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John Casagrande

Thank you John for your friendship and passion for music education. We will miss you.

Dave Knox


John E. Casagrande, 77, of Gainesville, VA passed away Monday, July 8, 2019 at Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington, VA.

John was born in Pen Argyl, PA on January 30, 1942, son of the late John and Peterine (Dotta) Casagrande.  He was the loving husband of Jo Marie (Buckley) Casagrande. They celebrated their 55th wedding Anniversary in June.

John was Professor of Music Education at George Mason University, and was previously Director of Bands at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, Mount Vernon (VA) High School, East Stroudsburg (PA) and in the Wissahickon (PA) schools.  He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Ithaca College, NY, where he was graduate assistant to the legendary Walter Beeler.  He was a 1959 graduate of Pen Argyl High School in Pen Argyl, PA.

Bands under Mr. Casagrande’s direction performed at three National Concert Band Festivals in Chicago and Indianapolis, the national convention of the Music Educators National Conference,  two conventions of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, the Mid-East Instrumental Music Conference, three conventions of the Virginia Music Educators Association, the annual convention of the Southern District of the College Band Directors National Association, two Orange Bowl parades, two Cherry Blossom Parades and eight National Football League games.  Special performances were also made for former Governor and United States Senator Charles Robb of Virginia, former Governor George Allen of Virginia, former Vice-President George H. Bush and the King and Queen of Spain.

Traveling with several honor groups, Mr. Casagrande conducted throughout England, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland.

In 1998, Mr. Casagrande was elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.  Other honors included election to the American School Band Directors Association, multiple “Citations of Excellence” from the National Band Association, the Sudler Flag of Honor, the “Mac Award” from First Chair of America, five awards for “Professional Excellence” from the Fairfax County School Board, W.T. Woodson High School “Teacher of the Year” and finalist for Fairfax County “Teacher of the Year”.   He was cited by US House of Representatives, the Virginia House of Delegates, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Board of Education for his professional accomplishments.

Mr. Casagrande’s professional affiliations included:  Fairfax County Band Directors’ Association (Past President), Music Educators National Conference (National Conference Selection Committee), National Band Association (Executive Director, Director of Corporate Development, Virginia State Chairman and a three-term member of the National Executive Board), Jazz Education Network, Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (District Chairman and Marching Band Committee), College Band Directors National Association, John Philip Sousa Foundation Laureate and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.

He maintained an active schedule as a guest conductor and adjudicator throughout the United States and Canada and served as a guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities in the East and Midwest.  He was also published in the PMEA “Notes”, VMEA “Notes”, the National Band Association “NBA Journal” and the Washington Post.  He was a contributor to “The Music Director’s Cookbook – Recipes for A Successful Program”, published by Meredith Music Publications.

He was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, VA.

In addition to his wife Jo, John is survived by a son, Scott Casagrande, husband of Janice of Arlington Heights, IL; a daughter, Tina DuBois, wife of John of Apex, NC; 4 grandchildren: Mary and Julia Casagrande, Molly and Jack DuBois, and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by sister Dolores Brescancine and brother Raymond Casagrande.