My interest in singing began early in my childhood with my love of repeating television and radio jingles. (Much to the chagrin of my family and friends!) In grade school, I began playing the alto saxophone and studied it privately under George Clewer of McKeesport for several years. I continued my playing in high school, where I was fortunate enough to march and play for the renowned McKeesport Area High School Band, which had a tradition of excellence in music. I also made a foray into brass during those years by teaching myself the mellophone and performing with it in our marching show in my senior year of high school.
My vocal experiences have been many and varied over the years. I began singing in my parish choir at St. Denis in Versailles, PA, in high school. It was there that my friend Celeste Cafasso, the music director, invited me to be a cantor, which is a Catholic leader of song. That started me on an over twenty-year journey with what I have called my first love, liturgical music. I have been a cantor, choir member, liturgical leader, and composer of liturgical music at St. Joseph in Port Vue and St. Stephen in Hazelwood with my musical collaborator, Christine Elek. One of the most touching experiences of my life has been watching people so filled with emotion over one of my compositions for their parish, that they wept when they sang it.
During that time, I was also a member of the Pittsburgh Diocesan Choir, the San Damiano Consort, and ALPHA, singing as a tenor in various forms of sacred music.
In the late 1990's I took a completely different turn in my musical style and joined a musical review group called Sophisticated Rhythm, under the direction of Patty Kearns. We sang and danced the songs of Gershwin, Sondheim, Berlin and others in several local venues. I learned a lot about performing and stage presence from this great troupe. I have many warm (and fun!) memories of our Christmas shows.
I took a dramatic and exciting change in my musical repertoire yet again in the spring of 2005 when I joined the Coro Latinoamericano (Latin American Choir of Pittsburgh). Armed only with my high school Spanish and a brief CCAC refresher course, I tackled the lyrics and melodies of some of the most beautiful music I had ever sung. At this same time, I fulfilled a life-long dream of playing a soprano saxophone by purchasing one and practicing at home. Jorge, Melissa and I were asked to perform for the Colombian Independence last summer, and have been performing together at various places ever since.
My wish is to keep learning and growing in music and hopefully to expand my vocal and instrumental repertoire in the years to come! Oh, and I still remember that Kmart is your saving store, where your dollar buys you more!
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