Retirement Years

In April 1966, Leonard Falcone submitted his request for retirement. His request was granted and on July 1, 1967, Falcone retired from the university exactly 40 years after his arrival on July 1, 1927. During the course of his tenure, Falcone's original single 65-piece Military Band developed into four units: the 175-piece Marching Band, the 115-piece Concert Band, the 100-piece Activity Band, and the Spartan Brass.

Retirement from the university did not end Falcone's role in music. Throughout his career, he had been involved with organizations and in events outside of MSU, and as professor emeritus, he continued to accept invitations to be a guest conductor, soloist, adviser, or adjudicator at innumerable concerts, festivals, and contests across the country. He also continued to teach courses for MSU's music department until the early 1970s. In 1971, Falcone conducted and toured internationally with the Blue Lake Fine Arts International Exchange Program. In 1976, the music camp dedicated its new Band Pavilion in his honor.

Notably, Falcone was a prominent baritone trombone player, one of few in the country, and was lauded for bringing the previously obscure instrument into the public eye. He made numerous solo appearances across the country beginning in 1929, and even made three recordings of baritone solos with Joseph Evans, an MSU pianist. Falcone also collaborated with the First Division Band Course company with the publication of The Leonard V. Falcone Baritone Solo Series and The Leonard V. Falcone Trombone Solo Series.

Falcone was also a published writer. In 1932, he wrote "How to Choose a Solo for the Baritone" for the Educational Music Journal and published nine more articles on bands and band instruments that appeared in the School Musician, Instrumentalist, and the Music Educators Journal. He also transcribed and arranged music for bands, particularly the works of Italian composers. Falcone was strongly affiliated with various other professional organizations such as the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Kappa Kappa Psi, the American Bandmasters Association, the College Band Directors National Association, and the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.

In recognition of these endeavors, Falcone was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1978, marking 50 years of involvement with MSU. Although this award usually is reserved for figures not affiliated with the university, it was argued that Falcone's tireless duties outside MSU and as professor emeritus should easily entitle him to consideration.

In June of 1985, at the age of 86, Falcone arranged to tour his native province in Italy with the Falcone Alumni Band, a group which had been recently formed by some of his former students. That May, however, just before embarking on the trip, Leonard Falcone died in his East Lansing home. The tour continued in his honor.


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