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Music Notes: Remembering Joseph Wincenc

Dr. Joseph Wincenc 1915-2003
Dr. Joseph Wincenc

Paying tribute to a Western New York musical giant.By Bill Raffel, WBFO

Buffalo, NY – Remembering a man who left a major musical legacy to Western New York. Good morning. I'm Bill Raffel with Music Notes.

Dr. Joseph Wincenc died a week ago. As his daughter Carol was the flute soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic. He himself had played violin with the BPO at the inaugural concert of Kleinhans and later served as Associate Conductor.

That alone would be reason to pay tribute to him. But Dr. Wincenc did so much more. Founding three community orchestras and teaching music appreciation classes to thousands of students at Buffalo State College for almost forty years. And even after leaving Buffalo for an adult care facility. Dr. Wincenc never stopped.

Mike Hobart plays violin in the Orchard Park Symphony. An orchestra Wincenc founded in 1950. And grew to know him closer as the ensemble's Personnel manager for some time. Wincenc also founded the Clarence Summer Symphony in 1959 and the Amherst Symphony in 1946. Cellist Henry Weisenborn was at the Amherst Symphony's very first rehearsal, after Wincenc returned from World War II. While his musical knowledge was extraordinary Weisenborn says he also built the orchestras through his people skills.

Wincenc had an incredible memory for people's names and the dates when composers were born or died. And he was also known for his wit or Wincencisms as they were called. The best known:

??"Music Brings Unity to the Community."

But there were many, many more. When the Orchard Park Symphony celebrated its 25th anniversary the musicians in attendance wrote down as many as they could remember.

Wincenc's sense of humor was paired with an appearance often described as old school. Henry Weisenborn and his wife Margaretta syas his mutton chop beard and sideburns made him look distinguished but there was more.

And Wincenc was very set in his ways. The audience always saw him walk on stage from the left. And one time, he made former UB President Steven Sample put a crate in place so he could do that rather than walking on from the opposite side. Mike Hobart says his contributions to Western New York will long be remembered.

Dr. Joseph Wincenc died on April 5th at age 87. Our recording today on Music Notes features him leading the Amherst Symphony in Verdi's Overture to Nabucco.

As for performances this week, if you've been a fan of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet over the years, you won't want to miss tonight's performance, the last in their 25th anniversary season. There's a special reason why I say this, but you'll have to take my word for it now. That's tonight (Monday, 4/14) at 8?p.m. in the Ujima Company's Theatreloft at 545 Elmwood Avenue.

The Buffalo State Jazz Ensemble is concert Tuesday (4/15) and the Wind Ensemble on Wednesday (4/16). Both performances start at 8?p.m. in Rockwell Hall.

At SUNY Fredonia, the Fredonia Guitar Quartet performs Tuesday (4/15) at 8:15?p.m. in the Diers Recital Hall. Also on Tuesday, the Fredonia Wind Ensemble is in concert at 8?p.m., before the Chamber Orchestra performs Wednesday (4/16) at 8?p.m., and annual NuSound Festival takes place Thursday (4/17) at 8?p.m., all in the King Concert Hall.

Theatre Organist Paul Roberts from England will be play the Riviera Theatre's Mighty Wurlitzer Wednesday (4/16) at 7:30?p.m.

St. Joseph's Cathedral presents Music for the Passion on Good Friday (4/18) at 8?p.m. Organist David Bond will feature selections from Marcel Dupre's Stations of the Cross, before the Cathedral choir sings Way of the Cross by Franz Liszt, accompanied by the Cathedral's organist Mark DiGiampaolo.

That's Music Notes. I'm Bill Raffel. Have a great week!