Aubrey L. Facenda, age 89, loving husband, father and uncle, passed away on September 23, 2021.
Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Aubrey began playing the trumpet at an early age but switched to the French horn when he was a junior in high school. A talented musician, he received a music scholarship to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he stayed for one semester before transferring to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, eventually obtaining a master’s in music from the Manhattan School of Music.
After a stint with the Indianapolis Symphony, he became a horn soloist with the 7th Army Symphony in Germany. He then joined the Robert Shaw Chorale on its tour of Germany, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Aubrey went on to perform with several orchestras including the Charleston Symphony, Musica Aeterna, the Long Island Chamber Orchestra, the Shrewsbury Chorale, and the Thomas Dunn Orchestra.
As a freelance musician, Aubrey performed, recorded and made commercials, the most famous being the “Double Mint Gum” tune, which is still played today. He performed in myriad Broadway shows, working with acclaimed actors such as Lucille Ball, Zero Mostel and Elaine Stritch, and with esteemed choreographers such as Jerome Robbins. He also served as first hornist with the New York City Center Opera Company.
Aubrey taught master classes of music at Princeton University, served as Assistant Professor of Music at Trenton State College, both in New Jersey, and was a sought-after tutor.
Aubrey joined the New York Philharmonic as a French hornist in 1970, frequently appearing as a soloist. During his 22 years with the prestigious symphony, he worked with world-renown maestros including Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Andre Kostelanetz, Pierre Boulez, and Zubin Mehta. While with the Philharmonic, Aubrey served as chairman of the orchestra committee, twice as chairman of the negotiating committee, as pension trustee, and a member of the tour committee. He retired from the Philharmonic in 1992.
As a high school student, Aubrey joined the United States Naval Reserve and re-enlisted multiple times. He had a lifelong love of the water including boating and fishing, and was an avid golfer, some of the main reasons he chose to retire to New Orleans, where he could pursue his passions.
He met his future wife, the former Leona (Lee) A. Giacobbe in 1967, a dancer, while they were both performing in New York City. He is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Lee, daughter, Vanessa L. Facenda, and son, Christopher A. Facenda, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father, Albert J. Facenda, his mother, Damaris G. Facenda, and his sister, Gloria Facenda Christian.
Visiting hours will take place at Greenwood Funeral Home in New Orleans on Friday, October 1, 2021, from 9-11am, with a memorial service and a military interment to follow at 11:00am. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note to the family at www.greenwoodfh.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Parkinson's Foundation, Boys Town, or a favorite animal charity in memory of Aubrey L. Facenda.