Dan, you are an accomplished high school vocalist. When did you first begin to sing with a choir? How did you get started?
First of all, I’m honored that you think I’m accomplished. I first began singing my freshman year. I was terribly shy and at the time I was embarrassed to be a guy in choir. I thought it was “lame” to be in choir and was constantly worried about what others were thinking. I even pretended I couldn’t sing high because my fragile masculinity couldn’t handle not being super low bass. Luckily, in the choir, I found some great friends in the upperclassmen and our amazing choir teacher, Mrs. Ferraro, who all helped me to break away from that toxic mentality. I joined the Chamber Choir later that year. By 10th grade, I was comfortable singing high notes and I even thought it was pretty cool. I am now very comfortable with who I am and that’s a tenor 1 for life.
What type of music is your favorite to practice and perform? Do you have a favorite composer?
My favorite type of music to sing and perform is probably anything full of chord clusters. I love when songs are filled with dissonance and tension. My favorite composer is Eric Whitacre.
How much time do you devote to your singing? How do you balance that time with studying and other endeavors?
In a typical week, I devote about four hours to singing. Voice lessons, choir gigs and practice for our musical theater productions can add to this time. This time is usually during the academic day so it doesn’t interfere with my studying.
You have been involved in many SCSD concerts and performances. Your recent performance as Marius in the SHS production of “Les Mis” was fantastic! Do you have a stand-out memory from any of those concerts or performances?
Thank you! I’m flattered. My favorite moment from the shows was definitely during “Empty Chairs” during the Saturday performance. I got a really bad runny nose and had to keep sniffing during the whole song. Afterwards, people kept coming up to me to ask me if I had been crying during this emotional song. The audience thought it was raw emotion and sadness, but it was really just a runny nose.
If you could fast forward to where you think you want to be in 10 years, where would you be? Do you plan to continue singing?
Gee, in 10 years I’d love to be singing, but it won’t be my profession. Ideally, I’ll be a physicist. Perhaps I’ll discover something untold about our universe. But, I’ll always make time to sing when I can. That’s something I can never neglect.
As a senior at SHS, what kind of advice would you give to younger SCSD students who want to be involved in the performing arts?
My biggest advice is to just go for it and don’t care too much about what other people think, especially for freshmen. As I mentioned, joining choir as a freshman boy might seem scary—and it was for me—but believe me… what people find cool is passion and talent. There’s an amazing community in the high school and everyone is so supportive and friendly. I’ve met some amazing people in choir and it’s an opportunity I’m glad I didn’t squander as a self-conscious freshman.
This interview was submitted by STARS (Somers Tuskers Arts Rising Stars), a booster club made up of parents and staff members committed to supporting the performing arts in the Somers Central School District. Part of the STARS mission is to educate the community about the student performers, their talents and their work ethic. For more information, please visit: somersschools.org, and click on the “Visual and Performing Arts” tab to get to the STARS web page. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.