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December 5, 2014

Living In Sweden, I was never aware Johnny Costa’s work on Mister Rogers' show. it wasn’t until a couple of months ago I received a message from a friend—an expert on Glenn Gould—alerting me to this amazing pianist. He and I are also Art Tatum fans. After this initial experience, I wanted to know more about this pianist. Apart from your excellent website, what struck me as strange is how little known Johnny Coster seems to be, even among jazz enthusiasts. This means his recordings or less easy to find. I have bought the four newer CDs as well as the early compilation Neighborhood. The rest of the LPs have been, at least for me, impossible to find.

Jorgen Lundmark

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, my favorite memories of Johnny Costa included listening to him improvise through the closing credits of those wonderful KDKA-TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s. During a holiday season sometime in the early 1980s, my wife and I were fortunate to have wandered into the lobby of the William Penn Hotel. He was alone at the piano during “Happy Hour” serenading a few hotel guests and some weary shoppers like us who had stopped by for a drink. I moved to California in 1985. However, I knew I could always tune into an episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood to listen to Johnny Costa. I still watch for the episode of during which Fred makes homemade pasta with his son, John, Jr. It is priceless to me. His distinctive music style was hard to imitate and one that I still easily recognize. There will also never be another “Indian Mary.” This Johnny Costa will forever be a wonderful childhood memory for thousands of older Pittsburghers like me!
Gary Kuzas  

Thursday, November 12, 2012

I knew Johnny pretty well during the 1970s when I served as president of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood organization. I wrote a number of the programs during the earliest years before my executive duties squeezed out my writing time.

Johnny was an original, to be sure. I loved the guy beyond words and find it very easy to understand why you and he fell together in such a warm bonding. He was irrepressible, clever, witty, sly, raunchy, caring, inspired, gifted, and (of course) a truly extraordinary musician with an uncanny sense of how to make music that complemented what Fred was doing o, even more intuitively what Fred was just about to do on the program. They were truly yin and yang to each other in ways that very few outsiders ever comprehended.

Anyhow, thanks again for doing the site. It's a very deserving tribute to a very unforgettable guy.

Eliot Daley
Princeton, NJ

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Indebted is the word that comes to mind when I think of Johnny Costa. As a child, watching "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood" was part of our daily routine, and thank goodness for that show. The music on the show always struck me as very special, and it was perhaps my first exposure to jazz and accompanying.  Mr. Costa's music and presentation was a huge influence on me.  I only wish I would have had the opportunity to meet him and talk music with him. Thank you for maintaining this website. There's a whole lot of joy here!
Renee Rosenfeld

Aloha, Everything is well done. I like it :) Andrea 
Andrea <> 
New York , NY USA - Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 05:33:22 (EDT)

I loved your site. You must have spent hours in Photoshop doing the graphics.> Flowers, Flowers Flowers - Saturday, April 19, 2003 at 05:41:58 (EDT)

Just wanted to thank you for getting such an informative site. Excellent graphics and easy to navigate. Your site is indeed a wonderful, and I bookmarked it. I have found some of the information here helpful. Thank you for the opportunity to sign your guest book. I will recommend it and come back. I found it very interesting to read other people's comments about your site.> - Saturday, April 12, 2003 at 14:47:35 (EDT)

You shouldn't have gotten me started. My favorite anecdote about Costa is the morning I ran into him in downtown Pittsburgh . He looked tired. "I was up most of the night dueling with Previn at the Hillman's house." (Andre Previn was then conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony). Then, with his familiar quirky smile, Costa added, "I cut him up pretty good." 
art cowles gain <> 
tucson , az USA - Wednesday, March 26, 2003 at 18:32:09 (EST)

I knew Johnny quite well. Whoever wrote the piece about him obviously did too. I would equate him with Tatum. But he was more than that: original, creative, so broad in his interests and capabilities in the medium. I think he has become better known after his death than when living. 
art cowles <> 
tucson , az USA - Wednesday, March 26, 2003 at 18:22:51 (EST)

I've always appreciated Costa's touch; it's good to see others out there who are like mind. 
Gavin Kelley 
L.A. , CA USA - Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at 11:27:30 (EST)

I'm always on the lookout for good performers. Found this Website indirectly and from all of the good vibes for JC, I will have to look into it. Of course, my kids and I (after the fact) grew up on Mister Rogers. At least my kids did. I didn't really note who played piano in the background. "Neighborhood" is on my watch list. Now I know I should have paid better attention. 
Kurt L. Bengtson <> 
Yorba Linda , CA USA - Monday, March 17, 2003 at 03:04:58 (EST)

This Web site is a beautiful tribute to a truly fine man and musician. I found it accidentally while going through the Mister Rogers' Web site for my children. I'd forgotten about how I was "introduced" to Johnny Costa as a piano student years and years ago—but I intend to go right out to the music store and reawaken myself to his lovely music. 
Staten Island , NY USA - Friday, March 14, 2003 at 15:19:10 (EST)

To Johnny's family: I came across the brillance of Johnny's playing while living in California and watching Mister Rogers episodes in 1995. At the time, I was taking a jazz improv class and I mentioned to the instructor that I'd heard an incredible musician on Mister Rogers' progam earlier that day. The instructor just smiled and said, "The piano player on Mister Rogers is "BAD" (meaning incredible). I wish so much I had met you personally. You have touched my life without even knowing me and because of you, I'll never be the same. Thank you, your family, and God for you and your musical brillance. Rest in peace. And whatever you do, play on!
bryant carthan <>
ellicott city, md USA - Tuesday, February 25, 2003 at 12:38:58 (EST)

Great website. Very good work and nice design. Thank you very much for this useful site where people can share their opinions!>
USA - Sunday, February 23, 2003 at 09:20:55 (EST)

Thanks for all your help!>
USA - Sunday, February 23, 2003 at 04:38:53 (EST)

Just found your site. Very informative. Keep up the good work.
DFW, TX USA - Wednesday, February 19, 2003 at 21:49:25 (EST)

Interesting content inside, it was really interesting greetings..Keep up this great resource!
Privat Krankenversicherung<>
USA - Wednesday, February 19, 2003 at 14:26:44 (EST)

Cool site!
Samantha Williams
USA, none USA - Sunday, February 09, 2003 at 20:34:26 (EST)

A fine tribute to the wonderful Johnny Costa with those "flying fingers."
Bob Wheel<>
brooklyn, ny USA - Sunday, February 09, 2003 at 00:21:35 (EST)

Nice page.
USA - Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 17:00:17 (EST)

Hey there. Nice page.
USA - Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 16:45:32 (EST)

Cool site. Wish there were more like this one on the Net.
bruxel, be - Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 15:32:53 (EST)

Cool Site. I like it. Copenhagen. 

USA - Monday, February 03, 2003 at 04:27:38 (EST)

Great site.
USA - Friday, January 31, 2003 at 04:17:53 (EST)

Something good to read. Keep up the good work. Enjoyed my stay.
Saurabh Shah 
USA - Friday, January 31, 2003 at 00:54:17 (EST)

Great site.
USA - Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 09:39:13 (EST)

Your site is very interesting. I've added it to my favorites.
Bob Summer<>
USA - Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 23:10:39 (EST)

Nice Web site! Good informations, clear design. Good work Greetings Flo
USA - Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 13:54:58 (EST)

I enjoyed my stay at your Web site. Keep up the good work.>
USA - Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 23:09:29 (EST)

Your page is inspirational.
USA - Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 12:19:53 (EST)

Great site.>
denver, tx USA - Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 06:30:29 (EST)

Greetings from Huston, TX. My name is Lisa. Let me thank you for such an informative site. I used it to compose cliff notes and free essays for my class. Your site is indeed a wonderful source for all my future term papers and research papers.
Lisafree essays- Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 22:17:15 (EST)

Just excellent.
kiran chaini
india - Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 14:44:33 (EST)

Nice site.>
au - Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 00:48:16 (EST)

I was looking through your Web site and wanted to drop you a complement. I have been doing Web sites for about 3 years and yours is quite impressive. Keep up the good work.>
Las Vegas, Nevada USA - Friday, January 17, 2003 at 11:41:58 (EST)

Thank you for visiting my site. Enjoyed your site very much. Thank you. Keep up a great work.
USA - Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 16:52:13 (EST)

What a talent—and what a great person. Thanks for sharing more of the man's personalitty on this great site.
P.J. Mondin
rockville, MD USA - Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 11:34:37 (EST)

Nice site. Easy to use.
USA - Monday, January 13, 2003 at 17:04:47 (EST)

Thanks for putting your guest book out for us to leave a message.
USA - Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 11:50:04 (EST)

Keep up this great resource. I bookmark your site. Best greetings.
USA - Tuesday, January 07, 2003 at 14:29:41 (EST)

Hi there. We just visit your web page very often and we do like it.
New York, NY USA - Saturday, January 04, 2003 at 10:32:36 (EST)

I never heard of Mister.Rogers' Neighborhood until I was an adult. Consequently I never really got "into" the show. I always turned the channel when I saw the Neighborhood coming on because I had no children. Then one day I failed to change the channel soon enough. Pretty soon I was hooked. With all due respect to Miser.Rogers, I wished there were more Costa. After I became addicted to Mr.Costa's music, acquaintances found it amusing to find that I watched the show until I explained that it was because of the piano player and suggested they sit and listen some time. Anyone with any interest at all in jazz surely recognized there was something special going on there. I thought it very strange that I never heard more about this man in jazz media.I always wondered, who IS this guy? And why is he on a children's program where his music is not suitably recognized? I wondered, why don't I hear this guy in the mainstream jazz venues, not that I'm really into all facets of jazz. In my humble estimation Mr.Costa was as good as they get. I glad I came across this web site and that Mr.Costa is getting more of the recognition he so richly deserves. 
D. Westbury<>
USA - Wednesday, December 04, 2002 at 19:46:43 (EST)

I've been aware of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' since my brother was a toddler back in late 1960s, but it wasn't until I was employed in a recording studio in the mid-1980s that someone called my attention to the piano and keyboard music that was constantly playing in the background. Once I really started listening, I was stunned. I'd been raised and educated as a musician, and had never noticed the incredible talent of Mister Rogers' pianist. So, following this new awareness and the discussions with my co-workers that followed, a new tradition came to exist at this particular studio. In the Washington D.C. area, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' is broadcast each weekday at 11:30 a.m. So every weekday at 11:58 a.m., a hush would fall over the entire studio as our video duplication manager would tune in the local PBS and crank up the monitor system in his studio. Even before we knew the name of the pianist, the entire staff of this particular recording studio knew that the piano over the closing credits of'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was worth listening to EVERY DAY, and the jazz fans among us knew clearly we were listening to one of the truly great jazz pianists of all time. I eventually put the name of Fred Rogers' Music Director together with the playing I was hearing on the television, and the Internet. led me to the Chiaroscuro releases of Costa. I am now an outspoken missionary for the music of Johnny Costa. It is obvious from the JazzSpeak (interview) sections of the Chiaroscuro recordings that Mr. Costa was a kind, self-effacing gentleman who was content with his playing, content to stay home in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, and not driven to be recognized for the phenomenal, singular, virtuoso talent that he was. Hang around me long enough for the topic of piano to come up and you will hear Johnny Costa's name shortly thereafter. Hang around with me just a little bit longer than that and you'll be listening to him. I'm also pleased to say that there is a small, but growing population of people in the Washington DC. area to whom I've told the recording studio story, who now tune their televisions to PBS each day at 11:58 a.m. 
Andy Bittner<>
Gaithersburg, MD USA - Saturday, November 30, 2002 at 09:56:32 (EST)

Great site. Keep it up! Greetings from vienna !
austria/europe - Saturday, November 23, 2002 at 08:10:28 (EST)

Thank you for your work to keep Mr. Costa's talent alive. His gifts, his musicality, his life...are an inspiration to us all.
Kathe Kress
Bellevue, PA USA - Saturday, November 23, 2002 at 00:12:11 (EST)

Mad background. Enjoyed the visit.. Thanks!
Malaga, USA - Saturday, November 16, 2002 at 22:36:02 (EST)

I was one of those who grew up with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and always loved to hear Johnny Costa playing the opening and closing themes as well as the "incidental" music. There was an LP that came out some years ago (mid-1980?) entitled "Johnny Costa Plays Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Jazz." Does anyone know if it's been issued on CD yet?
Paul Shapiro
Anchorage, AK USA - Friday, September 06, 2002 at 14:37:45 (EDT)

I was born in New Kensington in 1970 and moved to the North Hills in 1979. I grew up not knowing my father, John Zamperini until I talked to him on the phone in 1996. He told me that Johnny Costa was my uncle (through marriage). I am a drummer by training and a huge jazz fan. I continue to play in the Rochester Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps (yes, Rochester, NY). I really wish I would have had the chance to meet my uncle! I think it is great what the New Kensington School District is doing for his name. My grandfather was on the school board there for many years, and my brother and uncle still teach at Valley.
Mar-Jean Zamperini-Fine
Pittsburgh, PA USA - Wednesday, July 24, 2002 at 14:33:06 (EDT)

I have be searching for Johnny Costa's work for about 15 years. Finally it dawned on me, use the Internet. I am thrilled to read the comments. Wonderful ! Thank you, and thank you, Mr. Costa.
Springfield, MA USA - Sunday, July 21, 2002 at 20:44:27 (EDT)

Concerning the question about Josie Carey, yes, Josie is very much alive and very, very active in community theater in the Pittsburgh area. She resides in the Kennedy area of McKees Rocks. She is very active in the community, and my Mom has seen her at meetings and on the street over the years. For more about Josie, log on to and hit the Coraopolis Star page.
Chuck Angelo
McKees Rocks, PA USA - Thursday, June 13, 2002 at 09:47:42 (EDT)

Great site! Keep up the good work. 
- Monday, June 03, 2002 at 22:01:11 (EDT)

One thing I forgot that I think is interesting is the thread that exists from Costa to Keth Jarrett, another West PA product. The fluid sixteenth notes (listen to Jarrett's first ECM record, "Facing You") are seldom accomplished in this perfection—but there might ne a connection. Any local lore of this influence?
Paul, again
USA - Wednesday, April 24, 2002 at 18:01:20 (EDT)

David Newell, "Mr. McFeely" in the Neighborhood, sent me some of Johnny's CD's to listen to and I'm simply astounded at the contents. What a great, unknown genius (big word) of a pianist! I think the comparison to Art Tatum is apt, and, save Phineas Newborn and Andre Previn, I don't think I've heard so much piano come from anyone in the recorded history of American music. Stunning.
Chicago, USA - Wednesday, April 24, 2002 at 17:51:06 (EDT)

I was not able to finish my comments on the 5th of November. First, let me correct the spelling of the word "accordion," which was in error the last time out. It's been a long time ago, but I do recall that many of the preteen youngsters in Arnold in the 1930s, were involved in taking some music lessons. Johnny Constanza was one of them, but he was exceptional! A local teacher at that time was John Gallo. He played and taught the clarinet, and he also taught "solfeggio." One had to learn to sight read music fluently before you were given the instrument. Before Johnny went on to formal training, I believe he was studying with John Gallo for a while. At any rate Johnny became so good as a child with the accordion that he was on call for many of the local functions. One of the idiosycracies that I recall about Johnny in our childhood was his captivation with the western culture. While out playing with the other kids in the neighborhood, he had a habit of always carrying a toy pistol in his belt. It always seemed to be with him. Each group of kids had their own clique. We of the Woodmont Ave. gang referred to their gang as "from the other side of Drey Street." In high school, I vaguely recall the friendship between Johnny and Helen. She was about a year older than he. Before my leaving the Arnold area and coming to Philadelphia, Johnny was playing at the local Kenmar Hotel Lounge. He had switched to piano by then, and it seemed like he never missed a beat. My interest in music after coming to Philly was being exposed to some of the great innovators of modern jazz {Coltrane, Gillespie, Parker, Powell, etc.). Aside from the interval of my military service, we were constantly haunting spots in Philly and New York where these giants held forth. Not taking anything away from Johnny, I can see where he must have been influenced by some of these artists, particularly Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson and others. But then, any jazz musician of worth today must have learned from them. The only times that I heard Johnny in later years was on the Mister Rogers' show. I wonder if that show would have been so great without Johnny. I am sure that Mister Rogers is deeply indebted to him. By the way, is he supporting the Johnny Costa Center in any way? The last time I saw Johnny was at the Arnold High School 50th anniversary celebration at some club in Brackenridge. Johnny was at the piano all evening and pouring out his soul, as usual. I don't think the audience really grasped the significance of this genius sitting at his instrument. I am sure that when Johnny left this world the "ones" up there must have put the harp aside, pulled out the piano, and said, "Here comes Johnny Costa!" I would appreciate any mail, particularly from any former Arnold High classmates of 1938.
Eugene V. Mele
Springfield , PA USA - Friday, November 09, 2001 at 14:39:06 (EST)

Hi, I am a former resident of Arnold. I left that town on December 1940. I have only been back there to visit. The information about the Johnny Costa Center is of great interest to me. I sort of grew up in his neighborhood. I graduated Arnold High School in the same class as Helen Costa, nee Zamperini. My father, Victor, was semiprofessional accordian player in that area. He recognized Johnny's talent at his very early age. In fact, Johnny developed his training on the accordian. I must leave now, but I will continue this at a later time.
Eugene V. Mele
Springfield, PA USA - Monday, November 05, 2001 at 18:37:32 (EST)

I was born in 1952 in Johnstown, PA and remember the TV show on KDKA called "Funville." I think it was on when I was about 9 years of age and in the fourth grade. I cried when the program went off the air. In fact, I wrote a letter expressing my sorrow to Josie Carey and was thrilled to receive a reply! I am sorry to learn that Johnny Costa is no longer living, but the memory of him lives on for many of us I am certain. Does anyone know anything about Josie Carey? Thank you for this wonderful Web site. Because of this man I went on to play guitar, 5-string banjo, and dulcimer. 
Jem Rose Jones
Texarkana, TX USA - Saturday, October 27, 2001 at 01:27:04 (EDT)

I'm totally surprised to discover this wonderful site about Johnny Costa. I've been looking for 40 years for the kind of piano-music Johnny plays, but nobody ever has mentioned his name to me. Though I had the privelege to regard myself as a friend of pianists like Dick Hyman, Dick Wellstood, Joe Turner, Dorothy Donegan and many others, which I recorded over the years on my little Swingtime Label. It was the fine "young" stride pianist Bernd Lhotzky from Munich who brought my attention to Johnny Costa, giving me the Chiaroscuro "Classic Costa," which I played the following day in one of my radio-shows. This was probably the first time ever that Johnny had some airplay in Germany. What a shame that a musician with these outstanding possibilities was, at least in Germany, totally unknown! I hope I can see him someday at least on a video from his "Neighborhood" shows, and I certainly will try to get, whatever he recorded. Swingingly 
Hans Ruland
Munich, Germany - Friday, September 28, 2001 at 12:26:22 (EDT)

After reading the comments of other visitors, there is nothing else left to say except to reiterate that Johnny Costa certainly was a devotee of Art Tatum. I first heard Johnny on the Neighborhood program with Fred Rogers. Fantastic.
Bob Jones
Edmonds, washington USA - Sunday, September 16, 2001 at 19:16:11 (EDT)

I have been a professional musician for close to 25 years. I grew up listening to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Even as I travelled all across the US while touring, I tried to catch an episode or two a day just to hear Mr. Costa play. He was and is a constant source of inspiration and a major factor in my becoming a musician. You had but to listen to know there was much more going on than just childrens song. His impecable technique, delicious melodic taste and soul he gave to each performance sets him way above his contemporaries, regardless of notoriety. Those of us who know, knew! Thanks, Johnny Costa.
Daniel Lirette
Chauvin, LA USA - Thursday, September 13, 2001 at 02:07:42 (EDT)

Costa's virtuosity serves to tastefully embellish a piece of music and to explore some new twists. The result is inventive, purposeful and solid. Each track on the four Chiaroscuro CD's is a gem. I do not tire of listening to them over and over. Incidentally, I learned about Johnny Costa from Tom Roberts, a fine Pittsburgh musician who plays Harlem- and New Orleans-influenced piano styles.
Anthoyn Ponaras
Washington, DC USA - Sunday, September 02, 2001 at 22:36:10 (EDT)

I also am a student that worked on this [Johnny Costa Center for the Performing Arts]. It was a great experince for me both learning and fun!
Ashley Pujol
New Kensington, PA USA - Tuesday, August 21, 2001 at 01:23:10 (EDT)

I love Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and the piano playing.
HUTCHINSON, KS United States - Friday, August 03, 2001 at 20:48:57 (EDT)

Dr. H.Very fine site, one that Mr. Costa would have liked. 
robert a lombardi
Coto de caza `, ca USA - Sunday, July 15, 2001 at 22:46:00 (EDT)

For so many years, I have enjoyed John Costa on Miser Rogers' Neighborhood. His was the essence of light-hearted piano—a superb, clear, economical style. I hope he is long-rembered and appreciated. Like Fred Rogers, he made you feel good. God bless.
Lynn Davis 
USA - Thursday, May 31, 2001 at 21:35:49 (EDT)

The trio's closing theme on Neighborhood is how I turn new listeners on to jazz. Johnny's playing is easy on the ear, yet is deep enough for anybody. Thank God we were able to enjoy him for so many years. Musicians like Johnny are truly one in a million. 
Dave Rainville
Moncks Corner, SC USA - Thursday, May 24, 2001 at 16:14:22 (EDT)

I watched Miser Rogers for years and enjoyed the piano playing. At the time there was no Internet, so unless you knew someone, you never had a Johnny Costa record. It took me 30 years to come up with his first CD. What a shame he wasn't internationally recognized as one of the finest technicians that ever lived.
Luther Bolen
Chillicothe, OH USA - Friday, May 18, 2001 at 17:42:20 (EDT)

I never knew much about Johnny Costa except what I heard on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, but I always thought he was the closest thing to Art Tatum that I'd ever heard. I was very pleased to find out on your home page that Art thought so too. Great site for a great musician. I can't wait to check out the recordings listed here. Keep up the good work!
Joe I
Boston, MA USA - Monday, April 23, 2001 at 19:08:23 (EDT)

The music is back, Maruice. If it doesn't work, download "RealPlayer 8 Basic" from,010301rpchoice_h1&dc=393837 It's a little tricky to find the "free" player, so I've included the entire address here. Thanks for prodding me into fixing the sound, a cut from Johnny's rendition of "My Funny Valentine," an elegant and poignant arrangement.
USA - Thursday, March 08, 2001 at 12:02:13 (EST)

Where did the clip of music go, that was there when you opened the home page? 
Maurice Green III
Houston, TX USA - Sunday, March 04, 2001 at 20:59:11 (EST)

I am interested in any updates on the status of the Johnny Costa Center. Is it in operation? Any status on tax deductible donation eligiblity? (I had read an article sometime back indicating the Arnold City Council was going to apply for eligibility.) Being away from the area, the net seems like the best place to keep abreast. Have a couple of old, old home recording records that appear to be early Johnny Costa records (1942). I'm hestitant to send them out for rerecording without knowing their rarity and possibly subjecting them to further wear and tear. Anyone intrested can see the labels at
Fairfax, VA USA - Friday, February 23, 2001 at 13:01:02 (EST)

I know nothing about jazz music, but I always liked the music from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I had no idea Johnny Costa was such a talented musician. I'm glad to know that there are some CD's available.
Nashville, TN USA - Wednesday, February 21, 2001 at 15:37:31 (EST)

I really did not know much about Johnny Costa before, but thanks to your Web site, I am learning a lot more about this wonderful man.
Kayti Jurcic
Pittsburgh, PA USA - Wednesday, February 07, 2001 at 21:48:04 (EST)

The reason I wanted to play piano was due to my inspiration from Johnny Costa and his legacy on Mister Rogers
Neighborhood. I came to love jazz and piano music because of Costa's style and flavor. Thank you for continuing his rich legacy.
S. Gilmore
Washington, DC USA - Sunday, November 12, 2000 at 22:14:59 (EST)

I liked Johnny Costa's style of music ever since I was a little girl. The only regret I have is that I never had the opportunity to see him perform in person. 
Jackie Pantazes
Verona, PA USA - Friday, October 27, 2000 at 12:06:48 (EDT)

I've known of Johnny's music from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and finally found out who was behind it. I just bought all of his CD's--and I want to get his LP's. Anybody know anywhere to get them? What a wonderful pianist.
David Graves
Philadelphia, pa USA - Tuesday, October 10, 2000 at 11:44:23 (EDT)

I am so pleased to see that Johnny Costa's legacy is being remembered! I grew up listening to Johnny Costa play on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. In fact, it is Johnny Costa's musical talents that made Mister Rogers' music so memoralble. My father was also a jazz musician, so I understood Johnny's musical talents. The other day I looked at a video tape I had of him playing together with Wynton Marsalis. I don't think I have seen him be so happy playing on the piano. He really played so well on that program in 1986. I have some of Johnny's recordings, including his record that has jazz renditions of the songs from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I also had the opportunity to listen to him live in Boston when he toured with Mister Rogers on his concert tour! One of Johnny's best recordings was when he played on a recording called "Josephine, the Short Necked Giraph" in the mid-1960s on an album (not the one from the Neighborhood program in 1988). Even though I live in a Neighborhood in a country far away from your Neighborhood, I would like you all to know that I look forward to learning more about when the performance center will open. And It especially pleases me that children have taken an interest in learning more about the art of jazz and classical music. Johnny Costa is a real compliment to our society. He will be remembered, always! I wish all of you who are involved in making this dream come true the very best. Please e-mail me updates. Best wishes to you from Sweden! 
Andreas Ulanowsky
Rattvik, Sweden - Tuesday, October 03, 2000 at 18:42:15 (EDT)

So happy to visit this site of one of my all-time heroes! Watching Mister Rogers all my life, primarily to hear the music—wow—that beautiful uplifting, spiritual connection that Johnny Costa had, fitting Fred Rogers' message to a tee. Talk about form following function—that sweet jazz moved me so often when I was a kid. I still tune in just to hear it. Now I know there are albums. Sweet.
toronto, on canada - Wednesday, September 27, 2000 at 16:12:14 (EDT)

This is a pretty sweet site. Thanks, Hugh. Your friend at Cookies Cafe . "DOS BOXOS" (aka) Anthony
USA - Saturday, August 26, 2000 at 03:52:57 (EDT)

I got this Web site from my sister Sarah. I think that this is pretty great site.
Trevor M
arnold, pa USA - Saturday, August 12, 2000 at 16:16:07 (EDT)

Dear Mr. Costa Jr., Greetings. I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I placed a thought on the message board at the Web site honoring your father. Over the years, watching Mister Rogers (as a child and as an adult with my children), I never fully realized how much of a role the music played in that experience. When I finally did a few years ago, Hedda Sharapan told me about your father's music, and I began listening. My favorite is the Christmas one he made, not long before his passing. I also remember seeing an episode last year in which Fred went to your house with your dad to make pasta! Very cool! Anyway, God bless you. Your father's music has had an impact on many people, and I sense that his faith and family commitment were the main reasons he was so blessed. In Christ, Rev. Bliss
Re, Bliss
Long Island , NY USA - Wednesday, August 09, 2000 at 05:08:35 (EDT)

I had the distinction of playing for about a year with John. He was truly one of the greatest musicians that ever lived. John's other sidekicks were also great friends of mine (Carl McVicker on bass and Bob Rawsthorne on drums). These guys were the best, and we all lived in Pittsburgh, celebrating life and music together. May God Bless John Costa and his music. 
Troy Campbell
Manassas, VA USA - Tuesday, August 08, 2000 at 15:35:49 (EDT)

It is impossible for me to separate My hero, Fred Rogers, from the musical genius of Johhny Costa! Mr. Costa's ability to play just the right thing at just the right time, still astounds me. He is missed by many. Blessings to his family - Willy
Rev. Bliss
Long Island, NY USA - Monday, August 07, 2000 at 18:26:59 (EDT)

What a wonderful tribute! My father and Johnny played together for many years. Thanks for the memories! 
Tami McVicker Cox
Naples, FL USA - Saturday, May 20, 2000 at 18:38:35 (EDT)

It's a shame that Johnny Costa was the first jazz pianist that I started listening to, because I have nowhere to go but down in searching for an equal to his talents (except, of course, Art Tatum). Costa's music has inspired me to countless hours of practice at the piano (I'm 19 and I've played for 15 years). The only thing I don't understand about him is his relative anonymity in jazz; he should be a legend as big as Tatum! Thank you for establishing this site and starting a wider appreciation of this incredible man.
Travis Anderson
Edina, MN USA - Friday, May 19, 2000 at 00:02:27 (EDT)

I am proud to be one of the students who have worked so hard to get this going. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with these very talented students. Mrs. Greco, you're doing a fantastic job! 
Mary Lamanna
Leechburg, PA USA - Thursday, April 27, 2000 at 12:16:26 (EDT)

I remember Johnny Costa from when I watched him on TV (Channel 2) in Beaver, Pennsylvania in 1954-55. I could always tell when it was Johnny playing because the music sounded like a duet, and there was only one person playing! What a musician.
Charles E. Brown
Morehead City, NC USA - Sunday, April 16, 2000 at 11:37:51 (EDT)

I'm a student working on the project, and I'd like to say thank you to everyone that has helped.
Megan Pelican
New Ken, PA USA - Saturday, April 15, 2000 at 17:14:13 (EDT)

I'm one of the students working on the Johnny Costa Project, and I'd like to say thank you to Dr. Glenn, Ms. Condelli, Mrs. Greco, and everyone else that has devoted their time to our project! I'm very happy to see the project actually taking off as it has been.
Sara Brestensky
New Ken, PA USA - Saturday, April 15, 2000 at 17:11:44 (EDT)

I live in Florida now, but I remember the first time I saw Johnny was not in a music setting but eating dinner with his wife, Helen, at the Tall Oaks Restaurant in Upper Burrell, famous for their fried chicken.
Ann McKee Chmiel
Barefoot Bay, Fl USA - Sunday, April 09, 2000 at 01:02:48 (EDT)

That a small town boy made so many people smile the way he always did. Best of luck to all on this venture. Count on me for help.
Sis (McAninch) Capone
Arnold, PA USA - Tuesday, March 21, 2000 at 20:02:29 (EST)

When I was part of a preschool, we talked about watching Mister Rogers and about Johnny Costa. Several years ago, I ran into him while shopping at Shop & Save in Lower Burrell. Great site.
mary baroni slahtovsky
upper burrell, pa USA15068 - Tuesday, March 21, 2000 at 08:59:36 (EST)

Johnny Costa was truly a hidden treasure of the 20th Century. Very few pianists have ever possessed his incredible sense of melody combined with such flawless technique. Frequently, as soon as someone hears one of his wonderful Chiaroscuro Records recordings, they immediately call to order ALL of them. 
Jon Bates
NY, NY USA - Sunday, March 19, 2000 at 09:43:39 (EST)

My brother was the best brother in the world. I loved him so much. I really miss his great talent. He was the best pianist in the world. 
Roger and Claire Nelson
New Kensington, PA USA - Saturday, March 18, 2000 at 15:32:11 (EST)

Costa Center a project which stimulates their enthusiasm and excites their imagination. The Center has the potential to revitalize Arnold and save one of the finest old buildings in town. Recognizing the achievements of the area's finest musicians with an Arts Center is yet another of the many benefits. Johnny Costa should be proud. Thanks, Dr. Glenn, for your invaluable assistance.
John Leonardi
Arnold, PA USA - Wednesday, March 08, 2000 at 12:00:01 (EST)

I am signing this for Sarah, my friend.
andrea korman
newken, pa USA - Sunday, March 05, 2000 at 17:22:19 (EST)

It's heartwarming to see my Father finally being honered for his musical tallents. Their are many wonderful stories I would like to tell about his life. Maybe sometime in the future I will be able to do so. I wish to thank all the people responsible for this web site. Thank you. John D. Costa 
John D. Costa
Lower Burrell, PA USA - Saturday, March 04, 2000 at 09:35:30 (EST)

I have been working on the Johnny Costa song with my best friend, Megan. I don't think I would of been able to do it without her and Mrs.Greco's help, so I want to say thanks.
sarah mauk
arnold, pa USA - Friday, March 03, 2000 at 11:08:42 (EST)

I've been working on this project for 2 years now; thanks to people like Dr. Glenn, it is coming alive.
Greg Baker
NEW KENSINTON, PA USA - Thursday, March 02, 2000 at 17:27:58 (EST)

Music was my father's life and soul. This Center for the Performing Arts that is being made available to children and people of all ages would be a dream of his fulfilled. The Center is also and opportunity to touch future generations with his music and hope to instill in our young people the love and appreciation of music. 
Debbie Costa Elwood
Pittsburgh, Pa USA - Wednesday, March 01, 2000 at 21:58:59 (EST)

Thanks, Dr. Glenn for designing this spectacular website. It's great!! Wish you were here to see Johnny Costa's legacy come alive in the wishes and dreams of the students. It's a thrilling and heart-warming adventure! We invite everyone to "Get Involved in the Johnny Costa Cultural Center. . . and LOVE it!!"
New Kensington, PA USA - Thursday, February 24, 2000 at 21:51:40 (EST)

Really nice website for a really good musician from my home town. I pesonally do not know Johnny Costa nor his music very well but am learning more due to my sister Patricia, the Cookie Queen, involvement in the creation of the Johnny Costa Center. Keep up the good work.
Frank Condelli
Almonte, On Canada - Monday, February 21, 2000 at 06:15:21 (EST)

What a talented musician Mr. Costa was! He is greatly missed. This web page is a wonderful tribute to him. Thank you to all on the committee who are working so hard to preserve his memory.
Janet Donati
Lower Burrell, PA USA - Saturday, February 19, 2000 at 09:37:41 (EST)

You guys are doing a great job on the Web page. Keep it up.
Matt Yeamans
New Ken, PA USA - Saturday, February 19, 2000 at 08:59:34 (EST)

Johnny Costa was not only a talented pianist but a great friend to my father. He will be missed by his friends and family but never forgotten. His music will always remain with those who love him.
Mark Glenn
Placentia, Ca USA - Thursday, February 17, 2000 at 13:12:14 (EST)

I am forever grateful to Dr. Hugh Glenn for introducing me to the beautiful sound of Johnny Costa. 
Gloria E.Castillo
Richmond, CA USA - Thursday, February 17, 2000 at 12:10:51 (EST)

Great job on the web page! Keep up the good work VMS Gift. We are all very proud of your efforts in this awesome endeavor! 
Joanne Cecchi
New Kensington, Pa USA - Wednesday, February 16, 2000 at 14:11:06 (EST)

I've been working with the students at Valley Middle School on this project since the beginning and find it very interesting and fun.
Alice Callahan
Arnold, PA USA - Monday, February 14, 2000 at 16:16:02 (EST)

Johnny Costa played the accordian in Arnold High School's auditorium all through high school. I graduated from high school in 1939. Mr. Frank Oliver was our music teacher. I later heard him play the epiano at the Bachelors Club when I got older. He played beautifully.
Ann Ciciarelli
Arnold, PA USA - Monday, February 14, 2000 at 16:14:15 (EST)

I have known Johnny Costa for many years, and in my opinion he was one of the GREATEST pianists of the century.
Buddy Lee
Arnold, PA USA - Monday, February 14, 2000 at 16:10:08 (EST)

I attended Mt. St. Peter's Parochial School in New Kensington, Pennsylvania in 1956-1964. Debbie, Johnny's daughter, was my friend and classmate. I can still remember today what a special treat it was to have her father come for a visit to entertain the class. He didn't just play the piano, he was a comic as well. Years later, my sister sent me one of his tapes. My son, who was 14 at the time, was listening to it with me in the car, and commented on how "cool" the music was . . . and Johnny Costa captured another generation. 
Maria Biggs
Kemah, TX USA - Friday, February 11, 2000 at 08:55:54 (EST)

Although I never knew or met Johnny Costa in person I've enjoyed his music. A mutual friend of his and mine, Dr. Hugh Glenn told me of your web page and your efforts to establish the Johnny Costa Center. I just wanted to add my wish for your success in recognizing Johnny's legacy. 
H.B. Corcorran <>Santa Ana, CA USA - Thursday, February 10, 2000 at 18:10:04 (EST)

I am a student at Valley Middle School. I am working on the Johnny Costa with Mrs. Thelma Greco. I have learned a lot about Mr. Costa. I am happy that I can help and I hope we achieve the sucess we are trying for. 
Jennifer Pallone <Moonpie_2000@hotmail.comt>New Kensington, PA USA - Thursday, February 10, 2000 at 12:14:24 (EST)

The music of Johnny Costa was my indoctrination to the world of jazz as a child in 1954—an interest that was promoted by my late father, Frank Condelli who also happened to be a friend of Costa's. I am thrilled to be associated with the center to honor the man and his music. As director of Public Relations for the center, I would appreciate hearing from Costa fans. We are collecting comments and recollections for a retrospective about Johnny Costa. Please send your comments to me at Be sure to include your name and the dates of your recollections. We also need photos, news clips and memoriabilia associated with Costa. 

Pat Condelli <>New Kensing ton, PA USA - Wednesday, February 09, 2000 at 19:17:20 (EST)

This area of Western PA has a rich musical heritage with many stellar talents. We should be proud of our own and showcase such spectacular gifts in any way we can. Peoples Library is always looking for native talents and will seek to promote access to these talents. Good luck, Costa Center!
Rhonda Buttacavoli <>New Kensington, PA USA - Wednesday, February 09, 2000 at 12:00:41 (EST)

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