Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 597 Fund

Est. 2006 as a designated fund by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 597.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Fund
Contributed photo.

This fund was established by the Board of the VFW Post 597 and will support the band program of Ansonia High School.

From 1937-1941 a young student stood tall with saxophone in hand next to his fellow Derby High School band members in a brand new uniform provided by an unknown Valley benefactor. He never forgot the pride he felt when he put the uniform on for the first time, or when wearing it during performances at football games or in Memorial day parades. A few years later that same young man was off to honorably serve his country during World War II, and the saxophone was stored away for safe keeping.

Now, more than 60 years later, Veteran of Foreign Wars Senior Vice-Commander of Ansonia Post 597, Peter Pagliaro of derby, has joined with brother-in-law John Boland of Ansonia, former Ansonia School Board Chair and Adjutant of Post 597, and its 100 members to establish a designated Fund for the Ansonia High School Band to be administered by the Valley Community Foundation. The saxophone-playing high school student, who became a Veteran of Foreign War wanted to "keep a little bit of music playing in the Valley."

"Most of our members either live in or are from Ansonia originally," said Mr. Pagliaro.

"The Fund was created with proceeds from the sale earlier this year of a home owned by Post 597. The decision to support the Ansonia High School Band was unanimous. Our members kept asking each other 'What has happened to music in the Valley towns? What can we do to bring it back?' This was one way we could offer on-going support to a worthwhile cause."

"We are truly grateful to VFW Post 597 for its generosity," said Maria Tangredi, Director of Ansonia High School's Music department. According to Tangredi, approximately 25 students are enrolled annually in the band program. The band represents the school and the community at events such as the Memorial day parade, the holiday tree lighting ceremony at Ansonia Town Hall, all home and away football games as well as middle school events," she said. "These Funds will help us keep playing for years to come."

"No one ever thinks about the band—they're not like athletic programs where people are always giving money. They are truly a forgotten group as far as donations are concerned," said Mr. Pagliaro. "I'll always remember how great it was for someone to give money so we could get new uniforms when I was in the band. Grants from our Fund will be used to defray the costs of uniforms, maintain equipment, and rent instruments."

The saxophone still resides safely in the closet of his Derby home. But thanks to Peter Pagliaro, as well as John Boland, and the Ansonia Veterans of Post 597, shiny new instruments and uniforms will be a staple for the Ansonia High School Band.

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Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 597 Fund