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Longtime music teacher at Watertown High School, Frank Sacci, dies at 84

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WATERTOWN — A prominent music presence in the north country, Frank J. Sacci, died early Tuesday morning at his home in Copenhagen. He was 84.

News of his death was relayed through a death notice from his family. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

Among Mr. Sacci’s credits were his 25 years as music director of Watertown High School. He retired in 1989. Under his direction, the high school’s concert band earned scores of awards at multiple levels.

He is also credited with forming the Frank Sacci Big Band about 50 years ago. The band specializes in classic swing from the Big Band era with songs by the likes of Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown, Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington.

Mr. Sacci and his group have performed in and around Watertown and the north country at gala events and performed at the summer Concerts on the Waterfront series in Sackets Harbor since its inception 30 years ago.

He also created the Jefferson Community College Wind Ensemble in 1990 and the JCC Orchestra in 1991. He retired as director of both in 2007.

Mr. Sacci was also well regarded as a judge and adviser with the New York State School Music Association.

Born in Albany, Mr. Sacci attended Fredonia State University College, graduating in 1957. He earned a master’s degree from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

His first teaching job was for Adams High School, beginning in 1957. He then spent three years at Clayton Central School, earning his master’s credits along the way.

A concert to fund a scholarship in his name was held at the end of May, drawing more than 100 band alumni, some of whom hadn’t played in decades. The first Frank Sacci Instrumental Music Scholarship will be given to a student at Watertown High School’s commencement ceremony June 28.

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