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Marching 110 alumni giving surges in honor of Socciarelli

The passing of Ronald Socciarelli, former director of bands and the Marching 110, has inspired many OHIO alumni and friends to unite in honor his life and accomplishments. Socciarelli passed away on Feb. 2 at the age of 79.

“The response to his passing has been an overwhelming collection of emotions,” said Michael Carpenter, a 1981 Bachelor’s of Music Education graduate who also received a Master’s of Fine Arts in 1983.

“It has brought together people who shared the experience of being in the band at different times but never knew each other. His passing has reinvigorated friendships that had faded within everyone’s busy lives. Alumni are uniting in their determination to honor Mr. Socciarelli,” he said.

Socciarelli was the director of the Marching 110 from 1973-1989 and the director of bands for the College of Fine Arts’ School of Music until 1992. He directed the concert and wind symphony, as well as the university-community band. He also taught conducting and wind literature until he fully retired in 1999.

As Carpenter leads the planning for homecoming 2012 events that will honor Socciarelli, he has reconnected with another OHIO alumnus, Jeff Au, who received his Bachelor of Music Education in 1994. Both men marched in the 110 under Socciarelli and later worked for him as graduate assistants.

Au is leading a fundraising push to correspond with the 2012 homecoming festivities. Funds raised will support the Mr. Ronald P. Socciarelli Scholarship Fund, which, Au notes, has never has been fully funded.

“Giving to The Ronald P. Socciarelli Scholarship Fund is a way for anyone to honor Mr. Socciarelli and ensure his legacy at OHIO,” said Au. “I want us to put a system in place that will continue to grow the fund in perpetuity.”

The Socciarelli Scholarship Fund benefits undergraduate non-music majors who have been members of the Marching 110 for at least one year and demonstrate financial need. Since his death, the fund has grown to $25,000. Au hopes to raise an additional $50,000 during this drive.

“There have never really been significant resources devoted to enhancing marching band scholarships at OHIO,” says Au. “It is time that we as alumni support those students who are just younger versions of ourselves. I would have deeply appreciated band scholarships as an undergrad and I have no doubt that the current students will feel the same.”

“Better Than The Best Ever,” a motivational phrase Socciarelli coined and one that is still used by the band today, will be the theme used in honor of him during OHIO Homecoming weekend, Oct. 12-14. More than 300 Marching 110 alumni are expected to perform in the Homecoming parade.