Obituary of Teri Rini Kopp
August 24, 1938 – November 28, 2023
Teri Rini Kopp, Hilton Head’s beloved First Lady of Jazz, passed away peacefully November 28, 2023 at her home in Indigo Run while surrounded by her loving family. Teri was well known around the island and beyond for her musical talents, quick wit, and intense love of Hilton Head Island.
Teri was born Theresa Marie Capuzello in Youngstown, Ohio and began her musical journey playing piano at the age of 5. At 10 years old she was invited to study classical music at Youngstown University’s Dana School of Music.
At age 15, Teri and her father, Frank Capuzello, also an accomplished musician, had a live variety show on station WKBN where her piano playing and singing were featured. Teri was also quite the academic, finishing high school at age 16. Her career blossomed and she was always able to quickly establish a loyal following wherever she played. She became quite well known in the Pittsburgh, PA area in the late 60’s and 70’s, and was awarded the city’s “Top Female Jazz Performer” and a year later Pittsburgh’s number one jazz performer.
Teri performed with many of the jazz greats including Duke Ellington, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Freddie Cole, and Savanah’s own Ben Tucker. She opened for many popular performers, including Billie Eckstine, Mac Davis, Marty Allen, and Pat Cooper, and performed for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johson.
On her way to Florida, she stopped over in Hilton Head to play and fell in love with the island. She made it her home for more than four decades, during which time she was named “Hilton Head’s First Lady of Jazz.” Teri played with all of the amazing local musicians countless times at the Jazz Corner, as well as many other well-known jazz venues. While in Hilton Head she also developed a keen interest in real estate and was an independent agent and licensed broker for many years.
Teri was also known as a generous supporter of many causes: Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia, United Way, and Walterboro’s Hampton Street Auditorium renovation, to name a few. She was a founding member of Hilton Head’s Jazz Society and Savannah’s Coastal Jazz Society. She was a board member of the local chapter of the Red Cross, a member of the Italian Club of Hilton Head, and a regular performer at the Gullah Festival.
Teri passed just a few months after her husband, Laurence Kopp. Larry, a retired Nuclear Physicist. Larry was also a jazz musician who was also capable of playing multiple instruments, but was mostly seen sporting the clarinet and singing. Together they graced the island, jazz cruises, and venues in other cities and states, with their music, wit, and charm and will be greatly missed as a couple, but also each individually.
Teri is survived by her children, Nick (Monica) Rini of New York, NY, Robert “Moose” (Lynsey) Rini of Hilton Head, David (Carol) Kopp of Maryland, Karen (Jack) Kopp Dutiel of Virginia, eleven grandchildren, ten greatgrandchildren, siblings Mary Jane Madeline, George Capuzello (Mary Ann), Fran (Joe) Russ, Linda (Mike) O’Brien, numerous loving nieces and nephews, and is predeceased by her sons Frank (Cindy) Rini and Lee (Sannette) Greenberg of Hilton Head.
The family thanks Karen Kelly and Lavonia Bryan for the love and care they provided for Teri and her late husband, Larry Kopp, and Hospice Care of the Low Country for their excellent service and personalized end of life care.