Joseph T. Capone Passed Away At The Age Of 98 On June 16, 2021

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Joe Capone, a World Drum Corps Hall of Fame (WDCHF) member since 1980, passed away at age 98 on June 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Interment with military honors took place on June 25. During his tour of duty with the United States Army during World War II, he participated in four major campaigns in Northern France, the Netherlands, Ardennes, and Rhineland. He was subsequently awarded the Bronze Star (with cluster), Purple Heart (two clusters) Combat Infantryman Badge, Presidential Unit Citation (with cluster), and Good Conduct Medal. After being wounded in combat, he was given a medical discharge in 1945. In 2009, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh.

He stayed active in the WDCHF for many years serving as the historian and chaplain, honoring deceased members. He was the last of the original seven corps directors who voted to form Drum Corps Associates (DCA). Charter members in September 1963 were: Reading Buccaneers, Connecticut Hurricanes, Interstatesmen, Archer-Epler Musketeers, Pittsburgh Rockets, Yankee Rebels, and New York Skyliners.

After World War II, Joe and brother Val, a WDCHF inductee in 1985, were co-organizers of the Pittsburgh Rockets Drum and Bugle Corps. While serving as an organizer and member, Joe fulfilled many roles. He played in the drum line and also served as drum instructor, drill writer and drill instructor from 1948 to 1973 and was corps manager as well. From 1950 to 1970, he was a member of the American Legion National Championship Rules Congress, which convened annually in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He was business manager for 27 years. During his years of involvement, the Pittsburgh Rockets were American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Pennsylvania state champions, many-time American Legion national championship finalists, Red Carpet Circuit Association champions and Central Penn Circuit champions.

Working as co-chairmen, he and brother Val sponsored and produced the annual Steel City Spectacle of Music, the Allegheny County Fair competitions, many Red Carpet Association championships and many other independent contests, parades and exhibitions. The Pittsburgh Rockets performed at 18 consecutive Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League season-opening home games.

His drum and bugle corps career began as a snare drummer in the Sec. Hawks Junior Drum Corps of Pittsburgh prior to World War II, in 1933 and 1934. He was a snare drummer in the Boys Brigade of Pittsburgh in 1934 and 1935. In 1936, he was an organizer and charter member of the Allegheny County American Legion Post 351 Junior Drum and Bugle Corps of Pittsburgh, performing as a snare drummer until 1940.

Joe Capone was the second of four generations in his family that marched in drum corps. His father Florindo marched in a post WW I drum corps affiliated with the local American Legion. Joe, along with brothers Carmen and Val were long time members of the Pittsburgh Rockets. The third generation includes Joe’s sons Jim, Thom and Joe marching with the Rockets and Thom with Steel City Ambassadors. Thom’s sons Leo and Tony round out the fourth generation: Tony with Cadets 2 and the Cadets and Leo with Cadets 2, Bluecoats and The Commandants Own Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

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 around the world. For more information, visit the website at

Posted by on Wednesday, July 28th, 2021. Filed under Current News, DCI World, FrontPage Feature.