Creating Musicians, Preserving Legacy

When musicians see the words "Con Brio" in the margins of their composition, they know it’s going to be a good one. The Italian phrase directly translates to “with spirit,” and intends the piece to be played with liveliness and vigor. In the case of John F. Farinacci, his life was lived Con Brio.

A dedicated musician and educator, Farinacci taught music at Kent State and later at Cleveland Heights High School, impressing his love of music onto thousands of students throughout his career. The Farinacci legacy now lives on through an endowment to the Glauser School of Music from Dr. Carl Farinacci, who recently donated in honor of his late relative.

Carl first met John Farinacci when he was 13 years old, when John led the Akron Symphony Orchestra in their inaugural performance. When Carl attended Kent State for his M.B.A ten years later in  December of 1963, the campus buzzed with the Farinacci name.

“People knew John Francis Farinacci. I was asked many, many times if I was related to him. He was a big deal in Portage County,” said Carl.

Over 60 years later, Carl remains inspired by John’s life and legacy.

“We only met a few times while John was alive, and my hope is to discover more about John’s life.”

Through Kent Stater articles, Chestnut Burr yearbooks, and local newspaper clippings, we were able to discover more about John F. Farinacci’s life and career.

The Life of John F. Farinacci

Headshot of John Farinacci

John F. Farinacci graduated with a bachelor’s in music from Kent State University in 1937 and received his master’s degree in 1941. In the years following, Farinacci became the supervising critic teacher at the Kent State University School of Music, a position he held for 12 years. Farinacci also organized the Kent American Legion Band during his time at Kent State.

In addition to his teaching career, Farinacci served five years of active duty in the Army, including during World War II. He served in the Army Reserves for the next 30 years, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel.

After leaving Kent State in 1949, John Farinacci taught at Cleveland Heights High School until 1962 when he became a unit principal at the school while he continued to lead the band. He held this position until his retirement in 1979.

In 1953, Farinacci conducted Akron Symphony Orchestra’s first performance. In 1975, Farinacci was inducted into the Ohio Band Directors Conference Hall of Fame.

At Alice and John’s 60th wedding anniversary in 2003, the couple was surprised with hundreds of congratulatory letters from former students. Alice was also an alumnus of Kent State.

After retiring in 1992, John Francis Farinacci headed west for California, where he would later pass away at age 91. In 2011, an alumni reunion concert was performed at Cleveland Heights high school in his honor, and over 130 former students attended.

The Endowment

The John Francis Farinacci Endowed Music Scholarship will serve as a scholarship fund for Glauser School of Music students­, providing valuable financial aid for tuition and fees, books, and supplies. Carl has always had an interest in music and the arts, and the lasting impact of his distant relative ultimately inspired him to give.

Carl intends for this scholarship to continue to grow and honor the history of John Farinacci.

“John Francis created, encouraged, and motivated students throughout his lifetime. He was creating musicians– and that’s ultimately what I’m after here. I may not be able to help first-hand, but I can help in my own way.”

Contribute to the John Francis Farinacci Scholarship

POSTED: Monday, January 29, 2024 11:23 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2024 11:36 AM
Nicole Hagen