Drums of Thunder founder and Director Louis D’Amico leads his percussion troupe of about 35 Hillside Elementary School 4th and 5th graders in their performance in Nishuane Park at the MAAHF Festival, after the 30th Annual MAAHF Parade on Saturday, June 1.


Hillside School’s Drums of Thunder will appear on NBC’s The Today Show tomorrow, July 4.

The corps’ appearance will include band director Louis D’Amico giving a drum lesson to the show’s hosts and some of the guests.

After 35 years, D’Amico, the band’s founder, coach and teacher, announced his retirement last month.

In 1982, Hillside’s principal at the time organized a parade in the streets around the school to promote each of the school’s different academic and artistic disciplines. D’Amico had a small concert band accompanied by some drummers. And the drummers especially loved it. D’Amico decided to put together a percussion ensemble, the Hillside Drum Corps. The ensemble eventually changed its name to Drums of Thunder.

Through the years, D’Amico led the band to perform at sports arenas, concerts and other special events in Montclair and big-ticket shows like college football games, NBA and NFL games.

The corps’ appearance was taped on June 26, according to drum corps officials.

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