Hello from Rochester, NY

By Nick Sciarratta

Fred Costello has been the Red Wings Organist for the past 47 years having played for over 3,311 games. Add in over 1,500 games for the Amerks, Zeniths & Sabres and you’ve got the country’s most experienced and respected Organist in the business. He is now the longest reigning sports organist in history!  But, there’s much more to Rochester’s sports icon. Most fans don’t know that Fred spent 11 years on the road with his band as a top jazz and lounge performer playing clubs in Las Vegas, Hollywood, Canada, Mexico & the Bahamas. Now you get to know him a little more intimately.

Birthplace: Syracuse, NY

Marital Status: Married Canadian Cathie Benson in Hollywood, Calif.

Job Activities: Organist for the Red Wings, leader of the Jazz Group Fred Costello & Co., owner of Costello Music.

Proudest Accomplishments: Children Jackie, Chris and Terry.

Favorite Childhood Memory: My Dad hitting me ground balls every night after work, no matter how tired he was.

Teams That Have Asked To Join Them: Yankees, Mets, Rockies, 76ers, Sabres.

Why I switched from accordion to organ: No place to set the drink!

Favorite Visitors to the Organ Booth:  Carmen Basilio, Jim Kelly, Mickey Mantle, Ron Guidry, Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford .& 100’s of friends.

Favorite Piece Of Memorabilia: Red Wings Championship rings from 1988-90-97.

Top Red WingThrill: Playing 3rd base for Johnny Antonelli’s team in an old-timers game before 9,000 fans at Silver Stadium.

Favorite Quote: “Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”

Currently Reading: “Cult Vegas” (The history of the entertainment in Vegas) and “The Comedians” (A history of Comedy) 

My Best Red Wing Ideas: 2nd inning trivia contest, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” sing-a-long & writing “Here Come The Red Wings” theme song.

I’d Like To Forget: Breaking my finger during a Red Wing front office softball game & playing the organ for three weeks with a splint!

Best Night Clubs Having Played: Fremont Hotel, Las Vegas; Sinatra’s Cal-Neva Lodge, Lake Tahoe; Kings Inn, Bahamas; Playboy Club, Hollywood; Capri Club, Tijuana, Mexico.

Shared Same Bill: Johnny Mathis, Buddy Rich, Bobby Darin, Tom Jones, Wayne Newton, Johnny Cash, Della Reese, Four Freshmen, RPO.

Favorite Memories: Recalling a fun career writing my autobiography, “A Lifetime Of Nightclubs & Ballparks”.

Best Things Of 11 Years On The Road: The excitement and challenge of each new club and city and the great friends made, some of which I’m still close to.

One Thing I’d Change: Would have cherished every moment of those “road” years, not realizing then that they’d be over some day.

Toughest Road Trip For My Band: Finishing up in Hamilton, Ontario at 2am on a Sunday and driving 1400 miles in a snowstorm to open up Monday in Fargo, N. Dakota!

Best Cities I’ve Lived In: San Diego, CA;  Hollywood, CA; Colorado Springs, CO.

If I Weren’t A Musician I’d Like To Be: Rich!

Most Recent Award: 2023 Induction to the Rochester Music Hall Of Fame.

Hobbies: Like most full-time musicians, my music is both my job & hobby.

Boyhood Heroes: My Dad and lots of great people you’ve never heard of, but heroes nonetheless.

The Future?: I don’t think too much of the future, only what I’m doing now. In the words of Louis Armstrong; “Musicians don’t retire because they get old. They get old because they retire”

Fred Costello & Co. – Rochester International Jazz Festival June 26th, 7:30 & 9:30

This page was last updated on 3/31/2023.


♦ "Fred Costello - Anthology" CD $15.00 (includes shipping)

"Blues Backstage" CD $15.00 (includes shipping)

"A Lifetime Of Nightclubs & Ballparks"
Book $20.00 (includes shipping)



Mail to:
Costello Music
P.O. Box 25176
Rochester, NY 14625

 “Anthology” CD:
$15.00 (includes shipping)

“Blues Backstage” CD:
$15.00 (includes shipping)

“A Lifetime Of Nightclubs & Ballparks” Book:
$ 20.00 (includes shipping)



"Fred Costello - Anthology" CD $15.00 (includes shipping)

"Blues Backstage" CD $15.00 (includes shipping)

"A Lifetime Of Nightclubs & Ballparks"
Book $ 20.00 (includes shipping)