Antone J. Aquino 1929-2012

Born in Canastota, NY to Louis and Philomena Aquino…brother of Phyllis (and later Thomas), Antone grew to have an intense love for music at an early age.  He played the organ at church, and sang whenever he had a chance.

In high school, he was “recruited” by Helen Hosmer to attend Potsdam State Teacher’s College.

As a music education student, he sang in choruses, small groups and as a soloist, met Margaret Curtis, also a music education student with a major in piano.

They became tenor and accompanist, and kept a friendship that extended past graduation.

He was drafted and served in the Korean War for 22 months (in theater).  Upon returning from the service, he picked up his friendship with Margaret…actually, continued his friendship which was blossoming into love.

They married in 1955, in Governeur, NY (Margaret’s home town) and moved to Orange County where both had teaching jobs.

Ultimately, he began teaching at Newburgh Free Academy and in 1959, their first child Michael was born.  I came along in 1963.

A brief time as a John Hay Fellow at Harvard in 1965, another few years at NFA and then we were blessed for him to get a job at Salem State College, in Salem MA.

It was in the Boston area that his devotion to all things musical flourished.  In 1971, he auditioned for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, an all volunteer chorus to accompany the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston and during their summer residence at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA.  In 1972, Margaret auditioned and we embarked upon the life of “chorus brats” every summer.

As an assistant, and then associate professor of Music at Salem State, he gained notoriety as a passionate conductor, and gifted composer.  He encouraged the music staff to show off their talents by presenting a regular concert billed as “Itself”.

For 25 years, he performed, conducted, and composed his way around the metropolitan Boston area.  In 1994, he retired from Salem State College and moved to Calabash, NC.

As always, musicians rarely fully retire.  He continued to be active as a member of the Community Choral Society in Myrtle Beach, as a section leader in the Trinity Episcopal Church Choir, and then as a second vice president on the board of directors for the Long Bay Symphony Orchestra.

He passed away at home, after a courageous battle with cancer – starting in the prostate, ending with bone cancer.

My mom & I were at his side as he passed.

If you met him, you loved him.  He was just that charming.

True funeral services will be at St. Brendan‘s Catholic Church, likely a week from today.  I hope to also have a memorial service of sorts at The Well by the Sea.

I will post the specific arrangements on my facebook page (http://www.



About maryaquino

Food, rock and roll and greyhound lover
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6 Responses to Antone J. Aquino 1929-2012

  1. debbie cone says:

    “By love they are remembered, and in memory, they live. Even in your sorrow, I hope you can hold on to the thought that a life lived with so much passion and love never really ends, but goes on forever in the hearts of those who remember.”


  2. mellissa stuber says:

    Well done my friend, well done.


  3. Lindsay says:

    So so sorry to see this, Mary. My thoughts are with you and your family.


  4. Carol Willeen Curry Wood says:

    Mary, I am just learning of your father’s passing. He was my very first music teacher when I was in fourth grade. I believe he had just come to Newburgh. He taught me beginning clarinet, which I later learned was really not his interest. After that I would see him when my parents took me to Amphion Glee Club concerts as he sang with them, sometimes doing solos. By the time I reached NFA he was the choral director. I sang in several of his choral groups over the three years. After I graduated in 1964, I went to SUNY Fredonia where I minored in music. At the end of my first year in college, I signed up to take two music classes at SUNY New Paltz and imagine my surprise when your father was the teacher of one of them. Time passed, I knew he had taken a sabbatical, returned to NFA and eventually left to teach college somewhere. I had married, had 2 children and was watching the Boston Pops Christmas Eve special. The camera panned over the chorus and there was your dad!! I can only say he was a great teacher and contributed a great deal to my love of music. Although I never really played the clarinet after leaving high school with any regularity, I have been involved with singing somewhat in my church choir. I know it has been over a year but please accept my condolences and also pass them on to your mother who I met once or twice.
    Carol Willeen Curry Wood


    • maryaquino says:

      Hi Carol – thank you for your kind words. My dad had 3 passions: music, teaching, and my mom. She has been bolstered by the amount of people who have come forth and said how much of an influence he was on them as a teacher.

      I will read your memories to her – they most certainly show the impact he had on you. Blessings to you and your family.



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