Passing of Member John Sasso

Posted on August 29th, 2017

NEWS RELEASE: for immediate release

August 20, 2017

Funeral service for brass innovator John Sasso held in Montauk, New York

John Sasso, a member of the world Drum Corps Hall of Fame since his induction in 1996, died of an unexpected heart attack at his home in Montauk, New York on Sunday August 13 at age 76. He was one of the most influential brass arrangers of the 1960s, whose students produced championship calibre drum and bugle corps from coast to coast. He once won two championships in one day when St. Lucy’s Cadets and Long Island Sunrisers both won American Legion national titles in New Orleans in 1968, each topping the second place corps by about 20 full points.

Reverend Tom Murray conducted the funeral Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk on Friday, August 18. The family suggested memorial donations go to the Montauk Community Food Pantry, care of St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, 67 South Essex Street, Montauk 11954.

He is considered the first drum and bugle corps arranger and teacher to set professional level standards for brass players, applying the techniques he learned while studying with Joe Singer, Principal Horn of the New York Philharmonic in the 1960s. He was highly regarded as a music arranger, teacher and instructor for many other corps from 1961 to 1975. He had a long time affiliation with the Eastern States Judging Association, adjudicating in all brass captions. He was also a member of the Buglers Hall of Fame.

His long involvement in drum and bugle corps activity began in 1952, when he was a French horn player with St. Catherine’s of Sienna Queensmen junior drum and bugle corps on Long Island. For the 10 years from 1962 to 1972, he performed with Long Island Sunrisers on soprano, French horn or mellophone. He was also Sunrisers’ drum major during this time and corps director from 1962 to 1966.

He grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Hofstra University. He was an executive at the Hazeltine Corporation then became founder and chief executive officer of Esprit Systems, a commercial computer products company. He was also the president of Fire Burglary Instruments, a division of the Ademco Corporation.

He remained active as a business consultant and as a member of a business coaching advisory board after moving to Montauk 12 years ago.

Regular World Drum Corps Hall of Fame members are honored for their dedication, contributions and achievements over a long period of time in categories including administration, arranging, adjudication, instruction, innovation and design. Associate members have dedicated at least five consecutive years of service to any drum and bugle corps as a performer or in a support role.

The World Drum Corps Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization honoring those individuals who have contributed significantly over many years to the development and continuing excellence of drum and bugle corps activity. The organization also seeks to preserve the history of the drum and bugle corps movement in North America by selecting a noteworthy junior and all age (senior) corps of each decade since the 1940s.

For more information:
Roy Wilson, Burlington, ON, Canada
phone: (905) 634-5919

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