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Frank Louis Gagliardi

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Gagliardi, Frank Louis 79, quietly passed away on February 6, 2011, at the Silverado memory care residence in Plano, Texas. In the1960's, Frank had what he called "the best job in the world", percussionist for the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, where he played for star entertainers like Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Ten years later he joined the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he led the UNLV Jazz Ensemble to international stature, traveling world-wide, capturing multiple awards, and releasing 12 albums and CDs over his 22 year tenure. At a young age in Denver, Colorado, Frank's older brother, Vince, sparked his interest in music by taking him along on lessons and rehearsals where Vince played accordion. By 8, Frank began the drum lessons that led to his becoming, at 17, percussionist for the Denver Symphony and to earning his Master's degree in Music Education from Denver University where he started the Denver University Stage Band. Frank achieved such a distinguished Jazz program at University of Nevada at Las Vegas because of his passion for the music, and dedication to his students. He taught excellence by having high expectations while giving encouragement, love and support. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Charleen; daughter, Susan; son, Ric and his wife, Linda; grandson, Alessandro; brother, Vincent; and the many students for whom he was a profound influence. As he wished, Funeral Services will be held at Frank and Charleen's beloved retreat in Vida del Mar, Manzanillo, Mexico in April. Frank had a maxim first coined by Mae West: "You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough." And that he did.

Published in Denver Post on Feb. 16, 2011
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