Mr. "P" really taught me music. From our 16 guys in Boys Glee Club to teaching how to play the Bassoon. How can we ever forget him taking us to see My Fair Lady, and of course The Blackwatch. In total, he as a classy guy who just wanted his students to know music from all sides. "Cool cats" is what he called us in Glee Club and really made us believers. I wish his family well, and look forward to seeing Alumni at the concert onstage and ready "for the down beat" under Mr. Duer in Ro's Honor. He was a real teach, mentor, and,,,well just a "cool guy" to be around. Tom Snee, '65
He taught us to love. He developed in each and every one of us an understanding and lifetime appreciation of music, certain to be passed on for generations. He exuded passion in every morsel he spoke, every instruction or action he demonstrated. Nothing was done haphazardly as that would mean there was a lack of respect and caring for oneself, one's group, and precious time/life in general. I don't recall him ever using the word perfection. Yet he continually commanded diligence, proper preparation, accountability, honesty, and integrity. To this day I take great pride in my work, and I love myself and all others. And yes, I love life. I'm a confident, responsible, caring person who tries to give back to her community---just as I'm sure countless others he's touched do and will continue to do.With best wishes then, enclosed is my donation for the endowment fund. Thank you Mr.Pallante. I love you too. Capeche? Denise (Post) Fink, South High Choir 1966-1969
|Jean Clark-Goodrich '81|| Email|
Mr Pallante was a fantastic teacher who shared his passion for music in such a positive way. He taught me that music is a special gift. He was able to lift me up from a very low self esteem and bring me out of my shell. He always made time to help his students. I can still see him swaying as he directed "Feeling Groovy" and "The Sgt. Pepper Medley" I will always remember him with a smile. Thank you so much for this Tribute!
|Melissa Mercer Zimmerman|| Email|
I had the honor and privilege of singing under the direction of Mr. Pallante from 1977-1980 as part of the South choir. He lived his music and brought his passion to each and every song and student. He was a magical "cat", a once in a lifetime soul. His memory is held dear in my heart to this day.
Thanks so much for this wonderful tribute. I sure hope you are planning on recording and posting your concert! I'm not musical and I never had Mr. Pallante as a teacher. But I was in Isabel Pallante's honors English class for a while as a senior at South High, and she remains one of the most wonderful teachers I've ever had. She inspired me to my lifetime of teaching. During high school my musically talented friends invited me several times to the Sunday afternoon soirees the Pallantes held at their home. I was too shy to go, but I adored Mr. and Mrs. Pallante from afar, and I always envied those students who had such passionately charged, intellectually stimulating and uproariously fun relationships with the two. They were unique and wonderfully generous people whose legacy just keeps on growing. Thanks again. I know you'll have a wonderful concert.
The day I met Ro was magical for me. We instantly grew mutual respect for one another that continued to grow throughout the years, not only on a musical level, but on a personal level as well.
I grew up listening to and reading about all the great performers from the 20's through the 50's (and beyond) with particular interest in the jazz genre. I would always chuckle to myself when Ro would be explaining something with all the added flourishes of "You Dig?", "Man", "Crazy!", "You Catz", Swing It", and his famous "Ciao".
I learned a lot from the master! Whether it was "The Creation", The Magnificat", "Down By The Riverside", "The Star Carol" or any one of numerous pop or show tunes, Ro would always ask me to wear a different hat on each one and he would come up with his own unique interpretation of each composition. I would be challenged with rhythms, dynamics, phrasing and tempo, and when I produced, I got the "Yeah, man!"
On the other side of things, Ro framed many a picture for me that I look at with fond memories. Numerous CD's were passed back and forth for both of us to enjoy and discuss. And it was always a treat for me when he would appear at Ferrante's Winery to enjoy his favorite shrimp appetizer and listen to me perform.
Ro will always hold a special place within me as I look forward to performing with whatever great ensemble he will be directing when we meet again...
I't will be an honor to be a part of this fantastic tribute, and many more in the years to come - Can you dig it man?
|Kathleen McNiece-Johnson|| Email|
It is difficult to believe that such a larger than life person is now gone. Gone, but never forgotten. I believe he exists in the perfect here after and continues to hear the music of my heart which continues to sing for him.
At Willoughby Junior I was in choir for three years and couldn't wait to get to the high school to perform in "the real deal" of Mr. Pallante's honors choir with my older sister, Colleen. It was a dream come true. Even if I did have to sing tenor with the guys.
Mr. Pallante was a surrogate father to me. My own father died when I was in middle school as Mr. Pallante was well aware. As busy as this choir teacher was he always took the time to check with me and hear how things were going. And hear my problems he did - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I remember him mediating a disagreement I was having with my sister once. No matter how my life was going, singing in his choir always made it better. The songs went straight to my heart and I felt calm, empowered, proud, and cared for when I sang them.
I remember all the sensational performances he arranged for us - Christmas & Spring concerts, commencements, and the competitions (we ruled over the other schools!) It was then that we all gave him our best, knowing that was how we could make him feel proud, happy, and loved by us.
The best thing he gave me was a sense of confidence to face difficult times in my life. I can remember many times in my life when I have been scared or alone. I always found comfort in singing one of the songs kept in my soul from Mr. Pallante's famous South High Choir. His music always got me through.
One song goes like this: "Oh bambino mio de vino eio te vado que tra ma". Hopefully, I can sing this again for the tribute in May. It would be an honor, a pleasure, and a blessing to demonstrate my deep appreciation and love to Romeo.
Although I had piano and trumpet training in elementary and Jr High School, it was Mr P that brought music alive for me. Being one of a few fortunate 9th graders invited to join the new South High Marching Band under Ro's direction, I had 4 years of Band and Chorus with him as well as singing with him at 1st Methodist and with The Lakeland Community Chorus. It was Ro's training and love of music that he freely gave to all of us that has given me a life-long outlet and the ability to have performed as an amateur in music theater and as a sports National Anthem singer. Without Ro's great teaching and mentoring, my life would have been much less fun. I also had the fortune of playing golf with him and remaining friends long after graduation. I will be in his debt for the remainder of my life. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you Mr P. I look forward to seeing and singing with old friends in May to celebrate Ro's life.
|Stacy Crossen Roberts|| Email|
I was a member of the South High choir 59-61 - at the beginning. For some of our rehearsals I accompanied the choir on piano and so got to know Ro from an additional perspective. He had that edgy dynamic of fierce jubilation of life, intense musical intelligence, and profound and demanding belief that each of us could soar above the clouds if only we'd give it our all. And that we did - because of him. He made it a point to attend our 20th and our 40th reunions. What a joy to see him again. I sorely wish I could be at the Tribute to be a part of the choir and the celebration. Thank you to all who have been a part of organizing this evening. If you record it, I'd like a copy .
I was in south's choir 1975-1976. We were preparing to do a concert, and I was getting a sore throat. I asked Mr. Pallante what I should do. I was 1 of four basses. He told me take lots of vitamin c, and before the concert don't eat or drink anything but lemon juice, and if I still sound horrible, just move my lips! The lemon juice was awful, but I sang in that concert! I have spoken of, and thought of him fondly over the years. God bless you for this tribute to a wonderful man.