Volume CIX, No. 11November, 2009


Anthony francis, 80, a trumpeter and a Local 802 member since 1950, died on Oct. 14.

As a child, Mr. Francis studied trumpet with Harry Giantz and arranging and composition with Mike Darmante.

He was awarded a scholarship to New York University. While there, he worked part time for the Carl Fischer Music Company as an assistant arranger and copyist. He also played with the Peter Cooper College Dixie Band, performing in a weekly radio show.

Later, Mr. Francis joined the Army band. After his service, he formed a quartet and worked in New York nightclubs, playing dance music and shows with Tony Bennett, Lou Monte, Pat Cooper and others. He also performed in USO tours around the world.

Mr. Francis ultimately formed a highly successful lounge group that had a 20-year run. In 1974 his disco record, “You’re the Greatest,” hit the charts.

At the age of 51, Mr. Francis decided to get back into classical music and began performing with various concert bands and orchestras. He formed a brass band and wrote a book of trumpet studies called “Ponder This.”

Mr. Francis is survived by his wife Mary, sons Anthony and Robert, sister Mary, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Fred Mills, 74, the trumpeter with the Canadian Brass Quintet, died in a car accident on Sept. 7.

Mr. Mills had been a music professor at the University of Georgia since 1996. Besides teaching trumpet there, he coached a graduate brass quintet, the Bulldog Brass Society.

As a trumpeter, the Canada native performed across the globe — from Sweden’s Brass Nova to Orquesta Sinfonica de Aguascalientes in Mexico.

In 1961, he was a founding member of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. He also was principal trumpet for the New York City Opera, and played with the National Art Centre Orchestra in Canada and the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

A member of the Canadian Brass for 24 years, Mr. Mills recorded more than 40 albums for RCA, Sony, Philips and BMG. Mills was nominated for a Grammy award in 1992.

A statement on the Canadian Brass Web site calls Mr. Mills a “Canadian treasure who changed the world’s musical perspective.”

The statement goes on to say that “Fred lofted the piccolo trumpet into an indispensable role in the brass quintet, brought a new level of musical quality to the brass quintet repertoire through his arrangements, many of which are now considered absolute standard repertoire and spent over fifty years helping establish the trumpet as a beautiful, lyrical voice amongst solo orchestral instruments.”

Mr. Mills was born in Guelph, Canada, and attended the Julliard School of Music, where he got his first job offer even before he graduated.


Johnny Porrazzo, 94, a guitarist, guitar maker and banjo player, died on Aug. 9. He had been a Local 802 member since 1938.

Mr. Porrazzo’s musical journey took him on a reverse geographical path compared to other artists: he started on the East Coast but spent most of his life in the Midwest. Specifically, he was born in the Bronx, raised in Boston, and moved to Rockford, Illinois in the 1940’s where he spent 63 years. He helped establish the Rockford Jazz Society and also served on its board.

Mr. Porrazzo had a longtime day job as a technical artist, where he worked for the Sundstrand Corporation. He was a veteran of World War II. While stationed in France, he had the opportunity to play with the guitarist Django Reinhardt. In his life, he also played with Louis Armstrong, Vaughn Monroe, Joe Venuti, Wayne King and Dave Remington. He even played for Richard Nixon’s inaugural ball.

In 1999, Mr. Porrazzo was awarded the Lifetime Achievemant Award from the Rockford Area Music Industry. In addition to being a member of Local 802, he was also a member of AFM Local 240 (Rockford, Illinois) and Local 10-208 (Chicago).

Survivors include daughters Betty Ann Manalli and Cathy Johnson; grandchildren John Manalli, Andrea Johnson and Amy Johnson; and great-grandchildren Maria Knox and Maggie, Jack and Emily Manalli.

There is an online guestbook set up at


Alvin Rogers, 77, a violinist and an 802 member since 1960, died on Sept. 27.

A 1953 graduate of Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Rogers and his young family moved to New York in 1959 so that he could earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Juilliard. There, Mr. Rogers studied with Ivan Galamian, Dorothy DeLay and Oscar Shumsky.

Soon, Mr. Rogers began his working career at Radio City Music Hall. By 1969, when he played on his first Broadway show, Mr. Rogers was establishing what would become a busy freelance career in New York City, which lasted close to 40 years.

Over his career, he was a member of many orchestras and chamber groups in addition to doing commercial work and numerous Broadway shows. He also performed with the Vermont Composers Conference and the Bard Music Festival at Bard College.

“Al had many friends in the business, and the family is extremely grateful for all the remembrances and condolences we have received since his passing,” wrote his son, Erik, in an e-mail to Allegro.

Besides Erik, Mr. Rogers is survived by his daughter Stephanie, wife Laila, brother Jon and three grandchildren.

We also remember . . .

William Berman, viola
Phyllis R. Hill, piano
Mike Kauffman, saxophone
Joseph F. Maraldo, drums
Rollan Masciarelli, trumpet
Betty Mendenhall, organ
Vito A. Vaccaro, piano