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James V Colonna

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James V. Colonna


James V. Colonna (1894, Italy – 1969, Kittanning, Penn.) was an Italian-born American composer, educator and conductor.

Mr. Colonna began his the study of music at age five with his father, a teacher and band director. He then studied at the Naples Conservatory. Colonna emigrated to the United States and settled in Rossiter, Pennsylvania, where he organized his first adult community band. During World War I his band played for patriotic parades and ceremonies honoring soldiers going off to war in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

Colonna moved to Kittanning, Pa. In 1922, where he organized adult bands in neighboring mining communities. In 1924, he organized the New Bethlehem Boys’ Band and, in 1925, with the help of the Kittanning Rotary Club, he organized the 65-member Kittanning High School Boys’ Band. This band performed its first concert three months after its organization. In 1927 he founded the Freeport High School Band. Colonna taught music and directed the band there for 23 years. From 1932-1946, he also directed the Kittanning Junior and Senior High Orchestras. During this period he assisted his sister Margaret to form the Ford City High School Band. In 1949, Colonna founded the Kittanning High School Girls’ Band. It was at this time that he left Freeport as a part-time teacher to devote full-time to teaching instrumental music in the Kittanning Public Schools. He retired from the Kittanning Area Schools in 1960, and was given the greatest ovation ever given to a public school teacher by the community and the Armstrong County Music Educators’ Association.

After retiring, Colonna appeared widely as a guest conductor with many school and community bands and orchestras. Colonna wrote some 65 pieces of music for band and orchestra.

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