Westchester Brassmen approach 20 years of parade corps success

by David Lepore, DCW staff

1993 Westchester Brassmen (Harrison, NY)
Photo by David Schwartz

Beneath the Carle-Anderson Memorial building in Harrison, NY, lies what many would describe as a private club.

Sure, it’s part of the local American Legion Post 559, but with walls decorated with trophies and plaques, one can see that this place is the hang out for a drum and bugle corps.

The Westchester Brassmen are relatively new to the activity. Founded on September 7, 1984, they were formed as a parade corps and have been able to continue 19 years of a winning tradition and are approaching their 20th anniversary.

“Since 1931, a drum corps has been in the building,” began Westchester Brassmen Director and founding member Joe Mazzullo. “Up until 1957 it was a junior corps, but in 1957 it became a senior corps, the Carle-Anderson Drum and Bugle Corps.”

Due to lack of interest the corps disbanded in 1969. However in 1984, the American Legion 559 gave Mazzullo a loan for $10,000 to get a corps back.

“I took the money and bought used drums from the Garfield Cadets, Hawthorne (Caballeros) and the Sunrisers. Then I would buy used horns here and there and we had our first meeting on September 7 of 1984 with the first official rehearsal the following week,” Mazzullo explained.

Thus the Westchester Brassmen were born.

Throughout the majority of the late 1980s and 1990s, the Brassmen would win just about every judged parade they competed in. Boasting more than 60 horns at one point and having a total membership of more than 130, the Brassmen took on halftime shows for the New York Jets, marched in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade and were selected to march in the Operation Welcome Home Parade commemorating the return home of U.S. soldiers from Desert Storm.

But between 1995 and now, the corps has seen a significant drop in numbers. With total membership averaging…

Read the rest of this article in the March 2003 issue of Drum Corps World!