Solid Brass is the story of Leonard Falcone, whose journey to America from Italy through Ellis Island at age 16, led to one of the most unlikely and inspirational stories in the history of the American Band Movement. Recognized in his lifetime as the world’s greatest euphonium virtuoso, Falcone was Director of Bands at Michigan State University for 40 years, and through his leadership, discipline and musicianship, helped to establish a national reputation for the MSU Department of Music and Spartan Marching Band. Following his retirement as Director of Bands in 1966, he served the university for an additional 17 years as Professor of Low Brass.
Drawing from a myriad of sources, Rita Comstock’s insightful biography chronicles Falcone’s remarkable life, including his early years growing up in culturally rich Roseto Valfortore, Italy, his success as a silent movie theater musician, the music department challenges during the Depression and war years, the two Rose Bowl trips via private rail car courtesy of Oldsmobile, performing with the Michigan State Band for four sitting presidents, and his special relationship with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, where he would spend his final summers conducting and working with young students.
Through it all, Leonard Falcone’s greatest legacy was the example he set as a man of honesty and integrity, who valued his family, his adopted country, and the importance of striving for excellence.