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. facebook.com/1CharlestonSC)