Price reduced for Bruni tribute dinner

Organizers expect hundreds of people from across the United States and Canada to pay tribute to Rochester’s “Music Man” Vince Bruni May 10 during the “Celebration of a Life of Movement and Music” to be held at the George Eastman House.

Due to a sizable donation from an anonymous source to help defray expenses for the tribute, the ticket price has been reduced to $25.

Bruni, a retired Rochester school teacher who lives in Webster, NY, is the founder and director of Rochester’s Empire Statesmen senior drum and bugle corps. He has been a leader in drum and bugle corps activity locally and across the continent since the late 1940s.

During his career, he has won national championships in two eras as corps director of the Rochester Crusaders and the Empire Statesmen. He served as president of Drum Corps Associates and instructed thousands of young men and women who belonged to his corps over the years.

He served as instructor and consultant to many other corps across the United States and Canada, and he founded and still serves as president of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

Bruni pioneered the expansion of drum and bugle corps performance opportunities to include overseas tours and regular winter concerts, often in conjunction with local fund raising groups.

He has provided advice and services for Rochester area high school marching bands, and has provided opportunities for Rochester inner city youth to participate in organized music training and performance activities.

Bruni’s long career in drum and bugle corps activity began in the late 1940s when he joined the Brockport Cavaliers. In 1949 he was asked to join the Hilton Crusaders just as the marching and maneuvering era of field contests began. He served as corps director for the next 25 years, winning national American Legion championships during that period.

During the same period he founded and directed three junior corps in Rochester: the Ridge Culver Statesmen; the Alpine Girls; and his littlest marchers, the Pardee Pacers. Through these groups, he gave hundreds of area youngsters the opportunity to learn music, travel, perform in parades and concerts, compete in field contests and learn lifelong lessons in team work, self-discipline, time management and the rewards possible from working hard and doing your best.

After a five-year hiatus from drum corps, in 1983 he founded the Empire Statesmen, with the aim of creating a unit that emphasized entertainment for the audience. The Empire Statesmen are three-time American Legion National champions, four-time DCA world champions, were chosen by the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as the “Corps of the Decade for the 1990s” and have twice won World Show Band competitions in Europe.

Bruni founded the Little Americans junior drum and bugle corps in the late 1980s as part of the Empire Statesmen’s community outreach program. The American Cadets, as the unit is now known, performs at many venues around Monroe County giving the kids many opportunities to showcase their new skills.

In keeping with Bruni’s long career as an innovator, the tribute will be a variation of the usual sit-down dinner format. Following a formal presentation beginning at 4:00 PM, guests will be able to sample a variety of food choices while gathered in the Eastman House main hall. This arrangement will provide more opportunity for guests to mingle and socialize than if they were all seated in a dining room for the meal. Tours of the actual living quarters of the Eastman House and its galleries will also be available for guests.

For information, please contact the Statesmen office at (585) 266-2232 or e-mail Information is also available on the Statesmen Web site at The deadline for reservations is April 10.