Roy E. Aldwell – Piano
David J. Apollonia – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Bill Barber – Tuba
Richard P. Barry – Drums
Maddalena Belfiore – Accordion
Bernard Berger – Flute/Conductor/Arranger
Yvonne Akhir Bethel-Wright – Drums
Joseph Bonacorso – Violin
Peter M. Cerullo – Bassoon
Michael R. Colicchio – Piano
Lou Conte – Saxophone
Pete Daloia – Drums
Dr. Arthur “Art” Davis – Bass/Conductor/Arranger
Mary Drane (West) – Violin
Philip Dukoff – Violin
Irv Dweir – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Morris Edwards – Bass
Jerome Giovinazzo – Saxophone
Efrain Guigui – Clarinet
Walter Hendl – Piano/Conductor
Tainy T. Hill – Trumpet
Murry King – Bass
William A. Lavorgna – Drums
Al Lawrence – Piano
Kalil Madi – Drums
Abraham Rosen – Harp
Herman Straka – Violin
Lawrence Todd – Trombone
Julio Torres – Acoustic Bass Guitar
Charles A. Turecamo – Violin
Donald R. Watrous – Drums
Carla White – Vocalist
Alvanza Wilson – Conga Drums
Don Wittekind – Bass Trombone
Maddalena Belfiore, 78, an accordionist and an 802 member since 1946, died on May 18.
She was known as the accordion diva of the 20th century, according to Faithe Deffner, her longtime friend and fellow board member of the American Accordionists’ Association, of which Ms. Belfiore eventually became the first female president.
She studied with Sanford Hertz, Charles Nunzio, Eugene Ettore, Joe Biviano, Andy Arcari and Pietro Frosini, whose protégé she became.
Ms. Belfiore wrote three books on the “bellows shake” technique, which became synonymous with her name. She also collaborated with fellow accordion legend Myron Floren on “The Myron Floren Method” as well as other books.
In 1958, she established the Belfiore Accordion Studio in Kearny, New Jersey. The state later recognized her as Woman of the Year in 1980.
She was also an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
In 1974, Ms. Belfiore was elected vice president of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes. She received that organization’s Merit Award in 1995 for “outstanding contributions to the international accordion movement.” This year, the Confederation awarded her an honorary membership, only the second one in its history.
She was founder and director of the Arcari Foundation, a past president and director of the Accordion Teachers Association of New Jersey, a delegate to the National Music Council and a member of the All-Arts Society of New York.
She is survived by her husband Mauro Greco, sister Gina, sons Frank and Nat, daughters-in-law Joanne and Maryann, niece Diane Venezia, and grandchildren Christopher, Adrianna and Alex.
The family requests memorial donations to be sent to the Maddalena Belfiore-Greco Fund at the American Accordionists’ Association. Look for information at www.AmerAccord.com.
The information for this obituary came from the Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) and Faithe Deffner’s tribute at www.AmerAccord.com.
Gus “Lou” Conte
Gus “Lou” Conte, 94, a tenor saxophonist and clarinetist, and an 802 member since 1938, died on July 10.
Mr. Conte began playing the sax at the age of 19. During World War II, Mr. Conte not only served in the military but he and his brother played in the Army Band. Upon his return from Germany, he married Dorothy Weinstein in 1946.
Mr. Conte, called “Sweet Lou” by his fellow musicians, worked with various big bands during the swing era. In 1948 he recorded “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover” with Art Mooney’s Orchestra.
He later played with Eddie “The Shiek” Kochak’s band, where he sometimes played the clarinet. He and his wife retired in Northridge, California where Mr. Conte played with the Mission Hills Veterans Administration Band.
Described by his family as a loving man whose music filled his life and those around him, Mr. Conte is survived by his daughter Sally, son-in-law Vito, sisters Ann DiProperzio and Helen Maresco, grandchildren Jacquelyn Diamond and Jeff Pomeroy, and great-grandchildren Benjamin, Madison, Sofia, Ethan and Sydney.
Efrain Guigui, 81, a conductor, clarinetist, and an 802 member since 1961, died on June 18.
At age 15, he was already the principal clarinetist of the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra where he worked with Erich Kleiber, Herbert von Karajan, Clemens Krauss, Otto Klemperer and Igor Markevitch.
Invited by Aaron Copland to participate at the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, Mr. Guigui remained in the United States for advanced studies in conducting and composition at Boston University and in New York studying with Leopold Stokovsky.
After a season conducting for the American Ballet Theatre, Mr. Guigui went on to the Casals Festival, where he conducted the Puerto Rico Symphony, Opera, Ballet and Contemporary Music Ensemble performing with the likes of Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Eugene Fodor, Menahem Pressler, Leo Spierer and Jaime Laredo.
Mr. Guigui was appointed music director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, which he conducted from 1974 to 1989, and at the same time was music director of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra.
A frequent conductor throughout the Americas, Mr. Guigui was honored with the Panamerican Theatrical Association Cesar Award. He also won the Alice Ditson Award from Columbia University.
Mr. Guigui founded the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Veracruz (Mexico) and the Veracruz School of Music.
While guest conducting the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra last year, Mr. Guigui was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by Consejo De Latinos Unidos.
Mr. Guigui recently conducted at the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition in Los Angeles, where he was recognized and honored with a 2006 award for his contributions to music education in Los Angeles County.
Mr. Guigui is survived by his wife Elena, son Martin, and daughter Ana.
Walter J. Hendl
Walter J. Hendl, 90, a pianist and conductor and an 802 member since 1942, died on April 10.
Mr. Hendl held many prestigious posts throughout his life, including assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, guest conductor and pianist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, guest conductor and piano soloist of the Boston Pops, music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, conductor of the NBC Symphony of the Air Orchestra, director of the Eastman School of Music and director of music of the Erie (Penn.) Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Hendl studied conducting with Fritz Reiner, who would later appoint Mr. Hendl as associate conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
He served in 1966 as a member of the jury for the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and in 1967 served on the Committee of Honor for the Schubert Competition in Vienna.
He was offered a job at Juilliard in 1974 as a conductor and teacher and also taught and conducted at the D’Angelo School of Music at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Penn.
One of Mr. Hendl’s last performances occurred two years ago when he guest conducted the Eastman Philharmonic in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony.
During his time in New York, Mr. Hendl collaborated with a wide variety of musical personalities, among them Artie Shaw, who received conducing lessons from Mr. Hendl in his apartment.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter Susan and Susan’s mother Newby Hendl.
The family suggests that contributions be sent to the Eastman School of Music (see www.esm.rochester.edu).
Abraham Rosen, 91, an 802 member since 1936, died on May 30.
He and his two brothers, Myor Rosen and Robert Maxwell, all made names for themselves as harpists.
Mr. Rosen began his career at age 21 when Dmitri Mitropoulos chose him as principal harpist with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. During World War II, he was drafted into the Air Force and played in the stage production of “Winged Victory.”
Later, Mr. Rosen joined the concert orchestra of CBS, a position he held for years until live music was discontinued from New York radio and TV.
He continued to play as a freelance artist, including many years in Broadway orchestras.
Mr. Rosen never stopped learning. He graduated magna cum laude from Queens College at the age of 61. He earned a certificate in labor studies from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1989 at the age of 73, and, at the age of 91, was elected as delegate of Local 802 to the United Hebrew Trades.
As recently as March of this year, Mr. Rosen was vigorously campaigning the state Board of Elections to use an optical scan system as the new voting technology for the city.
Mr. Rosen also served on 802’s Executive Board and held other administrative positions for many years.
In addition to his brothers, Mr. Rosen is survived by his two married daughters, Debbie Roth and Leesa Zissu, as well as three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.
See Myor Rosen’s reminiscences of his brother in this issue.
Lawrence E. Todd
Lawrence E. Todd, 87, a trombonist and an 802 member since 1946, died on May 6.
Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Mr. Todd graduated from Scranton High School in Pennsylvania in 1937, and began his professional career touring with big bands of that era, including Phil Napoleon, Benny Goodman and the Andrew Sisters.
Following graduation from Ithaca College and a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II, he earned his master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music in 1948, launching his career as a classical trombonist.
After several seasons with the New Orleans Symphony and Columbia Festival Orchestra, Mr. Todd and his family moved to New Jersey, where he and his wife, the violinist Lida Roberts, became active freelance artists in the metro New York music scene of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.
His freelance engagements included performances with celebrities such as Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Sid Caesar, Pearl Bailey, Jerry Lewis and Marilyn Horne
Mr. Todd played in symphony orchestras led by William Steinberg, Leopold Stokowski and Morton Gould and ballet orchestras with Joseph Levine and John Lanchberry. He also performed with the Goldman Band and the National Symphony Orchestra and played for the Ringling Brother’s circus, the Ice Capades at Madison Square Garden, Broadway musicals, and with big bands.
Beyond accomplishments as a professional trombonist and clinician, Mr. Todd emerged as a preeminent teacher of brass instruments, serving as a professor of low brass at Paterson, Jersey City and Montclair State colleges in New Jersey, as well as having a studio in the downstairs of his Cedar Grove home, affectionately referred to as “Club 22” to myriad students of all ages, amateurs and professionals alike.
Mr. Todd is survived by his daughter Karen, granddaughter Carolyn Gasperino, sister Marjorie Heckerman and nephew Tod Heckerman.
This obituary edited from the Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey).
Charles Turecamo, 89, a bandleader, violinist, cellist and vocalist, and an 802 member since 1945, died on July 23.
His New York hotel orchestras played with many show business greats for decades, starting in the late 1940’s.
Mr. Turecamo would remember the favorite tunes of his famous or regular customers, playing the song when they walked in, according to Ben Cohen of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where Mr. Turecamo settled in recent years.
Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite was “Drigo’s Serenade,” and former New York Mayor John Lindsay was always greeted with “Oh, Johnny.” Nelson Rockefeller was partial to “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
In the Twin Cities, Mr. Turecamo played for charity events, including a ball at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, as well as serving as a music arranger. And he made trips to New York to play special events.
During the 1980’s, he was the musical director for the former Sheraton-Ritz Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, and he taught music to aspiring violinists.
Mr. Turecamo played charity events in New York that were hosted by stars such as Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. (Mr. Turecamo’s cousin was Dolores Hope, wife of the showman.)
He worked with stars such as Liza Minelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett and Jack Benny.
In the Twin Cities, he taught violin, working even a few weeks ago, said his wife.
He is survived by his wife Dorrine, sons Cary and Randolph and Ted, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
This obituary from the Web site of the Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul).
Donald Wittekind, 83, a euphonium player and bass trombonist and an 802 member since 1946, died on May 6.
Mr. Wittekind studied at Juilliard where he won a number of scholarships. After serving for three and a half years in the Army/Air Force during World War II, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Teachers College at Columbia, as well as a diploma of special music education. He was a life member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.
Mr. Wittekind played bass trombone for the National Symphony Orchestra before joining the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra in the 1950’s.
He served as adjunct assistant professor of music and music education at NYU and was also on Juilliard’s private brass roster.
Mr. Wittekind also performed as euphonium and bass trombone soloist for the New York Philharmonic, Symphony of the Air, New Jersey Symphony, Band of America and Metropolitan Opera under great conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell, Sir Thomas Beecham, Ernst Ansermet, Leopold Stokowski and Henry Lewis.
He performed on Broadway, for T.V. shows and on many recordings.
In 1952 he was awarded the “Prix de Disque” from the French Music Society for a record he performed on of the “Canzona” by Giovanni Gabrielli.
Mr. Wittekind wrote “Patterns in Tonguing,” published in 1980 by Award Music.
He is survived by his wife Christa.