Orquestra Antonetti began as a vision of Victor Antonetti Sr. His move from Salinas, Puerto Rico to Upstate New York led to Victor Antonetti Sr. wanting to establish a Latin orchestra for the salsa lovers of Rochester after playing in multiple family members bands around the area in the 1970s. Victor Antonetti’s son, Victor Antonetti Jr. eventually took over the position of the director of Orquestra Antonetti, and continues as the director today. The group boasts a traditional Latin music sound through its percussion instruments, while incorporating a jazz flare through it’s multiple horn instruments.
The group has continued to remain true to the traditional music it once played back in the 70s. Carrying on the tradition is easy for the Antonetti family which is extremely musical. While other families might have one musician, every member of the family, from Victor Antonetti Jr's great-great grandfather to his children today are musically inclined. Antonetti Jr. says, “they stick with the music and perform.” This drive to carry on the music is what has kept it alive.
The orchestra’s most recent CD released May 14, 2016 titled, Orquestra Antonetti "Pa' Rato" is a culmination of that idea that the family will carry on the tradition. “Pa' Rato” translates to “for a long time”, which Antonetti Jr. says means “the music is in the blood, hopefully it’ll never die.” The long line of Antonetti musicians continues to grow and still perform.
The family helps develop the basic skills such as the rhythm section that comes from the Latin roots of the music, but then move onto becoming professionally trained. It all begins at the home and at an early age. Antonettie Jr. says that his father would, “buy congas, take us to shows, and make us practice every single day.” If his kids we’re going to be interested in music is was going to be Latin music done right. Antonetti Jr. began piano lessons at the age of six and kept learning all different types of instruments.
Antonetti Jr. says the knowledge of knowing how to play multiple instruments has helped immensely when being able to write music for the 14 member orchestra. Music that not only sounds good, but is playable for all members is key in successful songs. Antonetti Jr. says, “I’m lucky to have the talented guys I have.” While throughout the years members have come on gone, all have brought their own style to the orchestra .
While the band has backed up many famous artists such as Tito Allen, Rafael De Jesus, Hector Tricoche, Ismael Miranda, and Johnny Rivera, they have kept Rochester as their home base. Jr. says, “it’s the family that keeps us here.”
The band has held onto the traditional style of the shows as well. Today, shows with large Latin bands often perform their CD song by song and that’s it. Orquestra Antonetti has also focused on keeping the dancing and entertainment side alive. Antonetti Jr. says, “sometimes when we do shows we don’t take any breaks, to keep the flow going.”
In the future the band is looking to promote their CD to a larger audience and start to begin to make new music within the next couple of months. The second track on the album titled 'Controladora' has already hit the Billboard charts. Antonetti says, “growing internationally is something that we want to do. We want to not only get the band out there but Rochester as well, and the music that we have here.”
Antonetti Jr. says, “It’s not something we’re getting rich at, we just love doing it.”