Andrew "Coach" Marchese, age 98, legendary trumpet player and band conductor, passed away peacefully at home with his sweetheart of nearly 74 years, Mary, by his side. Visitation Friday, November 26, 3:00- 9:00 pm, Leonard Memorial Home, 565 Duane, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137. Funeral Mass, Saturday, November 27th, 9:30 a.m. St Petronille Catholic Church, 420 Glenwood Ave. Glen Ellyn IL 60137. Interment, St. Michael's Cemetery, Wheaton IL.
Andy Marchese was born in Pensacola, Fla., to a father who was a conductor. At age 8, Marchese's musical career was launched when his father gave him an old trumpet. Though Marchese never had a formal lesson, he practiced incessantly with his father's guidance.
After a year and a half at Louisiana State University, World War II broke out and Marchese and friends decided to enlist. He became a sergeant in the Army and played in the Army Air Forces band.
After three years in the service, Marchese moved to Texas, where a well-known musician named Jack Teagarden was looking for someone to play first trumpet in his band. Marchese got the job.
In the years that followed, Marchese saw much of the country through a bus window, playing in a different venue each night. After Teagarden's band dissolved in Hollywood, Marchese was invited to join another well-known musical group, the Frankie Masters Orchestra. Marchese still shares stories about playing trumpet alongside Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ann-Margaret, and Liberace to name a few, at some of the nation's hottest nightclubs. Benet band alum Stephen Breinig recalled one of his favorite “Coach” stories, which was a conversation between Andy Marchese and Louis Armstrong:
Armstrong: "I'm having chop problems; can you help?”
Marchese: "Easy, just take a week off the horn."
Armstrong: "I can't, I got shows to do."
Marchese: "Don't play, just sing until your chops come back."
(One month later) A one-word note from Satchmo to your father: "Thanks!"
Marchese met his wife, Mary, during a Chicago performance. She was a Glen Ellyn girl who sang in the Holly Sisters group. The couple continued performing, but as they began their family, she encouraged her husband to go back to school. They returned to the Chicago area, settling in Downers Grove.
Marchese completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in music education at DePaul University, playing trumpet all the while. He was regularly hired to play at the Palmer House and Chez Paree, premier venues in the 1940s and '50s. The gigs allowed him to play alongside Red Skelton, Tony Bennett, and the Williams Brothers, and many others. In addition to these gigs, he worked part-time at Hinsdale Central High School as a part-time assistant band instructor.
Marchese was having so much fun that when Father Thomas Havlik, the principal of St. Procopius Academy (a boarding school for young men in Lisle) called looking for a band instructor, Marchese was caught off guard. He felt he didn't need another job. But after a visit to the school and meeting with students, Marchese decided it was time to put his education to use.
Within a short time, Marchese took the band from nonexistent to one with new uniforms, regular concerts, and trophies for marching. When the school went co-ed in the mid-1960s, marching band participation grew.
Through the years, Marchese shared his love of music with students, writing the school's alma mater and fight song, marching alongside the band at countless west suburban parades. The Benet band was always a crowd favorite, known for their complicated corner turns and impossibly quick marching, typically winning first place even in larger cities such as Evanston where they competed against schools twice their size. The lively concerts always included a humorous skit or surprise. Stage decorations for these concerts over the years were created by Mary Marchese on her home sewing machine. Every four years, the band's performance of the 1812 Overture involved the firing of a real cannon in the high school gym. When the high school pep band perfumed for the Variety Show or the basketball games, it was hard to tell that these were teenagers playing, especially when Marchese joined in with his legendary trumpet playing.
In the beginning, Marchese continued to play three nights a week at downtown clubs. But after a few years, he dedicated most of his time to teaching at the high school as well as the feeder Catholic elementary schools in the area including St Joesph in Downers Grove, Notre Dame in Clarendon Hills, Joan of Arc in Lisle, Holy Trinity in Westmont, and St Peter and Paul in Naperville. On the weekends his band was in high demand for area weddings, parties, and corporate events, and even playing the dance for the Chicago Musicians Union. One day during the week Doc Severinsen, bandleader and trumpet player from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” announced that there was a humble high school teacher in the Midwest by the name of Andy Marchese who he considered to be the greatest trumpet player in the United States, which caused the phone in the Marchese house to ring off the hook that night.
Since Marchese's retirement, Benet has built a new band room, replacing the fourth-floor space Marchese hiked up to eight times a day. But signs of Marchese's influence are everywhere, from the fight song still sung at every school function, to the music his band, the Andy Marchese Orchestra has played at Benet proms for 50 years straight.
He retired in 1995, at which time at his last parade at Benet, Alumni traveled from all around the world to march in the Naperville Memorial Parade to say goodbye to "Coach" as he is affectionately known. This event was televised on WGN TV and covered by reporter Harry Porterfield.
In retirement, Andy continued to be very busy with gigs from the yearly Naperville Marine Corp Ball to the Benet proms.
At 96 years old, life and memories had slowed quite a bit. One day on a drive past Benet, Marchese wistfully told his daughter how much he wished he could simply walk through the halls once again. His daughter contacted Benet's principal who was delighted to arrange a special Andy Marchese day.
On the appointed day, his children took him "grocery shopping" but made a detour to Benet. As they pulled up to the front they asked if he would like to go in. The principal was waving from the front door, Andy jumped out of the car, and walking with his cane, moved faster than his family has seen in many years. He was greeted by many retired colleagues, some of who had traveled from Wisconsin to share this moment. The Benet Chorale sang the Alma Mater to him and he conducted the symphonic band in playing the Alma Mater as well. To those who knew Marchese as a director, it was pure magic to see how all of the nuances of conducting came back to him as if he had never stopped. There were many tears of joy in the audience.
Andy lived out his remaining years in the comfort of his own home. He enjoyed yearly trips to a rented cabin in Michigan, lifting weights at the Wheaton Sports Center, walks around the neighborhood where he was known to stop and say hello to all of the neighbors, and frequently come in for coffee. He had a large private student roster from local schools in Glen Ellyn that became a huge focus of his retirement and was still giving trumpet lessons this year to his grandchildren until his vision got too bad
He enjoyed it most when his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would come to visit and loved nothing more than when someone would sit and talk to him and put one of his CDs on. In his Big Band days, he had written many songs, mostly about love and romance, and also enjoyed playing them on the piano for anyone who would visit.
Andy left this world loved by many. He was preceded to Heaven by his parents, Frank and Placida Marchese, his brother John (Mattie), and sister Nellie, his niece Rose (Craig) McCoy, of Pensacola Florida.
He is survived by his wife of almost 74 years, Mary (nee Maurer);
his children Lynne (Tony) Adduci, grandchildren Joe (Katie) Adduci great-grandchildren, Ellie and Max; grandchild John (Molly) Adduci, great-grandchildren Patrick, May, Jane and Colleen; granddaughter Anne (Dan) Mayer, great-grandchildren Clare, Gina, Lydia, Lucy, Paul, Danny, Cecelia, John, and Clement; grandson Jim (Helen) Adduci and great-grandchildren Anthony, Maria, and Andy; grandson Mike (Kathleen) Adduci and great-grandchildren Luke and Jacob; grandsons Tony, Andy, and granddaughters Angela, Grace, Mary, Amy, Belle, Teresa, Georgie, and Francine Adduci;
his son Frank (Jeanette) Marchese and grandchildren Nathan (Sarah-Eva) Marchese and great-grandchildren Nautica, Millie, and Delphine; grandson Nick Marchese, and grandaughters Nellie (Dave) Stoneburner and Nini Marchese.
His daughter Julie (Pete) Schlueter, grandson Chris (Karin) Schlueter and great-grandchildren Sophia, Charlie, and Olivia; grandson Kurt (Judy) Schlueter, great-grandchildren Juliana and Dean; grandson Scott (Aimee) Schlueter and great-grandson Oliver;
His son Andy Jr (Heidi) Marchese, grandson Andrew III (Megan) Marchese and great-grandchildren Evelyn and Vivian; grandson Anthony (Deanna) Marchese and great-granddaughters Cecilia and Loretta; grandson Robert (Laura) Marchese and great-grandchildren Lucy and Josephine; granddaughter Monica (Luther) Cunningham and great-grandchildren Jack and Blaise;
His daughter Maryanne (Tom) Minser; grandson Tom (Heather) Minser, grandaughter Julie Minser (Andy) Koenen, and John Andrew Minser;
His son, Jack (Patti) Marchese, granddaughter Jenny (Brett) Hughes, great-grandchildren Lily, Sadie, and Rosie; grandson Jack Jr. (Aimee) Marchese, and grandaughter Julie (Pat) Leclair and great-granddaughter Avery;
His daughter Rosemary Orbegoso and his grandchildren MaryJo (Geoff) Beck, Carrie (Chris) Wadington, great-grandaughter Caitlin; Paul (Andriana) Orbegoso, and Carmie Orbegoso.
His son Paul (Sue) Marchese and great-grandchildren William, Joseph, and Maria Marchese.
Donations to the Saint Petronille Music program are greatly appreciated. Please go to https://www.stpetschurch.org/ and follow links to online giving>donations>liturgy/music