Dominic Spera obituary (1932 – 2021) – Fort Wayne, IN


Dominique G. Spera

April 19, 1932 – October 23, 2021

FORT WAYNE, IN – Dominic G. Spera, 89, of Fort Wayne passed away on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at the Five Star Nursing Home in Fort Wayne, IN. He was born on April 19, 1932 in Kenosha, WI, son of Gustonzo and Anita (Nicolazo) Spera who predeceased him in death. He was a veteran of the United States Army who served in the Korean War.

Dominic Spera’s professional background includes prolific work as a composer-arranger and performances as a jazz artist. For 10 years, Mr. Spera performed professionally in New York City, playing Birdland at Carnegie Hall. He has worked in television and recording studios, including the Firestone TV Show, the Fred Waring TV Show, the City Center Ballet Orchestra, the Radio City Symphony, and the Roxy Theater Orchestra. He has also played lead trumpet in several Broadway shows including “How To Succeed In Business”, “Stop The World I Want To Get Off”, “The Roar Of The Grease Paint The Smell Of The Crowd” and “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever “. He has performed in the groups of Lional Hampton, Andy Kirk, Charlie Barnet, Billy Butterfield, Tito Puente, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Les and Larry Elgart. From 1966 to 1974, Mr. Spera played the first trumpet for Burt Bacharach, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Henry Mancini and a host of other entertainment luminaries. He also performed with Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas and Natalie Cole on his nationwide tour. He has performed with the Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis symphonies and has toured virtually every state in the United States as well as Australia, Canada, China, Italy and Japan.

From 1968 to 1976, Mr. Spera was associated with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, teaching jazz and trumpet, and his jazz program was cited by Down Beat magazine as “a national achievement” and he also received the “Jazz Educator of the Year” award. He has been extremely active as a clinician / director of summer jazz camps and university seminars, including the highly successful Shell Lake Jazz Camp at the University of Montreal. Wisconsin and the University of Alberta. In 1976, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for six compositions for Jazz Band. In June 1992, Mr. Spera was soloist, clinician and conductor at the Monaco Jazz Masters Jazz Festival in Monte Carlo.

Dominic Spera’s contributions to music have earned him international recognition in the jazz program area as well as in the performing arts and a place in the Who’s Who in America. He has taught privately and in school systems for over forty years and is an honorary graduate of Indiana University BME, BM and MME.

Mr. Spera has been very active as an international soloist, clinician, composer and author for YAMAHA Corp., Barnhouse Publishing Corp., Hal Leonard Publishing Corp., Studio P / R, Columbia Pictures Corp., Houston Publishing Co. and Really Good Music, LLC. A composer of over 100 jazz ensemble compositions and two Disney overtures, Mr. Spera was Professor Emeritus at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he taught jazz arrangement and composition. , jazz pedagogy, jazz ensemble and jazz history for 20 years from 1977 to 1997. In 2016, he was inducted into the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Patty Spera; as well as his two sons: Greg and Mark; their wives Jennifer and Maryann; and three grandchildren: Kristyn, Kandice, James; and a great-grandchild Lincoln.

There will be a private family ceremony on Sunday October 31, 2021 at 5:00 pm at the Midwest Funeral Home located at 1415 W. Coliseum Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46808. Mr. Spera will be buried at Valhalla Memory Gardens in Bloomington.

Condolence cards can be sent to 2601 Covington Commons Dr., Apt 63, Fort Wayne, IN 46804.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Dominic Spera Scholarship Fund at the Shell Lake Arts Center would be greatly appreciated. Checks can be sent to:

The Dominic Spera scholarship fund

Shell Lake Arts Center

802 First Street – CP 315

Shell Lake, WI 54871

Donations can also be sent electronically via: https://www.shelllakeartscenter.org (Click on the donation / payment tab at the top of the home page).

A Celebration of Life memorial service will take place in early 2022 in Bloomington, IN.

Allen Funeral Home and Crematory were responsible for the arrangements. Online condolences, photos and keepsakes can be shared with family and friends at www.allencares.com or on Facebook on the “Remember Dominic Spera” page.

Posted by Kenosha News on October 30, 2021.

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