November 1, 2003 by

Vince Salerno


Categories: Military, Musicians

Vincent Frank Salerno, a jazz pianist who continued to perform even as prostate cancer weakened his bones, died on Oct. 10. He was 78.
Salerno started playing the piano when he was seven years old. A decade later, he was able to perform George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” a 52-page piece of music, from memory.
Salerno’s professional music career lasted for six decades. He took one three-year break during World War II to serve with the Army Air Forces. Before he was assigned to the infantry, Salerno played in the Air Force Marching Band and with the USO.
Once he returned to the states, Salerno toured with the Alvino Rey and Ted Fio Rito orchestras. He received a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in musical education from San Diego State College. He also spent 22 years with The Variations, the house band at the Hotel del Coronado.

2 Responses to Vince Salerno

  1. Bruce Norton

    Vince was not only a great musician, but a wonderful person as well. I first started working with him whem I was just a 17 year old kid, beginning my professional band work as a drummer. We continued to work together on and off for the next 30 years. Our last job together was Sunday’s in the Crown Room of the Hotel Del with the Variations. We worked that together for four years. I will always remember him with great fondness and respect!

  2. Karyn Tegtmeier (nee Evans)

    I met Vince Salerno only once when I was a small child in Mission Village, San Diego, California. But, I remembered his name. My father John Clinton Evans, Jr. was an Engineer at Convair General Dynamics. My father was involved with Advanced Propulsion systems. Later my father went on to become a Reseach Scientist at NASA Lewis Research Center in Ohio. I believe that Vince Salerno was the QA person who assisted him with plotting high frequencies (sound) in his work with electromagnetic propulsion systems. I assume that Vince Salerno must have had not only a terrific memory, but also an amazing ear. This must have been the special gift that brought him to Convair. He must have had an amazing gift!

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