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Ronald Socciarelli

Ronald Socciarelli

Photo courtesy of: College of Fine Arts

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Memorial service for former Marching 110 director is Tuesday


Ronald P. Socciarelli, director of bands at Ohio University from 1973 to 1992 and director of the Marching 110 from 1973 to 1990, died in hospice care in South Carolina on Feb. 2. He was 79.

A memorial service for Socciarelli will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the First Presbyterian Church in Aiken, S.C. with the Rev. Dr. David Cozad officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at Houndslake Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Ronald P. Socciarelli Scholarship Fund, Ohio University School of Music, Athens, Ohio 45701, or First Presbyterian Church, 224 Barnwell Ave., Aiken, S.C. 29801.

"We were very saddened to learn of the loss of Professor Socciarelli," College Dean Charles McWeeny said. "He was a talented educator, director, and colleague at the College of Fine Arts' School of Music. Professor Socciarelli made positive contributions to the music program and the Marching 110 and was a mentor to the students he taught, so this is a great loss."

Socciarelli was born in Little Falls, N.Y. in 1932, the son of the late Peter and Edith Socciarelli. Upon graduation from high school, he attended the Navy School of Music and served four years in the Navy. He earned his bachelor's degree from Ithaca College and completed he master's degree and post graduate work at the University of Michigan. He was chairman of the Music Department and conductor of the bands at Lackawanna High School (1959-1967) and Ithaca High School (1967-1972) in New York.

After serving as director of bands at Northern Illinois University in 1972, he became director of bands at Ohio University, where from 1973 until 1992 he conducted the marching band (until 1990), the concert band, wind symphony, and university-community band. In addition, he taught conducting and wind literature.

During his teaching career, Socciarelli commissioned and premiered musical compositions by many significant composers such as Alec Wilder, Warren Benson, and Alan Hovhaness. The National Foundation of Music Clubs conferred upon him their Foundation Award for the Advancement of American Music. Over the years, he served as guest clinician and conductor and adjudicated at contests and festivals throughout the United States.

In 1976 the Ohio University Marching Band became the first marching band to perform in New York City's Carnegie Hall. In 1989 the Ohio University Wind Symphony was "ensemble in residence" at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. As result, they were invited back in 1991.

The governor of Ohio proclaimed May 15, 1992, as Ronald P. Socciarelli Day throughout the state of Ohio. His name has also been entered in the Congressional Record for his contributions toward the Advancement of American Band music. In 1995, he was named Honorary Alumnus of Ohio University and in 2003 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Marching Band Society of Alumni and Friends.

He and his wife, Cherry, moved to Aiken in 1992 where he pursued his passion for golf at Houndslake Country Club. He continued to teach each fall quarter until his full retirement in 1999.

In addition to his loving wife of 51 years, he is survived by three daughters: Kathryn Socciarelli and Amy Bevan of Atlanta, Ga. and Elizabeth Ross of Peachtree City, Ga; six granddaughters: Megan and Allison Bevan and Christina, Sydney, Alexis, and Olivia Ross; a sister, Flavia Lincoln of New Hartford, N.Y.; a cousin James Daniels (Carmen) of Mableton, Ga., four nephews and five nieces.

Socciarelli's online guest book may be signed here.