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Anthony Russell Desiderio 1923 - 2014
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August 09, 2014
I started taking private clarinet lessons with Anthony Desiderio in 1948. I was in 8th grade and he was teaching those lessons at Proctor High School. In 1949, when I went to high school (Utica Free Academy i.e., Utica High School) but continued taking private clarinet lessons at Proctor from Mr. D. Those lessons and my music degrees from the University of Michigan, via various unique circumstances, led me to hire Dr. Desiderio to be one of the clinicians at a Wind and Percussion Clinic at Sacramento City College in 1970. At the time, I was the director of bands at Sacramento City College and sponsor of that clinic.
On July 30, 2014, I just finished putting together a series of pictures of my early days as band director at Proctor High School, for my third daughter. Those photos included my participation in the University of Michigan Symphonic Band when they performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. As I began labeling some photographs of that event, it brought to mind my great debt to Dr. Desiderio and the major part he played in the life and the many students fortunate enough to have him for their clarinet teacher in Utica, NY. I also realized, in looking through some of the snapshots of the U. of M. Band at Carnegie Hall is that Tony had three former clarinet students from the Utica area in that history-making concert. It was myself, Russell Pizer, Rocco Polero and Sarah Manning.
After finishing my Bachelor of Music at the U. of M., I spent several years teaching in the very rooms that were once occupied by Mr. D. It was he who literally saved my life. I had been labeled as a “slow learner” in elementary school. Had it not been for Mr. D and my clarinet, I would probably have been relegated to delivering beer for Utica Club Brewing Co. Instead, I have a Bachelor and Master of Music Degree from the U. of M., 24 articles published and four books on teaching instrumental music. I was only accepted as a student at the U. of M. because Mr. D pulled some strings to get me into that institution. Further, one of my students from Proctor High School – what we could call, one Mr. D's “musical grandchild” has two degrees from the U. of M. also. Last I knew, that student – of a student – of Mr. D's completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Saxophone at Washington University.
My thoughts of Mr. D and my years at Proctor caused me to do a Google search for this great teacher's of mine on July 30. The tears in my eyes as I write this are not for Mr. D but for myself for having experienced such a great loss.
Russell A. Pizer, Leisure World, Mesa, AZ
July 21, 2014
Tony was a dear friend and musical colleague from my USC days and playing for him in his Citrus College Wind Orchestra. He was a superb clarinetist and saxophonist, and a great source of musical knowledge. He will be missed. RIP, Tony.
July 19, 2014
I love you and miss you terribly. Your devoted wife
July 17, 2014
June 17, 2014
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Keeping the family in prayer.
June 04, 2014
I have many wonderful memories of my great Uncle Tony from my very early visits to California, to his times in Buffalo for family reunions. He was so soft spoken and kind. Love to all his family. Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco
June 04, 2014
R.I.P uncle Tony from your nephew Russell Desiderio & family(Alfred son).my condolences Aunt Diane ,Aunt Mary and family
June 04, 2014
Thank you to all who are writing in this guest book. It means so much to us. Tony and I love all of you. Perhaps we will meet again. With fondness, Diane Desiderio
June 04, 2014
Fondest memories of a great brother-in-law,throughout the years that I have known him.Rest in peace, Tony.....Kay Desiderio
June 04, 2014
Great memories of Uncle Tony!!! Rest in peace!!!
June 04, 2014
Diane This message is late but I just saw the obituary--I new at FB. Tony was a reat guy and I have good memories of him. I regret that I never eard him play iin his element--or with you. Jay had his friend ad chords to the music that Tony put to Kay's poem and he played the guitar and sang it for us at the restaurant. Before he sag it he told the audience that the lyrics were written by Kay and the late and accomplished Tony Desiderio wrote the music. Needless to say it was a very enjoyabe evening and a very nice tribute to Tony. May he rest in peace--no let he make music for the angels!. Take care of yourself. Kay's sister Violet
June 03, 2014
My deepest condolences To Aunt Dianne, Aunt Mary and all of Uncle Tony's Children and Grandchildren. He will forever be in our prayers.

I can remember, as a little boy, looking forward to uncle Tony coming to spend summers with us at Point Breeze. He brought his Clarinet, Saxophone, and an assortment of other wind instruments with him. He practiced his music for hours every day, twice a day. My favorite was the Flute, but the funniest was the Bassoon. He sometimes found time to take me to the beach for a swim before dinner.

You will be sorely missed but not forgotten. REST IN PEACE dear Uncle.

Dominick (Don) and Wylna Desiderio
Lake View, New York
May 28, 2014
I will Never Forget Mr Tony Desiderio at all. He was a great and caring person wtih a great Heart and soul. He alway's made me smile and kept me laughing too. Him and His wife was a great couple and also a great friend too. She is alwyas a wonderful lady and I am so greatful that I met them two while i was working at white sands of La Jolla ;-) I will Never forget what i bought him to the table and also gave him some ice cream That He truly loved. But He mostly went for some fruit's and he alwyas wanted some coffee too or tea. Tony you will always remain in my heart and also you will always be remembered too by everyone who truly loved you so much!. You have always made me so proud to be your waitress. Thank you so much for always being there for your wife and also for being her Best Friend too. She is so greatful that she had you in her life for the last 20 years of marriage. I will Miss you tony. Love alway's Stephanie Barrett your Old waitress. Mrs Desiderio I'm so truly sorry for the Loss of your Husband I'm so greatful that you married him for this many years. Always remember how special he was to you and the whole family.
May 26, 2014
Tony was a dear friend and musical colleague from my USC days and playing for him in his Citrus College Wind Orchestra. He was a superb clarinetist and saxophonist, and a great source of musical knowledge. He will be missed. RIP, Tony.
May 25, 2014
We always will remember Tony for his kind and caring heart. He volunteered to play at our father's (Glenn Tinsley) memorial and did so beautifully. Our thoughts are with Diane and his family.
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