Albuquerque Journal – April 9, 2002
Music Teacher Inspired Farmington
By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer
Angelo Turano inspired untold hundreds of students at Farmington High School during his 34 years of service.
Farmington honored Turano by naming the city’s new Piedra Vista High School performing arts center after him and a colleague. He also was named citizen of the year and was inducted into the Farmington High School Activities Hall of Fame.
Turano, 90, died March 25 in Albuquerque of leukemia.
A memorial Mass was celebrated March 27 at Gate of Heaven Mausoleum Chapel, with burial at the cemetery.
Turano loved music and he loved children, so it was only natural that he wanted to spend his life teaching music to children, said Ruth Turano, his wife for 65 years.
“Because he really loved his students – and they knew that – ” and because he was so dedicated to his profession, that was an inspiration to them,” she said.
The third of eight children of Italian immigrant parents, Turano graduated from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. He worked at several schools before coming to Farmington Public Schools in 1942. He was the only music teacher until 1952.
He developed various singing groups and bands in elementary, middle and high schools, teaching all the instruments and strings for band and orchestra. By 1950, he had a 60-piece concert and marching band, a 75-member student choir and a string ensemble.
“He was just a very kind, compassionate man,” his wife said. “He had lots of patience. You have to when you’re dealing with high school kids.”
Howard Chrisman joined Turano in 1952, helping to build Farmington High’s music department into one of the state’s best.
His choir never received less than a superior rating at festival competitions.
Turano was selected director in 1972 of the New Mexico School Choir, made up of students from throughout the state. Turano took a group of 75 on a tour of Germany in conjunction with a music festival.
The Farmington Chamber of Commerce named him citizen of the year in 1974.
When he retired in 1976, former students, current students, friends and family entertained and honored him at the Farmington Civic Center. A scholarship was established in his name to annually honor an outstanding choral student.
Memorial donations may be made to the San Juan College Foundation, Angelo Turano Scholarship Fund, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington, NM 87402.
Turano was inducted into the sports hall of fame in 1991 for his work with the school marching band.
And last August, Piedra Vista High’s auditorium was named in honor of Turano and Chrisman. Ruth Turano said her husband called the dedication “the climax” of his career.
Turano once said his philosophy was “to develop within the student a sense of spiritual security through which he feels free to love, respect, challenge and face reality without loss of faith.”
“As a teacher, it was my duty to set an example. We as teachers owe it to the student to teach him or her how to inspire himself rather than have someone else inspire him. We will not always be with our students.”
A daughter, Janice Ryan of Albuquerque, died in 2001.
Other survivors include five daughters, Judith Gregori of Philadelphia, Joan Scriver of Farmington, Jani Perkins of Carbondale, Ill., Jean Vondle of Albuquerque and Juli Turano of Denver.