Another one of the band’s favorites is “Eh, Cumpari!,” an Italian novelty song about musical instruments that gained popularity in 1953.
“We played this for the first time during the Santa Parade in 1953,” said Carmine LoConte, who joined the band in 1949. “We didn’t know it at the time but the parade was being broadcast on WHAV in Haverhill.”
The evolution of horns from no valves during the band’s first years to one valve in 1949 allowed for a greater musical repertoire due to the additional tonal range of the horns.
It made it possible in the 1950s for the band to perform the “Triumphal March” from the opera “Aida” by Giuseppe Verde. The piece is usually performed at the start of a parade. The music is upbeat and exhilarating and just the thing to get a crowd going.
“They played it back then and we still play it today,” Gaiero said.
Today’s band has about 40 members ages 10 to 75. The group includes a uniformed drill team of 10 teenage girls led by Amanda LoConte. They march in front and carry Italian flags. The band’s instruments include soprano horn (two and three valve bugles), mellophone (similar to a French horn) and baritone horn (like a mini tuba). Percussion is by four to five snare drum players, two bass drummers and two or three cymbal players.
It’s a family affair for some members. Stephen Iannalfo’s father, the late Richard Iannalfo, played baritone horn, while his grandfather, the late Joseph Iannalfo, was Chief of Section and a baritone horn player for the original band.
Stephen Iannalfo’s sons, Steve and Michael, are in the band as well.
Carmine LoConte, who played the baritone horn before retiring from the band after more than 40 years, joined the band in June of 1949 at the urging of his friend, Richard Iannalfo.