Edward Mangiaracina, of Glen Cove, was a friend and mentor...

Edward Mangiaracina, of Glen Cove, was a friend and mentor for decades to music students in the Locust Valley Central School District. Credit: Charles Mangiaracina

In the words of a former student, there was “Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Mr. Mann” — music teacher Edward Mangiaracina.

Trained at The Juilliard School in Manhattan, Mangiaracina was a pal and mentor to students in the Locust Valley Central School District and his private pupils, colleagues said. He improvised with students after school on wind instruments, including his favorite, the saxophone. He taught them respect and “old fashioned” manners, such as not wearing caps backwards.

“He was like the pied piper of music,” said Thomas Herrmann, the school district’s former director of music, now retired.

“Kids just loved him, followed him, would hang out with him after school in his office. He was always upbeat, always happy, always with the jokes.”

Mangiaracina, of Glen Cove, died Jan. 15 at age 77, almost 20 years after retiring from Locust Valley schools, where he was also the middle school band director.

He could hear a melody and play it without sheet music, according to those who knew him. His school bands regularly received top marks from the New York State School Music Association, which sets performance standards, they said.

“He was a very high-end musician,” said Jim Reardon, a friend and music teacher.

For decades, Mangiaracina made music his life six days a week, gone before his sons awoke and back home when they were in bed, his family said. After school, he gave in-home private lessons.

He also performed with bands at Italian feasts, weddings and other gigs, including playing in two classic motion pictures from the 1970s, "The Godfather Part II" and "Mean Streets," they said. He was also the principal clarinetist with the Northwinds Symphonic Band, based in Sea Cliff.

Mangiaracina's love affair with wind instruments began as a Brooklyn grade schooler, when he spotted a clarinet in a music store window during a family outing.

“Once he discovered it, that was it, practicing hours a day every day and just fixating … to the point that he was able to get into The Juilliard,” said his son, Charles Mangiaracina, of Plano, Texas.

At Juilliard, Edward Mangiaracina revealed his life’s preference by pursuing teaching over a performance degree, friends said.

Graduating during the Vietnam war, he served stateside as an Airman, playing in an Air Force band, they said. After he was discharged in 1975, his friends added, he taught music at Nassau County BOCES before going to Locust Valley schools in the early ’80s.

“He made me love it even more,” former student Kevin Bartolotto said of playing the saxophone since he was a 9-year-old taking lessons from Mangiaracina at home, then in Locust Valley schools.

The teacher also left his mark with life lessons, Bartolotto said. “If somebody needs help, help them,” he recalled Mangiaracina saying often. “If you’re late to something, you’re late.”

At home, Mangiaracina was a “constant worrier” who dispensed a soundtrack of advice, his son recalled. “Stay out of bars. Nothing good happens after midnight” and “Be careful driving; when leaves are wet, they’re like ice,” he’d say. His son would respond with a chuckle, “Dad, I’m 40 years old. I’m not going to bars at midnight.”

Mangiaracina also had a love affair with cars, especially Corvettes, which he owned, but this was not equal to his relationship with music.

“My father said it best: ‘I got lucky and it’s very rare where you have a passion for something and you can also make a living out of it,’ ” son Michael Mangiaracina, of Franklin Square, said. “It was his passion, getting paid to play — it never felt like a job.”

Besides his sons, Mangiaracina is survived by a brother, Frank, of Taylors, South Carolina. He was predeceased by his wife, Paula.

A Mass was celebrated Jan. 19 at St. Patrick Church in Glen Cove, followed by burial at St. John Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.

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