Buddy Arnold – Piano
Elden C. Bailey – Drums
Joseph Blozis – Saxophone
Francesca Corsi – Harp
Dorothy Denny – Piano
Rod Derefinko – Piano
Joseph H. Dumas – Bass
Arnold Germansky – Trumpet
Roy D. Glasser – Saxophone
Edward F. Gunning – Drums
Louis Haber – Violin/Arranger/Copyist
Joseph B. Habig – Trombone
William M. Keller – Bass
John P. Kelley, Jr. – Piano
Paul Litrenta – Trumpet
Theodor W. Mayer – Bass
Alvino Rey – Guitar
Elis Ronbeck – Viola
Victor D. Sacino – Trumpet
Ernie Smith – Jazz Historian
Anthony Sophos – Cello
Ron Wolfe – Piano
Rod Derefinko, 65, a musical director, pianist, arranger, composer, teacher and coach, died on April 1. He had been an 802 member since 1964.
Mr. Derefinko, who during his musical career performed for both the queen of England and the queen of Thailand, was a versatile musician. He played all over New York City, on and off Broadway, in cabarets and at universities, and on tours.
Mr. Derefinko performed with Barbara Cook, Len Cariou, Elaine Stritch, Lucie Arnaz, Sandy Duncan, Steve Allen, Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
He played at Frances “Frankie” Gershwin’s last performance at Town Hall.
Mr. Derefinko performed in the Broadway orchestras of “Celebration,” “Grand Tour,” “Marat/Sade,” “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine,” “The Fantasticks,” “My One and Only,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Jelly’s Last Jam,” “Pippin,” “Chicago,” “Dancin’,” “1776,” “Elmer Gantry,” “Nash At Nine,” “Ari,” “Oh, Kay!,” and “The Music Man.”
He is survived by his daughter Alix, son-in-law Jon and three grandchildren.
William M. Keller
William Keller, 88, a singer and bassist and a Local 802 member since 1946, died on Feb 17.
Mr. Keller started his musical career playing banjo, later switched to guitar, and then found a home playing the Ampeg baby bass during his performing years.
From 1945 until 1983, he booked gigs, contracted musicians, and led the Bill Keller Orchestra. He performed numerous club dates, and also performed at dances, lodges and parties.
His grandson Alan recalls that Mr. Keller “always touched everyone’s heart with rousing renditions of ‘Bill Bailey’ and ‘When The Saints Go Marching In.’ He was happiest when on the bandstand. And his audience loved him right back.”
He was known for hiring top sax players (for instance, Danny Kappi) as well as accordian players, to produce the sound he strived for.
Mr. Keller is survived by his wife Yetta, daughter Betty, son-in-law Sidney, grandchildren Alan and Bonnie, and great-grandchildren Sara, Christopher and Nicholas.
Anthony Sophos, 81, a cellist and an 802 member since 1944, died on April 15.
Mr. Sophos grew up in Cleveland. He began his cello studies when he was 12. When he was 19, he joined the faculty of Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, teaching cello and music theory. He was also was a member of the faculty string quartet there. At about the same time, he became a member of the Cleveland Orchestra under Artur Rodzinski. He continued his studies in the summer program at Tanglewood.
In 1944, Mr. Sophos moved to New York City, where he studied cello and chamber music as a fellowship student at Juilliard. Then he joined the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, and later became a member of the New York Philharmonic, performing under Leopold Stokowski, Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leonard Bernstein. He was also a member of the Philharmonic Chamber Music Ensemble and the Philharmonic Cello Quartet.
In 1958 he left the Philharmonic and joined CBS as a staff cellist. He also began a freelance career that included work in radio, television and film. He performed and recorded extensively with Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Ferrante & Teicher and many others. From the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s, he performed Broadway musicals.
In later years, he returned to teaching. He joined the faculties of Manhattanville College, the Westchester Conservatory of Music and the Masters School, all in Westchester County. He also taught cello privately.
Mr. Sophos is survived by his wife Marilyn, sons Marc and Christopher (Kip), and sister Florence Maskovyak.