For John Giovannoni, co-owner of The Music Room in downtown Palatine, a dying request has become a reason to celebrate.
"His request before he passed away was that he didn't want a service or a memorial or a funeral or any of that, but he wanted a party," said Lindsey Lindstrom, a former employee who is organizing the party.
The party celebrating Giovannoni's life will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at The Music Room, 26 N. Brockway in Palatine. It will feature photographs of Giovannoni at various stages of his life, as well as a slide presentation.
Giovannoni, 45, of Palatine, died Jan. 13 of brain cancer. He was diagnosed in December of 2011, and left The Music Room so he could focus on fighting his illness.
Giovannoni's life revolved around music. Besides his work at The Music Room, he played drums and trombone with the Elmhurst Jazz Band and the band Simply Vintage, and also taught music at both Quest Academy and St. Theresa's in Palatine. He emceed Palatine's yearly Pet Parade, and judged its Battle of the Bands.
Friends and co-workers spoke of Giovannoni's kindness, great sense of humor and love of music.
"John was like family to me,' said Lindstrom, who's worked at The Music Room for 13 years. "The thing that I celebrate the most about just having him in my life for that period of time was how loving he always was. Just very loyal and always took care of me."
Giovannoni made working at the retail store and music school fun, she added.
"Even though he was my boss, we would just laugh all day long. That was something that I hold dear in my heart when I think about him," she said.
The Music Room co-owner, Carol Cook, met Giovannoni 22 years ago when she hired him to play in a band she was putting together for a children's' musical. The two joined forces to open The Music Room in Palatine in 1994. It was originally located at 49 W. Slade Street, but in 2005, the business moved a half block east to 26 N. Brockway, where it stands today.
When they decided to go into business together, Giovannoni was managing a music store in Barrington, and Cook wanted to open her own business.
"His sense of humor really defined him," Cook said. "He was a very funny person and very outgoing."
Giovannoni was like an encyclopedia of knowledge about musical instruments, she added. For example, if an instrument line was being manufactured overseas and not in the United States, Giovannoni knew the line would have a different quality level, and he could pin it down to the years. If a guitar was made in a certain year, he knew the wood on the neck would change the value of the instrument.
"Even the difference of one year could mean thousands of dollars," Cook said. "That was his forte, not mine, for sure."
Cook said her business partner and friend loved learning about the history of musical instruments, the companies and their products.
"He would pore through the trade rags just learning about these companies," she said.
He also learned from on-the-job experience and working with musicians and customers.
"He was very, very caring about his customers and he wanted to deliver the best products and the best service that he could," Cook said. "I'm going to miss him horribly."
Giovannoni is survived by his wife, Chris Mitchell of Palatine; his parents, grandmother, sister, and many other family members.
A John Giovannoni Memorial Scholarship has been established. For details how to donate, call The Music Room at (847) 934-5440.