Paying Tribute to Chris

Amityville Memorial High School’s auditorium was abuzz with the sounds of jazz and different genres of music as current students, alumni and fellow musicians and colleagues gathered to honor the memory of Chris LaMarca, the late AMHS Jazz Band leader and district music teacher who passed away last year. Eleven different musical acts comprised this year’s Chris LaMarca Memorial Concert, a celebration of his life and musical legacy that took place on Friday, May 30.

AMHS All-State saxophonist Anthony Abate, who was greatly influenced by Chris, performed with his father Anthony senior and younger brothers Andrew and Patrick. Anthony also led a collaboration of current and alumni Jazz Band members to close out the show. Other performers included The Brian Carter Quartet, led by current AMHS Jazz Band leader and former LaMarca student Brian Carter; the duos of Brendan and Aiden McGlone, Dakota Willenbrock and Amber Preez, Cherelle Cruz and Christian Bethea, and Ryan Campbell and Alex Ynoa; The Griffins; Till Death Do Us Part; Melrose & New; and The Bay Big Band, a popular veteran jazz band for which Mr. LaMarca was a member. Dakota also teamed with Anthony and Patrick Abate and Kyle Hobson on a few numbers.

Amityville Teacher’s Association President Robert Claps and Edmund W. Miles Middle School teacher Carlee Wallenstein organized the concert, which raised monies for Amityville student music scholarships to be awarded in the future. Chris LaMarca’s widow Michele LaMarca and his father John were in attendance. Amityville Athletic Director William Maisel once again served as the master of ceremony and performed a surprise rendition of “Let It Be.”

“We discussed holding a moment of silence in his honor, but decided that Chris would rather us use that time to enjoy the sounds of good music,” said Mr. Maisel.

Special thanks to all of the performers, attendees and contributors, including the stage and sound crew.