Syracuse Sounds of Music Association Honors DeSantis Family

The Syracuse Sounds of Music Association is holding its annual dinner Oct. 20 at Traditions at the Links in East Syracuse. The dinner is a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations as well as for Syracuse Symphoria, the successor to the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and Syracuse Symphony guild. Money raised throughout the year is distributed through a grant process each December.

This year’s dinner honors Mario and Maria DeSantis with the Ovation Award, an annual award presented for outstanding commitment to the Central New York music community.

Mario DeSantis is best known as the leader of the DeSantis Orchestra. The band bearing his surname has been performing for 70 years and is now led by his daughter Maria, who has brought a modern flair to the orchestra.

For more than 20 years, the elder DeSantis provided the soundtrack to the long-running Syracuse children’s television show Magic Toy Shop. He also performed at the Baseball Hall of Fame for Cal Ripken, Jr.’s induction in 2007.

Syracuse Sounds of Music Association’s “Music Matters” event supports not only Symphoria but college music study scholarships as well as a variety of music non-profits in Central New York.

In the past year, the organization has raised over $35,000 through its various fundraisers and the Encore Thrift Shop it runs in Fayetteville. The money raised was distributed among several area non-profit music organizations, including CNY Association of Music Teachers, Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Syracuse Opera and the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation. The group also provided two $1000 scholarships to high school seniors planning to study music in college.

Reservations for the dinner can be made until Oct. 10 through the Syracuse Sounds of Music Association website.

Forty years ago, Central New York children were glued to their televisions watching the Magic Toy Shop. Take a step back in time to hear some of DeSantis’ work on the long-running show below.