The friends, family and former students of the late Professor Rick Stone packed into Monroe Lecture Center on Friday, Feb. 10, to remember the beloved professor through a memorial concert.
Professor David Lalama hosted the event – which included performances by Hofstra music professors, students and alumni – and kept the mood light while sharing fond memories of his colleague and friend, who passed away in July 2016.
Although Stone was a jazz musician, the concert featured a variety of sounds, from the gentle rendition of “If Our Heart” performed by Professors Francesca Cassio and Blanche Abram, to the solo Renaissance lute performance by Professor Christopher Morrongiello.
“Rick had an appreciation for all types of music,” Lalama informed the audience.
The performers also played some of Stone’s own music, including “Ennazus” and “Key Lime Pie.”
“Just looking at all the performers that paid tribute to him shows you how loved he was by so many different people,” said senior music business major Ryan Maher, who played the guitar in “Django’s Tiger,” the opening number of the concert.
Stone’s influence on the crowd – both in music and in life – was made clear through every performance.
“Rick was the nicest guy I think I have ever met,” said Steven Baker, a Hofstra alumnus, before his performance of Stone’s “Blues Enough.”
Even students in non-music-related majors had kind words to share about Stone’s impact on their musical experiences.
“At first I only wanted to do rock guitar, but he showed me how jazz guitar is the foundation of many kinds of music,” said senior health science major Michael Anagnostopoulous. “He inspired me to do more recording. I was really fortunate to meet him.”
Lalama had the audience clapping along to the second to last number, Stone’s “Blue’s for Nobody.” Every performer, whether they were a soprano singer or a lute player, had a chance to be a part of this number, which was packed with the heart and soul of each musician.
The final number, Stone’s “In Loving Memory,” was played on the piano by Lalama, who states he had to fight for this last number, as many of the other musicians wished to perform this piece. This final number had a beautiful, warm melody that perfectly concluded the Rick Stone Memorial Concert.
“He had such an impact of everyone he played with and taught,” Maher said. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to perform in his memorial concert. [It] was truly a special way to honor him.”