Antonio Lanni was born December 8, 1926 in the small town of Cassino, Frosinone Italy. When he was 18, his home was the battleground between the German troops and the allied troops fighting to reach Rome. When he was 21 he married Antonietta Venditti. Antonio knew that to improve his family's circumstances he would have to make drastic changes. September 1951 he emigrated to Canada, leaving his young wife and two small children to wait. He found employment in Goose Bay, Labrador, living in tents during the winter and blasting through the Canadian Shield to build a railway, earning $60 a week. In 1953 he moved to Toronto and sent for his family. In Toronto he continued working in physically demanding manual labour until he was able to start his construction company in 1956. It was also the year that his son Arnold was born. September 27, 1970, after being picked up at the airport in Rome, he was tragically killed in an accident at an unmarked train crossing in Italy.
Antonio's hard work and sacrifice brought financial security to the family. When Arnold was a young child, his father bought this piano. Antonio did not play piano but he found that even the discordant poorly played music was a great stress relief after a long work day. After Antonio's tragic death, young teenager Arnold was drawn to the piano as a means of connecting to his father. Arnold taught himself how to play and it was on this piano that he wrote When I'm With you and Dream Come True for his bands Sheriff and Frozen Ghost. He also co-wrote countless other songs for artists he developed, including Wild T, Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, Simple Plan and many others.
In 2020 Arnold established the Antonio Lanni Songwriting award in memory of his Father's work ethic and his love of music. Arnold chose Fanshawe because of its time honoured reputation. Many respected professionals and peers have attended or worked at Fanshawe, starting with the legendary Jack Richardson who was one of Arnold's musical heroes.