John J. Cerniglia, a longtime resident of Schenectady, passed away suddenly on Friday, September 25, 2020 at his home. Born on May 1, 1957, he was the son of the late Benjamin and Patricia (Lucey) Cerniglia. A 1975 graduate of Scotia-Glenville High School, John was accepted to The Julliard School of Music but chose to attend SUNY Albany and received his Bachelor’s Degree from The College of St. Rose. John was employed by the Schenectady County Department of Social Services as a claims representative for the past 25 years.
A boy Chorister at St. George’s Episcopal Church, Schenectady, John went on to sing in the Choir of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Albany where he has been a member and a chorister for over 40 years. There he sang as a soloist and was a favorite of the boys and girls in the treble section - entertaining them with his musical antics, while also imparting music knowledge and encouragement. As a chorister, John traveled to Washington, DC several times and sang in the National Cathedral. John also traveled with the choir to England 7 times and sang in the following cathedrals while there: Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Exeter, Llandaff, Salisbury, York Minster and St. Mary’s in Edinburgh, Scotland, Lichfield, St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, Bristol, Worcester and Chichester. In addition to the choir, he was also a Lector, a member of the Altar Guild, a volunteer at the Church Mouse Thrift Shop, and volunteered his time and many talents on activities and fundraisers. John loved his St. Peter’s Family and will truly be missed by all that knew him.
John was an extraordinarily gifted musician, as pianist, violist, and vocalist. As a piano teacher, he was able to make learning fun, while never losing focus on the fundamentals. Much in demand as a pianist for social events, John could be heard playing from memory everything from Beethoven and Chopin to rags, movie music, and popular songs, often for hours at a time. For many years he played the piano for holidays and social events at The Fort Orange Club in Albany.
John is survived by a brother James Cerniglia of Ballston Lake, a sister Mary Gergich of Schenectady, a nephew David Gergich of Schenectady, his lifelong friend Lori Mickle, and the St. Peter’s Choir and parishioners whom John always said were his “family”. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother Mark Cerniglia.
There will be no calling hours. Interment will be in the Columbarium at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Albany. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on church services and singing, a Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date to be announced so that we can honor John’s wishes to have a full choral service with the choir that he so loved.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Choir Fund, 107 State Street, Albany, NY 12207.
Arrangements are by Cannon Funeral Home, 2020 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12205. To leave a condolence or share a memory, visit www.cannonfuneral.com.
To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral store.