AIKEN - Ronald Peter Socciarelli, age 79, passed away February 2, 2012.
He was born in Little Falls, New York 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 State.
After serving as Director of Bands at Northern Illinois University in 1972, he became Director of Bands and 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 years of teaching, Mr. 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, SC. 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.
Ronald 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, Ronald 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. He will be greatly missed by them and by the many students whose lives he touched.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church in Aiken with the Rev. Dr. David Cozad officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at Houndslake Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ronald P. Socciarelli Scholarship Fund, Ohio University School of Music, Athens, OH 45701, or the First Presbyterian Church, 224 Barnwell Ave., Aiken, SC 29801.
Mr. Socciarelli's online guest book may be signed at www.shellhouseriversfuneralhome.com.
SHELLHOUSE-RIVERS FUNERAL HOME, INC., 715 E. PINE LOG RD., AIKEN, SC
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