Salvatore Romita, founding member of the Stereo Stories band, died on Wednesday evening, 17 November, aged 95.

Salvatore, an accordion player since he was a teenager, was in the inaugural Stereo Stories show, at the Williamstown Literary Festival in 2014.

He played one of his favourite songs, Lili Marlene, as his daughter Lucia Nardo narrated a loving family story about Salvatore’s devotion to to his late wife and to music.

Salvatore immediately became a darling of the Williamstown Literary Festival and of our shows. Shortly after the 2014 gig he and Lucia were on Radio National, presenting the Lili Marlene story.

“Dad passed away peacefully listening to his favourite music and surrounded by pictures of Mum,” said Lucia.

“Dad’s involvement with Stereo Stories gave him great joy. Just a few weeks before he died he was telling a health practitioner about the concerts at the Williamstown Town Hall. He was very proud of his part in them. It gave him many happy memories. I’ll be forever grateful to Stereo Stories for giving him that opportunity.”

And we at Stereo Stories will be forever grateful for Salvatore’s involvement, not just in the shows in Williamstown but also Newport, Footscray, Sunshine, Geelong and Glen Eira.

Salvatore graced the stage with sartorial elegance,  a quiet dignity, and the distinctive style of playing his beloved Paolo Soprano piano accordion.

“He was an absolute champion,” said musician Nils Cusack, “and it was always a pleasure performing with him.”

“He was such a lovely part of the show,” recalled writer Rijn Collins.

“Such an incredibly sad loss,” said writer Zoë Krupka, who, like Rijn and Nils, was also part of the inaugural performance in 2014. “It’s hard to imagine the shows without him. He was a lovely man and our main sex appeal onstage as well!”

“The end of an era,” said Andy Griffiths. “My very first point of contact with Stereo Stories was Salvatore playing his piano accordion in the town hall all those years ago. He charmed the audience with hardly saying a word.”

Stereo Stories was but a fraction of Salvatore’s long, generous and kind life.

 

Centre Stage with Salvatore

 Lili Marlene story

Italian translation of Lili Marlene story

Radio National recording

Editor: Vin Maskell Assistant editor: Louise Maskell Web legend: James Demetrie, of DISKMANdotNET