Musician Extraordinaire - Modesto's Music Man
While it's mostly Modestans who know this name, Frank "Proof" Mancini was playing with the John Philip Sousa band in San Francisco at the Panama Pacific Exposition and eventually came to Modesto to play in the orchestra for the opening of the Strand Theatre in 1921. He decided that the Central Valley was very much like his native Italy, and he stayed. He was the award-winning band director at Modesto High School, helped found the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and the Stanislaus County Boys Band. He brought culture and music to Modesto, and left a legacy that continues today. When he died in 1964, Prof. Mancini was a beloved figure in his adopted hometown. In 1994, he was posthumously elected into the National Band Association's Hall of Fame located at Troy State University in Troy, Alabama. Papers and documents relating to his life and his career are on deposit at the University of Maryland in the American Bandmasters Association Research Center. To visit that site, click here. To download a PDF of a listing of Frank Mancini's papers, Download.
The Modesto Symphony Orchestra in a photograph taken sometime in the 1930s or 40s. Frank Mancini was the conductor, and he is seated in the center, slightly to the right. This was probably taken on the stage of the Strand Theatre.