John Corley

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I think it important to note the passing of a great musician and Music Professor who worked in the Boston area for about 50 years. John Corley Jr. was my first Music Director at Brookline High School in 1948. He was completely inspiring and always taught all of us to look for the finest repertoire. And he knew it, and taught it. Believe it or not, Michael Dukakis played in that Brookline High Band and I as well as Richard Greenfield, hornist of the BSO and many others. John Corley was a virtuoso trumpeter who had studied with Georges Majiere of the Boston Symphony. He also was the Music Director of the MIT Concert Band and Orchestra, made many arrangements for his various ensembles and seemed to be constantly occupied in the quest for excellence in music. I became his "solo" clarinetist in 1951 and went on to Play Principal in the Milwaukee Symphony and recorded 4 CDs, as well as perform in hundreds of concerts in the Boston area. John Corley was married to Sally Corley and it was a thrill to hear them both play the "Carnival of Venice". She fingered, he blew, or they changed places. It was an exciting time to be a "kid" musician in Brookline and Boston. And John Corley Jr. was a great and wonderful influence on music, that which we played, learned and loved. He made over 35 tours with the MIT Concert Band throughout Canada and the USA, playing, of all things, contemporary works, many of which he had commissioned for his band at MIT. He happened to be touring in Florida in 1986, (Titusville, Florida, January 26, 1986) when the shuttle took off and blew up killing 6 or 7 and curiously we had a concert at Astronaut High School that night with the band. I happened to be the soloist, performing a first performance of the Bavicchi Clarinet Concert, written by John A. Bavicchi, a Boston composer for the MIT band, and myself.

Professor Corley died on October 19th, and I was called by his close friend, John Bavicchi, another icon of music in Boston. We will miss John Corley deeply and comprehensively, the same way in which he influenced so very many of us for all of those years.

Sherman Friedland, Ontario, Canada

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