‘Life was made richer’  – Remembering Dan Fabricius

‘Life was made richer’  - Remembering Dan FabriciusPictured is Daniel Fabricius, former Director of Bands at OFA; here, he conducts a group of band members at a previous Memorial Day ceremony. (File Photo / JoAnn R. Walter)

The Owego, N.Y. and greater Binghamton communities are mourning the loss of Daniel Fabricius, a former director of bands at OFA. Fabricius passed away on Aug. 10. He was 64.

An accomplished musician and educator, Fabricius was well known and respected in the region. A notable 40-year career included nearly 30 years in the OA School District, and where he retired in 2017. He also held the role as adjudicator and Jazz Chairperson for the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) as well as Director of Percussion and Director of Wind Symphony at Binghamton University.

The OA Music Boosters invites the community to a memorial gathering to honor Fabricius’ legacy and impact in the community. “Pie on the Lawn” is planned for Saturday, Aug. 27 starting at 1 p.m. The event will be outside of the music wing on the Middle School side of the OA Campus. The event is a celebration of life and will feature shared stories and plenty of pie, a favorite of Fabricius.  

‘Life was made richer’  - Remembering Dan Fabricius

Pictured, on the left, is Daniel Fabricius, former Director of Bands at OFA; here he is walking alongside the marching band during a previous Memorial Day parade. The OA Music Boosters invite the community to a memorial gathering and life celebration to honor Fabricius, who passed away on Aug. 10. The “Pie on the Lawn” event is planned for Saturday, Aug. 27 starting at 1 p.m. outside of the music wing on the Middle School side of the OA Campus. (File Photo / JoAnn R. Walter)

Robyn Wood, co-president of the OA Music Boosters, reflected, “Dan loved performing outside and often hosted performances on the lawn,” and added, “He enjoyed pie of all kinds and would rarely turn it down. ‘Pie on the Lawn’ will be an opportunity for all to share in a piece of pie and socialize with others whose lives were touched by Dan.”

Before arriving in Owego in 1988, Fabricius taught at Chenango Valley and two other high schools in the state. In addition to concert and marching bands in Owego, Fabricius taught jazz band classes and also implemented the birth of “Making the Band” (MTB), to name a few.    

A member of the Binghamton University faculty since 1992, Professor Fabricius served as percussion instructor for 20 years before an appointment as conductor of the Wind Symphony in 2012. Fabricius was a member of the Binghamton Philharmonic since 1982.

‘Life was made richer’  - Remembering Dan Fabricius

Pictured is Daniel Fabricius, performing at a previous event. Photo credit: Rich Ives.

As a freelance percussionist, Fabricius performed with nationally known artists touring the region like Michael W. Smith, Lorrie Morgan and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. 

Fabricius, at the time of his retirement, shared, with The Owego Pennysaver, “It is great to live in a region where I can play while also continuing to grow as a musician.” 

Fabricius touched many lives, and the community has shared heartfelt sentiments since the news of his death.  

Lindsey Williams, OFA Band director and music teacher, remarked that Fabricius was an incredible jazz educator and helped put Owego on the map with his involvement with NYSSMA. 

Williams stated, “We were lucky to have him. He ignited in all of us that life is richer with music, and he empowered us so that we could see parts of ourselves we had not seen before.”

Williams admired that Fabricius remained active after retirement, noting, “He was so involved, so prolific, and a significant contributor.”

About a week prior to his death, and always making music, Fabricius returned to OA Schools to participate at an Alumni Jazz Concert and BBQ Benefit, which brought together musicians of all ages.   

Rich Ives, a member of the OA Music Boosters, remarked, “Dan Fabricius (Mr. F. to all) was the rare educator who could demand that students ‘give their all,’ while at the same time gaining their admiration and respect, a rare trait. He will be missed.” 

‘Life was made richer’  - Remembering Dan Fabricius

Pictured is Daniel Fabricius, conducting at a previous event. Photo Courtesy: Binghamton Philharmonic.

Ives continued, “His title was ‘Director of Bands,’ and the music was wonderfully performed. He prepared his students for life and gave them tools to be creative thinkers and responsible citizens. No matter their chosen field, they have since gone on to be leaders and accomplished people.”

Wood, now an OA Schools faculty member, explained, “I had Dan as a teacher in both middle and high school. Later, I became a colleague. Most recently my son took private percussion lessons with Dan. Dan was a man who pushed you to be the best he knew you could be, even if you thought that was unattainable,” adding, “He enjoyed life and his students; he continued to have contact with them, post-graduation.”  

Comments from former students, colleagues and partners in music include, “He was a favorite teacher,” to “A great man who truly loved teaching music,” to “He exuded joy,” and, “He not only taught music lessons, he taught life lessons,” along with, “He was deeply connected to the community,” and “His passion for music was infectious.”  

Individuals interested in bringing a pie to the event should contact Robyn Wood at WoodR@oacsd.org. Story or photo contributions can be sent to Lindsey Williams at williamsl@oacsd.org. Replies are appreciated prior to the event.   

Check donations for the “Mr. F. Fund” can be mailed to OA Music Boosters, c/o Rich Ives, 25 King Point Circle South, Owego, N.Y. 13827. Please write “Mr. F.” in the memo section of the check. Or, donations are being accepted via Venmo @OAMusic-Boosters (include the dash). You can also donate at the event.

His wife, Thesha, and son Daniel survive Fabricius, along with sisters and brothers-in-laws, and extended family. You can read the full obituary at www.RichardsFH.com.

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