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NATALO PAELLA (1927-2001)
NataloPaella, a well-known trumpet player, was born and raised in Niagara Falls. When he was a young boy, he was taken to hear Duke Ellington’s band in Niagara Falls Ontario at a club called the Arena. That night he met trumpet player Cootie Williams and was invited to come up on the stage. After standing for four hours watching and listening, Natalo knew what he would be doing the rest of his life.

As a teenager growing up in the ‘North End’, he studied with local teachers playing at the Ontario House and other local jazz clubs. After graduating from Niagara Falls High School, he attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and then the U.S. Navy School of Music, where he also played in a Navy band while serving in the Korean War. In 1956, he was a scholarship student in the Berkshire-Tanglewood Orchestra and then went on to graduate from Louisiana State University with Bachelor of Music degree. Subsequently he earned a Master of Music from the New England Conversatory of Music in 1958.

Natalo performed with the Boston Pops and Esplanade Orchestra for fifteen years, beginning in 1957, under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. He played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Pierre Monteaux, Charles Munch, Leonard Bernstein and Erich Leinsdorf. He also performed part-time with the New England Opera Company under the direction of Boris Goldovsky. He was principal trumpet at the Boston Colonial Theater for 26 years rehearsing and performing pre- Broadway musicals to include ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘Porgy and Bess’, ‘Man of La Mancha’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Annie’, ‘Promises, Promises’, and ‘Flora the Red Menace’. He accompanied an array of singers, including Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, Mitzi Gaynor, Rich Little, Rosemary Clooney, Cab Calloway, Helen O'Connell, Eddie Arnold, Jim Nabors, Sergio Franchi, Jack Jones, Shirley Jones, and he was also one of the cast members of the Lawrence Welk Show under the direction of Myron Floren. Natalo began teaching music in 1965 at the University of Lowell.

He taught studio trumpet, brass pedagogy, brass ensembles and studio jazz orchestra. He also developed and taught a performance seminar that dealt with performance preparation and its stress-related problems. He became professor emeritus in 1994. Natalo described himself to be a freelance trumpeter who enjoyed playing numerous genres, from classical and jazz to Broadway hits. In addition to his professional commitments as a trumpeter and teacher, in 1981, he founded the Paella Brass, a quintet which he directed and performed with his friends and wife, Jeanne, who was a French horn player. The quintet played at weddings, graduations and other celebrations.

He also played in the New England Big Band, a jazz band that performed concerts at various jazz festivals throughout the New England area. Although he achieved his biggest successes in classical music and musical shows, Natalo was always fond of his early years in Niagara Falls and its jazz clubs. He returned in October 1990 to perform a concert at Niagara University with his cousin (by marriage), Mildred Paella who was one of Western New York’s finest pianists. It is a great pleasure to honor Natalo Paella and his legacy in the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

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