One of Albion’s grandest voices records a CD at age 79

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Joe Sacco puts out Christmas album to benefit parish

File photos by Tom Rivers – Joe Sacco sings the National Anthem during opening day ceremonies for the Little League program in Albion in May 2014. Sacco has two grandsons, Nicholas and Christopher Sacco, who played for the Sandstone Park team.

ALBION – He has sung at hundreds of weddings and funerals, and performed in jazz bands since he was a kid. Joe Sacco has used his powerful tenor voice to sing the National Anthem before Little League and professional baseball games, and many community events.

The life-long Albion resident earned a vocal performance degree at the Eastman School of Music in 1956 after 12 years of taking lessons at the school.

“Music has been very good for me,” Sacco said at his home on Ingersoll Street this afternoon. “I’m very lucky and fortunate I can still do this.”

Sacco, a former Albion mayor, decided to make the recording at age 79. In August he sang seven Christmas and religious songs for his debut CD, “A Christmas Gift For You.”

“People have asked me, ‘Joe, when are you going to make a CD?'” he said. “I figure if I don’t do it, I’ll lose it.”

The CD goes on sale tomorrow (Nov. 7) at Dance Reflections and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Most of the proceeds from the CD will be given to the Holy Family Parish.

Joe Sacco is pictured on Dec. 25, 2013, singing Christmas carols from the choir loft at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. He has made that a holiday traidtion for more than 20 years. Harriette Greaser is shown playing the organ.

Sacco’s granddaughter Heather Hapeman owns Dance Reflections and the CD will be available Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. He also will sell it before Christmas in the lobby of St. Joseph’s on Saturdays after 5 p.m. Mass, and on Sundays after the 8 and 10:30 a.m. Masses.

Sacco has 500 of the CDs made. Frank Zicari of Albion did the recording, and Harriette Greaser, organist at St. Joseph’s, accompanied Sacco while he sang “Alleluia For Christmas Day,” “Mary’s Boy Child,” “Ave Maria,” “Gesu Bambino,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” “O Holy Night,” and “The Birthday Of A King.”

Sacco didn’t pursued music as a career, although it has been a passion. He worked 10 years as an Albion police officer, and then 10 years as transportation director for Albion Central School. When the district decided to contract out transportation services, Sacco was out of a job until he was hired by the Genesee County ARC. He worked there 22 years as director of transportation until finally retiring last year at age 78.

He played saxophone and sang in the house bands at the former Apple Grove Inn in Medina for 15 years, and the Moose Club for 10 years.

Sacco is shown singing “Birthday of the King” when he was the featured soloist during a Christmas Mass at the church on Dec. 25, 2013.

Sacco said his older brother Peter was a big influence in developing his musical skills. Peter Sacco earned a doctorate in music and taught in college in San Diego.
Joe tagged along at his brother’s band gigs, playing clarinet when he was 9 and 10 with his brother, who performed at many local taverns.

Joe has stayed in Albion and these days does most of his singing at church and for community events. He said he quit smoking 40 years ago and credited that decision for giving him longevity as a public performer.

He will be part of a Dec. 6 Eastman at Albion concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Albion. His CD will be for sale at the event, and Sacco will perform with other community members during the 3 p.m. concert.