One of Dominic Francese’s earliest memories is enjoying Italian opera via shortwave from a radio that stood taller than he was. But that’s not surprising, considering Dominic turned celebrated his 90th birthday last week.
Music has always been woven into the fabric of Dominic’s life. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, to Italian immigrants in 1927, he learned mandolin from his father, then moved on to trombone during his school years. It wasn’t long before he was a featured trombonist for a local big band known as the Top Hatters and then bass trombonist for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. There he shared the stage with world-renowned artists such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman. Dominic remained active with the Philharmonic until retirement.
But if you ask Dominic about his proudest achievement, it would be the joy of seeing his passion for music in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The self-sacrifice this requires is familiar to many parents: finances for instruments and lessons in addition to countless hours of practice. But in the 70’s Dominic went above and beyond. He personally mentored several aspiring rock musicians, including his two sons and their friends, and then went on the road with them as the band’s manager—for seven years. As a result of this and other life-long efforts, quite a number in his extended family are either professional or amateur musicians, serving churches, communities, and even the US Army Bands.
Since moving to the area in 2003, Dominic has given his talents and avid support to the music ministry of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. Although he has had to retire from the church choir, he can still be heard harmonizing his favorite hymns at every Sunday service.
Pictured is Dominic Francese with his wife Phyllis, and daughter Linda Falter.