Carmino Carl Ravosa
January 29, 1930
|Died||July 19, 2015 (aged 85)|
|Alma mater||Hartt School of Music|
Carmino Ravosa (January 29, 1930 – July 19, 2015) was an American composer and lyricist, singer, pianist, as well as a producer, director, and musical historian. Ravosa, who wrote music for children for decades, was one of the most popular songwriters for schools in America. He was an author and editor for Silver Burdett & Ginn's music textbook series "World of Music" and "The Music Connection", and the composer of the theme musicals in the two series. Ravosa also was the songwriter for the CBS children's shows Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room, the PBS program Shining Time Station, and the PBS publication Sesame Street Magazine.
Much of Ravosa's life was spent as an educator. He was the music teacher at Fox Meadow Elementary School in Scarsdale, New York, where his original shows and songs were used in class plays. Subsequently, he was the Composer-in-Residence and Faculty Fellow at the Dalton School, a private school in New York City, and then Composer-in-Residence for the Edison Schools a nationwide charter school system. He was named The Hartt School Alumnus of the Year in 2009 and was honored in 2013 at the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society's annual dinner.
Early life and family
Carmino Ravosa was born on January 29, 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the oldest of three children, and the son of Anello and Elmira Ravosa. His father was an Italian immigrant who owned and operated a milk delivery business and had a strong love of jazz and big band music of the 1930s and 1940s, and was the greatest influence on Carmino's music career. Ravosa and his brother Anthony worked in their father's business for several years. Anthony later went on to become a lawyer and businessman in Springfield. After serving in the United States Army as a corporal in the U.S. Army Band, Ravosa attended The Hartt School of Music and graduated in 1957. He then earned a master's degree in Music Education from The Hartt School in 1965. At the school, he met his wife Claire Colby, who was a voice major there. The two were married for almost 60 years. Ravosa later earned a master's degree and an advanced degree from Columbia University.
With his wife Claire, Ravosa had three children, Carine, Gina, and Dean, and eight grandchildren. Ravosa and his family were prominent residents of the village of Briarcliff Manor in New York. Ravosa wrote numerous shows about the village, and was a musical director, lyricist, and keyboardist for the Briarcliff Manor Centennial Variety Show, a series of performances in 2002 that celebrated the village's centennial. Ravosa was also involved with preservation of Juniper Ledge, the Briarcliff Manor home of Carrie Chapman Catt. He added the home to the New York Register and the National Register of Historic Places. On July 6, 2013, Ravosa was honored by the Briarcliff Manor School District, which uses his music curriculum, during Todd Elementary School's annual fifth-grade concert.
Ravosa was a music teacher at the Fox Meadow School in Scarsdale, New York from 1965 to 1978. From 1978 to 1999, he served as Composer-in-Residence and Faculty Fellow at the Dalton School, a private school in New York City, where he was described as a "Dalton legend". From 1999 to 2003, he was the Composer-in-Residence for the Edison Project. He also was a songwriter for the CBS children's shows Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room, the PBS program Shining Time Station, and the PBS publication Sesame Street Magazine. Ravosa was a trustee of the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society and a member of the American Friends of Lafayette.
Ravosa's songs are performed worldwide, including in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where nearly 170 children performed Ravosa's musical "Friends". Ravosa is also known for his songs published by Silver Burdett & Ginn and numerous songs with themes related to United States history.
Ravosa performed his music at many historic landmarks, including:
Ravosa performed his songs "Shh! We're Writing the Constitution" and "From George to George" at the inaugural ceremony of President George H.W. Bush and again at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on President's day in honor of President George W. Bush. Ravosa also gave a solo command performance of his musical "Ghosts in the White House" for President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter on October 30, 1978 at the White House Halloween party. About 600 White house staffers and their families attended.
His musical "Seneca Falls: A Documusical on the History of Women's Rights and Achievements", a work about the history of women's rights, was performed at the National Women's Hall of Fame. The show was also performed on October 28, 1976, at the Women's Hall of Fame's Second National Honors Ceremony at Carnegie Hall. Another musical that he composed, "Scarecrow" (based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Feathertop"), won four major awards at the International Light Opera Festival in Waterford, Ireland.
Ravosa's first published work was "Johnny Appleseed – A Musical Play for Children", which was published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and Associated Music Publishers, Inc. in 1958. Two of Ravosa's songs were included in HBO's 2011 Independence Day documentary, Citizen USA, directed by Emmy Award-winning film journalist Alexandra Pelosi. The documentary focuses on the stories of new citizens across every US state. The film, Ravosa's national television debut, included a clip of him singing and playing "It's a Whole Other Country, Texas Is" and others singing a segment of his song "Let's Hear it for America".
- Ravosa, Carmino C. (1975). Glorious morning : a documentary musical based on Sam Adams and John Hancock and the battle of Lexington and Concord, April, 1775. Rowayton, Connecticut: New Plays for Children. OCLC 36562802.
- Charles, Eleanor (December 14, 1997). "Westchester Guide". The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "Carmino Ravosa". The Hartt School, University of Hartford. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- Norris, Patricia (June 1, 2002). "Suess things are loose!". The Republican. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- Wolff, Margo. Margo Wolff Collection 1904–1990 (Web). p. 60. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- "A Passion For History Leads a Hartt Alumnus Down the Path to Historic Preservation". The Hartford Observer. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- "Carmino C. Ravosa (1930–2015)". The Journal News. July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Briarcliff Manor: The First 100 Years – The Centennial Variety Show. Village of Briarcliff Manor. 2002.
- "Local Composer Carmino Ravosa to be Honored at Todd Concert". Briarcliff Manor School District. June 5, 2013. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Hudson, Edward (May 10, 1981). "Westchester Journal". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- "Dalton Alumni Blast". The Dalton School. December 2010. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "Music To Their Ears N "Wild" Musical, Hot Meals Entertain at Senior Celebration at River Festival Concert". The Wichita Eagle. May 12, 1999. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- "Our History: a look back through four decades". Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
- "Nos activités de l'année 2009". Cercle d'Etude et d'Amitié France USA. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- Grimm, Becky (June 5, 2009). "Young authors light up the evening at VES". Kaiserslautern American. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "Carmino Ravosa". The New York Times. July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Lentz III, Harry M. (2016). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2015. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-7667-1. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- "Knapp's Tavern by Candlelight is Sunday". Greenwich Post. December 9, 2004. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- "Washington's Headquarters starts three-day celebration today". Times Herald. February 17, 2007. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "Alumni to be Honored at Commencement". UNotes Daily. May 1, 2009. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "The Daily Diary of President Jimmy Carter" (PDF). The Jimmy Carter Library. October 30, 1978. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 15, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Beals, Kathie (November 2, 1978). "Ravosa's 'Command' Concert". Ossining Citizen Register.
- "Halloween at the White House". The White House Historical Association. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Wolff, Margo. Margo Wolff Collection 1904–1990 (Web). p. 62. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Anderson, Susan Heller (April 9, 1984). "New York Day By Day; 'Seneca Falls,' Dalton-Style". The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "White Plains Troupe Gets 4 Festival Prizes". The New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
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