Guitar Legend Honored at Studio Dedication Ceremony
On Tuesday, December 7, the Mary Pappert School of Music honored jazz guitar legend "Handyman" Joe Negri with the dedication of a guitar teaching studio. Now officially named the "Joe Negri Guitar Legends Studio," the room is packed with photos of Joe playing with many guitar luminaries and other memorabilia including "Joe Negri Day" proclamations from the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The evening, hosted by Thomas Kikta (Chair of Commercial Music, Media, and Jazz; Area Coordinator of Classical Guitar; Director of IEMMA) included performances by faculty member Eric Susoeff, Kikta himself, and the 2021 recipient of the Joe Negri Jazz Guitar Scholarship, Mila Shadel. Many of the attendees, including some who attended the event virtually, shared stories and well wishes to both Joe and his wife of more than 60 years, Joni.
"What a wonderful evening!" commented Kikta. "The guitar community came together to honor one of their great inspirations, Mr. Joe Negri, to share music, stories, and make memories to commemorate the dedication of the Joe Negri Guitar Legends Studio. It is heartwarming to know that current and future students will be taking lessons and practicing in a room infused with such an inspirational legacy."
Negri, now 95, founded the guitar program here at Duquesne in 1970. Known for his role as "Handyman" Negri on the children's television show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Joe has built a career steeped in service to the community, both through his music and his television roles. As evidenced by the numerous stories shared by his colleagues and students, Joe is truly a legend, and we consider ourselves to be very blessed to have had him among our faculty for so long.
Dean David Allen Wehr offered, "Any of us who have had the privilege of hearing Joe Negri play the guitar know that every time one of his fingers touches one of his strings, something very special happens. We are so pleased to be able to honor Joe for his many decades of dedicated and inspired service to the Mary Pappert School of Music and its students with this dedication of the Joe Negri Legends Jazz Guitar Studio."
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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