Music for Paul plays on

Written by Administrator  | Created: Wednesday, 29 July 2009 16:18  |  Category: ROOT
Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 July 2009 16:18  | Wednesday, 29 July 2009 16:18

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Kostreva’s daughter played with Paul Fortini in the Duxbury High School orchestra. In 2007, after attending his daughter’s college dance recital, Kostreva mentioned his dream of starting a summer student orchestra to Fortini.

“He was the first kid I ever talked to and the first one to enthusiastically agree to do it,” Kostreva said.

Although Fortini couldn’t participate in the orchestra’s inaugural season in 2008 due to a summer job, his enthusiasm and encouragement pushed Kostreva, an Elm Street resident and classically trained string bass player, to go ahead with the project.

Paul Fortini never got a chance to play the trumpet in the orchestra he helped inspire. His life was cut short when he was struck by a car in New York City last September.

Over the winter, Kostreva approached Fortini’s parents, Ken and Kathy, and the Paul S. Fortini Foundation about dedicating this summer’s concert to Paul.

Ken Fortini said he is happy to have the fledgling foundation co-sponsor the concert.

“I think it’s really nice for the foundation to be identified with a summer organization of young people,” Fortini said. “In Paul’s short life, he touched a lot of people.”

Fortini and his wife started the foundation after their son’s death to carry on his memory by helping supplement the Duxbury High School music and drama departments.

“That really was what Paul loved the most,” he said.

In addition to the concert, the foundation will also sponsor an a cappella night in March. Fortini also hopes to make a major announcement about the foundation’s goals on Nov. 5, which will coincide with the high school performing a piece commissioned in his son’s memory.

The DHS orchestra recently drew the attention of up-an-coming film composer Rossano Galante by performing his music, which is intended for college level players. Galante was happy to accept a commission from the DHS music department to write a piece in memory of Paul Fortini –- a fellow trumpet player.

Wednesday’s concert will also include a special moment for Kathy Fortini. A violinist who hasn’t picked up the instrument in several years, she will be performing several songs with the orchestra, for a concert dedicated to her son’s memory.  

Kostreva said he envisioned the  Southeast Alumni Symphony Orchestra being a place where college-aged students –– be they conservatory students or hobbyists –– to practice their art over the summer.

He enlisted the help of a conductor, Robert Babb, who works with the Southeastern Philharmonic Orchestra in Weymouth.

“He was interested in helping these kids out,” Kostreva said of Babb. “The kids that are in conservatory come home for the summer and don’t have anywhere to play.”

The orchestra is composed of around 50 strings, brass, woodwind and percussion players. They are mostly college age, but Kostreva has enlisted the help of some older players where there were gaps in the sections. This year, the group has held seven rehearsals leading up to the Aug. 5 concert. Music will include Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and other works by Beethoven, Chaminade, Dvorak and Weber.

“The focus is totally on the kids,” he said.

Kostreva works in the finance field for a non-profit, but attended Boston University for music and plays in several orchestras. Music may not be his day job, but it’s a major part of his life.

“It really served me well,” he said. “It just made life a lot of fun.”

For the Fortinis, the orchestra -– which contains many of their son’s friends –– is another example of Paul’s memory living on through his love of music.

Ken Fortini said the Duxbury community was generous in its response to Paul’s death, which lead to the creation of the foundation.

“We were humbled and overwhelmed with the amount of donations we received in the months after Paul’s passing,” he said. “We have a solid group of supporters who are dedicated to doing what they can to preserve Paul’s memory.”

The foundation will be selling t-shirts at the concert. The design is simple –– based on a lyric from one of Paul’s favorite songs, “Hummingbird,” by Wilco.

“Remember to remember me,” the song goes, “standing still in your past, floating fast like a hummingbird.”

The image of the hummingbird also evokes a memory for Paul Fortini’s parents. During the hailstorm that hit Duxbury a few months ago, Kathy Fortini opened the garage door for the family dog, Coco –– and saw a hummingbird, floating in the front yard.

“It really made us feel like Paul was among us,” said Ken Fortini.