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Haverhill

December 23, 2008

96-year-old once tuned pianos for Johnny Cash, Liberace and Bing Crosby

Experiences include working with Johnny Cash, Liberace, Bing Crosby

HAVERHILL — A well-known musician in his day, Edolo "Ed" Lupi was in demand as a violinist and trumpet player, as well as a piano tuner. There was a time when you could consider Lupi a tuner to the stars.

At age 96, he said a glass of Chianti a day keeps him going. He still plays the violin from time to time, continues to tune pianos for friends, and has not lost his wry sense of humor or his talent for telling a good story.

"I asked a priest when I'm going to die and he said I won't tell you," Lupi said. "I told him I'm going to a synagogue and they'll tell me."

Lupi was introduced to music at an early age by his father, a trombone player. It wasn't long before his budding musical talents started earning him money.

While attending Haverhill High School in the late 1920s, Lupi made money playing with local bands and orchestras. During the 1930s, he played violin with an orchestra that performed at the Paradise Club in Lawrence.

"A fellow from Manchester (N.H.) called me over to his table and said he liked the way I played and would I be interested in playing on cruise ships," he said.

Lupi packed his bags, violin and trumpet, and was off to the Caribbean.

"Bing Crosby was staying at the same hotel and he bought our band a round of drinks," Lupi said. "I worked on the cruise lines until I got married in 1940."

He continued playing professionally and giving music lessons. Then in 1950, Lupi learned to tune pianos. He still has, and uses, his first tuning wrench, given to him by a local piano tuner who was retiring at the time.

"He said I had a good ear for tuning and that I did a good job," Lupi said.

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