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Queens Chronicle

Fuoco fundraiser is June 1

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 4:44 pm, Thu May 30, 2013.

Joe Fuoco’s Music Center Inc., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, will hold the annual Marge Fuoco Memorial Concert from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at St. Matthias School in Ridgewood. The annual concert honors Joe’s doting mother, Marge, and will benefit the Honeysuckle Foundation, St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital, where children are battling cancer, and the Fuoco Family Music Scholarship at St. Matthias School. The school is located at 58-25 Catalpa Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. the night of the show. For tickets or more information, call Fuoco’s Music Center at (718) 366-4055. Marge Fuoco was a philanthropist and a beloved music teacher who founded the Blue Max Drum Corps at St. Matthias School in 1972. Joe Fuoco’s Music Center began to take form when Joe, whose lifelong love of music was fostered and nurtured by his mother, learned to play the accordion at age 4 and volunteered to play music for the Christmas Show at St. Matthias School in Ridgewood at only 6 years of age. His wish to help others was already evident when, at age 9, Joe performed at a show he created and then donated the proceeds from it to the John F. Kennedy Library. He was thrilled when he received an unexpected letter from Jacqueline Kennedy thanking him for his charitable work. While in high school, Joe embarked on a lifelong study with guitar legend Billy Bauer, who was voted Top Jazz Guitarist in the World by Metronome and Downbeat magazines. Billy played with music greats Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Charlie Parker, and was staff studio guitarist for NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” He became a tremendous influence on Joe, who was already committed to learning, writing and performing — Joe never missed a lesson! Joe and his wife and musical partner, Jeanette, also the early recipient of many music awards, teamed up in the mid-1970s, performing in clubs several nights a week, giving concerts at colleges, writing songs and teaching music in the daytime at Joe Fuoco’s Music Center. By 1979, many of their musical works had been published and recorded and they both became members of one of the greatest performance rights organizations in the world — the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. They were proud to see their names listed amongst such legendary songwriters as Billy Joel and Paul McCartney. Then, in 1987, Joe and Jeanette performed at a live all-night jazz show on WNEW radio with the legendary DJ Al Jazzbeaux Collins. It was then that Joe received what he considers to be one of his greatest compliments. Guitar legend Les Paul, father of the rock ’n’ roll guitar used by Jimmy Page and George Harrison, called into the radio station thinking that Joe was the great guitarist Chet Atkins! Chet was then, and still is, one of Joe’s favorite guitarists. Joe’s extraordinary talents were recognized again when he was voted Best Solo Musician in The Best of Queens Contest (Queens Ledger, 1995) and was voted into the Christ the King High School Hall of Fame (1993). Many years later, in addition to teaching music to thousands of children and adults for almost 40 years with Jeanette at his side, Joe continues to donate his professional music services to so many neighborhood organizations that he has become a beloved fixture in Glendale and Ridgewood. No street festival or neighborhood event is as enjoyable as when Joe and Jeanette are performing. Joe also served as president of the Ridgewood-Glendale Lion’s Club in 1987 and 1988. Joe and Jeanette have devoted their lives to the art of teaching and performing music at concerts, parties, weddings, nightclubs, restaurants, parades, radio and TV shows. Yes, there are many great memories. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed and that Joe Fuoco’s Music Center Inc. has been part of our lives and the community for 40 years.

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