with Drum Corps International (DCI) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA), the All American Judges Association, the Pennsylvania Federation of Judges and the Central States Judges. Cosmo is a member of the WGI Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Jeanne took the helm of the Hurricane color guard in 1991 and for five years choreographed, taught and guided them at a standard of excellence that is the hallmark of Hurricane guards throughout the decades. The audience appeal enjoyed by the Corps during her tenure was due in large to the highly proficient color guard, anchoring and enhancing some very entertaining visual programs.
Jeanne is highly regarded in the Northeast for her work with drum corps, bands and color guards and has been honored by membership in the Matadors Hall of Fame as well as recognition by the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame through induction as an associate member.
Bob Bradley has been associated with the Hurricanes for nearly forty years. He first played with the Corps beginning in 1973 and marched through 1982. On several occasions he performed as a featured soloist. In 1983 and 1984 Bob served on the Board of Directors. Following a five year hiatus, re-energized, he returned to the Corps as President of the Board of Directors, a position he held through 2004. In addition, Bob led the Corps as director in 1990 and 1992 and again in 1997. He remains as a member of the board to this day. In addition, Bob has personally shouldered the task of producing the Hurricanes long running annual show, “Fanfare,” for countless years.
Bob's drum corps career began, as a youth, when he joined the St. Aedan’s Emerald Cadets. In 1968 he joined the Milford Shoreliners, where he marched through 1972 before coming to the Hurricanes. In recognition of all that he has achieved on behalf of the Hurricanes and the drum corps community Bob has been honored by induction into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, He is a proud member of the Hurricanes Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Hurricane's most prestigious honor, the Heart and Soul Award.
Brubaker, Stephen *
Steve Brubaker wrote the visual program for the Hurricanes in 1991. He was a highly regarded writer for his designs and staging concepts. Steve pioneered the concept of integrating the guard and percussion into the overall design. His concept of designing for clarity of intent, understanding and entertainment made an impact that remains with the activity today.
Steve’s drum corps career began in 1977 with the Reading Buccaneers. He would later grow in talent as well as notoriety designing and teaching such corps as the Chicago Cavaliers, Star of Indiana, Bluecoats and Sky Ryders as well as designing the drill extensively in the high school band arena including the 1990 and 1991 Bands of America champion from Plymouth Michigan’s Centennial High School. Steve is a member of the WGI Hall of Fame, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.
Kenton Clarke was a Hurricane member in 1970. The 1970 edition of the Hurcs horn line was one of the strongest in our history and was certainly bolstered by the deft ability Kenton brought to the field.
His drum and bugle corps involvement began in 1961 when he played soprano horn with PAL in Fairfield, Connecticut. Over the following 15 years, he was soprano soloist with St. Raphael’s Buccaneers, The Connecticut Hurricanes, Connecticut Yankees and New York Skyliners. When Kenton became the one of the youngest instructors in the New York Skyliners’ history in 1974, the horn line immediately responded by winning top brass scores in both the 1974 and 1975 DCA championship finals. He was brass instructor when Milford Shoreliner’s won the World Open and Northeast championships in 1977. Bengal Lancers also won the Northeast championship when he was brass instructor in 1979. He founded the Buglers Hall of Fame in 2001 and still serves as board chairman. Throughout the 1970s, he was brass adjudicator for the Metro Judges Association and brass caption chair with the Northeast Circuit.
Kenton is a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Cluna, Carman *
Carman Cluna created and taught field show drills that emphasized showmanship and audience appeal. The Hurricanes were fortunate to tap into that talent in 1973 & 1973 when he designed and taught the M&M. What he brought in addition to a superior drill design was his commitment to detail and focus on a singular style. He was clearly, a significant influence in producing those two powerhouse years.
He began his long association with drum corps in the early 1940’s, playing bugle with the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Corps of Brooklyn, NY. He then went to St. Joseph’s of Newark, NJ where he befriended fellow Hall of Famer Joe Genero. Carman then joined, and had a long association with the New York Skyliners, but also taught many junior and senior corps in the northeast area including St. Joseph’s Patron Cadets, St. Ignatius All Girls, Our Lady of Loretto, the Floyd Bennett Golden Eagles, Carter Cadets, the Emerald Cadets, Conn. Firettes, the Islanders of Babylon, NY and St. Rita’s Brassmen. Carman is an inductee to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Condon, Edward *
Ed Condon played fife and bass baritone horn with the John H. Collins Post Fife, Drum and Bugle corps for almost 10 years, from 1947 to 1954. In 1955 when the corps transformed into the Connecticut Hurricanes he played bass baritone, and later taught drill to the Hurricanes as well as several color guards and area junior corps. He and long time partner Robert Woods introduced innovative new drill designs that helped move away from strict military patterns by using the color guard in the drill patterns to create free flowing presentations with high audience appeal. He was a marching and maneuvering (M&M) judge with the All American Judges Association. During the years he taught drill to the Hurricanes, the corps was undefeated in M&M during 41 consecutive contests. The Hurricanes scored top drill marks during the first four Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournaments. During the years he taught drill to the Hurricanes, the corps won virtually every top contest of the day, including the Dream Contest, the Connecticut state championship, the World Open championship and the American Legion championship. In addition to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, Ed is a member of the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Curran, John Sr.
John Curran, widely known throughout the drum corps world as “Cupcakes,” came to the Hurricanes in 1974….the beginning of a long association with the Corps that includes 30 years of marching in the horn line and beyond. Cake’s performed for a number of years as a lead soprano as well as a lead baritone; it was just a matter of where he was needed most. In addition, he has operated the booster table, served as truck driver and as Quartermaster. John was honored as “Hurricane of the Year” for 1976. Following his playing career, he became a marching tech. for the Corps.
John’s drum corps involvement dates to his childhood in the Boston area, having marched with such corps as St. Kevin’s Emerald Knights, Cambridge Caballeros, the Princemen as well as the Boston Renegades. He has designed drill and instructed several high school color guards and bands and has been a staff member of World Guard International (WGI) since 1979.
John is a member of the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Hurricanes Hall of Fame
Bobby “Rocky” Daniels first gained fame in the world of drum corps as the hugely popular and flashy drum major of the Hurricanes in the late 50’s through 1963. He led the Corps on the field with a flair that delighted drum corps fans everywhere. He solidified his status in Hurricane fame when, in 1969, he succeeded the great Condon & Woods as drill writer and instructor. What followed was the Corps second DCA championship title, due in large part to Rocky’s unique style of instruction and motivation. He wrote and instructed drill for the Corps in 1969 and 1970 and again in 1975 and 1976.
Bob taught many junior corps including the Milford Shoreliners, St. Aedan’s Emerald Cadets, the New London Surfers, and the Connecticut Yankees. of Stratford.
In addition, Bob has also been recognized for a superb career in the activity by induction as an associate member to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
DeFrancesco, Anthony *
Anthony DeFrancesco, or to all who knew him… “Tony D,” was one of the most popular and charismatic Hurricanes during his time in the Corps in the 1960’s. Tony got his start in drum corps as a kid in 1957 with St. Raphael’s Golden Buccaneers where he marched through 1960. In 1961 Tony joined the Hurricanes as a bass drummer before switching to cymbals. He found his niche however, when in 1965 Joe Genero took him under his wing and made Tony his assistant drum major. His firm, yet affable manner lent itself nicely to orderly and even paced rehearsals, thus freeing up Joe to devote his efforts towards performance issues.
Upon leaving the Corps at the end of 1968 Tony taught color guard to St. Ann’s Loyalaires and then to Notre Dame’s all girl corps, the ND-ETTS. In 1984 he was instrumental in forming the Connecticut Alumni Corps and served as its first director from 1984 through 1989. He was also one of the originators of the Hurricane Alumni Association in 1998 and served on its Board of directors until 2001. Tony has been recognized for his contributions to the activity by induction, as an associate member, to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
In 1989 the Hurricanes were privileged to have the renowned Dennis DeLucia arrange the percussion book. Dennis is one of the most respected percussion teachers, arrangers, clinicians and judges in the United States. He has returned to the Hurricanes as recently as 2015 as a percussion consultant. A former member of the prestigious West Point Band, he is best known for his success with championship corps such as the Muchachos, the Bridgemen, Star of Indiana, Crossmen as well as the Sunrisers and numerous bands.
In addition to producing great drum lines, Dennis has written four books and has conducted percussion clinics/workshops in forty one states and six countries. He has been inducted into the Sunrisers Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the WGI Hall of Fame, the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.
Al got his start in the activity in 1965 as a member of the Connecticut Classics percussion section. He later joined St. Aedan’s Emerald Cadets of New Haven where he marched from 1970 through 1976. His senior corps experience began with the Rhode Island Matadors in 1977 and 1978 until he finally landed with the Hurricanes in 1979, and marched in the percussion section as a featured cymbalist until 1985. Upon returning to the Corps in 1990 he became a familiar face playing the huge cymbals featured in the “Magnificent Seven” through 2003.
Being a talented handyman, Al has generously provided a wide array of assistance to the Hurcs such as building podiums and props, effecting truck repairs, and running fund raising efforts such as the highly profitable “haunted house” attraction in the 1980’s. His efforts on behalf of the Corps were recognized in 1991 when he was the recipient of the “Hurricane of the Year” award.
Big Al has been a cornerstone of the Corps throughout his tenure, serving many roles including corps equipment manager, member of the Board of Directors and Director of the Hurricanes from 1999 through 2002. He has earned inclusion into the World Drum Corps hall of Fame as an associate member and to the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Frank’s drum corps performance history began with Scout Pack in 1958 before moving on to the fabled St. Catherine’s Queensmen. He then spent ten years staring as a soloist for the Long Island Sunrisers, becoming their brass instructor/arranger during his last three years.
In 1977 Frank came on board with the Hurricanes as brass instructor/arranger at a time when his measured patience and methodical teaching style was exactly what the corps needed. He transformed several inexperienced recruits into players, and blended them, along with an influx of youth, into the horn line. Since that transitional year Frank has been called on a number of times as a consultant.
Frank’s vast resume also includes stints as instructor/arranger for the Cadets, Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Bayonne Bridgemen, as well as the 27th Lancers, the Bluecoats, Westshoremen, and most recently, the San Francisco Renegades. He has served as a brass and music adjudicator for a number of associations, and, in 1999 was the first American to participate in judging forty African corps, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Frank is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, DCI Hall of Fame, the Sunrisers Hall of Fame, as well as the Buglers Hall of Fame. Most notably however, is the success and acclaim Frank has enjoyed through his professional life as a music producer…He is a two time Grammy Award winner and has been a Grammy nominee nine times in recognition of his work in the music industry.
Dreitzer, Herman *
In 1958 Joe Genero was called for duty in the Air Force Reserves. He called upon his good friend Herman "Hy" Dreitzer to take over the horn line in his absence. Dreitzer not only took over the line but finished the show by arranging a New Orleans medley for the concert. Dreitzer mentored the line througout the season which culminated with an 9th place finish at the AL Nationals in Minniapolis, a marked improvement over the previous years finish of 18th place. In the six months that Dreitzer was here the Hurricanes made great strides toward becomming an upper echelon corps due in large part to his influence.
Hy Dreitzer began his drum corps career playing soprano horn with the Ketchem-Hennesy Post corps in Coney Island, New York, in the 1930s. He then played French horn with the Ruoff Post Drum Corps, of Queens, NY. He marched with Con Edison of New York City, playing lead soprano, then in 1952 joined the horn line of the New York Skyliners, playing soprano and French horn. He was the sole brass arranger for the Skyliners for more than 30 years, year after year creating new sounds and exploring new areas. He was one of the first drum and bugle corps brass arrangers to make the transition from military music to include classical music in the field show repertoire. He also taught many highly-regarded junior corps, including St. Joseph’s of Newark, St. Vincent’s of Bayonne, St. Andrew’s Bridgemen, Garfield Cadets, St. Ignatius All-Girl Corps, St. Rocco’s, and St. Rita’s Brassmen. He arranged music for many other corps, including Guelph Royalaires, Canada’s six-time senior national champions from 1959 to 1964. In recognition of his fabulous body of work Hy was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1977.
Ray came to the Hurricanes in 1979 as the brass arranger; brass caption head, and instructor. He continued in that capacity until 1982, then again from 1985 – 1989, and for a short time in the early 1990’s. He not only assumed these roles, but did so with relish. Ray simply took ownership of his horn line and drove them towards excellence, not only through his expertise, but with energy and tenacity. Under his tutelage, the Hurricanes won the DCA championship title in 1981 and contended for it in 1980 and 1982. He wrote the famous Magnificent 7 solo that has assumed its place as part of the Hurricanes identity to this day, as well as countless other memorable musical arrangements.
Ray’s introduction to drum corps and passion for music was born in 1960, at age 8, when he joined the Oceanside Legionaires on Long Island, where he played through 1969. His drum corps career was put on hold for a hitch with the US Air Force, but resumed in 1975 when he began marching as well as writing for the Sunrisers. Ray has also arranged and/or instructed for the following corps including; the Oceanside Legionaires, Herricks Police Boys’ Club, The Medford Grenadiers, The Bayonne Bridgemen, and Bridgemen Alumni Corps, the Shoreliners, Archer-Epler Musketeers, Bengal Lancers, Yankee Rebels, Crossmen, Boston Crusaders, and the Boston Crusaders Alumni Corps, also, the Music Express and Reilly Raiders of Penn. In addition, he has taught many bands including: Ridley Park HS (Pa.), Norwalk HS, Naugatuck HS, and East Lyme HS in Connecticut.
Ray earned a Bachelor of Music from the UMass, Boston, and has studied Music Composition with David Patterson, Ph.D. Harvard. He has been an adjudicator as a member of the National Judges Association, and CMBC. He is a member of the Sunrisers, Buglers, and World Drum Corps Hall’s of Fame and of course, the Hurcs Hall of Fame.
Bob Findley began his long involvement with drum corps and the marching arts in the late 1950s as a drummer with St. Ann’s drum and bugle corps in Bridgeport Conn. He enlisted in the US Army (1963-1966) and upon his return home, joined the Hurricanes in 1967. As a member of the drum line, he was part of two DCA championship seasons (‘67&’69). Bob became an assistant drum major in 1972, a position he held through 1976.
Bob was also the drum major for the Connecticut Yankees, Rhode Island Matadors, Connecticut Alumni and the Park City Pride Alumni Corps as well as the Skyliner Alumni Corps. He began teaching in 1969 and became a drill writer and show designer for many drum corps, high school bands and winter color guards along the East Coast as well as the Midwest, producing many titles and awards. In addition to these continuing commitments, Bob is the visual coordinator and drum major of the Park City Pride.
Bob is a member of the Matadors Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Drum corps fans have been reading Bill Flaker's reviews and personality features for more than a quarter of a century, dating back to his start as a staff writer for Drum Corps World in 1990. He is currently serving as Drum Corps Associates (DCA) staff writer and has served on DCA's public relations staff since 2012. Bill was the public relations coordinator for the Hurricanes from 2004 through 2011. He also wrote a history of the Hurcs for Drum Corps World's publication of History of Drum & Bugle Corps, Vol. 2
Bill marched in the Hurricanes world champion honor guard from 2003 through 2011. Additionally, he was a visual instructor for the Connecticut Royal Lancers in the early 1980's and has served as a visual judge with Eastern Marching Band Association. He is currently timing & penalty judge and show coordinator for Musical Arts Conference, which includes units from New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.
John Flowers came to the Hurricanes for the 1984 season, assuming control of the percussion section. His arranging and instructional attributes stemmed from a storied career with the Reading Buccaneers, transcending sixteen years, (1959-1974), he later arranged and taught the Yankee Rebels for several years.
Subsequent to his teaching tenure, John has been associated with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the All American Judging Association and the National Judging Association. He has also served as Head of Quality Control of Percussion for DCA. John is a member of the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Scott joined the Hurricanes in 1985 and became an assistant Brass instructor with fellow Hurc hall of famer, Ray Fallon. Scott was a soloist in every show year he ever marched. He has been involved with the Hurricanes for a number of years and has always provided a helping hand from an instructional perspective when needed since 1985.
Scott has been involved in the drum corps activity since 1966 beginning with the Enfield Sabers of Conn. He played flugel horn with the St. George Olympians, as well as the Targets, both of Springfield, Mass. Scott was also a Bugler for the U.S. Navy Recruit Drum Corps.
While in college, Scott joined the RI. Matadors in 1979 and immediately became one of their lead soloists playing with the likes of the famed Jimmy Centorino and Richie Price. He also served the Matadors as an assistant instructor and Brass Tech.
Scott’s accomplishments include: Several top five finishes as well as two first place medals for ensemble performance at the DCA individual & ensemble contest, “Horn Man of the Year” of the Matadors in 1982, Election to the Matadors Hall of Fame in 1998 and to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member in 2001 as well as membership in the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Friesing, Donald *
Don came to the Hurricanes in 1961, at a time when the corps was just hitting its stride. He wrote and taught the drum line (1961-1965) with a brand of snappy music that nicely complimented Joe Genero’s popular arrangements such as Hello Dolly, Zing Went The Strings of My Heart, and of course Tropical Heat Wave. The years Don was with the corps were indeed very successful, producing many victories, including the World Open Championship in 1964 as well as a 2nd place finish at the first DCA championship.
His percussion career began in 1938 with the Joseph B. Garrity Post American Legion. He also played with Phoebe Hearst and Raymond A. Gabarina. Don was also a drummer with the Son’s of Liberty and the Minute Men Fife & Drum Corps. He has arranged for and taught many junior and senior corps in the greater N.Y. area including Our Lady Of Loretto, the Ballantine Brewers, Rae Post, Babylon Islanders, St. Ignatius, Washington Carver, and St. Rocco’s. Don was also a participant in the founding meetings for the organizing of DCA. In addition, Don was a percussion judge with the Northeastern Circuit, Long Island Circuit, Greater New York, and Eastern States judging associations. Don is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Tom “Gabby” Gabianelli is a natural born Hurricane. His father, also known as “Gabby”, first joined the Corps in 1940, so as one would presume, some of his earliest memories were centered on drum corps. Gabby’s early interest drew him to become a drummer, which he began learning through participation in the Seymour Middle School band program. In 1963 he joined the Oxford Explorers and for two years honed his drumming under the tutelage of Jim Dugan Sr., and in 1965 he moved to the Connecticut Royal Lancers were he began a long association with Hall of Fame instructor Ray Luedee. Tom made the jump to the Hurricanes in 1966. Shortly thereafter his Hurc career was put on hold by a four year hitch in the US Navy. Upon discharge, he returned to the Corps and drummed in those fabulous Luedee lines of the 70’s for six years, through 1976.
In 1977 Tom returned to a Corps in transition, assuming a duel role as business manager as well as assistant director and was instrumental in formulating a re-building plan. He became Director for 1978 and remained on the Board of Directors through 1983. Tom returned to the Corps in 2000, playing pit percussion, and in 2003-2004 he played in the horn line. He was named “Hurricane of the Year” for 2004. In 2003, Gabby again returned to the Board table and was elevated to Chairman of the Hurricanes Board beginning in 2005. He immediately got to work in and undertook a course that, in his vision, would return the Hurricanes to a place of prominence in the drum corps world. By 2007 the Corps had been outfitted with new drums and pit equipment, new horns and new uniforms. His revamping of the organization, from top to bottom, poised the Corps for success well into the future and beyond.
At the conclusion of 2011 Gabby stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Directors, though he remains a member of the board to this day, serving as Secretary. His contributions towards the betterment of the Hurricanes now spans six decades. In recognition of his dedicated efforts Gabby has been inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member, the Hurricanes Hall of Fame and is also a recipient of the Hurricane's most prestigious honor, the Heart and Soul Award.
Genero, Joseph *
Joe Genero’s Hurricane career began in 1957 when he took on the daunting task of transforming this upstart, inexperienced corps into the top caliber type corps he envisioned. Having had the experience of playing with the New York Skyliners, as well as arranging for, and teaching the Hawthorne Caballeros, Joe knew full well the commitment, and hard work that went into producing such a corps. It didn’t take long for Joe to impart his tenacious competitive mindset on the Hurricanes, and all of his hard work and determination bore fruit in the 60’s with Northeastern Circuit Championships in 62’ & 63’as well as the World Open Championship in 64’. Behind Joe Genero, the Hurricanes also captured the American Legion National Championship in 67’ and the Drum Corps Associates World Title in 67’ & 69’.
Beginning in 1963 Joe led the corps on the field as the drum major with fire in his eye, and a passion for bringing out his music in a style that earned him the moniker of “Jumpin’ Joe.” His show selections and arrangements were once described in an article as having “snap, crackle, and pop”, and throughout his tenure as musical director of the corps, (57’- 76’), the Hurricanes were contenders, and enthusiastically received wherever they performed. Joe Genero may very well be the most influential personality of the Hurricanes storied history!
Joe also arranged and taught music with several well-known junior corps including St. Vincent’s of Bayonne, St. Lucy’s of Newark, The Milford Shoreliners, The Emerald Cadets of New Haven, and St. Raphael’s Golden Buccaneers of Bridgeport. He also arranged music for senior corps, including the Caballeros, The Amboy Dukes, The Ballantine Brewers, New Bedford Whalers, and the RI. Matadors.
In recognition of his fabulous body of work, Joe was justly inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1978. In addition, Joe is a member of the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the Buglers Hall of Fame and of course, the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Glovna, Robert *
Bob began his love of marching music at age 10 as a trumpet player for the Madison School Band of Bridgeport in 1955. Soon after, he witnessed the Barnum Festival’s “Champions on Parade”, and was inspired to join Bridgeport’s own St. Raphael’s Golden Buccaneers Jr. Corps where he honed his craft as a lead soprano player through 1960. In 1961 he joined the Hurricanes, a fortunate time, as he enjoyed Championship status for much of that decade. In 1970 Bob was tapped as the new Hurricane Director and Business Manager, a post he maintained through 1976. . Bob once again returned to the Hurricanes from 1986 through 1989 as Business Manager.
In addition to his long career with the Hurricanes, Bob served as vice president of Drum Corps Associates (DCA) from 1975 through 1983. He also served as Musical Chairmen for the Barnum Festival’s Champions on Parade from 1975 to 1980, serving as grand marshal in 1980. In 2005 Bob became Director and Business Mgr. of Bridgeport’s popular Park City Pride Alumni Corps.
Bob was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1979. In 2007 he became president of that institution. He is also a member of the Hurricanes Hall of Fame as well a recipient of the Hurricane's most prestigious honor, the Heart and Soul Award.
Art came to the Hurricanes at age 16 in 1954. He was truly the only real musician in the Corps during its formative years, and he assisted first, Oscar Knablin, then Joe Genero in training the horn line throughout his 16 year career with the Hurricanes. Aside from being the lead soloist for the Corps during his tenure, Art has been a highly regarded horn instructor in Connecticut for over 50 years, giving instruction to hundreds of “street” players with no previous experience. Between 1957 and 1973 Art taught many of Connecticut’s top junior corps including the Golden Buccaneers, Royal Lancers, Derby Cyclones, Oxford Explorers, Stateliners, Conn. Classics, Trumbull Troubadours, and the Milford Shoreliners, as well as the Connecticut Yankees, in 1970 and 1971.
When Art’s career performing with the Hurricanes ended he stayed close to his horn, and for several years played professionally as a member of the Dick Wailonis Band. When the alumni faction of drum corps took off in the mid 1980’s Art was right there…as a charter member and brass instructor of the Connecticut Alumni and subsequent to that was also a charter member as well as brass instructor for the Park City Pride.
Art judged brass captions for the Northeastern Judges Association from 1968-1973 and was also a founding member, as well as Vice President (6 yrs) of the Hurricanes Alumni Association. In his capacity with the Alumni Association Art ran a number of successful golf tournaments, raising several thousand dollars that was used to support the Hurricanes. In addition to his well deserved place in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Conn. Alumni Hall of Fame and is a charter member of the Buglers Hall of Fame and the Hurricanes Hall of Fame. In 2014 Art was presented with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of his contributions to Connecticut drum corps over the past sixty years.
Mickey Kelly came to the Hurricanes in 1976 as a guard instructor. He returned to the Corps in this capacity from 1979 through 1983 and during that time, the Hurcs guard took 4 DCA championship guard trophies. He then returned to the Corps as show coordinator from 1990 – 1994. Mickey’s personal performance history was one of notoriety, particularly for precision and innovative daring. This early experience certainly laid the cornerstone for Mickey’s unique and confident style of teaching…a style that got the most, and then some, out of each and every member, thus setting a standard that prevails to this day with the Hurricane guard…a never ending quest , through creativity and excellence, to be the best.
Mickey’s drum corps marching days began with the St. Raphael’s Musketeers and then St. Raphael’s Golden Buccaneers in the 1960’s.He also marched with the O.L.P.H. Ridgemen (NY). He began teaching at age 15 with St. Raphael’s Marionettes. He also founded the Skylark color guard in 1969…they eventually became world champions. Mickey has taught numerous corps including: the Caballeros and Bushwackers, the Milford Shoreliners, Bengal Lancers, Firettes, Fairfield Colonades, the Stateliners, Emerald Cadets, Emerald Buccaneers, Imperial Knights, Hawthorne Muchachos, as well as the 27th Lancers and Garfield Cadets. He has taught many high schools around the country including the award winning Cheshire HS Marching Band for many years. He was Chief Judge for WGI (1985 – 1992) and as a member of the National Judges Association has served as an adjudicator for the DCA. Mickey is recognized for his contributions, dedication and impact through induction to the WGI Hall of Fame, the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Larry Kerchner began his drum corps career as a 10 year member of Blue Rock, playing in all sections of the brass line. He began to arrange while still with Blue Rock and would later arrange/instruct such notable corps as the Bridgemen, Muchachos, Crossmen, Star of Indiana, Troopers, Sky Ryders, Hawthorne Caballeros and the Bushwackers among the 120+ corps he has worked with…including the 2001 Hurricanes.
Larry has in excess of 300 compositions published and in addition has been a Grammy Award Nominee. In addition to his induction to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame he’s a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame as well.
Charlie King’s years of close involvement with Connecticut Hurricanes began in 1976 when he played baritone in the horn line. He was a corps member when Hurricanes won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship in 1981. He has worn many hats during his years of involvement, including serving on the board of directors and the advisory board for over three decades. He has also been president of the Hurricanes alumni association. In addition, he ran the corps souvenir table for 15 years and served as a volunteer on the DCA committee assisting with vendor coordination. He has been a member of the team running the Hurricanes annual FanFare DCA contest for more than 25 years. He is an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
The Hurricanes enjoyed the talents of Michael Klesch as their brass arranger for two satisfying and successful years, 2009-2010.
Michael began his drum corps career in the early 1980’s as a bass drummer with the Cadets and went on to become one of the preeminent arrangers and composers in the activity. In addition to his many years guiding the Cadets, Michael has worked with the Phantom Regiment, Spirit, Colts, the Crossmen and Carolina Crown as well as the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band and the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Band.
His degrees come from West Chester University, B.S. in Music Education, and from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters in Music. He operates his own arranging business, working with ensembles around the world. Michael is an inductee to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.
Kulinski, Victor Sr.*
Vic’s drum corps career began at age sixteen with St. Mary’s Fife Drum & Trumpet Corps in Torrington Conn. When this corps disbanded in 1959, Vic and thirdteen others became the founding members of the Torrington Vagabonds. Vic served as a performer in the baritone line as well as administratively for the Vagabonds in their early years, and subsequently became Director in 1965. Following the 1967 season the Vagabonds went inactive, however, through heavy recruiting by Vic and others the Vagabonds survived.
Vic joined the Hurricanes in 1972 and was a fixture in the color guard for twenty years, marching in the working guard, the honor guard and from 1986-1991 serving as Captain of the Honor Guard. In recognition of a long career promoting the activity Vic has been inducted to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member.
Kulinski, Victor Jr.
Vic Kulinski came to the Hurcs in 1974 and played in the snare line for ten years before becoming Drum Major and subsequently Corps Director from 1986-1989. Vic was a talented drummer and devoted member, though he made his greatest contribution during his tenure as director. He took over the Corps in decline and was faced with the possibility of going inactive but worked tirelessly at the helm for four years of re-building.
Vic’s introduction to drum corps came at the age of eight. He played with Carey’s Cadets, Connecticut Royal Lancers and the Oxford Explorers as a junior. Following his Hurricane career, Vic moved to Florida where he co-founded Heat Wave of Orlando, also serving as director and drum major. He later moved on to the Atlanta, Ga. CorpsVets where he served as a percussion instructor, drum major and member of the Board of Directors. In addition, Vic has performed as a percussionist at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and has been featured in commercials for the Toronto Lottery as well as Eckards Pharmacy. In individual competition, Vic has garnered numerous awards in percussion. He has placed 1st on snare, multi tenor and bass drum three times at the Shriner’s National Convention as well as winning the National Invitational Individual Championship twice. Following his competitive career he continued to perform with the Bayonne Bridgemen Alumni Corps.
In addition to Heat Wave and the CorpsVets, Vic has arranged and instructed for the Norwalk and Shelton High School Marching Bands in Conn. as well as Cypress Creek, Boone and Middleburg High Schools in Florida. He has also served as director and arranger for Riptide Indoor Percussion of Jacksonville, Fla. as well as Central Region Director for the Florida Federation of Color Guards. In recognition of his accomplishments Vic is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Luedee, Raymond *
Ray Luedee came to the Hurricanes in 1965 and took over a championship level drum line and simply made them better. He left an indelible mark in the Hurricane and DCA record books by producing top lines year after year. Having learned under the “Dean of drumming,” Earl Sturtze, Ray kicked it up a notch with the Hurcs, arranging, teaching and setting the tone by playing in his lines, with what has been described as an “aggressive rudimental style”. The Hurricane drum lines during Ray’s tenure were the gold standard of excellence. He lead the Corps percussion section, by being a brilliant motivator, and by imparting to his charges an unparalleled work ethic and spirit, from 1965 through 1973 and again in 1975 through 1977.
Ray’s performance history began in 1956 with the Connecticut Yankees. He marched as a snare for them through 1964 before bringing his considerable talents to the Hurricanes. He also taught many corps, junior and senior, throughout the area including the Connecticut Royal Lancers, St. Raphael’s Golden Buccaneers, Stateliners, Bridgeport’s ND-Ett’s, and the New Bedford Whalers among others. Ray was a member of the Northeastern Judging Association in the Percussion and General Effect captions and was also involved in numerous percussion clinics for drum corps, bands and judging associations. In addition Ray was the Connecticut State Individual Snare Drum champion for six consecutive years.
In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to the world of drum corps, Ray has been honored and recognized through induction to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Danny McBride’s exceptional talents in visual design and instruction has made an enormous impact across the drum corps and competitive winter guard spectrum in North America and the United Kingdom. His visual design innovations were first put on display in the early 1980s, when he produced world-class silver and gold medal finalists in Winter Guard International (WGI) competitions. He was designer and instructor in 1984 when Hawthorne Caballeros won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) world championship to top off an undefeated season. In various years beginning in 1979, he was visual designer and instructor for several other top-level corps including the Connecticut Hurricanes 1996-1998, Avant Garde, Garfield Cadets, 27th Lancers, and the Bayonne Bridgemen. His top achievements include winning five top visual scores in DCA finals. In nine different years, he designed the show of a corps that finished in the DCA top three. He was associated as a designer, instructor or member with corps that were Drum Corps International (DCI) finalists five times. He also designed the memorable 27th Lancers reunion performance for DCA. Over a ten year period beginning in 1968, he played soprano horn with four different corps: Wynanstkill Killmen, Speigletown Speiglearies, Avant Garde and 27th Lancers. He has also judged visual captions with DCA and several regional judging groups. Dany is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
McHenry, James *
Jimmy came to the Hurricanes and served as lead drum major for the 1970 season. He is fondly remembered as one gutsy guy, having assumed the unenviable task of replacing the great, long time DM Joe Genero at the helm. The transformation was seamless. Jim quickly commanded the respect of the Corps and led with the same charismatic style that marked his lengthy career.
Jim’s introduction to drum corps was in 1959, at age 15, as an original member of the New Bedford Whalers where he marched through 1962. Following a four year stint with the US Marine Corps, He returned to the Whalers from 1966-1969 as their drum major. Jim returned to the Whalers for their final year, 1972, and then went on to lead the RI Matadors, 1973-1975, 1977 and again in 1999 as a DM for the Matadors 30th reunion corps. He then served as DM for Generations in 2000 and once again for the St. Kevin’s Emerald Knights Alumni Corps in 2003. Jim is a member of the Matadors Hall of Fame as well as an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Rick Morey, an accomplished designer, came onboard with the Hurricanes as the drill designer beginning in 2015. Rick’s history in writing and teaching dates to 1970 in upstate NY where he instructed numerous color guards for nearly thirty years. In addition, he has a long involvement in the drum and bugle corps arena in both DCI and DCA as a designer, program coordinator and consultant. His DCI affiliations have included Pioneer, Magic of Orlando and the Colts. In DCA, Rick has worked with the Steel City Ambassadors, Brigadiers, Bushwackers and Empire Statesmen.
As an adjudicator, Rick has judged for DCI, WGI, DCA and BOA, as well as numerous marching band contests across the country. A past President of the New York Federation of Contest Judges, Rick has also served as a clinician in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. A retired high school counselor who was named New York State Counselor of the Year in 1996, Rick now works in the pageantry activity on a full time basis.
Notaro, Robert *
Robert Notaro is better known to friends throughout the drum corps community as “Pepe” came to the Hurricanes in 1979. For five unforgettable years Pepe wore many hats as he helped guide the Hurcs to a higher level of competitive effectiveness. His expertise was as a musician, working the horn line. Pepe also ran field rehearsals, constantly refining the presentation. He also donned a uniform and performed French horn solos as well as filling drum major slots in competition. Off the field Pepe was involved in other ways…MC’ing parties, running fund raisers or simply using his inimitable sense of humor and story telling ability to delight those people fortunate to be around him. The guy was, simply put, a dynamo!
Pepe started his drum corps career with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Brooklyn in 1949. Carmen Cluna handed him his first horn: a US Army bugle, with no piston or slide. After playing with a number of junior corps Pepe gained fame as a French horn soloist with the New York Skyliners. He also instructed several junior and senior corps throughout the New York area for many years. He was a strong supporter of DCI class A and A-60 (which later became Division I and III ) drum and bugle corps, that allowed smaller corps to compete at regional as well as national events. More than any other activist, Pepe opened the door so that all junior corps, regardless of size, talent, maturity and goals, had a place in the activity he so loved. Pepe’s colorful and accomplished career has been honored by his enshrinement into the Buglers Hall of Fame, the DCI Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
The Hurricanes were fortunate to have had the services of John Oddo as percussion arranger and instructor, along with Bob Vitti, from 1993 thru 1994, as well as relying on him in later years as a consultant. John was a key member of the staff during his tenure, as evidenced by the top five status the Hurcs enjoyed in the early nineties.
John is an expert drummer and arranger who has maintained consistently high standards. In fact, many of his students have become instructors throughout the drum corps community due to his influence. He began his drum corps career in 1962 with St. Joseph’s Patron Cadets, who later became St. Rita’s Brassmen and went on to be an arranger/instructor/consultant with such corps as the Sunrisers, Brigadiers and Skyliners as well as with some nationally recognized junior corps as the Sky Riders of Kansas, the Bridgemen of NJ among others. John was the founder and percussion director of Rage, Long Island’s first independent indoor marching ensemble and has been involved in the alumni movement with the Park City Pride of Bridgeport, Ct. John is a inductee to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Olderman, Harvey *
Harvey Olderman, a Navy veteran of WWI who would become the “Captain of the Hurricanes,” was a charter member of the John H. Collins Post Fife Drum and Bugle Corps in 1932. He played a fife in the early years and eventually switched to the color guard in the early 50’s. He was soon elevated to the position of Color Guard Sergeant of the Hurcs in 1955.
Harvey, the dapper haberdasher and true gentleman that he was, was the popular figurehead of the Hurricanes. His charismatic demeanor and presence made him a fan favorite as he led the Hurricanes onto the field past his 88th birthday! He was a true ambassador of the drum corps activity for all those years, and was recognized as such, being honored as one of the six charter members of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1976.
Harvey passed away following the 1985 season, at age 88, and remains the longest tenured member in the history of the Hurricane organization. He marched for 54 consecutive years, with the distinction, along with George Biancarelli, of having been a part of every championship achieved by the Corps. He is, of course, a Hurricane Hall of Famer.
Doug’s drum corps odyssey started in the 1960’s with the Norwalk Hot Shots. It was there, under Art Hlywa and later Pepe Notaro that he learned to play the soprano. In due time, he advanced his playing skill to the level of lead soprano. In 1970 Doug came to the Hurricanes and found a place in the lead section, eventually becoming a featured soloist for the Corps through 1999. He is most notably known for the solo he played for so many years, from the Magnificent Seven…..the Hurricanes signature song.
He served as a marching instructor for the Corps from 1999 through 2011, and in 2012 closed out his distinguished career serving as Director of the Hurricanes. Doug was so highly regarded for the respect he commanded, as well as for his ability, that he was tagged with the moniker “The General.”
Doug has also been a visual instructor for the highly recognized Norwalk High School Marching Band since 1988. In addition, Doug was named “Hurricane of the Year” in 1974 and has been honored with induction to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member and to the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
Ralph Pace penned the visual program for the Hurricanes in 1984. Ralph turned his marching experience as a junior with Vasella and as a senior with the Archer Epler Musketeers into a storied career instructing and designing field shows.
He had gained notoriety and recognition over a 25 year career, primarily in the DCI, designing shows for the likes of the Phantom Regiment, the Cavaliers, Crossmen as well as the Spirit of Atlanta. In addition, he also wrote and taught some highly successful editions of the Reading Buccaneers from the early 1970’s through the early 1980’s. Ralph is a member of the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame, the Crossmen Hall of Fame, the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as Drum Corps Internationals Hall of Fame and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Parks, Leslie *
Les Parks produced the Hurricanes drum line from 1959 through 1960 and built upon the foundation of excellence that had been established by Earl Sturtze. As an accomplished percussionist he was a contemporary of Genero and a perfect fit to bring the Corps to a higher level…a level that was realized and brought high acclaim to the Hurricanes of the 1960’s.
Les was a 1950 graduate of the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He played in numerous Broadway musicals as a percussionist for both operas and symphonic orchestras. His drum corps career began with the OLPH Cadets in 1938 before moving on to the Charles W. Heisser Post Corps and the Phoebe Apperson Hearst American Legion Corps. In 1947 Les was a founding father of the Sons of Liberty Fife & Drum Corps of Brooklyn NY where he played until they disbanded in 1968. In the world of drum corps he was renowned for his association with St. Vincent’s Cadets, the Garfield Cadets, St. Catherine’s Queensmen as well as the Hawthorne Caballeros and New York Skyliners among others. Les authored “The Fundamental Approach to the Snare Drum.” Through his writings and teaching, many of Les’ innovative ideas and techniques are employed to this day. Les has been enshrined in the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Frank Ponzo served as an instructor on the Hurricane brass staff in 1993. Frank assisted Buddy Bibeault, and as a member of the educational team this year, was influential in producing a highly entertaining and competitive line through his dedicated effort.
His musical career began as a saxophone player in high school. Frank then switched to brass in 1978 with the Bellmore Flames of NY. From 1982-1989 Frank toiled with the Long Island Sunrisers as a lead soprano and brass instructor. Beginning in 1990, Frank embarked on his long association with the Hawthorne Caballeros organization, with the competitive corps as well as their alumni corps as both instructor and featured soloist. Frank is recognized and regarded among the finest soloists in DCA’s long history. He is a member of the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Poulan, Key III
Pete Propfe has been involved with drum corps for over fifty years. He began his career in 1967 as a soprano bugler with the Torrington Vagabonds Sr. Drum & Bugle Corps. In 1972 he joined the Oxford Explorers and in 1974 went to the New York Skyliners. 1976 brought him to the Berkshire Marauders through 1979 and in 1980 Pete was back where he started, with the Vagabonds, where he served as director, drum major and bugler. In 1988 Pete rejoined the Skyliners and in 1989 his varied drum corps travels brought him to the Hurricanes where he’s been ever since.
Pete has totally embraced the Hurricane mystique and made it a family passion as well, with his wife Nancy and son Tyler also becoming members of the Hurricane family. In 1995 he became corps personnel manager. In 1996 and 1997 he served as assistant director and in 1998 Pete took on the roll of Corps Director. Beginning in 2012 Pete assumed a seat on the Board of Directors. In 2014 & 2015 he once again took on the duties of director. In recognition of his devoted service Pete is enshrined in the Hurricanes Hall of Fame and is an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Ratford, Edward *
Edward “Vinnie” Ratford literally got the Hurricanes off on the right foot. Regarded by many as the premier marching instructor of his day, Vinnie, the Hurricane’s first drill instructor, ran the Corps through its paces and turned them into a proficient marching unit in the early years.
When the John H. Collins American Legion Post Drum Corps transformed into the Hurricanes in 1955, Vinnie Ratford was in fact the only person involved who had experience with competitive drum and bugle corps. He was considered by many to be the preeminent marching instructor and drill design writer of the time. He thus became the most influential leader of the fledgling Hurricanes. At his urging the corps brought in Earl Sturtze in 1956 and Joe Genero in 1957. The transformation of the Hurricanes never stalled and by the time of his departure in 1962 Vinnie had mentored the Hurricanes into a championship caliber drum and bugle corps.
Vinnie began his long drum corps involvement as a tenor drummer in the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Post corps. Upon his return from service in WWII, he played with the national champion Gabarina (New York) Skyliners and subsequently made the transition to drill design and instruction. He taught many corps, including the Skyliners, Yankee Rebels, Marksmen and the Syracuse Brigadiers and Sunrisers to name a few on the senior side as well as St.Joseph’s of Batavia, Blessed Sacrament, St. Joe’s of Newark, the Connecticut Royal Lancers as well as the Emerald Cadets of New Haven, among others, on the junior scene. Vin Ratford taught many established corps, but the transformation of a fife and drum corps into a top notch competitive unit may well have been his proudest achievement. Without his savvy guidance in those formative years, our Hurcs may not have made it!
In 1976 Vinnie was recognized and honored by induction as a charter member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Carl Ruocco’s association with the Hurricanes began at the conclusion of the 2014 season when he was brought on board as the show/staff coordinator for 2015. Carl is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience.
By way of experience, his involvement in drum corps began with the Dumont Police Cadets in 1960. As a senior, he played in the percussion section of the New York Skyliners for many years. He’s instructed the Ridgemen, Colts, Star of Indiana, New York Skyliners, and the Westshoremen as well as the Skyliner Alumni Corps. Carl has also arranged and instructed for the David Brealy, Bayonne, and Pennsauken High School Bands.
From 2004-2013 Carl was the Show coordinator for the Reading Buccaneers and during his tenure the Buccaneers amassed an unprecedented nine DCA titles. In addition, Carl was the Assistant Director of Star of Indiana and the Director of the Crossmen. He judged with the International Judges Association, and was percussion caption head of the National Judges Association for 11 years. Carl is a member of the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Jim Russo, perhaps the most recognizable drum major of all time, brought his considerable talents to the Hurcs for one year. In 1983 he shined as a co-drum major, along with Pepe Notaro and Dave McLennan. Jim also served the Corps as a drill instructor that year.
Jimmy’s drum corps career began at the tender age of seven, gaining experience in brass, percussion and as a drum major. He aged out of the fabled St. Lucy’s Cadets and for thirty plus years, charismatically led the Hawthorne Caballeros as their drum major in competition. Subsequent to his brilliant competitive career, Jim kept all of his uniforms, putting them to good use on the podium for the Caballero Alumni Corps. Jim also consults for the Empire Statesmen. He is a member of the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Neal was the visual designer for the Hurricanes from 1977 through 1982. He would later return to design shows in 1990 and again in 1995 when he led the Corps to a 5th place finish in his final year with the Corps. During his time the Hurricanes won the 1981 DCA championship, sweeping all visual captions and also took top visual at the 1982 championship. His shows were fast paced and integrated both the guard and voicing to achieve maximum coordination and effect.
Neal began his drum corps career as a member of the Boston Crusaders from 1961 to 1971. He was a soprano soloist and served as drum major in his final year. During his years with Boston, they were one of the top corps in the country.
His long teaching career started when he joined the visual staff of the Rockland Defenders in 1974 and continued when he designed his first show for the Lancers from Norwood, Mass. in 1975. In 1976 he became the visual designer for Northstar and led them to the DCI finals from 1978-1980 and CYO National Champions in 1979. He’s designed shows for the Boston Crusaders, RI. Matadors, and Hawthorne Caballeros as well as several corps and marching bands in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. He is also a visual judge for DCA and various Band Associations
Neal is a member of, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Boston Crusaders Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.
It was happenstance that Danny Staffieri became a Hurricane in 1990. While having had no exposure to drum corps, he merely wanted to be around his girlfriend Dondi, (soon to be his wife) a member of the guard, and was promptly drawn into the Hurricane family. Not one to stand idly by, Danny became part of the support staff in 1990. He played in the cymbal line in 1991 and then learned how to play the baritone, which he did from 1992-2006. In 2007 Danny switched to tuba and anchored that section through 2013.
Danny’s commitment to the Corps has always included active participation where ever he could help, e.g. fund raising, recruiting, truck driver, assisting the support staff as well as opening his home to out of town members on a regular basis. For a quarter of a century, he’s always been there. His level of involvement and dedication earned him the coveted Hurricane of the Year award twice, in 1994 & 2005 as well as the Directors award three times…1993, 2008 & 2012. Danny takes enormous pride in that he never missed a performance in his 24 years of active participation.
His passion has also branched into the marching arts community where he has taught marching and/or color guard for high school programs in Brookfield, Naugatuck and Norwalk’s Brien McMahon in Conn., Port Chester high school, NY. as well as serving as Asst. Band Director for Amity high school of Woodbridge, Conn. In addition, Danny has volunteered his time and effort as co-coordinator and color guard instructor for the Hurricane Cadets of the Hurricanes Community Outreach Program since 2008.
In recognition of his long career of dedication and working tirelessly toward the betterment of the Hurricanes Danny has been honored through induction to the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member.
Sturtze, Earl *
Earl Sturtze holds the distinction of being one of the very 1st drum instructors for the Hurricanes in 1955, and the corps couldn’t have chosen a better man for the job. These guys were, after all, green in the world of competitive drum corps, and Earl brought with him a voluminous resume in both accomplishment and instruction. Earl whipped the drum line into respectability in short order and remained as head of the drum line through 1958.
Earl represents forty years of drumming experience with military and concert bands. He held National and New England Championships for rudimental drumming. In addition, he won state titles in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. Among his students, all with title laden credits, are Frank Arsenault, Robert Redican, Ray Luedee and Hugh Quigley just to name a few. These gentlemen are also enshrined in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame beside Earl Sturtz. He instructed many rudimental bass drummers as well as drum sections and he was honored for his outstanding service at the New York Worlds Fair in 1940
Rich Tardie’s life in drum corps began when he joined the Oxford Explorers color guard, 1963 – 1965. In 1967 Rich joined the Hurricane guard and marched through 1975, participating in two DCA championship corps along the way, 1967 and 1969.
Following a hiatus, he returned to the activity in 1984 with the Connecticut Alumni corps where he enjoyed a relaxed commitment level through 1993. In 1994, Rich was asked to assume the lead of the Hurcs Honor Guard, which he readily accepted. Since that time, through 2011, Rich molded his unit to one that exuded enormous pride in presenting our Nations colors, and in leading the Hurricanes wherever they perform.
He was honored as the recipient of the “Hurricane of the Year “award in 2003. Under his guidance the Hurricanes Honor Guard has garnered countless awards including eight DCA world championship high honors. Beginning in 2014 Rich has been active as a member of the DCA staff. Rich has been recognized and honored through induction into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member.
In preparation for the 2015 competitive season the Hurricanes welcomed Mark Thurston as the percussion arranger. Mark is highly acclaimed in the percussion community as a performer, instructor, arranger and adjudicator.
Mark’s lengthy drum corps career began in his youth as a member of the Royaleers, Yankee Cadets and Avant Garde, drum corps from his native upstate New York home area before gaining membership to the Crossmen snare line from 1979 to 1982. He later joined their percussion staff in 1983 and subsequently served as the Crossmen's percussion caption head and arranger from 1984 to 1996. A nationally recognized and respected adjudicator, including a significant tenure as a DCA percussion judge, Mark became an indoor percussion judge for WGI in 1996, beginning an association with WGI that lasts to this day. He was Percussion Education director in 1997 and 1998 and in 1999 became Director of Percussion, a position he still holds. In addition to his work with the Crossmen and WGI, Mark's drum corps instruction and arranging resume also includes stints with Spirit of Atlanta, the Westshoremen and the Reading Buccaneers.
Mark has been recognized for his contributions and accomplished career by induction to the Crossmen Hall of Fame, the WGI Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Stephen "Skip" Vargo is a member of the Hurricanes Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as an associate member. He has been a valuable member of the Hurricanes since playing in the baritone section from 1971 through 1984. For the following two years he provided design service and visual instruction as well as marching as an assistant drum major. He served as treasurer on the board of directors from 1986 until a job assignment took him to Michigan in 1991. Skip returned as treasurer in 1994, a responsibility he maintained through 2005. In addition, he was a key member of the board in developing the charter, bylaws and articles of incorporation that are filed with the State. He has represented the Hurricanes at DCA meetings on numerous occasions over the years and has lent his efforts toward running Fanfare as well.
Skip was a charter member and ten year member of the Park City Pride and has also played with the Connecticut Alumni for the past four years. Prior to becoming a Hurricane Skip played with the Trumbull Troubadours from 1965- 1971 and the Connecticut Yankees in 1971-1972.
Bob Vitti played a major roll in 1993&1994, along with John Oddo, leading the percussion through two high energy seasons. He returned to serve as show/staff coordinator in 2011. The Hurcs finished in the coveted top five under Bob’s tutelage and guidance in these years.
Bob began hi career in the 1960’s with the Greenwich Conn. Boys Club Drum & Bugle Corps before moving on to the Connecticut Stateliners. He ended his career with the Hawthorne Muchachos. In addition to the Hurricanes, Bob has instructed the New York Skyliners, the Sunrisers, the Syracuse Brigadiers and the Westchester Brassmen. He has instructed the Bridgemen of NJ and the Sky Riders of Kansas as well as several division II & III corps throughout the Northeast. Bob has been enshrined in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Rich Warga came to the Hurricanes for 2012 as a member of the Board of Directors. He returned to the board as well as assuming the duties of Business Manager and Treasurer beginning in 2014. Rich served as the Executive Director of the Hurricanes in 2015 – 2016.
Rich’s drum corps career began with the Bridgeport Pal Cadets from 1959-1968 before he joined the senior ranks with the New York Skyliners from 1969-1988, and subsequently the Hawthorne Caballeros from 1989-2010. Rich participated with both the Skyliners and Caballeros as a performer, marching instructor and administratively.
Rich has written drill as well as instructed marching for several corps throughout New England, New York and New Jersey. In addition, He served as a marching adjudicator for the Metro All American Judges Association Rich was a charter member and first director of the New York Skyliners Alumni Corps. Rich has been recognized for his many years of involvement by induction into the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame and the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Jim Wedge is widely considered a pioneer in brass arranging. He was a major force from the first years of Drum Corps International (DCI) through his innovative arrangements for 27th Lancers of Revere, Massachusetts. Between 1967 and 1982, his work with 27th Lancers produced such drum corps standards as Crown Imperial, Danny Boy, Shenandoah and Rawhide. During many of those groundbreaking years with Lancers, he was also the arranger and instructor for other prominent Massachusetts corps; Dukes of Marlboro, Pembroke Imperialsand the Jeanettes of Lynn. In the 1980s, he also worked with Fitchburg Kingsmen and East Coast Jazz. Other drum corps he worked with reached high levels such as the Connecticut Hurricanes 1983-1984, multiple Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) championships, multiple World Open championships, champions with DCI North, DCI East, DCI Midwest, DCI West. His emphasis on quality of sound, a constant search for musicality and pursuit of new sounds and teaching methods had a major impact on those he taught. Four members of the Dukes of Marlboro horn line, with no training other than their drum corps background, all went on to become music teachers. He is a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame and the Massachusetts Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Woods, Robert *
Bob Woods, who passed away in 1993, was one of the Connecticut Hurricanes’ innovative drill designers who helped move field shows away from a strict military style to a more creative, free flowing style of drill emphasizing audience entertainment, while still requiring a high degree of precision. He worked closely with his long time drum corps partner Edward Condon and their mentor, Hall of Fame charter member Vinny Radford, to create new design patterns that have evolved into modern drum and bugle corps field show standards. He drummed in the percussion section of the Hurricanes from 1955 to 1961, and handled drill design until 1969. His designs incorporated the color guard into the drill patterns for the first time, complimenting the music and percussion to create a more crowd-pleasing presentation and enhance overall audience enjoyment. The emphasis on marching precision earned the Hurricanes the nickname Green Machine. When the corps won its first World Open title in 1964, the Hurricanes took the marching and maneuvering (M&M) caption by two and a half points, providing the entire margin of victory. Over the following five years of competition, the Hurricanes recorded high M&M scores in 90 per cent of their contests.
After his departure as drill designer, he remained active with the Hurricanes as a performance instructor, working to help clean the drills created by Hall of Fame member Carman Cluna. He served as a judge with the All American Judges Association for three years. He was also the drill designer for a number of organizations in New England from 1960 until 1977, including St. Rose’s color guard, Notre Dame All Girls, Hot Shots of Norwalk, Connecticut and East Haven drum and bugle corps. Bob is a member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as well as the Hurricanes Hall of Fame.