Marsella Conservatory of Music

For the past few months, I’ve been very slowly digitizing our photograph collection.  A couple of weeks ago I came across this one.

Marsella music

It was actually a negative, but with the magic of Photoshop, I got a pretty good positive image from a scan of the negative.  It’s a great picture.  The note at the bottom was attached to the negative, but I don’t know who the “David” is.  I was, however, able to find out about the Marsella Conservatory of Music.

For several decades Loreta Marsella was Norristown’s leading musician.  Born in San Giovanni Incarico, Italy, in 1874, he first came to American in 1895, settling in Providence, Rhode Island. He moved into this area around 1908 and started a music school in North Philadelphia.  In 1911, he began the Marsella Conservatory of Music in Norristown.  He was perhaps better known for his Verdi Band, which he founded in 1920.  The Verdi Band appeared at all kinds of events and celebrations in Montgomery County, and in 1954 it won the first prize at the Atlantic City Centennial.  Every year the band awarded a prize to the best music student at Norristown High School.

Marsella was also a composer.  He wrote the grand march “Norris City” for the Sesquicentennial in 1962 and another in honor of John Glenn’s historic orbit of the Earth, titled “Glenn Friendship 7.”  His “Saga of Valley Forge” is 1600 pages long!

Marsella died in 1964 at the age of 90, but the Verdi Band continues to entertain to this day, check out their website here

Were you a student of Professor Marsella?  Do you have any memories of the Verdi Band?



  1. Hi, I’ve recently purchased a violin at a local sale. Inside the violin are the labels “Made in Germany” and “Marcella Conservartory of Music”. Beside the bow, it also has a conductors baton that was giving to the person as a gift. Would you have any information regarding this violin. Sincerely, Kevin

    • Hi, thanks for commenting! We don’t have much in the way of musical instruments in our collection, so we don’t know too much about them. My guess would be that the Marcella Conservatory rented instruments to students, which is still a common practice. You might try a instrument place like Music and Arts in Conshohocken or Mt. Airy Violins in Philly.

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