Hug RinaldiDuring the past year, Chuck and Don have had the good fortune of having lunch with the Maestro of Marin County, Hugo Rinaldi on several occasions. Although, never acknowledged as an educational entrepreneur or edupreneur, Hugo fits our definitions for both. Don and Hugo worked together in the 1970s when Don was superintendent of the San Rafael City Schools in Marin County, California and Hugo was the Director of Music Education for the school district. In addition to his administrative responsibilities in the school district, Hugo organized numerous other musical activities for the youth of Marin County, including being the founder of the Marin Youth Orchestra and Orchestra Piccolo. He also started the Marin Opera Company. Not only was Hugo awarded one of the first scholarships by the Marin Music Chest in 1938, by Chuck's mother, Mrs. Anna Lavaroni, but many of his students have also been awarded Marin Music Chest Scholarships.

According to the program for the Marin Music Chest, of which Chuck is a member of the board, that honored Hugo Rinaldi on May 3, 2009, "Hugo brought the benefits of his performance as a professional violinist and conductor to his work with young people. His association with Leonard Bernstein on the opera "Candide" and "West Side Story"; working as assistant conductor with John Williams on "Star Wars"; as well as being assistant conductor for the San Francisco Civic Light Opera reinforced that level of excellence. Hugo served as a Professor of Music three summers at the prestigious Academy of Opera in Vienna, Austria adding additional luster to his career in the international arena." Hugo was also a professor of music for Dominican College in San Rafael, CA.

Chuck and Don acclaim Hugo Rinaldi the IAEE Educational Entrepreneur of 2009, for his long and successful career as a music educator and educational entrepreneur in music. The following are Don's remarks on May 3rd when the Marin Music Chest paid a tribute to Hugo Rinaldi:

"Hugo, you are beloved by your friends, former students, and citizens of San Rafael and Marin County for your charm and humanity as well as your remarkable artistry. You enjoy superstar status rarely afforded to a music educator and virtuoso.

I had the great pleasure of working with numerous talented and dedicated educators when I was superintendent of the San Rafael City Schools in the 1970s. I am especially proud to have had the opportunity to work with you because you are the most talented, dedicated and outstanding music educator with whom I have worked during my 40 plus years as an educator. On behalf of the thousands of youth you have assisted during your career, we thank you and honor you today for instilling the love of music and motivating many students in San Rafael and Marin County to aspire to greater accomplishments in music.

During the 1970s, the fiscal challenges confronting the San Rafael City Schools were horrendous due to declining enrollment and Proposition 13. The Board of Education had to make some very difficult decisions in cutting the budget. When I approached you about cutting the music budget, your response was, "Don't worry Don, we will continue to have an outstanding music program in San Rafael because the parents will help me make it so." Thanks to your leadership, the financial support from the San Rafael City Schools' Music Council, and PTAs, and the talented music educators you recruited, the music program continued to achieve the high and worthy goals you set forth.

Hugo, I am sure those in attendance here today, join me in thanking you for all you have done for the San Rafael City Schools and Marin County in directing, leading and promoting quality music education in numerous capacities during you long tenure. You are a Treasure to the San Rafael City Schools and Marin County, not only for your remarkable artistry, but also for the irrepressible joy in dedicating you life to music and the arts for our youth. Marin is truly blessed because of your numerous contributions.

We all wish you and your lovely wife, Faith, long and healthy lives. You have left a legacy that will be long remembered, and you are truly the MAESTRO OF MARIN."

The following are Quotes from Letters from former students and friends received for Hugo Rinaldi's Memory Book which Don presented to him at the Tribute to Hugo Rinaldi on May 3, 2009:

"Thank you for everything, Hugo, but most of all, for the opportunity you presented to me thirty-one years ago." - Bob Calonico, former music teacher, SRCS

"I fondly remember watching the incredible way you worked with students; getting their thinking in to the composers "head" as they learned and played the music." - Dr. John Donovan, former administrator, SRCS

"Personally, your encouragement and your trust in me - first as a violinist, then as a violist, and then as a student conductor - were precious gifts that I continue to carry with me." - Kurt Giambastiani, former student

"Hugo has generously, persistently, and intentionally shared of his great gift - with modesty, discernment, open-heartedness, and an understanding of the actual needs of a music community." - Scott Kluksdahl, former student

"Hugo's encouragement, his generosity and his compassion have stayed with me, as have the memory of these many experiences, and for this I will always be grateful." - Peter Kupfer, former student

"I personally am grateful for the experience, time and passion for music you shared with us as young teens." - Charisee Castagnoli, former student

"Thank you for believing in me. I am still so proud to have been associated with your music making in Marin County." - Marian Marsh, Teacher at San Domenico School

"Your enthusiasm and passion for music and music education are matchless and a true and continuing source of inspiration." - Joy Peterson, Hugo's former secretary

"Thank you is not sufficient, for my life is richer and fuller and constantly filled with music…and to you - I will forever be so very grateful." - Kathy Scott, former student

"Now, as I embrace my fifth decade, I remain most grateful for "the gift of music" which forever plays within my heartstrings as I often walk in the silence of war-torn soils/souls seeking to "plant the roots of peace…" - Heidi Thomas Kuhn, former student

"Thank you, thank you, thank you…and congratulations for your many years of dedication to music education, the performing arts in general and to the cultural enhancement of all the lives you have touched over the years." - Dr. Gary Walker, former student

"Hugo established a standard of excellence in music in the San Rafael City School District that is recognized throughout Marin County and elsewhere." - Sue Beittel, former SRCS Board Member