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Al DeSantis 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 widely known as "“Big Al”", a familiar face of the Hurcs, for playing huge cymbals featured in the “Magnificent Seven” in every parade, exhibition and competition 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.
Anthony DeFrancesco*, or to all who knew him… "”Tony D"”, was one of the most popular and charismatic Hurcs during his time in the 60'’s. Tony got his start in drum corps in 1957 with the St. Raphael'’s Golden Buccaneers where he marched through 1960. In 1961, Tony joined the Hurc drum line 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 him assistant drum major. His firm, yet affable manner, lent itself nicely towards even paced rehearsals, thus freeing Joe to concentrate on performance. Upon leaving the Hurricanes following the 1968 season, Tony instructed color guard, first with St. Ann'’s Loyalaires and then with Notre Dame’'s all girl ND-Ette’s. In 1984, he was instrumental in founding the Conn. Alumni Corps and served as its first director (1984-1989). He was also one of the founders of the Hurricane's Alumni Association in 1998 and served on it's board until 2001. Tony is an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.
Dave Dion proved himself, over a Hurc career of twenty five years, to be a Hurricane of Hurricane’s. He joined the Corps in 1983 and played in the pit, as well as on snare and tenor for seven years before assuming drum major responsibilities through 1993. Following a stint as an instructor for the Boston Crusaders, he returned to the Corps in 1995 in the position of percussion arranger and later as brass arranger through 2008. In 2007, Dave put forth an astounding effort by arranging both the brass and percussion scores, serving as staff/show coordinator, as well as donning a uniform one more time, and leading the Corps, once again, as drum major.
Dave'’s musical background comes by way of a BS in Music Performance from Western Connecticut State University and an MA in Music Composition and Music Education from UMASS Amherst. From 1990-1992 he was an arranging assistant for jazz great, Gerry Mulligan and from 1992 through 1995 was a Department Assistant for UMASS Amherst; instructing marching band, jazz ensembles, percussion ensembles, and teaching applied lessons. Dave became the Director of Music for the Wethersfield, Conn. Public School System beginning in 1995.
In addition, he has served as writer/arranger for numerous high school programs throughout Connecticut including Norwalk, Trumbull, Southington, Bethel, Danbury, Shelton, Stamford, West Hill, Brookfield, Newtown, West Haven, and Wethersfield.
In 1994, Dave was commissioned to compose live film score for a 1918 film "“Within Our Gates”" by the Massachusetts Multi-Cultural Society. He formed a publishing company in 2000, Dion Productions LLC, for scholastic jazz and field music. Dave has also pursued his passion for music by performing with jazz and event groups including Green Earring, the David Dion Quartet, Feedback, the Ives Symphony, and 42nd Street.