MORGAN PARK SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL HONORS MARGE SUOZZI - LED CONCERT SERIES FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS
by Cindy Rogers
Morgan Park Summer Music Festival (MPSMF) recently held a luncheon in honor of Marge Suozzi, who is stepping down after more than 50 years as MPSMF chairman. Marge will continue to serve on the Executive Committee as Chairman Emeritus and will organize the annual Young Performers Competition, which henceforth will be known as the Marguerite Suozzi Young Performers Talent Competition.
At the luncheon, Marge received kudos from many long-standing members of the MPSMF Team, as well as Glen Cove Mayor Reggie Spinello and the former Mayor, Ralph Suozzi. Tom Suozzi, also a former Glen Cove mayor, and Marge’s son, has succeeded Marge as Chairman of MPSMF. Marge, whose husband Joe also served as mayor of Glen Cove, was hailed as Glen Cove’s first lady, first mom, first aunt, first sister-in-law and first festival chairman. In addition to naming the Young Performers Talent Competition after Marge, a bench in Morgan Memorial Park to be located near the main stage will be dedicated in her honor.
The day also included a trip down memory lane with a large display of many historic Festival photos and a cake, designed by Katherine Rezza, in the shape of the Morgan Memorial Park stage.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, Marge officially passed the baton of leadership to the new chairman, Tom Suozzi. The historic antique framed baton had been given to Marge and Joe by Laura Pratt in 1965 as a token of gratitude for bringing MPSMF and the gift of music to the community.
Under Marge’s leadership, this past summer marked Morgan Park Summer Music Festival’s 55th year of providing free concerts to the public. During that time, MPSMF has grown from hosting one concert in the summer of 1959 to now offering concerts every weekend during July and August. The shows are completely funded through generous donations from businesses and individuals. Taxpayer money is not requested nor received to bring high caliber talent to the park each year.
Concerts were originally held under Morgan Memorial Park’s charming and iconic gazebo; however, this location proved to be inadequate for some of the larger concerts. Consequently, Marge and a team of volunteers raised the funds and oversaw the construction of a beautiful new stage that now serves as the home venue for MPSMF as well as other park performances. Noted Glen Cove architect, the late Norman Dorf, who served as project manager for the 1982 restoration of the New York Public Library donated his time and talent in designing the new stage. Like MPSMF, the planning and construction of the stage was funded entirely through private donations. Marge’s leadership and commitment have assured that generations to come will be able to enjoy many evenings of musical entertainment under the stars.
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