In 2020, Paula Leonardi Ducato, daughter of the late Tony Leonardi, began organizing a concert in honor of her father’s legacy to pay tribute to him and provide him with the congratulatory send-off retirement concert he never had. Leonardi Ducato announces The Tony Leonardi Legacy Alumni Reunion Tribute Concert will be held Saturday, August 5, 2023, at 7:30pm at Youngstown State University’s Ford Theater in Bliss Hall.
The concert will feature the talents of nearly 50 YSU alum musicians from all over the country who studied with Leonardi and were members of his nationally acclaimed, award-winning jazz program at YSU.
The jazz program at YSU’s Dana School of Music began as an idea among a group of musicians who jammed together under Leonardi’s direction. It evolved into an accredited collegiate program that ranked as one of the top in the country. The group of musicians who will perform at the concert in August represents 32 years of YSU jazz under one roof and celebrates the Leonardi era at YSU.
As director of the jazz studies program, Leonardi brought a host of internationally renowned jazz musicians to YSU to work and perform with his students, including Stan Kenton, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Pepper Adams, Jiggs Whigham, James Moody, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Marvin Stamm, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Burrell, Jamey Aebersold, Chuck Mangione, Eddie Daniels, Joanne Brackeen, Sal Nistico and many others. Many of Leonardi’s students, who will perform at the concert, have enjoyed successful careers as performers, composers, arrangers, band leaders, and teachers.
Before embarking on his career at YSU, Leonardi played with legendary performers, including Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Buddy Rich, and Stan Kenton. He toured the U.S. and Europe with various jazz groups, including his own quintet, The Jazz Explorers, and as a member of the Woody Herman Orchestra. He appears on four albums with Woody Herman.
General admission tickets are $25. YSU students with valid ID and youth (18 and under) are $10.00. To purchase tickets, visit www.ysu.tix.com. Tickets will be available at University Theatre Box Office 1 hour before the performance.
Parking is available in the M30 Wick Avenue parking deck for a nominal fee. For GPS directions to the Wick Deck, please use: 453 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio, 44502.