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RIP, Dr. Eugene Carinci

Via my Trinity classmate Patrick Pringle, I just learned the sad news that Dr. Eugene Carinci, who was the band director at Trinity while we were there, has passed away.

Dr. Carinci died at his home in Macon, Ga., on July 20. He was 59.

An internationally known saxophone player, Dr. Carinci taught at Trinity for 13 years and, as the director of the Trinity Jazz Band, performed in concert in the community and on tour and recorded several well regarded albums with Trinity student musicians.

Dr. Carinci came to Trinity in 1982 and taught saxophone and supervised instrumental music education students. As director of bands, he guided the Trinity Wind Ensemble and the Jazz Ensemble. He is best remembered for energizing the Trinity Jazz Band. Under his leadership,

the band made several local radio and television appearances, opened for jazz musicians Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie, played concerts in the San Antonio community, and toured Houston, Santa Fe, N.M. and New Orleans, La. The Jazz Band, under Dr. Carinci, also recorded four albums: Trinity University Jazz Band 1984, In Orbit, Gershwin on the Menu, and Committed.

After leaving Trinity in 1995, Carinci served as artistic advisor and CEO of the Portland Chamber Players in Portland, Maine, represented the Yamaha Corporation as a Yamaha Performing Artist, and was the CEO of the Macon Symphony Orchestra in Macon, Ga.

I still own all four of those jazz band albums. They’re a little scratchy these days, but I ripped them all to MP3 last year, and even with the odd skip they still take me back. Here’s the Jazz Band’s rendition of “Fly Me To The Moon”, from the In Orbit album:

I remember the jazz band playing that at a Parents Weekend reception one year. I had casually mentioned to Dr. Carinci that it was my parents’ first dance song at their wedding, and he dedicated it to them. I was really touched by that.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had teachers like Laurence Laurenzano and Gene Carinci in my 30+ years as a sax player. To be honest, I have no idea why Dr. Carinci accepted me for the Trinity Wind Symphony as a freshman. I had the world’s worst audition, and our section did not lack for talent. But he saw something in me, and I like to think that I paid him back in hard work, loyalty, and friendship. He exposed me to music I never would have heard otherwise, and the concerts we performed, never mind the wind symphony/jazz band tours we went on, are easily some of my best memories from college. He was an enormous presence on the stage – arms pumping, sweat flying, intensity radiating from his body – but it was always about the music, and he got every last drop of effort and expression out of us. Like Larry Laurenzano, he died way too young and leaves behind a void that can never be filled, for he was truly one of a kind. Rest in peace, Dr. Carinci. You will be missed, but you will never be forgotten.

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One Comment

  1. Doug Heffner says:

    Gene Carinci was one of a kind, absolute energy and perfection. Gene taught in Lancaster Ohio in the mid 70′s and touched everyone that came to know him. He will be sadly missed by many.

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