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Pat DeRosa

Jazz | 2021

Pat DeRosa was born in Brooklyn, NY on December 6, 1921.  At the age of 12, his mother took him to a music store on the Bowery to buy his first saxophone and from that point forward, music took over his life.  The 1930s brought the DeRosa family to Huntington, Long Island where a lack of suitable teachers led Pat to teach himself to play and read music.  When Pat joined the high school band as a student at Central School District in South Huntington, his passion for performing rose to new levels.  After graduating high school in 1940, Pat went to work at Grumman manufacturing airplane parts for the war and within a year joined the Grumman band and formed his own trio, performing at nightclubs and parties all over New York and Long Island.  In 1943, at the height of WWII, Pat was drafted into the Army Air Forces and sent to Greensboro, NC for basic training.  Soon after, Pat was offered to audition for the “Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band” and was accepted.  He spent three years travelling around the US with the band performing and entertaining the troops.  Pat returned to Long Island in 1946 and enrolled at Manhattan School of Music while getting the opportunity to perform with legends of the era, including Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Andy Williams, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Though he was performing late into the night, he was still able to find time for his studies and earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education.  In the early 1950s, as Big Bands are dying out and work was scarce, Pat follows his other passion and became a music teacher at Huntington Elementary and South Huntington Memorial Junior High.  Pat’s true brush with greatness came in the 1960s when he met Jazz great John Coltrane, who asked Pat to join him for a duet.  The two continued to perform together for three years until Coltrane’s death in 1967.  Pat formed the Pat DeRosa Trio in 1969, playing constantly, including at the first inaugural ball of President Richard Nixon.  Since retiring from education in 1978, Pat has continued to perform shows from the Hamptons to Florida with no intention of putting down his sax.  In 2021, in addition to his induction into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, Pat was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Oldest Professional Saxophone Player’.  Quite an honor, even for a man with as colorful of a life as Pat DeRosa.

Pat DeRosa Virtual Induction Ceremony – Veterans Day 2020

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