Caesar (Chet) Bruno Porcino died on November 28th, 2008. He was 86.
His wife, Jane P. Porcino, Ph.D. died February 18, 2008.
Chet is survived by six of his seven children: Mary Porcino, Ann Porcino, John Porcino, Paul Porcino, Jeanne Dolamore and Victoria Savino; their partners: Amy Klein, Malcolm Greenwood, Marilyn Porcino, Michael Dolamore and Frank Savino; and his eight grandchildren: Matthew Dolamore, Christina Dolamore, Brooke Greenwood, Ellie Greenwood, Julian Porcino, Sophie Dolamore, Britney Porcino and Dominick Savino. Chet was pre-deceased by his wife Jane, their son Joseph, his brothers Frank, Santi, and Peter, sisters Catherine and Aggie and his grandchild Emily.
Childhood: Chet was born on February 20, 1922 in Stoneboro Pennsylvania to Peter and Victoria Porcino soon after they immigrated to the United States from Reggio Calabria, Italy in 1921. In 1925 his family moved on to Binghamton, NY where his father worked for Endicott Johnson Shoes. Despite growing up without money and possessions, Chet's single focus was on his fabulous and privileged childhood. Until his very last days, Chet held on to many fond memories of his childhood and life growing up in Binghamton. His memories included the warm and loving Italian neighborhood, his mother's sweet love for him, his father's vegetable and flower garden on a hill and fresh ripe tomatoes, the paper route with his brother Pete, sleeping in the same room with all of his brothers and sisters, jumping off the bridge into the river and cheering for the Yankees. His father had a great love for opera and for violin music, a passion which was passed on to Chet who became known throughout the neighborhood as the Porcino family musician. Somehow his father found the means to find Chet a fine violin teacher whose violin Chet continued to play on until his death.
Young adult years: Chet served in World War II for 3 years beginning in 1942, stationed in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines, welcoming American planes back from their missions in Japan, or acting as a guide to military personnel, meeting local families and entertaining with his violin. Chet was happy and relieved that he never had to use his gun or do any actual fighting. He returned home in 1945 chanting "Home alive in 45" with his returning army buddies. Even at war, he served with his love!!
When Chet returned from the war, he attended Syracuse University where the G.I. bill funded his B.A. in Music Education. He went on to receive an M.A. in Music from Columbia Teachers' College, where he met the love of his life Jane. Here is how the story goes told over and over again for 56 years to whomever would listen. Jane was taking classes at Columbia and turned up at a dance sponsored by the "Catholic Newman Club". As soon as Chet saw Jane he was enamored and stole her away to dance through the night. The next day, on the New York City subway they stumbled into each other again a coincidence that changed the course of their lives. Six months later they were married and began their lives together in New York City.
Early married life: Perhaps the early period of Chet's married life can be best summed up by a Christmas timeline he presented to Jane on their 20th Christmas spent together: * 1950 1952: New York City: Chet proposed to Jane in 1950 on Christmas day in New York City with a diamond ring in a music box. They were married in 1951 and their first apartment in the city was so small that the bathtub was in the kitchen. * 1952 1955: Norwich, NY Joseph, Mary and Ann were born. * 1956 1959: Peekskill, NY John, Paul, and Jeanne arrived on the scene. * 1960 1962: Commack, NY Victoria, the final baby, joins the crowd * 1963 1969: The growing years in Commack a warm fireplace, advent wreaths, secret elves, millions of toys and gifts, and a bigger Christmas tree every year!
Chet and Jane remained together in Commack until 1984, when he retired from Commack Schools following 36 years of music teaching. He loved going to work every day, and will long be remembered for riding his bicycle to and from school through all 4 seasons long before exercise became a popular notion.
Chet also had numerous other interests. He belonged to religious groups, including the Christian Family Movement (CFM), The Teams of Our Lady. He was actively involved in the civil rights movement including NAACP marches, "A Thing in the Spring" in Harlem NY, housing foreign students, fresh air funds and working for peace.
Retirement days: Chet and Jane "retired" to New York City in 1985, where they spent 10 wonderful years becoming fully involved with the vibrancy of the artistic, and ethnic culture surrounding them. While in NYC, Chet became passionately involved with the healing arts of mind and body and continued his education in Social Work, psychotherapy and counseling. He volunteered in homeless shelters, and as a mentor for prisoners and substance abuse sufferers.
He of course continued teaching and playing the violin at home with a private practice, at the United Nations School and the Primary School for the Creative Arts. As always, reviews stated things like "All of the students seem to love playing their instruments the enthusiasm, excitement and talent that you have generated are thrilling."
In 1993, Chet's life dramatically changed when Jane suffered a major stroke, which prompted a move from New York City. Chet was Jane's loving caregiver for the next 15 years until she died in 2008.
In 1995, Jane and Chet moved to Amherst and later to Easthampton, MA, close to two of their children and their beloved cabin in Middlefield, MA. For the next 13 years they lived in or nearby the Lathrop Retirement community where despite their failing health, they formed many wonderful friendships and remained active socially, culturally, and musically. In 2008. Chet and Jane made their final move to Ten Broeck Commons nursing home in Kingston, NY.
Wherever they lived, their children and eight grandchildren visited frequently, and were guided through their growing years by Chet and Jane's many examples of love, wisdom, and joyful living.
Music Teaching: Chet's dynamic and innovative approach to teaching string music began as early as 1951, when he began his 60 year career as a string specialist with students spanning three generations. In 1962, Chet Porcino was among the first group of American teachers to study with Shinichi Suzuki, and in 1972, he studied with and incorporated the work of the renowned violin pedagogue, Kato Havas, into his experiences in the contemporary public school string class. Chet was co-founder and life long editor of the international newsletter for the Kato Havas Association for the New Approach (KHANA) launched in 1985.
Chet was a frequent conductor, adjudicator, and clinician at music festivals, conferences and competitions in NY, New Hampshire, Oregon, North Carolina, England and Australia. He presented workshops in string pedagogy for ASTA, MENC, NYSSMA and the State University of NY. As a violinist he performed with the Syracuse Symphony, Sagitkos Symphony, and West Islip Chamber Orchestra, as well as with jazz and folk bands worldwide.
The publication of "Flying Fiddles" a string class method series, was the culmination of his work and of his deep commitment to sharing his experiences and expertise in music education with other teachers across the US and internationally.
Chet saw himself as ever-growing and changing as a teacher and performing violinist. His approach to teaching can be summed up in his own words: "Music is communication and giving to others. If fun and laughter can be achieved in the classroom and if children are taught to share their great gift of music, violin study and performing will be both joyful and successful." Chet will forever be known as the man who teaches kids and teachers to swing, pulse, and fly their instruments with joy!
Chet never stopped reminding us that music is a gift that is meant to be shared. He was still playing his violin until the day before he died. On Thanksgiving Day, he just managed to find the first few notes for Love Me Tender one of his favorite tunes and one of his constant messages to his children and to others just to tenderly and generously give. Whether through classical, opera, jazz, fiddle, or Italian folk songs Chet was one with the violin and his music.
Chet was a gentle, loving and joyful man. While he faced many hardships, he loved his life and the people, dancing and music that filled it.
Funeral and memorial service: A funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, December 5th at 12 Noon, at St Colman's Church, followed by a luncheon and Memorial Service at Guidos Restaurant to which all are welcome.
Memorial contributions: Memorial contributions may be made to the MusicLink Foundation, a national non-profit organization that provides long-term music lessons on full to partial scholarship to promising students in financial need. Donations can be made via the web site: www.musiclinkfoundation.org . Simply click on the Donate Now Button (upper left on the home page) Once on Network for Good, click on Donate Now. You will be able to designate that your donation is for the Chet Porcino Memorial Fund. Donations can also be sent to: MusicLink Foundation Chet Porcino Memorial Fund 1043 N McKinley Rd Arlington, VA 22205
Directions to St. Colman's Church from the NYS Thruway (Exit 19, Kingston, NY): 1. Head northwest on Onteora Trail/RT-28 348 ft 2. Take the ramp onto US-209 N 3.6 mi 3. Continue on RT-199 E 1.0 mi 4. Take the State Hwy 32 exit toward Saugerties/Kingston 0.3 mi 5. Turn left at Flatbush Rd/RT-32 (signs for KINGSTON) 1.0 mi 6. Turn left at Main St 0.4 mi St Colman's Church will be on the left.
Directions from St. Colman's Church, East Kingston to Guido's Grill and Pasta House, 812 Ulster Ave, Kingston: 1. Head north on Main Street 2. Turn left at Flatbush Rd/RT-32 for 0.7 mi 3. Turn right at Frank Sottile Blvd for 0.6 mi 4. Turn left at Miron Lane 0.4 mi 5. Slight left at Ulster Ave Guido's will be on the left 0.6 mi