Harckham honors three local musical artists in celebration of Italian American Heritage Month

Senator Harckham with Italian American Heritage Month recipients: Pete Malinverni, Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca. Credit: Office of State Senator Pete Harckham/Elizabeth Fernandez Fermin

New York State Senator Pete Harckham commemorated Italian American Heritage Month recently honoring three musical artists from the 40th Senate district—accordionist-composer Mario Tacca and singer Mary Mancinia husband and wife who perform together and pianist-composer-educator Pete Malinverni– at a special ceremony and lunch held at Little Sorrento, a local restaurant here.

“Throughout their careers, these three individuals have used their musical talents to contribute to the cultural and artistic vitality of New York State while entertaining audiences everywhere, even around the world,” said Harckham, who presented framed proclamations from the State Senate to the three winners. “The beauty of the arts is how they enrich our lives in so many ways while allowing us to communicate ideas and emotions. The world is a better place thanks to Mario, Mary and Pete, thanks to their commitment and their willingness to share their gifts.

To view a video of the Heritage Month Awards presentations, click here.

Cortlandt Mansion residents Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini married in 1975 and began performing locally at Paramount Theater of the Hudson Valley in a look. They have since traveled across the country and around the world performing their music. To date, they have recorded ten albums together, including Canzoni Dal Cuore Italian Love Songs and It’s a Wonderful World. Both are also active in the music program at the Church of the Assumption in Peekskill.

Tacca originates from the Abruzzo region in southern Italy. During his childhood, his family moved to Alsace-Lorraine in France, where he discovered his love for music and developed a passion for the accordion. He immigrated to the United States in 1959 and settled in Peekskill. After entering the American Accordionists Association competition circuit, Tacca won the 1962 International Championship held at Carnegie Hall. Today, he continues to dazzle audiences with his unparalleled musical virtuosity.

Mary Mancini, originally from Peekskill, started signing at the age of 11 in the Assumption Church choir. She has taken over two decades of singing lessons and is now able to sing in eight different languages. Over the years, Mancini has performed at many concert halls and festivals in North America, Europe and China. Some of her most memorable moments include performances in Shenzhen held at the Opera House and the True Color Jazz Supper Club.

Pound Ridge Resident Pete Malinverni has been a staple of the New York jazz scene since the early 1980s. He hails from Niagara Falls, NY, where he began classical piano studies at the age of six. After earning a bachelor’s degree in music education at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, he studied piano and composition while pursuing a master’s degree in music at Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music.

Malinverni has recorded sixteen albums as a leader in various contexts: solo piano, piano and violin duet, trio, quartet, quintet and big band. This year he released In town: Pete Malinverni plays Leonard Bernstein, which was inspired by a chance encounter with the maestro in the 1980s. Although his work as a composer was primarily in jazz, Malinverni also composed sacred music, a result of his continuous efforts in inspiring contexts. , such as Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, where he has served as minister of music for the past 18 years. He holds a similar position at Pound Ridge Community Church and also runs a Jazz Vespers series there. After teaching at both William Paterson University and New York University, Malinverni served as Chair of Jazz Studies at SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Music for 10 years until June 2022.

Italian American Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the Italian people here in the United States. Coinciding with the Columbus Day holiday, the celebration spans the entire month of October and commemorates how the Italian people have influenced and contributed to American culture and society.

William N. Fernandez