Alumnus Jerry Lucarelli ’72, Elizabeth Township, Pa., was recently honored by the city of Pittsburgh when his hometown named the musician to its Jazz Society’s Hall of Fame.
Originally from Carrick, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Lucarelli said he considers himself fortunate to be honored as a jazz pianist by the society.
“The competition in Pittsburgh is just phenomenal. I am grateful that I was selected,” said Lucarelli, who continues to play jazz for Pittsburgh audiences and recently retired from another musical endeavor as his church organist.
He’s been in love with music since he was a child. Known as the “Jazz Cowboy” because of his other interest in horses, Lucarelli is an interesting, talented guy.
He taught music for years in the Clairton and Keystone Oaks school districts where he enjoyed introducing students to jazz and providing musical instruction.
He began playing an instrument at age 4 when he learned the accordion. He studied classical piano during his youth and was about 7 or 8 years old when he composed his first song. After he became a pianist in the U.S. Army, he got into jazz.
It was after leaving the service that Lucarelli went to college.
“I thought West Liberty offered a great education. The music department was exceptional,” he said recently. “I know students that went to bigger schools but didn’t get as good an education as I did.”
Lucarelli returns to campus occasionally to say hello to professors and stay informed about the music program and its many offerings.
Lucarelli and his wife Sally are the parents of one adult son, Jerry Jr., who also lives in the Pittsburgh area.