DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Mark Morganelli took his first shot at music in the fourth grade when he chose to play the violin at school. Lucky for Morganelli, and the rest of Westchester County, he decided he hated the violin and switched to trumpet.
Since then, Morganelli, who also plays flugelhorn, has taken the greater New York area by storm and has become the go-to guy for jazz music in the area.
“Jazz is the highest level of performance on a musical instrument,” Morganelli said. “I put it right up there with the highest classical music.”
After moving to Dobbs Ferry almost 20 years ago, Morganelli said, he created the Jazz at the Music Hall series in Tarrytown, and the Dobbs Ferry Summer Concert Series, which is in its 13th year this summer.
“We’ve become the largest presenter of jazz and free concerts in Westchester County,” Morganelli said.
The Hudson River and its natural beauty are what first drew Morganelli to the area, he said. Having lived in both the fast-paced New York City area and the more serene Rivertowns area, Morganelli said he finds musical inspiration in both settings.
Morganelli first started sharing his love of music with the community back in 1979, he said, when he opened his Jazz Forum loft at 50 Cooper Square in New York. He said he then started Jazz Forum Arts, a nonprofit arts presenting organization of which he is the executive director, and began producing the Riverside Park Arts Festival in 1985.
Morganelli said his commitment to the Westchester community is based on the same goal as when he founded Jazz Forum Arts – to bring music to the people.
“I feel it's important to continue that mission to bring people to live music and get them to come to live concerts,” Morganelli said. “Jazz has a real, rich cultural heritage in this country, and it’s great to share it in a community setting like at our free summer concert.”