Sal Fiore, WI High School Music Director, Dies at 52

The popular faculty member and musical director of numerous groups at WIHS passed away early Tuesday morning.

Dr. Sal Fiore, director of four musical groups at West Islip High School and popular member of the faculty, died early Tuesday morning.  He was 52.

Fiore was well known for his musical guidance of more than 200 students and also acted as the director of Vocal Motion, the high school’s singing and dancing troupe.  The group has performed in front of large audiences throughout the country, including Disney World and Universal Studios in both Florida and California.

RELATED: Colleagues, Former Students Remember "Doc"

Nancy Lenz, the district publicist and spokesperson, said that students and their parents were consoling one another in the high school on Tuesday morning.

“It’s a shock to everyone,” Lenz said.  “He is loved by his music students and many of them have commented this morning that he’s been like a father to them.

“They are very upset with the news that he passed.”

Fiore, who went by the nickname "Doc," had been with the district for 24 years.  He was also the director of the West Islip Choral and the West Islip Concert Choir.  Lenz said that just last night, he was at the high school checking on the lighting and sound of the upcoming SEPTA performance. 

Fiore held a doctorate in sacred music and master’s degrees in music history, choral conducting and theology.  He also had a postgraduate diploma in educational administration.  

Lenz said that the district hasn’t received any details as to how Fiore died.  She said that the high school was providing counseling for students and their parents on Tuesday. 

“He was an extremely talented man who was completely dedicated to his music students,” Lenz said.  “This is a very big loss to the students, school district and the community.”

Funeral services will take place at Moloney Funeral Home, 132 Ronkonkoma Ave., Ronkonkoma.  Visiting hours are tomorrow, Wednesday 3-5 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m.  The funeral is Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph's Church in Ronkonkoma, 45 Church St., Ronkonkoma.

Susanna Capone-Allison April 05, 2011 at 08:56 PM
R.I.P Doc... His passion for music brought out the best in all of us. He was the definition of truly loving what you do and it showed! It inspired me. Class of 01'
Kim Librizzi April 05, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Our community suffered a huge loss today my thoughts and prayers go out to the students and his family....So Tragic...Rest In Peace
Samantha (Habbershaw) Hojnacki April 05, 2011 at 09:31 PM
We miss you already Doc, all of us past and present. Music was never the same after we met you. You were always so much more than a teacher to all of us that were lucky enough to have been taught by you... RIP <3. Class of '99.
Christina Macario April 05, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Christina Macario : Class of 2002 It was an honor having you as a teacher, So many memories will be kept in our hearts forever. We will never forget the passion of music that you instilled in us, and how much of your time you unselfishly gave to us. You were truly a remarkable man. Rest In Peace "Doc" you will never be forgotten.
Donna Borchick April 05, 2011 at 10:24 PM
doc was called home this morning....he will be missed here as much as he was loved. I hope his family can take some comfort knowing the lives he touched here in the district will never be the same simply because we were able to watch him teach our children" respect", responsibility, teamwork and the love of music. He was called home much too early.....Im so sorry for your loss....and so thankful my daughter was able to be a part of his life..
Maegan Loehr April 05, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Doc had a huge part in making me the person that I am today. I was lucky to have him not only as a teacher but as a friend. He was a wonderful man and teacher who gave everything he had to his students. I love him and will miss him very much! Rest in peace Doc, you truly were a "Star Maker"!
Rosemarie Sagarese Redman April 05, 2011 at 10:54 PM
The impact he had on so many lives is unmeasurable, especially mine! The dedication and commitment he showed his students was such a gift to all of us. My prayers go out to the Fiore Family during this extremely difficult time. God Bless.
jessica galizia swetland April 05, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Teacher/mentor/confidant/friend/father figure that is what u were to me. I will truly miss u. U have touched so many and taught us all to love and appreciate music. My prayers go out to your family thank u for sharing such an incredible man with all of us. May God bless u and help u through this tough time. Jessica (Galizia) Swetland class of '92
Amy Rosenberg Latifi April 05, 2011 at 11:45 PM
He was Mr. Fiore when I studied with him and he was a wonderful, compassionate teacher and friend. I'm so blessed to have known him and am deeply saddened by this untimely news. May he fly with the angels and watch over his family. So sorry for the big loss!!! Amy Rosenberg Latifi
Cheri Vaniglia-Elliott April 06, 2011 at 01:43 AM
I only had Mr. Fiore for one year (1988-1989), as my family moved to Florida- but I never forgot him. He had such a natural way about him as a teacher- an intuition and a connection with his students that cannot be taught nor denied. What a special man and educator... my condolences to his family and to all those who were ever touched by his amazing spirit. Rest in peace, Dr. Fiore- you will never be forgotten. Cheri Vaniglia-Elliott
Katie Getavesky April 06, 2011 at 06:48 AM
Rest In Peace Dr. Fiore! You will never be forgotten! You will always be loved! Class of '04
John Altman April 06, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Mr. Fiore's commitment to musical excellence was such an essential part of his legacy and why his impact is felt by so many students. His passion for music and high quality performances are what helped us 'get it'. Thanks Mr. Fiore, for without your guidance, I don't know if many of us would have reached for the stars and realized our dreams. God bless you.
Frank A. Sagarese April 06, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Mr. Fiore gave me opportunites in life that have allowed me to become who I am today. I will never forget the feeling of entering the choir room at West Islip High. He made it a magical experience. May you rest in peace Mr. Fiore. Class of 1992.
Rose Cone-Mari April 06, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I have had the honor of working with Mr. Fiore during my high school years (89-91) He was always very motivational and positive. Because of him,we had the best shows/programs as well as education. Even on long bus rides he made it fun. He truly had a great influence in my life and I'm sure on many others . Just an overall great guy!!! You will truly be missed.
Tom Weeks April 06, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Un Fiore riposa in pace. It was an honor and blessing to have known Sal ( I met him before he was a Doc), and a privilege to have sung with him when he directed the Babylon Chorale.
Heather Edwards-Wilson April 06, 2011 at 09:39 PM
He saw the talent in me and helped me bring it out. I am a chorus teacher now and I owe much that I am to him. In the winter concert in either 1998 or 1999 we sung a piece that he wrote... it was a sacred Responsorial Psalm type of piece. I loved it and it was always in my head for years even through college (but it's escaping me right now). I always hoped one day to go back and tell him how much I loved the song and ask for a copy so I could perform it with the church choir I direct. Does anybody recall the song or have access to it? -Heather Wilson
Heather Edwards-Wilson April 06, 2011 at 09:52 PM
I'm really straining to think of it and I'm pretty sure it's a version of the Magnificat... if anyone has this music please let me know.
John Maher April 07, 2011 at 04:11 AM
It is hard to believe that my friend of 22yrs. is no longer with us. "Sally Boy" as his family would call him was such a big part of my life with not only with myself having had the honor to perform with him in the Babylon Chorale, South Bay Chamber Singers, and the Hofstra Vocal Jazz group, but also being there together when our children were born. He was always giving of himself in numerous ways. Thank you for all you have done. I will miss you.
VINCENT FIORE April 07, 2011 at 06:12 AM
Dr. Cliff Inkles April 07, 2011 at 12:45 PM
It was with great sadness to learn of the passing of this magnificent performer and master musician who touched so many souls and awakened countless hearts through his magical music gifts. I had the great, good fortune of being Sal's drummer in what was one of the more popular south shore r&r bands of the mid '70's. Show after show he would whip the young crowd into a frenzy, daring them to live their hopes and dreams through words filled with love and conviction, able to round up hundreds into one collective soul. It never failed to give me chills, and, at times, so mesmerized me to the point I would forget my que! I realized I was in the presence of a messenger, and, at the age of 15, knew, right there on stage, my life would be about service-cause that was what Sal was really saying behind the lyrics of the Beatles or Stones songs he sang so passionately. Reading through all these beautiful devotions from his adoring students brings tears of joy remembering how "doc', at the same age many of you are now, was a man among boys, wisdom beyond his years, and when "guitar man" looked you in the eye and told you, "this is the way it is", you KNEW it to be so. So whaddya say Sal, let's give 'em "jumpin jack flash" one more time. Be Well, My Brother. Cliff Inkles
William DeCastro April 07, 2011 at 02:19 PM
You'll be missed, Doc. I had the honor of knowing you for a brief four years. I miss those days every day. Rest in Peace
Fred Tingberg April 07, 2011 at 02:51 PM
I will forever miss you my friend. Touring Europe as HS members of Sanford H Calhoun's VIVERO Choir, God was kind enough to bring me into your light for the most memorable years of my Life. Your adolescent to adolescent teachings of evrything from "Life Choices" to the meaning of "Heavy Wood", weigh most heavy on my mind this day as you are memorialized.... As a member of "The Quartet" not "a", or "one of " or "another" "Quartet" I look forward to the day in a better place when your second tenor may harmonize yet again with you, taking your direction as to tempo, beat, and inflection....Love you My Brother..Rest in Peace!
Hayley Dezendorf April 07, 2011 at 03:59 PM
We want to send our love and condolences to the Fiore Family. My guess is Dr. Fiore's love of music and children was contagious... luckily, it is Mrs. Fiore that has "caught" that "bug" from her wonderful husband... I say luckily for all the fortunate children and families of the Middle Country School District that have/had MRS. Fiore as their chorus teacher. She too is a wonderful person, loving teacher, and as unselfish as they come ~ every year she spends countless hours AFTER SCHOOL so that her students could do what they love...sing, perform, and give back to the school. We are so sad for your loss and hope that Dr. Fiore's spirit, and love of music gives you the strength to continue his mission. Our condolences, and love to Mrs. Fiore and Family.
david ehrlich April 08, 2011 at 12:34 AM
David Ehrlich I received a call from my brother, telling me that he read about Sal’s passing in Newsday. I had the pleasure of knowing Sal when we were in the Calhoun Choir. I remember Sal as a good hearted person who really put himself out there. Along with his warm, outgoing personality, Sal was extraordinarily talented. I remember Sal in the choir room, after school on Thayer’s piano, playing Richie Valens’ Donna for a bunch of us. Also, while we were waiting for the busses in Europe during the VIVERO tour, playing his guitar on the grass with friends gathered around him. I’m glad to see that Sal had a long career doing something that he really loved and had a passion for. Not all of us are so fortunate. From the numerous writings here, I can see that he touched many other people lives in the same way he touched ours. Truly a life well lived. My sincere condolences to his family. Rest in peace my friend.
Tim King April 08, 2011 at 05:33 AM
Nice article AJ.
Linda Kalinowski April 09, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Dr. Fiore was such an inspiration to me. I always looked forward to his lessons everyday for the 4 years I spent in his classroom. I am proud to have been blessed by his teachings. I enjoyed every moment and he will forever have left a lasting impression on me. When I look back I can't believe how quickly time went. Being a graduate of the class of 2000, I never imagined I'd hear such sad news. I was very shocked to hear of his passing at such an early time. I will forever be thankful to Dr. Fiore for his character and great dedication that he contributed to former and current students. He was an outstanding teacher and has touched many lives. It was amazing to see all of the love he received at his wake. Rest In Peace Doc, We love you!!!
Deborah Kendrick April 10, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Vincent, I just want you to know that we as a group have been spending time together remember all that your brother has done for us and our children. Because of him, we have made friendships that will last forever. And our children will have wonderful memories... But most of all, our thoughts are with you and your family. We know what Sal (Doc) meant to us, and we also knew how much his family meant to him. Our hearts ache for your sudden loss. You and your family will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Debbie (Dr. Subramani's office)
Ed Luhrs April 12, 2011 at 06:32 PM
He loved all kinds of music, and had a really great personality!
Shelley W Kaye April 15, 2011 at 04:51 AM
Dear Carolyn and Family, I want to add my sincere condolences to you and your daughters and the entire Fiore Family. I did not know Dr. Fiore personally but I knew of him and your girls from our chats at MCCSD when I subbed at school. My heart truly aches for you. I do know what a wonderful person you are and the respect you always have shown for your students, your co-workers, and for the "per diem help" like me. You always made me feel welcome when I worked and treated me with respecttoo. Over the years you shared with me your Christian values andyour love of your family and music. The brief chats always left me with a deep respect for you and your family values. ( In addition, you always had the Alto Sax NYSSMA list availoable for me to copy for my son, even though he was not a MCCSD student. ) G-d must have needed another Angel. May your faith help sustain you at this very difficult time. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Kaye
Steve April 17, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I am sorry for your loss, kids. Was Doc's father the band conductor at Farmingdale Senior High in the '60s?


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