For three decades Stan Colella, his Trumpet and Orchestra have performed throughout New York State pleasing capacity crowds with their toe-tapping tunes. Stan’s fantastic musical career began in 1939 when he entered and won the Edwards Amateur hour, a radio broadcast/talent contest held at Edwards Department Store in downtown Syracuse. The 7-year-old kid performed Clyde McCoy’s “Sugar Blues” on the radio. Without an instrument, he mimicked McCoy’s trumpet by imitating the horns sound through his hands.
Shortly after this, Stan received his first trumpet. At age 12, Stan was holding down the second trumpet chair in Bob Romeo’s big band and sat in on various bands throughout the Syracuse area. One group in particular was his fellow “Sammy’s Hall of Famer” Jimmy Cavallo. After graduating from Syracuse University with his BA in music education, Stan started teaching in 1956 in the Westhill School District from which he retired in 1988.
The former conductor of the 98th Division Band of the United States Army Reserves, Stan started his own big band in 1971 and shortly after was named director of the Syracuse City Parks & Recreation All-Star Band, which featured high school musicians throughout the Syracuse City School District. When Stan was appointed music director of the New York State Fair in 1975, for the first time in the history of the New York State Fair there was an official State Fair Orchestra. During the Colella State Fair legacy, he performed with and backed up such artists as Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, and Jack Jones, to name a few. The Colella horn section has backed up The Temptations, The Four Tops and The Spinners in addition to performing their own show with a salute to the Big Band Era.
The Colella aggregation also backed up Bob Hope, Bobby Vinton, Liberace, Marvin Hamlish, and Lou Rawls. They performed many times at the Civic Center and the Landmark theatre with such artists as Joel Grey, Ben Vereen, Tony Randall and Tony Bennett. They were also the back up orchestra for “A salute to Jimmy VanHeusen.” Appearing throughout NY State, the Band’s repertoire consists of and accents big band selections of the 40’s & 50’s along with contemporary hits.
For thirty years, Stan and the Big Band entertained during the summer months at “Dancing Under The Stars” and since 1988, Stan conducted the Syracuse Parks and Recreation Pops Orchestra. In 1996, Stan founded “Horns A Plenty”, a fund raising organization to purchase musical instruments for young musicians. Stan was the Band Chairman for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from 1981 to 2001. He was involved in the Boys Town of Italy, Catholic Charities, Easter Seals, Festa Italiana, The Rescue Mission, Multiple Sclerosis and much more. Stan received numerous awards including the Image Maker Of The Year 1992-93, the Joseph J. Pietrafesa Award - Columbus Day 1994, the Alzheimer Memory Maker Award in 1997, The Syracuse Post Standard Achievement Award in 1999, the C.N.Y.R.P.S. Arts & Humanities Award in 1999, The Multiple Sclerosis “Crusaders for A Cure Award” in 2002, and certificates of appreciation from the Syracuse Police Department, The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, and the Best of Syracuse - Music.
In April of 2002, the Stage at The New York State Fair, on which Stan performed on for almost three decades was named and will forever be known as the “Stan Colella Stage.” Stan’s legacy carries on today under the direction of his son Len. The Stan Colella Orchestra continues to please capacity crowds entertaining at dinner dances, private parties, shows, concerts and weddings throughout NY.
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