“We’d just graduated from Tilton School and Richard brought me to the home of Vinny DiProfio, who was the drum major for the band. He asked me if I’d like to join, and I said sure, I’ll try it.”
Carmine’s son, John LoConte, plays soprano horn for the band and his daughter Amanda is in on the drill team.
John LoConte’s nephew, Anthony LoConte, plays cymbals, bass drum and occasionally the snare drum.
“Marching is a family thing that is passed down from generation to generation,” Anthony LoConte said.
Gaiero said he joined because he always wanted to be in a marching band.
“Often times I hear people say, who is that band and where are they from?” Gaiero said. “I like hearing that. It gets my adrenaline going.”
Gaiero says the band welcomes newcomers and that all people need is the desire to be part of the group’s tradition.
“We provide musical instruction, instruments, and uniforms,” Gaiero said. “You don’t have to be Italian, as we do have non-Italian members. We want to keep the tradition going and continue representing the city of Haverhill.”
The band is a nonprofit that operates from income from performing in parades. It holds an annual banquet in December.
Victor Emmanuel Lodge Sons of Italy Drum and Bugle Corps
First meeting: April 24, 1939 in the Victor Emanuel Lodge, 94 River St.
First public performance: May 12, 1940. Thirty-two member band marched in a baptism parade from the lodge’s quarters on River Street to St. Rita’s Church in the Mount Washington neighborhood.
World War II: The group temporarily disbanded in the spring of 1941, and reformed for VJ Day Parade, Aug. 15, 1945.
Current members: 40, ranging in age from 10 to 75, including a 10 member all-female drill team
Performances: The band performs in 25 parades each year throughout New England