102-year-old conductor of Golden Tone Orchestra directs his final performance
A 102-year-old orchestra conductor from Baldwin lifted his baton for the last time on Wednesday.
Bobby Ferrari and the Golden Tone Orchestra delighted the crowd at Merrick Golf Course. Ferarri played a clarinet solo. He also plays the flute and saxophone.
“My uncle was a professor of music in Italy. When he came over, he taught the family music instruments and singing....that's how I got started,” he says.
Ferrari, who was born in 1920, worked for 30 years as a plant engineer at Grumman while pursuing his love of music. He played with big bands and swing bands in New Orleans and various clubs on long Island.
Ferrari also performed with big names, like Burt Bacharach.
Ferrari started conducting the Golden Tone Orchestra in 2000 at 80 years old. Wednesday was the end of an era for the group as he stepped down from his role as band leader.
However, he says he'll never retire his love of music.
“It's emotional…it’s something that you feel inside. You don't just read it like a newspaper, those notes mean something,” Ferrari says.
Ferrari still lives alone and drives himself places, including to his final performance. He attributes his sharpness to hard work and staying active.
“Being active with people, keep up with the news...take part in activities. Don't just sit back and accept things, you can change things too,” he says.
Ferrari also says a little gratitude goes a long way.
“There is so much to do in this world, I wish I could live another 102 years,” he says.
The Golden Tone Orchestra is made up of volunteers. It's composed of mostly older adults, but it's open to people of all ages.