Volume CVIII, No. 3March, 2008

Vincent (Jimmy) AbatoClarinet

Bert ArdiViolin

Harold “Hal” AtkinsonPiano

Terry BurkeVocalist

Ernest Chico RelliPiano

Arty F. CurcioBass

Rozsika DeutschViolin

Jack EagleTrumpet

F. Maracella EisenbergViolin

George J. GaberDrums/Conductor

Vincent J. GaglianoBass/Arranger/Copyist

Jimmy GangiBass

Billy GiddensPiano/Arranger

Albert GoltzerOboe

John J LeoneSaxophone

Beverly MannHarp

Earl C. MayBass

Leon MerianTrumpet

Ronald W. NollPiano

Clyde Eric NourseTrumpet

Harvey ShapiroCello

Albert SlamowSaxophone

Paul S. SwainSaxophone/Arranger

Vincent (Jimmy) Abato

Vincent (Jimmy) Abato, 89, a clarinetist, bass clarinetist and saxophonist and an 802 member since 1937, died on Jan. 31.

By age nine, Mr. Abato was already studying with Gilbert Strange at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He moved to New York at age 17 to study with Jan Williams at Juilliard.

During his busy career, Mr. Abato performed under Artur Rodzinski and Leopold Stokowski and appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops and New York Philharmonic, and at the Hollywood Bowl. He recorded with Percy Faith, Morton Gould, Andre Kostelanetz and others.

Mr. Abato was an original member of the Glenn Miller Band. He also played in the Tommy Dorsey Band and at the Metropolitan Opera House for many years.

He premiered the Paul Creston Saxophone Concerto with the New York Philharmonic in 1944.

Mr. Abato taught at Columbia Teachers College, Hofstra University, Juilliard and Brooklyn College. His later years were spent as bass clarinetist and saxophonist with the New York Metropolitan Opera.

He is survived by his son Nicholas, daughter Helen Gray, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Obituary information edited from Vic Morosco’s Web site at

Back to top

Harold “Hal” Atkinson

Harold “Hal” Atkinson, 93, a pianist, organist and keyboardist, and an 802 member since 1947, died last Nov. 19.

A New Jersey native but a transplanted New Yorker, Mr. Atkinson’s credits included a stint as organist at Radio City Music Hall, Sunday evening broadcasts from the Roseland Ballroom on CBS radio with the Artie Arnell Orchestra, house entertainer at the Tappan Hill Restaurant in Tarrytown, and the pit orchestras of various Broadway shows.

He also supplied music for such popular television shows as “Number Please,” “The Ernie Kovacs Show,” “The Will Rogers Jr. Show,” “The Price is Right,” and “Variety.” Additionally, he created demos for the Wurlitzer company.

Mr. Atkinson spent his last 18 years playing piano and organ at the Walker Chapel United Methodist Church in Fultondale, Alabama, and was also a Mason and a veteran who served in the Philippines in World War II.

Mr. Atkinson’s son told Allegro that when his father’s talent was discovered while he was a G.I., he was “drafted” into entertaining the troops and spent the second half of the war being flown from island to island playing an accordion that someone had “requisitioned.” While there, his fellow G.I.’s conferred on him the nickname “Meatball” because they loved to hear him perform the sing-a-long “One Meat Ball.”

Mr. Atkinson is survived by his son Reginald, daughter Pamela and two granddaughters. The family suggests that donations may be made to Walker Chapel United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 986, Fultondale, AL 35068.

Back to top

Terry Burke

Terry Burke, 89, known professionally as Terry Jean Kent, died on Feb. 4. While not a member of Local 802, she was a singer and percussionist and the widow of guitarist Mal Burke, an honor member of 802, who died in 1989. Ms. Burke was also the mother of Franni Burke, an active Local 802 pianist and singer.

She was an original member of Bob Hope’s U.S.O. tour during World War II. She was the lead singer for the Vocalettes, a female septet, who opened for the Ritz Brothers.

Ms. Burke was also a headliner at Cafe Dubonnet in Newark and Ernie’s Three Ring Circus in New York City, where Cy Coleman was sometimes her accompanist. Her signature song was “People Will Say We’re In Love.”

Besides her daughter Franni, Ms. Burke is survived by her son Bill, daughter-in-law Ann, grandchildren Carolyn and Brian, and great-grandsons Joshua and Reed Ogrosky. Her son Ronald died in 1981.

“Terry was also a Seventh Avenue hat model and was pre-law at Columbia University,” her daughter Franni told Allegro. “She was a woman way ahead of her time.”

Back to top

F. Marcella Eisenberg

F. Marcella Eisenberg, 88, a violinist and violist and an 802 member since 1942, died on Dec. 10, 2007.

Ms. Eisenberg had a lifelong career in New York, playing under the baton of Beecham, Stokowski, Bernstein, Barzin, Rudel and others.

Her debut concert was at Town Hall in 1950, after which she played in the first two Prades festivals, led by Pablo Casals in southern France.

Later, Ms. Eisenberg joined the musical staff of WQXR and the faculty of Sarah Lawrence and Mannes.

Because of her love of chamber music, she founded the Eisenberg String Quartet, which performed in New York schools and all along the Eastern seaboard. The quartet was invited to perform for the Kennedy children at the White House.

In 1980, Ms. Eisenberg moved to Chicago where she recorded jingles.

Ms. Eisenberg is survived by her sister Gloria Boyell, niece Paula Palmer, nephew Jeffrey Boyell, grandniece Rachel Palmer and grandnephew Adam Palmer.

Back to top

Billy Giddens

David Billy Giddens, 83, a jazz pianist and arranger, and an 802 member since 1944, died on Dec. 8.

Born in rural Georgia and raised in Lakeland, Florida, he studied piano with his aunt and as a teenager formed his own band, playing in and around the Lakeland area. He continued his career in music while attending the University of Florida.

Mr. Giddens first came to New York in 1944 with his friend and fellow musician, saxophonist Brew Moore, and quickly fell in love with bebop and the excitement of the music scene here. After spending several formative years gigging around New York City, he went out on the road for a number of years, both with his own group and several big bands, including those led by Art Mooney and Burt Massengill.

He returned to New York permanently in 1962, where he soon gained the reputation of being “a singer’s piano player” and also was able to fully indulge his lifelong love of dance, theatre and musical performances of all kinds. In his professional life he became an accompanist and arranger for vocalists, most notably Dawn Hampton, with whom he worked closely for many years, and Geraldine Fitzgerald, the well-known actress and cabaret singer.

Mr. Giddens is survived by his brothers Irbye of Lakeland and Neil of Tampa.

Back to top

Albert Goltzer

Albert Goltzer, 89, the retired associate principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic, died Nov. 10. He had been an 802 member since 1937.

In 1938, just 19 years old, he was invited to join the New York Philharmonic by then music director Sir John Barbirolli, who heard him play chamber music at a party. Just before that, he had won a scholarship to Juilliard as well as the Gabrilowitch Memorial Scholarship of the National Orchestral Association. He studied with Philharmonic musicians Engelbert Brenner, Bruno Labate and Michael Nazzi. Mr. Goltzer was so young he lied about his age so he could sign his contract with the orchestra.

Mr. Goltzer took a leave of absence to serve in the military during World War II. In 1946, he assumed the position of solo oboist with the St. Louis Symphony. After his stay in St. Louis, he was solo oboe with the CBS Symphony and WOR Orchestra, and a member of the New York Woodwind Quintet.

In 1955, Mr. Goltzer was invited back to the New York Philharmonic by Dimitri Metropolis, where he played until he retired in 1984.

Mr. Goltzer made numerous recordings and was on the faculties of the Juilliard, Mannes and Manhattan Schools of Music.

He is survived by his wife, Doris, an accomplished orchestral musician. He is also survived by his sons George and Seth, daughter-in-law Barbara, brother-in-law Alvin and grandchildren Andrew, Jill, Samantha and Adam. His late brother, Harold, played beside him for many years as associate principal bassoonist of the Philharmonic.

Back to top

Clyde Eric Nourse

Clyde Eric Nourse, 92, a trumpeter and an 802 member since 1938, died on Jan. 14.

Mr. Nourse played with Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Billy Eckstine at the Apollo Theatre and arranged music for Jimmy Lunceford.

He played with Donald Wilson at the Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem — which was known as the “Renny” — until it closed down in 1980. He also played at the Savoy on Lenox and the Kit Kat Club.

During his retirement, Mr. Nourse shared his talent and love of music in senior community events, playing with the Bethune Senior Citizens Band until he became ill in 2000. Even then, while in the Beth Abraham Health Facility, he played the trumpet and the piano, helping fellow residents find joy and solace through his music.

Mr. Nourse is survived by his daughter Claudette Nourse-Harris, son-in-law Lee Harris, sisters Joyce Forde, Carmen Best and Gwendolyn Ralston, and his special neighbors Judy Shrek and Frankie Mae Williams.

Back to top