Frederick Buldrini – Violin
Joseph W. Coutret – Organ
Marty J. Dell – Saxophone
Richard Kay – Cello
Lyle Murphy – Clarinet/Arranger
David Pitman – Trombone
Daniel F. Traisci – Saxophone
Arthur “Artie” Wagner – Piano/Conductor/Arranger/Copyist
Joseph Wallace – Bass
Mel Wanzo – Trombone/Copyist
Daniel Wolfsie – Trumpet
Manuel J. Zegler – Bassoon
Joseph W. Coutret
Joseph Coutret, 77, an organist and an 802 member since 1953, died on July 14.
Mr. Coutret retired in 2002 from First Presbyterian Church in Englewood, N.J., where he had served as organist and choirmaster since 1957. He was organist for Temple Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly, N.J. from 1961 to 1988. He attended Baylor University and the Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music.
He is survived by three nieces, one nephew and three great-nieces.
Donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 150 E. Palisade Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631.
Richard S. Kay, 76, a cellist and an 802 member since 1946, died on July 31.
He studied at Juilliard where he won the Duke Ellington Scholarship; his teacher was Leif Rosanoff. He performed recitals throughout America, Europe and Asia, including three at Town Hall.
Mr. Kay performed as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall. He was a soloist with the Longines Symphonette, where he performed in over 500 cities. He performed at the Prades Festival and appeared in 53 concerts directed by Pablo Casals.
He received a U.S. State Department grant to travel to Asia, where he performed in 72 concerts, taught master classes, appeared on television, and recorded for Columbia Nippon.
In 1956 he performed in Europe, including recitals in England, France, Germany, Holland and Sweden. From 1956 to 1958 he was solo cellist with the Baltimore Symphony. He also taught at Peabody and Goucher colleges.
He joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1961. He performed with the Met for 38 years, where he served as associate solo cellist.
He is survived by his wife Helen, daughters Erika and Jenny, son Victor, sisters Phyllis and Patricia, and grandchildren Faith, Victor, Danny, Megan and Sydney.
David Pitman, 81, a trombonist, saxophonist and member of 802 since 1944, died on Aug. 25.
Mr. Pitman attended Rutgers University. He started playing trombone and saxophone professionally at the age of 20.
Among the name bands he worked with were Hal McIntyre, Ray McKinley, Tommy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye and Ralph Flanagan.
He also played several years for the Lester Lanin orchestra when the big band era came to a close.
Mr. Pittman also worked for the Stephen Scott office, playing parties and weddings.
He worked at Local 802 in the recording checks department for more than 10 years, from about 1981 to 1992.
He is survived by his wife Glorya, son James, daughter Amy Durand, sister Alison Bogert and four grandchildren.
Daniel F. Traisci
Daniel F. Traisci Sr., 83, a clarinetist and saxophonist and a member of 802 since 1946, died on May 31.
Mr. Traisci came from a musical home. His parents hosted and sang on radio’s “Larosa Hours,” a weekly musical program in Danbury, Conn.
He was in the Army during World War II, spending most of his time in Copiene, France, entertaining the troops with his band, “Six Kits and a Mess.”
Mr. Traisci was well known on the local and Northeast music scenes ever since he first picked up a clarinet as a fledgling member of the Danbury High School band in 1936. He was best known nationally as a member of Billy Maxted’s Manhattan Jazz Band. He was a featured performer on many Maxted recordings, including the band’s trademark “Satin Doll” and his tenor sax solo on “How Long Has This Been Going On?”
His musical career extended from his days playing at the Hollywood Cafe in the 1940’s to joining up with the Maxted band in the 1960’s to just four months ago, when he was swinging with piano player Rodger Young, his colleague of the past two decades, during their regular Tuesday gig at Rosy Tomorrows.
Mr. Traisci described Local 802 as the number-one music union in the country. “If you have one of those cards, people know you can play,” he would proudly say.
His music and his family were the two great loves of his life. He gave up his full-time gig with the Maxted band to spend more time with his family. But he continued playing at the River Boat Room at the New Englander Hotel in Danbury for years with fellow musicians Eddie Lasky on organ, Pete Mamaris on drums and Harry Thorpe on vocals. Another stomping ground was with the Clark Eno Big Band.
He is survived by his wife Gloria, daughters Dian and Karen, sons Daniel Jr., Matthias and Edward, eight grandchildren, sisters Helen Sanzini and Violet Davis and many nieces and nephews.
A music scholarship fund has been established at Danbury High School to honor Mr. Traisci. Contributions may be sent to the Dan Traisci Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Robert Marandola, P.O. 867, New Milford, CT 06776.
Arthur “Artie” Wagner
Arthur Wagner, 85, a pianist, arranger and conductor, died on Aug. 31. He had been an 802 member since 1951.
Mr. Wagner grew up in Milwaukee, starting piano lessons when he was 6. By 11, he was a guest organist at Holy Ghost Lutheran Church, where his family attended. At 16, he placed in the State Junior Music Contest, beating out 17-year-old Walter Liberace, the same musician who would later be known simply as Liberace.
He graduated from Boys Tech High School, heading to the University of Wisconsin in Madison on a four-year music scholarship. While there, he began to work on band and orchestra arrangements. On a college band trip to New York City, he and his buddies headed for a club where Glenn Miller was playing. He introduced himself to Miller, who was charmed by him.
After college, Wagner enlisted in the Army Band and was soon touring. He wrote Glenn Miller a couple of times and also sent Miller some of his arrangements. The bandleader later tracked him down at an Army base.
They got to talk again, and Miller offered advice and encouragement. Wagner was later chosen to replace Henry Mancini when Mancini left the Glenn Miller Orchestra, then under the direction of Tex Beneke.
In 1950, Wagner headed for Broadway, where he worked for more than 30 years as a pianist and conductor.
He worked on his first Hal Prince show, “Damn Yankees,” in 1954. Many others followed, including “Company” in 1970.
His credits included Stephen Sondheim musicals such as “West Side Story,” with Carol Lawrence, Larry Kert and Chita Rivera, and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” starring Zero Mostel. Other shows included “Cabaret,” “Chicago” and “Annie.”
He worked with Joel Grey, Liza Minelli, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Carol Burnett, and choreographer Bob Fosse. When he was between Broadway shows, Wagner worked Off Broadway or as an accompanist for other performers.
After moving back to Milwaukee, he performed at his church. He also played for Concordia University musicals, as well as with local jazz legend Claude Dorsey.
He is survived by his daughters Barbara Wagner and Carol Wagner-DeLugo and three granddaughters. His wife Shirley died six months before him.
Mr. Wagner’s daughter Barbara would like to hear from her father’s friends and colleagues. Contact her at 2855 North 79 Street, Milwaukee, WI 53222 or (414) 259-0570 or BarbaraW@naspa.net.
This obituary edited from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Daniel Wolfsie, 85, a trumpeter and Local 802 member since 1937, died last Jan. 15.
Born and raised in Harlem and from a musical family, he studied trumpet with Schlosberg and Glantz, composition with Bauer and Weinberger, and conducting with James, Bernstein and Goodhard. During his career, he played almost every genre of music, including opera, ballet, operetta, musical comedy and theatre.
Mr. Wolfsie composed, arranged and conducted music for radio shows as well as producing his own shows.
In addition to his musical background, he studied engineering at City College and at New York University. He earned a B.A. from Washington Square College (NYU) and studied education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Mr. Wolfsie enlisted in January 1942, serving in both the Army and the anti-aircraft and artillery divisions of the Air Force. Additionally, he was a Warrant Officer Bandleader of the Army’s two most famous bands: President Truman’s 35th Infantry Division Band and General MacArthur’s 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow) Band. He also was the bandleader of the 141st, 142nd and 256th Army Ground Forces Bands.
After being honorably discharged, he continued a professional career, often with his late wife, Hilda Shaw. (Shaw was a concert pianist and a Local 802 member for many years.)
Mr. Wolfsie taught mathematics as well as music, directing orchestras and bands in junior and senior high schools in New York City.
He is survived by his wife Ernestina, daughter Charlene, son Don, brother Jack, stepson Hugo and granddaughters Candace, Catherine and Hope.
Manuel J. Zegler
Manuel J. Zegler, 89, a bassoonist and an 802 member since 1942, died on June 21.
Born in Rochester, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Upon graduating, he played for two seasons in the All American Youth Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Stokowski.
He played for four years with the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini before winning a chair with the New York Philharmonic, where he was a solo bassoonist for 36 years.
Mr. Zegler also taught private lessons.
In addition to being a member of Local 802, he was also a member of the Masonic Order.
He is survived by his wife Esther, son Paul, daughter Carol Schulman, son-in-law Ken Schulman, sisters Lillian Pleskow and Sarah Moldof, and grandchildren Aaron, Anna and Nancy.