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Leadership Update

Chris Sortino, Director and Tyrone Laval, Assistant Director

  • 29 March 2023
  • Author: Andy Grilk
  • Number of views: 406
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The Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps announce the appointments of Chris Sortino as Director and Tyrone Laval as Assistant Director. Steve Raclowski will continue in a leadership role as Communications Director.

Chris Sortino assumes the role of Director following the recent passing of Paul Bongiovi, Director of the Alumni since November 2013. Chris is honored to be elected Director and states, “I know I have some big shoes to fill.  Paul Bongiovi was one of the finest directors we ever had.  He was a passionate, kind leader who just happened to be a natural at the position.  He was easy to work with.  He helped wherever he could, whenever he could.  Every once in while you would see him filling in for someone in the Latin section because he was a brilliant percussionist.  Most of all, he was a true friend.  He will be sorely missed.”

In 1994, Chris, along with 8 others, formed the Caballeros Alumni. Twenty-nine years later, it is still thriving. Chris was a member of the Caballeros competing corps from 1967 – 1977. During his time with the Alumni Corps, he played tenor, double tenor and double conga.  Chris also served as Business Manager, Assistant Director, Ole! Newsletter editor, Assistant Percussion Instructor and Arranger, and served on the Alumni Corps Committee.

Chris has a drum corps resume that started in 1957 with the Shoreliners from Neptune, NJ and includes the Hurricanes from Asbury Park, NJ, St. Lucy’s Cadets, from Newark, NJ, the Recruit Drum Corps, Great Lakes, IL and he was in the percussion section of the Navy Orchestra, Key West, FL. He also judged percussion for the National Judges Association and Drum Corps Associates. 

Tyrone Laval, Drum Major of the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni is the new Assistant Director of Alumni. Tyrone was in the Hawthorne Caballeros competing corps from 1977 until 2000. Tyrone joined the alumni in 2005 as an Assistant Drum Major. Tyrone marched in Our Lady of Lourdes  Cadets from Paterson, NJ from 1962 to 1964, the Dumont Police Cadets in 1964 and the Fairlawn Police Cadets in 1965. He also marched in the Blessed Sacrament Golden Knights of Newark, NJ from 1966 through 1970. Tyrone is a retired schoolteacher.

Tyrone has always believed in the philosophy of excellence of the founder and director of the Hawthorne Caballeros, James Costello. Tyrone adds “James Costello established high standards of excellence for the corps, which the Alumni strive to adhere to. This is always appreciated by our fans and supported by our staff and membership. I am sincerely honored by this appointment, and will continue to try to uphold the expectations, pride, and commitment to the Director, and the corps members that has been established”.

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