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Voices Fall-Winter 2005:
Click on the cover for the Table of Contents. Read “An Accordion Story: Following the Trail of Roxy and Nellie Caccamise” by Christine F. Zinni here.
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Volume 31

An Accordion Story: Following the Trail of Roxy and Nellie Caccamise by Christine F. Zinni

Image of accordion In 1997, I returned to the upstate region where I was born and began working on a series of video documentaries about Italian American traditions. In the process of interviewing people in my Southside neighborhood of Batavia, I was struck by the shared memories of music that carried over the streets. Following this echo to Roxy’s Music Store, I learned about an important dimension of regional history and the protean character of the rural musical experience.

Taking an actor-action-centered approach to life history narratives, I found this accordion story disclosed some of the many meanings of folk and fame in people’s everyday lives. The accordion story as I see it—with the help of the musicians who were involved—is about the ways in which history, culture(s), and music(s) are emergent phenomena, produced through dynamic interactions between individuals and communities.

Accordion: from the Italian, accordare, to be in tune.

Giant bellows and keyboards form an accordion at the entrance to Roxy’s Music Store in Batavia, New York. Roxy Caccamise is no longer around, but a steady stream of aspiring musicians, seasoned performers, and parents with their children stop in to chat with his daughter Rose about music. Adjacent to the piano section, a wall of laminated newspaper clippings, articles from trade journals like Accordion World, and sepia-tinted pictures testify to her family’s roots and their dense web of interpersonal connections.

Promotional photo of Roxy in 'peasant' dress circa 1935.
Promotional photo of Roxy in "peasant" dress, circa 1935. Courtesy of Rose Caccamise.

These images are a reminder of how music-making—or what ethnomusicologist Charles Keil calls musicking (“sounding, singing, dancing, celebrating; our ability to participate with each other in life”)—is a dynamic process where vital currents flow from one person to another to shape local events that intersect with larger cultural histories. Customers learn how a second-floor music studio on Jackson Street grew to become an accordion school on Main Street in less than five years; they find out that many of Nellie and Roxy’s students are still playing at local venues, that some have gone on to garner national awards and international renown.

Lining the upper portion of the store’s back wall, placed underneath stained glass windows salvaged from St. Joseph’s church, is an assortment of accordions that project a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Each instrument has a different history, but the majority share the common heritage of being manufactured by Italian American companies. Not all of the visitors tune into the fact the Caccamise family were agents for highly prized accordion brands like Excelsior, Soprani, Guilletti, and Italo-American, nor do they always register the names of Roxy and Nellie’s protégés: Charles Magnante, Pietro and Guido Diero, Pietro Frosini, Frank Graviana, Joseph Beviano, Dick Contini, Anthony Gallarini, Eugene Ettone, and Russ Messina. What comes across to any person, however, who spends time at Roxy’s is that there is a story there.

In their prodigious work on Italian immigration, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience, Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale suggest some of the ways music has been entwined with Italian identity. The authors maintain music was the art most closely associated with Italians in the first waves of Italian immigration to l’America in the late 1800s. Mangione’s allusions to a legacy of stage performers and musicians became a working hypothesis for my research and efforts to create a video documenting the significance of the accordion story to life in the rural upstate region.

In what ways could a material object, a piano accordion, hold a key to the socioeconomic and political history of Italian Americans in western New York State? Could a musical instrument be a marker for cultural identity, a means of crossing the tracks and bringing the margin to the center stage, and a medium of assimilation at one and the same time? In the story of how the piano accordion came to towns in the region, I found that answers to these questions were not separate from the parts people played in the creation of musical spaces, as the confluence of musicians, people, and circumstances and the vital current that flowed through them—music—were all intricately bound together.


One beginning to this story is in the town of LeRoy. Built up along Route 5, the well-worn old Indian trail ribbons out from the eastern door of the Oneida peoples near Syracuse to the western door of the Haudenosaunee near Fort Niagara. By the early part of the twentieth century the prosperous town was home to the Jell-O company, a canning factory, a cotton mill, and an airport. By the 1920s it harbored a sizable community of roughly a thousand people of Italian descent hailing from a variety of paese in the Messogiorno. Following other paesani from Valledormo, Sicily, Guiseppe Caccamise immigrated to the region at the turn of the century and opened a grocery store on LeRoy’s Pleasant Street. One of the few things Giuseppe brought with him on the voyage from Palermo was a prized button accordion made by the expert craftsmen of Castelfardido, Italy. Relatives and friends remember Giuseppe playing his twelve-bass button accordion at backyard gatherings and local social events and teaching his son Roxy how to play a number of traditional folk and popular songs. But a player’s range was limited with the button accordion, and Roxy yearned to play the versatile new piano accordion that had chord buttons for all major and minor keys on the left, and three or more chromatic octaves on the right.

Unable to find many teachers of the piano accordion in the rural upstate area, after studying classical piano technique with a local graduate of the Eastman School of Music Roxy began traveling to the flourishing metropolis of Rochester to meet with the famous James “Jiggs” Carrol, also a graduate of Eastman and the leader of group called the Harmonicats. Jiggs, who was later to become the celebrated arranger for the Mitch Miller orchestra, convinced Roxy to play popular as well as classical and folk music. Roxy was sold on becoming a professional musician, but as he stated in an interview with the LeRoy paper some years later, “My own father thought accordion lessons were such a luxury it was a joke. I dug ditches and worked on farms to get money for lessons. Then when I was in my late teens, I was finally able to purchase an accordion. And used to spend seven or eight hours a day practicing.”

Ethnomusicologist Jim Kimball tells us that by 1910, “across New York State the piano had become the principal accompanying instrument for dance orchestras,” but by the thirties “things had changed considerably.” According to Kimball, “Everything seemed faster, microphones had arrived . . . violins were still around, as were pianos (though not so reliably maintained). . . . Important new instruments to western New York dance bands included piano accordion, guitar, and tenor banjo.” These facts were perhaps nowhere better evidenced than in the musical experience of Roger Kelly and his extended family, whose four generations have entertained regional audiences for more than a century. A dramatic illustration of the cross-fertilization of diverse musics in the region, Roger’s Irish heritage and musical history became entwined with that of Italians on the day Roxy came by to visit his brother Woody. Although Roger’s forte was the popular piano and guitar, his brother Woody had been playing the button accordion since he was ten years old. Eager to learn the piano accordion, Woody purchased one from Roxy. As Roger put it:
Roxy’s the guy started accordions around here. He gave Woody lessons, he started everybody. Roxy had an old Chevy coupe with a rumble seat and he put accordions in there…. He’d bring ’em over and he get you started, and he’d sell ’em an “accor-ding” and give ’em a lesson. He’d get ’em started, then he’d send another guy around. Roxy had the candle burning on both ends. He was always going here in the early ’30s,’33, ’34…. He had everybody playin’ accordion.
Roger also describes the accordions as “magical things” with their inland mother-of-pearl and ivory, their deep crimson, cobalt blue, and jet black casings glistening in the sunlight. From the picture Roger paints, it seems clear that Roxy was selling more than material objects; he was also selling dreams.

The accordion schol with Nellie, Roxy, and Jimmy Cirrillo, 1938
The accordion school with Nellie, Roxy, and Jimmy Cirrillo, 1938. Courtesy of Rose Caccamise.

Down the road a piece in the town of Perry, Roxy did a good job of convincing the parents of the young Joe Gambino and his neighbor, Sandy Consiglio, that the piano accordion was the thing of the future: an instrument that could launch their sons’ fame and fortune. Joe’s parents might have been persuaded, but their son wasn’t. “They had to look for me under the bridge … on Saturday. That was lesson day, see?” says Joe, recalling his aversion to the discipline of practicing.

In nearby Mount Morris, the musical Passamonte brothers remembered the sound and look of the piano accordion capturing peoples’ imagination. Nick Passamonte recollects a musician named Dutch Longini being the first in the area to buy a piano accordion. “Then,” says Nick, “everyone had one. My brother Jim … we would get together at [brother] Gus’s barber shop—Gus cutting hair and others playing and challenging one other.” Cousin Joe Gambino and his neighbor Sandy Consiglio would come over to play at family gatherings. Joe La Barbera, who lived up the road on Stanley Street, also worked for Roxy for a spell selling accordions. He started up a successful dance band with his wife and sons.


This brings us to yet another place where we could begin this story: the point where a female accordionist enters the picture. Spending the early part of the Depression years on the road selling accordions and accordion lessons, Roxy was trying out an accordion in a well-known Wurlitzer store in Niagara Falls, when a Polish musician came up to him. Impressed by Roxy’s playing, the musician informed him that there was a girl in town who was also a great accordionist. Would he like to meet her? Roxy’s reply in effect sealed his fate, as the Polish musician organized a jam session the following day and invited the girl.

Nellie Barsocchi was only fifteen years old when she met Roxy, but she had already established a reputation in Niagara County as a wunderkind on the accordion. Known as a boom town and regional entertainment hotspot, Niagara Falls was the site of numerous manufacturing companies drawing cheap electric power from the Schoellkopf power station; the majesty of the falls also attracted scores of tourists who could take the New York Central Railroad to the heart of the town’s lively club scene. One of the biggest musical draws was the Carborundum Band. Broadcasting its performances coastto- coast on CBS radio every Saturday from the famed ballroom of Hotel Niagara, the highlight of their popular radio program came at the tail end with the sound of the regional landscape—“rushing water from the falls”—wired to the station from a live feed.

The director of the band, Dr. Edward D’Anna, had become a national celebrity and, like numerous other musicians featured in the area’s establishments, was of Italian descent. One of the first persons to recognize and believe in Nellie’s talent, he became a patron whose “good word” managed to land various gigs for Nellie and her father, not only at the famous Ray-Ott supper club but also at the Lewiston country club, where father and daughter played table-to-table, entertaining patrons with popular Italian songs, along with American standards like “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and Irish tunes such as “My Wild Irish Rose” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” Whenever D’Anna showed up at the clubs where Nellie was performing, he would request traditional and popular Italian songs like “O Sole Mio,” “Tesora Mio,” and his favorite: the melancholic strains of “The Spring Serenade,” or “Veridana Serendana” as it is known in Italian.

Roxy greeting Lionel Hampton
Roxy greeting Lionel Hampton at the Jackson Street store in Batavia, New York, 1946. Courtesy of Rose Caccamise.

Nellie’s father, like Roxy’s, was wild about accordion music. Emigrating from Tuscany in 1910 at the age of sixteen, once he had secured a good-paying job as a welder at Niagara Falls’s Rolling Works, Andreas Barsocchi ordered a 120-bass accordion from Castelfardido. When Nellie was eight years old, he sent to Italy for a sparkling 48-bass Ranco Antonio accordion, overlaid with shiny pink mother-of-pearl. After saving dimes toward the purchase of the instrument, Nellie recollected how “it arrived in three parts to avoid stiffer custom duties” and how adept her father was in assembling it. Once she had progressed to playing “difficult” music, he converted the instrument to an eighty-base by giving it a row of “dominant seventh.” Starting out by entering numerous amateur contests like the one at Amedola Theatre, where she and her father received $5.00 as first prize, by her early teens Nellie exhibited all the makings for a successful stage career. She was enamored of the repertoire of famous Italian accordion artists from New York City, like the composer and arranger Pietro Diero, whom she had seen on stage in Toronto’s Eaton Hall when she was twelve years old. When Roxy met Nellie that fateful day back in 1933, she was not only able to play Diero’s most difficult compositions, but also had mastered some of the techniques of Pietro Frosini, an artist who developed what later became known as the “bellows shake.” She was regularly commissioned to play before bigwigs like the Rands, owners of Marine Trust Bank, and others members of Buffalo’s high society circuit. Along with Italian operettas such as “Il Trovatore,” her repertoire included well-known American marches, overtures, and folk and popular music. Newspaper accounts regularly praised her virtuosity and her physical beauty. The Buffalo News reported on her performance of the Trieste Overture at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, describing her as a “vision dressed in a pink evening gown.”


Located on the outer perimeter of the Genesee river valley, only fifty-some miles down the New York Central tracks from Niagara Falls and Buffalo and a short hop to LeRoy, the big city of Rochester, and points east, Batavia was the exchange point of three railroad lines, with a population of nearly twenty thousand. Close to rich mucklands and boasting the “black gold” of agricultural prosperity, farm work, machine shops, and a shirt factory, the rural outpost furnished plenty of jobs for a Polish and Italian immigrant population in the thousands.

Nellie remembered how she and Roxy started out with two accordions in the 1930s: the Superior that her father had traded in for her well-worn Ranco Antonio, and Roxy’s Italo-American. Renting studio rooms in Mount Morris and Geneseo where they gave lessons on weekends, the couple put most of their energies into a claim they staked on West Main Street in Batavia. Eventually handing over the responsibility of teaching students in the outlying districts to one of their star students, Jimmy Cassiano, Roxy and Nellie focused on growing their Batavia studio-cum-music store. It quickly became a social center and gathering place for regional musicians and music lovers, prompting Roxy years later to tease fellow LeRoyans that he had to “go West” to find success.

Characterizing their beginning as “barter days” with customers trading coal, vinegar, tomatoes, and other useful goods in exchange for lessons, the couple became successful dealers of prestigious lines of accordions, including Excelsior, Soprani, Guilleti, Superior, Italo-American, and Hohner. Roxy and Nellie marketed themselves as teachers, concert accordionists, and specialists in classical and folk music. In 1939 they seized another moment and ventured to start an accordion school, which quickly attracted local and national acclaim. As ambassadors of the piano accordion and Italian style, the couple taught their students a variety of Italian folk tunes, tarantellas, mazurkas, and polkas, as well as classical songs, waltzes, sonatas, overtures and Tin Pan Alley hits. Their instruction afforded the sons and daughters of Italian immigrants the opportunity to perform at venues ranging from Polish weddings to country-and-western gigs to concert halls. The students’ mastery of different musical languages on the accordion catapulted them into a larger public sphere, where they could demonstrate the versatility of instrument and artist alike.

Coinciding with the heyday of the national accordion craze, Roxy and Nellie’s rise to musical stardom and the success of their accordion school not only marked the transition of Italian music from backyards to concert stages and orchestra halls, but also a shift in the representation of working class Italian Americans. By the late 1940s the electronic media of radio and TV, along with the outreach of the recording and movie industries, made fame seem within the reach of many a son and daughter of Italian immigrants living in the countryside. With talent, corragio (courage), and a little luck, they could become stars and move beyond the confines of their ethnic neighborhoods. Building on the legacy of Italian opera singers, popular vocalists, and stage performers from earlier decades, the modern media served to etch even more deeply the associations between music and Italian identity—often bringing the musicians and music from the margins to center stage.
Roxy playing a prized Gola accordion in a Hohner advertisement
Roxy playing a prized Gola accordion in a Hohner advertisement that ran in several magazines in the mid-1960s. Courtesy of Rose Caccamise.

The currency of accordion music was confirmed in the kinds of venues where Roxy and Nellie were asked to perform. Booked into gigs at political events and rallies like the famous Old Barn restaurant and Richmond Hotel in Batavia, playing for Eleanor Roosevelt and for the governor of New York, Herbert Lehman, the couple loomed large in the cultural landscape of the region. Stimulated by a sense of place, in his “spare time” Roxy composed songs like the “Jackson Street Polka,” “LeRoy March,” and “Friendship Polka,” which were performed in local nightspots, at regional civic events, and on the national stage by friends, students, and compatriots. In Accordion World magazine, jazz marimba great Lionel Hampton once heralded Roxy’s “Jackson Street Polka” as “the best polka I ever heard.”

In the mid-1940s the Caccamises broadcast a weekly program from Batavia’s WBTA radio. Following the example of popular Italian radio shows airing from Rochester and Niagara Falls, their program featured requests and dedications but also went one step further. Opening with original compositions by Roxy like “My Friendship Polka” or duets with Nellie and female accordionists and protégées like Dolores Penepento, the program showcased the proficiency of young accordion students performing in a range of musical styles, from Italian folk and popular to Tin Pan Alley, marches, country-and-western, and classical. Audiences became well-versed in numerous musical traditions, as the strains of “Speranze Perdute” flowed into the “Blue Danube Waltz.”

Over the years, Roxy and Nellie had learned a lot about the relation of production to promotion. Their work organizing regional seminars on accordion music and involvement in the school and stage provided a service to students and community, but it also illustrated a fact underscored in trade publications like Accordion World: accordions were a “Big Business.” The Caccamises were part of a tight network and intricately involved in promoting their musical subculture. Accordian masters like Charles Magnante, as well as manufacturers like Guilleti, would regularly send the couple greeting cards and mention them by name in articles and on radio programs, and when the Caccamises started organizing local media events, a multitude of accordion artists and jazz stars eagerly came and performed.

At friend and local entrepreneur Charles Mancuso’s theater in Batavia, national celebrities shared the stage with the Caccamises’s forty-member accordion band. Serving to promulgate the idea that Italian identity was intricately tied to music, while also demonstrating the way performers had achieved mastery of several musical languages, these media events blurred boundaries of class and race. Playing to packed houses and to fans traveling long distances from neighboring cities, the retinue of accordion stars at Roxy and Nellie’s staged events shifted lines between town and country, putting the township of Batavia in a cultural league with the surrounding cities of Buffalo and Rochester. By the sixties, the couple could take pride in their national acclaim and their success at passing on their knowledge to a host of musical prodigies. Providing their students with a way of entertaining others while showcasing a diversity of style(s), accordion music offered not only a participatory space for interactions inside local Italian and Polish communities, but also recognition for musicians of ethnic descent. In this regard, accordian music supplied an entrée into the worlds “across the tracks,” regular travel, and a wealth of experiences.

Rooted in their civic ties and local connections, the accordion story the Caccamises helped bring to towns in the region continued to resound both locally and globally. On the local level, the couple’s reputation as ambassadors of accordion music and Italian style served to influence local politics and support their school, while in turn, their work with students increased their national prestige. Encouraged to enter regional and national competitions, a number of Roxy and Nellie’s students, including Joe Robusto, Marilyn Strogen, and John Torcello, won national and international championships. Over the course of his lifetime, Joe Robusto garnered over one hundred first-place trophies and medals and was New York State accordion champion five times, Accordion Olympic National Reserve champion four times, and national champion one time. Marilyn Strogen also won the New York State championship and became a well-known accordion teacher in the Midwest and Hawaii. After landing a job touring with Luciano Pavarotti, John Torcello went on to work in Hollywood pictures, becoming a famous recording artist and entrepreneur. On the global stage, a high point in the Caccamises’s own personal story came in 1971 when Roxy was asked to represent the America Accordion Association as a judge for the world accordion championship in Bruges, Belgium, an event in which John Torcello competed.

Roxy and Nellie’s school and advocacy of accordion music influenced not only the future and fate of individual students, but also the character and way of being of the community at large. Local musicians and residents attest to how the Caccamises and their students put Batavia on the map as an “accordion town.” By the fifties and sixties the most popular bars and restaurants sported dance halls and clubs, and according to Joe and Virginia Gambino, Roxy and Nellie’s “progeny” were playing ’em all. Joe might have run when he first saw Roxy coming, but by the 1950s, he was out there—way on top of the bridge. Alluding to the impact on his everyday life of his beloved Chordovox accordion and other instruments purchased from Roxy, Joe claimed, “Without the accordion I wouldn’t have existed…. There was not one place I didn’t play in … hotels, clubs, you name it. I played in ’em all.”

The relevance of accordion music in the lives of second-generation Italian Americans living in the Genesee Valley was illustrated in the testimony of yet another student of Roxy’s, Sandy Consiglio. A butcher by trade, Sandy Consiglio spent his days cutting meat, but long stretches of his nights were devoted to practicing the accordion. Sandy owns every record of the Italian American star, Charles Magnante; in developing his own style, he took inspiration from the celebrity’s riffs and arpeggios. As Sandy recounts it, the greatest thrill of his life came one day in 1957 when Roxy asked him “to do him a favor and pick Magnante up at the airport.” Returning to Roxy’s house, Sandy asked Magnante to play Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Awed by the maestro’s finger work, he asked, “Mr. Magnante, how do you DO it?” Magnante volleyed back the question, “How many hours do you work?” “Eight,” Sandy answered. “Well, you work eight, and I practice eight,” said Magnante, simultaneously apologizing for the luxury and explaining the demands of stardom.

In music as in life, things change. By the mid-sixties, rock and roll and cool jazz were “in,” and Roxy found himself selling more guitars than accordions. Third-generation descendents of the regional musicians went on to become renowned celebrities in larger, and sometimes even foreign, cities. Tom Monte, Gus Passamonte’s son, croons out Sinatra tunes to big crowds in Rochester and the sons of Sam La Barbera—Pat, Joe, and John—have become international jazz artists, composers, and arrangers.

Although Roxy and Nellie are no longer around, strains of young people practicing their music still sound through the store, now run by daughter Rose. Across a wide swath of counties, our local accordion stars continue to draw on their folk traditions to create a “usable past,” inspire younger protégés, and move audiences of all ages to dance—demonstrating the continued power of live music individually performed, actively participatory, and communally celebrated.

In Memoriam

Nellie Caccamise passed away on September 15, 2005. Rose is carrying on the family legacy by arranging musical and cultural events in downtown Batavia. A virtual tour of the Caccamise store is available at http:// www.roxys.com.


Christine F. Zinni is an adjunct lecturer at the State University of New York at Buffalo; she also served as project manager of technology-in-education grants from the university to develop new media for teaching oral history. For several years, she has worked in tandem with folklorists Karen Park Canning and Daniel Ward to document the traditions of Italian Americans in the upstate region. This article grew out of a video documentary, which became part of the 2000 Local Legacies project at the Library of Congress. An earlier version was printed in 2004 by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council in the program booklet “Passing It On: Continuing Traditions in Our Communities.”

As ambassadors of the piano accordion and Italian style, the couple taught their students a variety of Italian folk tunes, tarantellas, mazurkas, and polkas, as well as classical songs, waltzes, sonatas, overtures and Tin Pan Alley hits. Their instruction afforded the sons and daughters of Italian immigrants the opportunity to perform at venues ranging from Polish weddings to country-and-western gigs to concert halls.


Accordion World and Accordion and Guitar World magazines from 1950s and ’60s.

Belluscio, Lynne. March 1986. The LeRoy March. Le Roy News.

Canning, Karen Park, and Jim Kimball. 1994. The Italian Troubadours and Italian Music of the Genesee Valley. In Order and Creativity: Dynamic Expression of a Shared Way of Life, 6–9. Ed. Dan Ward. Batavia, New York: Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

Chairetakis, Anna, and Alan Lomax. 1986. Chesta e la Voci ca Canuscite. New York: Global Village.

Elder, Sarah. 1995. Collaborative Filmmaking: An Open Space for Making Meaning, a Moral Ground for Ethnographic Film. Visual Anthropology Review 11.2:94–101.

Gates, Irene, and Katherine Gill.1992. The Legacy of Italian Americans in Genesee County. Interlacken, New York: Heart of Lakes Publishing.

Gunkel, Ann Hetzel. 2004. Polka as a Counterhegemonic Ethnic Practice. Popular Music and Society 27.4:407–27.

Keil, Charles, and Stephen Feld. 1994. Music Grooves: Essays and Dialogues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kimball, Jim. 1978. Accordions and Concertina: A Historical Perspective. In Folk Arts: Our Living Traditions, 6–16. Batavia, New York: Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

Mangione, Jerry, and Ben Morreale. 1992. La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience. New York: Harper-Collins.

Roxy’s Music Store web site: www.roxys.com.

Tedlock, Dennis and Bruce Mannheim. 1995. Introduction. In The Dialogic Emergence of Culture, 1–32. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.

Vecoli, Rudoph.1988. Italian American Ethnicity: Twilight or Dawn? In The Italian American Immigrant Experience, 131–56. Ed. John Potestio and Antonio Pucci. Thunder Bay, Ontario: Canadian Historical Association.

Ward, Daniel.1992. Praisin’, Pickin’, and Prancin’. Batavia, New York: Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.

Yasso, Marilyn. 1987. History of Retsof, New York. Lyons, New York: Wilprint.

Taped Interviews

Caccamise, Nellie and Rose. December 1997 and March 1998. Interviews by Christine Zinni.

Consigilio, Sandy. April 1998. Interview by Christine Zinni.

Gambino, Joe and Virginia. December 1998. Interview by Christine Zinni.

Kelly, Roger. December 1997 and January, February, and March 1998. Interviews by Christine Zinni.

Mastrolio, Al. April 1998. Interview by Christine Zinni.

Passamonte, Nick and Frank. November 1997. Interview by Christine Zinni and Karen Park Canning.

Robusto, Joe. September 1995. Interview by Christine Zinni.

Yasso, Marilyn. March 1998. Interview by Christine Zinni.

This article appeared in Voices Vol. 31, Fall-Winter 2005. Voices is the membership magazine of the New York Folklore Society. To become a subscriber, join the New York Folklore Society today.

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