Elvo D'Amante
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Elvo S. D'Amante Sept 9, 1929 - July 28, 2010 Of Orinda, CA. Died unexpectedly while vacationing in St. Petersburg, Russia. Born in Oakland, CA to Salvatore and Erminia D'Amante of Verbicaro, Italy. Elvo graduated from Oakland Technical High School and UC Berkeley ('52) where he was a member of Sigma Chi. He received a master's degree in music education from SF State. Elvo was a member of the National Guard before beginning his teaching career at Encinal High School in Alameda, CA and Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA. In 1965, Elvo moved to Laney Community College in Oakland, CA where he taught classes in music theory, harmony and instrumental music. He retired as Laney's Department Chairman of Music in 1993 but continued to mentor many of his students as they pursued their own professional music careers. "Mr. D ", as he was fondly known, loved teaching and exulted in the many successes of his students. He was the author of several acclaimed music books: "All About Chords", "Music Fundamentals", and" Ear Training Vols I, II, and III". Elvo was a talented saxophone and clarinet musician and felt privileged to have studied with composers Darius Milhaud and Roger Sessions. He played professionally for many years and was a longtime member of the musicians union Local #6. Elvo was proud of his Italian heritage and some of his fondest memories were made in Rapallo, Italy where he moved with his family in 1974-75 while on sabbatical from Laney. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters Olga D'Amante and Carolina Sylvestri. He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Mary, and his three children: Lisa (Mark) Stefan of Orinda, Paula (Jack) Loop of New Canaan, Connecticut and Anthony (Julie) D'Amante of Walnut Creek. Also survived by granddaughters Jordan and Christina, grandsons Nick, Stuart, Curtis, Zachary, Michael and nieces and nephews. A handsome, gregarious man with a megawatt smile, Elvo loved a good time, all things Apple and a good bottle of wine. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten. Funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, August 11th at 11:00 AM at Santa Maria Church in Orinda. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Muir Heritage Land Trust P. O. Box 2452 Martinez, CA 94553 or www.muirheritagetrust.org

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Aug. 6 to Aug. 8, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
March 25, 2021
I studied with Mr. D at Laney in 1974. He was a profound influence and a marvelous teacher. His enthusiasm of music and his energy captivated the interest of all of his students.
Carolyn L Zaremba
Student
July 31, 2020
Mr. "D" was an inspiring teacher. He, Ed Kelley & Dave Mirigian created a warm, challenging atmosphere at Laney. I remember seeing Dizzy Gillespie perform. Pharoah Sanders, Rhasaan Roland Kirk, Vince Guaraldi, Carol Kaye, Hampton Hawes, stopped by to play and inspire the students! He introduced me to books by Oliver Nelson, Lennie Niehaus. He was a tireless motivator, the lessons were always energetic and you didn't want to let Mr. "D" down! He had a profound effect on me for my entire life and continues to be! My sincerest condolences to his family!
Robert Stone
July 28, 2011
I studied with him at Laney in 1974-75 and he was an inspiring teacher-everybody loved and respected him!
robert stone
June 24, 2011
Mine is the same experience as that of Luis Gamboa (above). Mr. D'Amante was a wonderful teacher, and an even more wonderful person. We adored him, and will always revere his memory. Thank you, dear, inspirational man; for all that you gave, and continue - through your students - to give.
Margaret Farrell
Margaret Farrell
June 11, 2011
I was privileged to be one of mr. D'S Students at Laney. I live in Mexico now, and wanted to see what I could find about my beloved teacher in the net. My heart was deeply moved when I first saw the obituary notice, but rejoiced seeing his unforgetable smile
Luis Gamboa
August 21, 2010
I remember watching and listening to him play the sax and clarinet in a small dance band at an Italian-American club in Oakland as a young boy. I took up clarinet and sax in grade school, and then there he was as my band teacher when I got to High School at Acalanes in the early 60's. I'm sorry I lost touch with him in latter life; but remember him fondly.
Ray Biasotti
August 19, 2010
Mr. D. was my favorite teacher at Acalanes. I was in his office when we heard that President Kennedy had been shot. His severve sorrow and reaction indicated the magnitude of the event.
Sandy Houck
August 12, 2010
My uncle Elvo was a great man and I miss him dearly, but it lifts my heart to know he is in heaven making music with angels now.
Rick Thomchick
August 11, 2010
I was a student of Mr. D'Amante at Encinal High School. He was one of those great teachers that you don't forget. My condolences to the family.
John Smith
August 10, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with the entire D'Amante family, Elvo will be missed.
Jon Wood
August 7, 2010
I graduated from Acalanes High School in 1960 and instantly recognized that wonderful smile--music teacher extraordinaire. Thank you Mr. D'Amante for nurturing the wonderful music program at Acalanes and the budding singers and musicians.
Fran Elvin
August 6, 2010
I dropped out of engineering school to play guitar. And I thought I'd take some music classes, just to get closer to the music scene.

Dr. D worked us so hard in harmony classes that he kind of scared me back into engineering school. I've designed sound synthesizers, audio amplifiers and loads of industrial stuff. I even sold a tune, Disco Dirge, to Atari.

But I've also practiced guitar, oboe, English horn and/or trombone almost every day since taking classes with him.

Dr. D pushed us to a higher level in our pursuit of excellence.

I've had a wonderful career and a wonderful life, and I owe a lot to him.
Dan Pliskin
August 6, 2010
I was a colleague of Elvo's at Laney College for over 20 years. He was a consummate musician and one of the finest teachers I have observed in a classroom. He motivated and inspired and challenged his students and it was done with infectious good humor. I respected him as a teacher and valued his friendship. He will be sorely missed.
Tom Hibdon
August 6, 2010
I was a colleague of Elvo's at Laney College for over 20 years. He was a consummate musician and one of the finest teachers I have observed in a classroom. He motivated and inspired and challenged his students and it was done with joy and good humor. I respected him as a teacher and valued his friendship. He will be sorely missed.
Tom Hibdon
August 6, 2010
Elvo was the best! He could put even the shyest person at ease. His smile was contagious. A fine teacher and colleague.
Juanita Peterson
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