Funeral Services Held For HOF Member Gene Bennett
Funeral services for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Eugene F. ‘Gene’ Bennett were held Friday August 1 at Bridge Street AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church, 277 Stuyvesant Ave, Brooklyn, New York. He passed away Tuesday, July 22 at the age of 74 in New Hyde Park, New York. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame during ceremonies held in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2002.
Visitations were held on Thursday July 31 from 6 to 9 pm at Crowe’s Funeral Homes in Jamaica, New York and from 9 to 10 am on Friday August 1 at Bridge Street AME Church. Interment will be in Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, New York.
Founded in 1766 and incorporated in 1818, Bridge Street AME Church has been providing programs to meet the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional and environmental needs of people in the church and community for more than 200 years. Through its music ministry, the church provides music programs to develop and enrich the spiritual lives of its congregation.
Gene Bennett was active in the drum and bugle corps community since he first played a drum with the Blue Jacket Guard in 1948. Over the following 30 years, he played snare, tenor and bass drum and marched in the color guard with five different units, including the Washington Carver Gay Blades and the Long Island Sunrisers.
He designed and taught drill to such well-known units as the Long Island Kingsmen, the Sunrisers and the Bushwackers, of Harrison, NJ who he helped move into the top ranks in Drum Corps Associates (DCA) competition when he first worked with the group in 1984 and again in 2005 when Bushwackers climbed back to finish among the top four.
He also served as a marching and manoeuvring and color guard judge throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He created the first all female color guard in DCA. He instructed a number of high school marching bands in various New York communities.
The late Vince Bruni of Rochester, New York, who passed away in 2003, founded the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1976. Membership has since grown from six charter members – Vince Bruni, George Bull, Jim Costello, Henry “Lefty” Mayer, Harvey Olderman, Vinnie Ratford – to 472 regular and associate members from the United States and Canada who have contributed to the activity across North America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Middle East, South Africa and Japan.
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 1940. Those corps are:
1940s: Holy Name Cadets and Lt. Norman Prince
1950s: St. Vincent’s Cadets and Reilly Raiders
1960s: Chicago Cavaliers and Hawthorne Caballeros
1970s: Santa Clara Vanguard and Hawthorne Caballeros
1980s: Blue Devils and Sunrisers
1990s: Cadets of Bergen County and Empire Statesmen
2000s: Cavaliers of Rosemont and Reading Buccaneers
For more information about the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, visit the web site at: http://www.worlddrumcorpshof.org/