Chronicle Exclusive: Future of legendary Concert Series is uncertain

By on April 10, 2007

The Sonny Costanzo Concert Series has been a part of the Quinnipiac community for decades. However, it almost got cut recently from Quinnipiac’s programs due to a lack of suitable space on campus to accommodate its large audiences.

Sam Costanzo, a professor of music at Quinnipiac, and his late brother, Sonny, began the jazz series in 1968. The series ended in 1980, but was revived in 1988 when Sonny became Quinnipiac’s first ever artist-in-residence, before he died in 1993.

Since Sonny’s death, the series and the Sonny Costanzo Jazz Orchestra continues to honor the late Sonny Costanzo. Despite the fact that Sonny’s brother has been a part of the Quinnipiac community for almost 40 years now, the series has had too much success to accommodate all its fans in Buckman Theatre, and it was nearly cut for next year.

“I was very hurt by it [almost being cut],” Costanzo said.

Originally, the administration considered cutting the series altogether because there was nowhere besides Buckman Theatre where the concert could be held. Too many people were calling and complaining that they could not get tickets, according to Costanzo. Since the cafeteria was going to be renovated next school year and Alumni Hall would be the temporary dining hall, the university decided there was no other option but to cancel the series completely.

However, now that the cafeteria construction is postponed until the following school year, the administration has offered to hold the series in Alumni.

“The Sonny Costanzo Concerts have been a wonderful addition to the cultural programming at Quinnipiac for years and we are all grateful to Sam Costanzo for his dedication in putting together such outstanding performances,” said Kathleen McCourt, senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. “Now that Alumni Hall is available next year we are looking at scheduling them there and thus being able to accommodate a larger audience.”

The fact that the series was almost cancelled caused more people than just Costanzo to be upset. According to Costanzo, people were no longer calling to complain they couldn’t get tickets; they were calling to complain that the series was going to end.

Andrew Tranquilli, manager of the Quinnipiac bookstore, has been attending the concerts for years and offered his assistance in cutting down the phone calls.

“The QU bookstore would be pleased to sell tickets to help promote the concert series and as a service to the community,” Tranquilli said.

The Concert Series is currently comprised of five concerts a year held in Buckman. If they are held in Alumni next year, according to Costanzo, they will be more costly, and it is possible that only two or three concerts will be held a year. In addition, the concerts might be a little longer than the hour to an hour-and-a-half they currently are. However, these are all just ideas; details will not be confirmed until tomorrow. Whether or not the concert will be held at all is up to Costanzo.

“I will have the final decision,” Costanzo said.

Even if the series is held next year, it’s uncertain what will happen to it the following year when the cafeteria is scheduled to be under construction.


About Michelle Collins