'Vic Serenading' the Music of Victor Roggio

Doran Roggio

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Roggio Family Music

Had you known the Roggio family you would have been warmed by their hospitality and enthusiasm for life. The Roggio's numbered eight boys born to Sicilian-American immigrants. Most of the Roggio brothers went on to have large families of their own.

On birthdays and holidays this large Italian family would gather at Victor Roggio's home, a beautiful estate in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Picture the wedding scene at the opening of the first Godfather movie and you get a glimpse into what a family gathering of the Roggio's would look like, excluding, of course, the office where Don Corleone met with his mob associates.

If one were to reflect on those memorable family gatherings, one would recall the spirited music. At each event the men folk would find time to entertain the family and friends with guitars, mandolins, violin and piano. Musical harmony was always the backdrop at these occasions.

The Roggio Musicians

Each Roggio musician mastered at least one instrument. Several of the brothers were accomplished at two or more. Salvatore Roggio, father of the eight brothers, played the mandolin, which was considered to be the “family instrument" in Sicily, and the clarinet. Salvatore instilled his love and knowledge of music in his sons. The oldest brother, Joe was so accomplished at the violin that he won his position with the Philharmonic Orchestra with a toy violin.

Armando, the youngest of the eight boys, was a gifted guitarist who played entirely by ear. He would hear a song on the radio and play the entire melody on his guitar. In his early twenties he was part of a singing group called the ‘Four Chimes’ and their pop recording was played on Philadelphia's own bandstand radio in the early 50's. And the credits to the Roggio family music goes on and on.

Victor Roggio, one of the eight brothers left us a legacy of that beloved Sicilian music that is so much a part of the Roggio family heritage in his recording of ‘Vic Serenading’.

Like his brothers, the love of music and the talent to produce it came naturally to Vic. He was taught to play the mandolin at the age of five. Vic was such an avid student that he who would practice for many long hours at a time. It was not rare for Vic to be so absorbed in his practice that he would not even stop for meals.

At the age of twelve Victor, along with three of his older brothers, performed professionally on a Italian radio show orchestra in Philadelphia, continuing into his high school years. Also while in high school Vic on his own performed in a taproom.

Leaving A Music Career

Although music was his first love, the low salaries of musicians in the middle thirties forced Vic to leave behind a music career in order to make a living. His father had started a small Metal Products business to support the family. In his final years of high school, Vic became salesman to his father's business.

Vic served in the army from 1941 to 1945, taking his mandolin with him wherever he went. After his discharge from the army Vic went on to success in the business world. He grew his father's sheet metal business and became head of the company which afforded him a comfortable lifestyle. His lovely Villanova estate was always the place for the Roggio family gatherings.

While Vic was building up the business, he never abandoned his music. He studied harmony and arranging at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. In 1956 he cut his first record with a well known combo. He played concerts for the Munier Mandolin and Guitar Society.

The audience was limited for mandolin music by now. Rock and Roll had become the craze. So Vic decided to make his own album. Called ‘Vic Serenading', the album contains 13 numbers, 12 of them the kind of music an ardent young man might play to serenade his Sicilian sweetheart; the other is a concert piece, Sovenir de Cantane, selected because it was one of Vic's favorites when playing with the Munier Orchestra.

The Recording of ‘Vic Serenading'

To accomplish the recording of the album, Vic bought a $10,000 Apex recording system, the finest recording equipment of the day. Acting as his own recording engineer, Vic had to get each part's sound track to synchronize perfectly with the others, which took a great deal of playing.

'Vic Serenading’ is an awesome album. Listening to the music of Victor Roggio is like spending an evening in Italy. The music is delicate as a first kiss and sprightly as a folk dance. On the album, Vic plays all the instruments himself-two mandolins, two guitars, mandolo, mandocello and mandobass. This is the sound of seven instruments as if played by seventy talented fingers. ‘Vic Serenading’ is a collector's piece of rare artistic achievement, amazing because every note has been played by one man.

Throughout this collection Victor Roggio acquaints the listener with the authentic mandolin orchestra sound. The title of the album comes from an old romantic Italian custom in which the groom will serenade his beloved on the evening prior to their nuptials. Selections include Traditional Italian and Sicilian music and compositions of the Roggio Family.

Roggio Family Music Today

Today ‘Vic Serenading’ has been converted from the original vinyl LP and can be downloaded at Roggiofamilymusic.com whre you can listen to a sample of Vic's amazing musical talent.

From generation to generation the Roggio family continues to be involved in musical endeavors. From Rock to Classical you will find them still sharing their talents with family and friends. The Roggio brothers have passed on their love and talent for music to their offspring. Victor Roggio, one of the great Roggio musicians, has shared his amazing musical talent for us to enjoy in ‘Vic Serenading’.

Download the Music of Victor Roggio http://roggiofamilymusic.com and read the tribute to Armando Roggio http://women-sense.com/writing-services/poetry/


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