Connecticut Hurricanes Celebrate Sixty Years in 2014



Drum corps records will show that the Connecticut Hurricanes were originated in 1955, but it was actually back in 1932 that the actual roots of the corps were planted. The John H. Collins Post Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps started with a donation of six fifes, four drums, and one base drum by Walter H. De Forest. The corps remained a fife, drum, and bugle corps until 1949 when they dropped fife from their title. In 1955, Gene Imperatto went to the capital city of Hartford and incorporated the drum corps and thus became the group known as the Connecticut Hurricanes. The name was adapted after Hurricane Diana ravaged much of southern New England that same year. The 1960’s very highly successful for the corps as they won the DCA World Championship in 1967 and 1969 as well as several American Legion National titles and National Dream victories. The Hurricanes are a charter member of Drum Corps Associates which first started in 1964 and is celebrating their fiftieth anniversary this year. Even though there was no championship event that first year, the New York Skyliners and Hurricanes were locked into a first place tie in the post season ratings. The corps trademark song “Magnificent Seven” was first played in 1961 and has been every year since then.
In 1976, it was decided to allow female members into the drum corps as they were the second corps in DCA to reach this decision after the Sunrisers. These women quickly adapted to the rigors and standards of the drum corps activity and pumped new life into the drum corps. In 1981, the Hurricanes captured their third DCA title in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hurricanes have several members in the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as full members for their dedication to their corps and the drum corps community. They are Bob Findley, Joe Genero, Pepe Notaro, Robert Glovna, Ray Luedee, and Harvey Olderman who was an original member and marched competitively with the corps as honor guard captain until the age of 86! Identities of the Hurricanes as mandated in the bylaws include “Downfall of Paris” as the street beat, the lightning bolt as part of the corps uniform, ” Magnificent Seven” as the corps theme song, and the corps colors as green, black, and white.

In recent years, the Hurricanes placed fourth at DCA finals four straight years from 2008 until 2011. The color guard captured back to back honors in 2008 and 2009. the honor guard led by Captain Rich Tardie and Assistant Captain Joe Stefon, had an amazing run of seven consecutive DCA Best Honor Guard awards from 2004 through 2010. They also won the award in 2002 to make it eight out of nine victories.

The Hurricanes program for 2014 is titled “Always Greener” which musically and visually will take the fans on a journey of a flowering garden. Music selections include “Promise of Living”, “Children’s Suite”, “Merry Mount Suite”, and closing with “Make our Garden Grow”. The show ties in with the history of the corps that starts as a seedling and transforms into what it is today. A perennial competitor that keeps returning season after season. The corps will be led onto the field by Drum Major Brian Maroldt.

The staff for 2014 includes Pete Propfe as corps director and John Lemire as program coordinator. Brass arranger is Ray Fallon. Visual design is Jamey Thompson. Battery and Percussion Arranger is Mike Rabinowitz and Front Ensemble Arranger is Michael Blancaflor. Color Guard designer is John Lemire. Brass Caption Head is Vidal Orlduz and percussion Caption Head is Michael Rabinowitz. Visual Caption Head is Patty Bush and Color Guard Caption Head is John Lemire.

This year Connecticut will be celebrating one hundred years of drum corps as the Hurricanes are in their sixtieth year, the Connecticut Alumni is in their thirtieth season, and the Park City Alumni celebrates its tenth season. A kick off banquet celebration will be held on June 21, and will end on August 23 at the Hurricanes “Fanfare” home show. All three corps will join as one at the end of the evening to give the fans a birthday celebration they will remember for a long time. The Hurricanes wish to extend a very happy sixtieth anniversary to the Long Island Sunrisers and a very happy eightieth anniversary to the Kilties. That, drum corps fans equals TWO HUNDRED years of service to the drum corps community!!

Good luck to these three units in competition in their historic anniversary seasons.
Drum Corps Associates is also celebrating their Golden Anniversary this season while providing entertainment to its fans and education to its performers. The upcoming DCA season promises to be an exciting, enjoyable, entertaining, and memorable one with many special events planned. Please visit the Hurricanes and the DCA web sites for more information on these events.

Bill Flaker,