May 22, 2015 |
John T. "Bunky" deVecchis Jr., 78, of Queen Village, an early South Street store owner and a photographer to Philadelphia's jazz greats, died at home Wednesday, April 22. The cause of death was progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder that takes away the ability to walk and communicate while leaving the patient alert. A native Philadelphian, he captured the city's jazz scene for a quarter century, toting his Leica rangefinder camera. His black-and-white images depicted the smoky immediacy of the performers at night spots such as Zanzibar Blue, Chris Jazz Café, Ortliebs Jazzhaus, and the Clef Club.
April 6, 2015 |
James J. Baumann, 59, of Westbrook Park, an Acme Markets worker who, despite being blinded at an early age, led a life filled with activity and optimism, died Saturday, March 28, of cancer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Known as Jimmy, Mr. Baumann attended Holy Cross School in Springfield, Delaware County, and graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1973. At age 18, while he and a friend were playing with a shotgun in Chestnut Hill, the gun discharged accidentally, hitting him in the head.
March 7, 2015 |
A memorial is set for Sunday, March 8, for Randall Booker Haskins, 56, a FedEx delivery man and music lover, who died Monday, Jan. 26, of heart failure from complications of bronchitis and asthma. Mr. Haskins, a Mount Airy native and resident, died at his home. His mother, Yvonne, is a real estate lawyer, city revitalization specialist, and community volunteer; her husband, Harold, is a retired University of Pennsylvania administrator and a filmmaker. Their son, a popular high school student, never took himself too seriously: his name appears as Randy "Fonz" Haskins on his 1976 diploma from Germantown High School, a reference to the character on TV's Happy Days.
February 25, 2015 |
A leadership and administrative change in the School District of Philadelphia's venerable All City Music Festival could signal the start of the program's restoration. Project 440, the education group founded in 2006 by Philadelphia Orchestra assistant double bassist Joseph Conyers, is taking over management of the All City program from the School District. The legal aspects of the transfer may take months to complete, but a ceremonial handshake sealing the deal is planned on stage at this year's All City concert on Monday.
November 19, 2014 |
Italo Taranta, 86, of Drexel Hill, a music teacher, composer, and choral director, died Tuesday, Nov. 4, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at home. Born in Paganica in southern Italy, Mr. Taranta came to the United States as an infant and settled with his parents in southeastern Ohio before moving to Michigan. His parents had a difficult relationship; he escaped into the solace of music, although he struggled for years with migraine headaches and depression. "Rarely was there ever a person more passionate about something than my dad was about classical music.
August 21, 2014 |
John Blake Jr., 67, the Philadelphia jazz violinist and music educator who toured with Grover Washington Jr. and McCoy Tyner, and taught generations of students at the Settlement Music School and the University of the Arts, has died. Mr. Blake died Friday, Aug. 15, from complications of multiple myeloma, according to his son, Johnathan. The jazz man grew up in South Philadelphia, and studied violin and piano at Settlement before graduating from West Virginia University with a music degree and going on to the Institute of Advanced Studies in Montreux, Switzerland.
August 21, 2014 |
WHEN THE children of the Blake household in South Philly turned 6, they took piano lessons. "There were no ifs, ands or buts about it," said one of those kids, Charlotte Blake Alston. "You played the piano. " It was an edict from their mother, Carrie Blake, a church organist who knew the value of music to the human soul. Their father was a very literate letter carrier. Another of Carrie's children was John Blake Jr., who became an internationally renowned jazz violinist. He always acknowledged that his love of music began in the pews of Holy Trinity Baptist Church in South Philadelphia.
April 22, 2014 |
The premise is simple: David Uosikkinen leads his bandmates in the Hooters, along with a coterie of this city's finest rock-and-soul players, through a project of his own devising, a catalog of his favorite Philadelphia-rooted songs. You can argue with Uosikkinen's choices, but you can't argue with his enthusiasm or reach ("I Ain't Searchin' ", from Philly late-1960s favorite the American Dream is alone worth the price of admission). Under the moniker In the Pocket, Uosikkinen's shifting collective ensemble released its tracks online (to benefit the Settlement Music School)
March 24, 2014 |
For four years, Ellie D. Brown has been trying to determine whether an early education in the arts enhances children's ability to learn overall, and again and again she has turned to an unlikely tool of inquiry: a small swab of sponge. More than 24,000 times, the West Chester University associate professor of psychology and her colleagues have reached into the mouths of 500 children at Settlement Music School's Kaleidoscope Head Start program and a nearby control school to measure cortisol, the hormone associated with stress levels.
March 2, 2014 |
Bloody street riots changed the context of Lydia Artymiw's recital Thursday at the American Philosophical Society. The Philadelphia-born pianist submitted her program a year ago to showcase music by five Ukrainian composers as part of her own heritage. Events in Kiev transformed these works from a personal statement of cultural brotherhood to an elegy for a nation in pain. The five pieces, in minor keys and modal echoes written in the 19th and 20th centuries, etched a portrait of sorrow, frost, and snow.