The St. Rita’s Brassmen, founded in 1962 at St. Joseph Patron Church, was a junior marching and maneuvering corps based in Brooklyn, New York. Carmen Cluna was the corps’ director, drill designer, and show coordinator.
Although the corps was the Greater New York Champion in 1965 and 1966 and was undefeated in circuit competition in 1966, the new pastor at St. Joseph’s disbanded the corps in December, 1968. The corps reorganized the next month at St. Rita’s Church under the new name, and was hailed in Drum Corps News as a “Cinderella corps.”
The group incorporated as an independent corps, The Brassmen, in October 1972.
The corps was a national contender under every name from 1968 until their demise in 1974. They finished second in the World Opens in 1972 and 1973. They are also featured on two Fleetwood album covers, as well as on many recordings.
Carmen Cluna introduced theatrics and themes to the corps‘ shows. Most notable is The Brassmen’s "Woodstock" production, complete with sirens (created by mellophones), rifle carriers in gas masks and riot helmets, orange smoke flares, contras attacking the American flag section, and the percussion section playing rapid-fire machine gun effects.
Important in the Brassmen's rise to prominence were the dynamic combination of instruction by Hy Dreitzer on horns and Eric Periloux on percussion.
The Brassmen did not join DCI, a fact that perhaps contributed to its demise in 1974.
[Harold Barber; A History of Drum and Bugle Corps, 2002]