August 8, 2008

By Joan Aragone

The Country, the Bay Area and the world of music has suffered a loss with the death of Gino Pellegrini, much-loved player and renowned mandolin player and longtime director of the Aurora Mandolin Orchestra, February 24 at age 90.

Known to musicians for his lilting style and technical mastery, Gino was admired and loved, not only for his tremolo and his duo-style playing of the mandolin in which he played both melody and accompaniment at the same time but also for his sparking personality and great charm.

He celebrated his 90th birthday in September at a gala party at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center in Redwood City, organized by his wife, Jo, and attended by scores of family and friends.

Under his leadership, the Aurora Orchestra was revitalized in 1970 and became a leading force in preserving the traditional mandolin repertoire. The group appeared annually at the Greek festival in Belmont and frequently throughout the County. When Gino retired from directing the orchestra two years ago for heath reasons, Jo, who had served as business manager, took over the baton, even as she continued to care for Gino. We salute them both.

Following the funeral Mass at St. Chares' Church in San Carlos, Gino is being interred today at the Italian Contrary in Colma. All who knew him will miss him.