Local businessman and musician, Michael Tarentino, died and passed into eternal rest on August 31, 2016, at his home in Somerville, New Jersey. He was 63 years old.
Michael was born on June 1, 1953, in Atella, a small town in the Potenza Province of Southern Italy. In 1958, at
age 5, he immigrated to the United States with his older sister, Maria. Upon arrival in the U.S., his parents, the late Connie and Helen Tarentino, also of Somerville, adopted him and his sister.
As a young man, Michael was raised with a strong love of music and appreciation for community outreach through his parents’ business, Connie’s Music Center, located in the heart of downtown Somerville’s business district. After graduating from Immaculate Conception School (’67) and Immaculata High School (’71), Michael pursued his love of music by studying at the prestigious Eastman School of Music at Rochester University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. While at Eastman, he was also noted for his high level of aptitude as a trumpet performance specialist, earning him the honor of sitting in Eastman’s exclusive Wind Ensemble and Chamber Ensembles.
After graduating from Eastman in 1975, Michael would go on teach music in the Hillsborough Public School District. He later left the district to manage the family music store and pursue his career as a professional musician while playing with his father’s stage band, The Connie Knight Orchestra. As a member of the Orchestra, Michael performed at some of the highest profile venues of the time, including regular appearances at the Governor’s Mansion in Princeton and at Foresgate Country Club, Monroe, where the Orchestra served as the house band for over ten years.
Michael was also engaged in his community, serving as a board member of Somerville’s District Management Corporation where he organized the weekly Connie Tarentino Summer Concert Series. He was also a guitar instructor for many years at the Bound Brook Community Adult Education School and a member of the American Federation of Musicians Local #204-373.
Michael was a parishioner of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, Somerville, where he served as a cantor. He was also a life-long member of Raritan Valley Country Club, Bridgewater, and a strong supporter of the Somerset Health Care Foundation at RWJ Somerset. He served as the official bugler for the Foundation’s Far Hills Race Meeting since 1979.
Michael is survived by his wife, Lillian; sister, Maria; son Matthew and daughter-in-law, Victoria; son, Mark; and two grandsons, Robert and Raymond. Holy Mass and Funeral Rites will be held at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Somerville, on Saturday, September 3, at 9:30am.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Somerset Health Care Foundation at RWJ Somerset are gratefully appreciated.