Frank Marocco was born in Illinois and grew up in the town of Waukegan, a suburb of Chicago. When he was seven years old, his parents enrolled him in a six-week trial program on the accordion.
His first instructor, George Stefani, was a source of inspiration to him. Marocco studied with him for nine years. His training was in the classics but his teacher encouraged him to explore other areas: he played the piano and the clarinet, he studied music theory, harmony, conducting, and he was a member of his high school band.
The next year, he studied with the legendary Andy Rizzo, a master teacher who has influenced many of this country’s accordion artists.
At age 17, Marocco took first place in a national music contest, performing his winning solo with the Chicago Pops Orchestra for a huge crowd at Chicago’s Soldier’s Field.
This might have encouraged him to see a full-time career in music. He formed a trio which went on tour in several Midwestern states. During his travels, he met his future wife, Anne, in South Bend, Indiana. Together they decided to head west to make their home in the Los Angeles area.
Marocco organized a new group which toured the hotel and club circuit of Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Palm Springs. But Hollywood was beckoning. Being close to the movie and the TV studios offered opportunities never available in the Midwest. He was launched on an unbelievable career – the list of his credits is endless.
Highlights: Traveling with Bob Hope visiting the servicemen in many countries; being featured on the Les brown Band, including six Love Boat cruises. More recently, he has been very busy with studio work: movie soundtracks, TV movies, TV series , records and advertising jingles. Along the way, he has managed to find time to compose and arrange both jazz and classical music.
Frank and Anne Marocco have three daughters, Cynthia, Lisa and Venetia. Cynthia pursued a music career. She studied the flute and at age 13, had the distinction of being the youngest player in the American Youth Symphony, a group of high school and college musicians directed by Mehli Mehta. Lisa, attracted to dance, became a professional pair skater and toured for several seasons with the Ice Capades. Venetia was a physical Therapy instructor and is now a school teacher. The three Marocco daughters are married. Frank and Anne have eight grandchildren in all.
Marocco is soft-spoken. His manner is unassuming. But he becomes almost fervent when he expresses his personal philosophy about being a musician. He says: “Although I’ve made a comfortable living, my primary goal has never been to make a lot of money. It has been to be the best I could possibly be. This takes integrity, hard work, and dedication.
“You must have respect for what you do.”
Written by Peggy Milne