Volume C, No. 3March, 2000
Ray Alonge – French Horn
Stuart J. Best – Clarinet/Conductor
William A. Blank – Trumpet
Dorothy Boggerson – Drums
Judy Rogner Bowen – Piano
Max Cahn – Violin
Harvard I. Davis, Jr. – Trumpet
Neal Di Biase – Trombone
Wilbur N. Dozier – Saxophone
Jacob H. Fox – Saxophone
Irene Greene – Piano
Allan Harris – Accordion
Andrew Lundy – Trumpet
Sidney Margolis – Guitar
Henry Nemo – Piano
Bob Nevins – Trumpet/Mellophone
Marco Rosales – Conductor/Arranger
Herman Ross – Saxophone
Stephen D. Sepik – Drums
Raymond Shiner – Oboe
Mischa Slatkin – Cello
Hugo Taiani – Arranger/Copyist
Si Zentner – Trombone
Ray Alonge, 75, a French horn player and a member of the Local 802 staff for almost two decades, died on Jan. 27. He had joined the union in 1942.
Born in New York, he began studying the French horn at the age of nine and was hired eight years later, while a senior in high school, as first horn with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. From 1942 until 1944 he served in the U.S. Army.
He then enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music and by the time he received his diploma was working with several classical music organizations, including the New York Brass Quintet, New York Woodwind Quintet, New York City Opera Orchestra and New York City Ballet Orchestra. He also was an active studio musician, recording with the major record labels, television networks, movie productions, advertising agencies and jazz groups.
He played solo horn with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1951 until 1956, then returned to New York. He worked in the symphonic, opera, ballet, chamber music, jazz and recording fields throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Among the jazz musicians he worked with were Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Milt Hinton. He recorded with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis and many others. In 1981, due to health problems, he retired from performing and soon began working in the Recording Department at Local 802, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Anne Worthen; four children from his first marriage, Melody, Paul, Lisa and Leshe; and four grandchildren.
Harvard I. Davis, Jr.
Harvard Irvin Davis, Jr., 82, a trumpet player, longtime secretary of the Friendly Fifty Club, and a member of Local 802 since 1937, died on Jan. 15.
Born in New York City, Mr. Davis was a graduate of Commerce High School, in those days the best musical training ground in the city school system, where he developed into a gifted trumpet player. He studied at the Martin-Smith Conservatory of Music and at the Juilliard School.
During his career he played with “Lips” Page, toured with Bill Robinson and Ella Fitzgerald, worked with Lee Norman at the World’s Fair Savoy and the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, regularly played the Apollo Theatre, worked with Leon “Bossman” Gross, Edgar Hayes, Buddy Johnson and Milt Larkin, and played in most of the top New York clubs with some of the greatest musicians and band leaders of the period. He had his own eight-piece band at Small’s Paradise and later took a combo into the Cinderella Club, staying there for ten years. In the sixties, he worked Buddy Walker’s band and took a “day job” with Allied Signal Company, staying there for 15 years. For the last three years he had played with Lonnie West’s Bethune Big Band. Mr. Davis was secretary of the Friendly Fifty Club for 27 years.
He is survived by his wife, Ruby Sitgraves Davis and their son, Harvard I. Davis, III; two children from his marriage to Catherine Mentis, Rebecca West and Cary Davis; and three grandchildren.
Neal Di Biase
Neal Di Biase, first trombonist of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Arturo Toscanini, died in Florida on Jan. 7. He had been a member of Local 802 since 1939.
Born in Pittsburgh, Mr. Di Biase received his musical training with private teachers and at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie-Mellon. He was engaged by Fritz Reiner and played first trombone with the Pittsburgh Symphony. During World War II he served in a Merchant Marine band. In 1945 he became the first trombone with the NBC Symphony, where, along with Harry Glantz, solo trumpet, and Arthur Berv, solo horn, he formed the nucleus of a legendary symphony orchestra brass section. He remained until the orchestra was disbanded in 1952. The conductors he worked with, in addition to Toscanini and Stokowski, were the who’s who of the musical world.
At NBC he was on the staff and performed in the Tonight Show band (for Jack Paar) under José Melis and Milton De Lugg. He played many programs conducted by Dr. Frank Black and the Victory at Sea television series with Robert Russell Bennett. After leaving NBC he was much in demand as a freelance studio and recording musician in the symphonic and commercial fields. He withdrew from musical activity in the early 1970s and devoted himself to real estate ventures.
He is survived by his wife Virginia, three children and two grandchildren.
Bob Nevins, 95, a much-sought-after trumpeter and mellophone player and a member of Local 802 for almost 64 years, died on Dec. 23.
Mr. Nevins grew up on Cape Cod and began his music career in 1921, at age 16, when he left school to go on the road for 14 weeks with cornetist Hazel Green’s Beau Brummel Orchestra. He then got a house gig with WNAC, Shepard’s Broadcasting, in Boston, played with Eddie Duchin, and in 1934 played on Kate Smith’s first concert at Symphony Hall in Boston.
He soon moved to New York City, launching a long career that included staff work at NBC, working on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour as a musician and contractor. He worked for many years as the first call trumpeter with the Meyer Davis Orchestra, traveling around the world with the band, playing on cruise ships, and performing at many White House inaugural balls. “He knew everybody,” said his son-in-law Gary Myers, “and he helped generations of musicians find work.” He played at the White House for President Gerald Ford, performed for Henry Ford, and was a leader at John F. Kennedy’s wedding reception.
He is survived by his daughter Roberta and son-in-law Gary, grandchildren Scott and Stacy, and great-granddaughter Cassie.
Raymond Shiner, 75, an oboist who joined Local 802 in 1955, died on Dec. 3. He was also a member of Local 78 (Syracuse).
A versatile musician who played every woodwind and many other instruments, he worked on Broadway for two decades. Among the shows he played in were the original Fiddler on the Roof, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret, Superman and West Side Story (where he had seven doubles). He was an original member of the Sauter Finegan Orchestra in the 1950s. Mr. Shiner also had a busy recording career, rplaying and contracting jingles in the New York studios.
In 1968 he moved to Potsdam, N.Y., to join the faculty of the Crane School of Music, where he ran the jazz ensemble and taught until 1982. On his retirement he moved to Syracuse, where he joined Local 78 and continued an active performing career. He was a co-founder of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra.
He is survived by his daughter Kristin, a percussionist and a member of AFM Local 66, brother Donald and sister Dolores.
Mischa Slatkin, 92, a cellist and cello teacher, died on Oct. 29 in Florida. He had been a member of Local 802 since 1936.
Born in Tartu, Estonia, he immigrated to the United States in 1937 and for the next 50 years performed and taught the cello. His first job in this country was with the Radio City Music Hall orchestra and he toured the country with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo before World War II. Mr. Slatkin served in the U.S. Army from 1942-46 in Belgium, France and Germany, and was awarded a Purple Heart. Immediately following the Allied victory, he worked as a translator for the Four Powers Commission in Berlin.
After completing his Army service, Mr. Slatkin played for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Ballet and American Symphony Orchestra. He taught cello privately for over 20 years in his home in Montclair, N.J.
He is survived by three children: Ava, Fenya and Avrin.
Si Zentner, 82, trombonist and bandleader, died on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas after a long illness. He had been an 802 member since 1936.
His career began in the early 1940s when he played with the bands of Les Brown, Harry James and Jimmy Dorsey. He settled in Los Angeles in 1944 and was a busy studio musician until the late 1950s, when he organized his own big band. In 1960 he had a hit recording of “Up a Lazy River.” He and his orchestra performed and toured regularly over the last 30 years, including engagements at the Resorts and Sands hotels and, in New York City, at the Rainbow Room and the Riverboat.
Mr. Zentner was a member of the Local 369 (Las Vegas) Executive Board for several years and served as one of that local’s delegates to the AFM Convention. In 1994 he received the title of Honorary Doctor of Humanities from the University of Las Vegas.
He is survived by a son, Hank, and a daughter, Linda.