|Photo by Bob Kramer|
On April 11, Joe Viola, chair emeritus of the Woodwind Department, passed away at the Arnold House in Stoneham, MA. He was 80. A woodwind instrument master, Viola, was one of the first faculty members Lawrence Berk hired after opening the doors in 1945 to the school that later became Berklee College of Music. He started teaching music theory, composition, saxophone, clarinet, flute, and ensembles. Some of his early students included Herb Pomeroy, Ray Santisi, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charlie Mariano, Dick Nash, Sadao Watanabe, and Quincy Jones. In later years, his students included Joe Lovano, Walter Beasley, Jerry Bergonzi, Seamus Blake, and Antonio Hart.
In his long educational career, Viola helped to shape the talents of many. He penned several method books that became a vital part of the Berklee curriculum. Viola retired as chair of the Woodwind Department in 1985 but continued teaching at the college until 1996.
In 1997, Viola's Berklee colleagues presented a tribute concert in his honor, that featured some of his famous former students, including Jane Ira Bloom, Richie Cole, Donald Harrison, Javon Jackson, Tommy Smith, and Bill Pierce. The event drew colleagues and students from around the world who wanted to thank Viola for the impact he had made in their lives.
He leaves his wife Alice, son Robert, daughter Paula Elaine, and three grandchildren.
Herbert Finbury '46 of Haverhill died at his home on Jaunary 13. He was 85. Finbury, a gifted violinist, studied jazz composition at Berklee after receiving his law degree from Harvard. He is survived by his wife Marion and daughter Lanie.
Singer Thomas Furtado '49 of West Warwick, RI, died January 11 in New York. He was 72. A career entertainer, Furtado played at top clubs coast-to-coast and frequently appeared on TV and radio. His songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra and Patty Page. He is survived by three sons.
Organist Harry Garofola '53 of Hull, MA, died on January 8 after a brief illness. He was 71. Garofola played organ throughout New England. He earned a doctoral degree in music from New England Conservatory of Music and was a Vietnam Veteran.
Soul singer Charles Pettigrew '85 of Philadelphia, PA, passed away on April 6. He was 38. Most recently, Pettigrew was a guest singer and songwriter for the Tom Tom Club and had scored several international hits with duo Charles and Eddie.
Saxophonist Jairo Rocha '90 of Arlington, MA, died on February 3 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. He was 53. Born in Brazil, he came to America to study music. He leaves his wife Elizabeth, daughter Julia, 11, and son David, 7. Donations can be made to the Rocha Family Fund, Cambridge Savings Bank, 1374 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138.
Composer/pianist Yumiko Murakami '91 of Kyoto, Japan, died on September 8, 2000 of complications that developed from side effects of arthritis medication she had taken. She was 44. She was a leader of the Yumikonian Orchestra and a member of a tango group led by Gustavo Gregorio '91. She had actively performed throughout Asia, Europe, and America as a soloist and with the aforementioned groups. She was featured on six CDs.
Word has reached us that Sue Woods '86 of Unadilla, NY, passed away after a battle with cancer. She had worked as a singer and DJ until her passing in 1997.
Other Berklee people who have passed away recently include Carol Garland '80 of Maitland, FL, and William Krush '72 of Seaford, NY. Krush, a guitarist, died in 1999.