Richard (Dick) Howard passed away on December 29, 2020 at the age of 83 at The Commons on Saint Anthony Street, in Auburn, NY. Dick was a lifetime drummer and drum teacher based in his hometown of Auburn and served his country as a National Guardsman for 6 years. He was a loving husband and father to his family and an inspiration to all of the musicians and friends that had the opportunity to know him during his life. After attending The Berkley School of Music, Dick went on to play with most of the top musicians in New York and around the country, while teaching thousands of drum students. Many of Dick’s students became well known drummers. Dick’s first drum school was at The Auburn Music Store which eventually became Speno Music. He then formed, with fellow musician, Frank Borza, The Music Mart, where he taught in the 1960s. After teaching at Speno Music in the early 1970s, Dick was the drum teacher at the Auburn Musician when the store opened in 1976, until his retirement in 2017. The musicians that Dick played and recorded with during his remarkable career are too numerous to list, but the bands that he played in were the top bands of the region. They are the Chuck “Rubber Legs” Hayden’s Rockin’ Esquires in the 1950s, Lyman “Butch” Strong’s Mark V, Art Robbins Band, the Herb Nelson Trio with Marcus Curry, and the Bobby Doyle Trio in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Dick was the drummer in the Cayugans Big Band, the Butch Strong Duo, which recorded an album named “Comin’ on Strong”, Cloudburst, and Breezin. During the 1980s, Dick formed the Lansing Street Blues Band and toured with Richard Nader’s Rock and Roll Revival, which played venues such as The Spectrum and Madison Square Garden. This showcase featured major singers and bands from the Doo-Wop and Motown era such as Chuck Berry, The Platters, and The Shirelles. The Revival was led by Music Director Bobby Comstock and the Bobby Comstock Band, with Dick Howard on drums. Dick played in the 1990s with The Steve Odum Band, Bernie Milton and the Soul Patrol, the Travellin Jones, The Jazz Minds, and many others. In the 2000s, Dick played with The Soda Ash Six, Bob Piorun and The Convertibles, and many local musical stage productions as the drummer in the pit band. Dick recorded with musicians such as Butch Strong, Bob Piorun, Joe Whiting, and Frank Mucedola.
Dick was predeceased by his loving wife of 52 years, Jeanette (Spinelli), his father, John (Buck) Howard, and his mother Carol (Mazzoli) Howard. He leaves behind his four children, Richard, Jeffrey and his wife Tammy (Chapman), Julie, and Lynette and her husband John Wilson, his grandchildren Jessica Enge, Alexis Wilson, Joseph Wilson, Jeffrey Howard Jr., Julian Howard, and his great-grandchildren Ava Salmon and Mason Salmon. Dick’s son Richard and daughter Julie have maintained the Howard musical tradition for the last 40 years. Julie is a professional singer and vocal teacher and Richard is a professional drummer and drum teacher.
The family will greet any friends from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm this Saturday in Sacred Heart Church, with Dick's Mass of Christian burial to immediately follow at 2:00 pm. For those that cannot attend, the family will be having a celebration of his life in the Spring.
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