“I Can Walk Again”
I think this has shaped me as much as any other achievement in my life. Back in the early 90’s, it was hard to find a surgeon that would replace the hips of a nineteen year old. Yet, my mother persevered and found a great doctor out of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He took a weekend retreat before my surgery to clear his mind and study my unique case. That summer, I had the surgery and for the third time in my life, I learned how to walk. (At age 7, I overcame collapsed vertebrae, and relearned how to walk for the second time.)
This experience has given me the strength to overcome many challenges in my life. Now that I am married and a parent, it has also given me another gift. I would do anything for my daughters, just as my mother did what she had to do to find a way for me to walk again.
“Love Who You Are First, then Love the People Around You”
I believe my identity is a blessing. My identity has been a natural evolution – nurtured by an incurable childhood illness, an absentee father, and the loving unyielding strength of a woman who is my beautiful mother. When you nurture your inner nature, your spirit becomes a visible presence, allowing it to live, breathe and flourish, while destroying that which is of decline, decay and numbness.
I will always be “Daddy” to my daughters and identify with the birth name my mother chose for me – the name I’ve always known. My gender is unique and my spirit is strong. I strive to live my life as an example of someone embracing that which has been bestowed upon them to find peace and happiness from within.
To live with the presence of my true spirit – that spirit which has annihilated obstacles in its path – is the way I’ve found true strength and happiness.
“Dies Magna Requiem”
The first year my 9/11 requiem was prepared and performed, we raised over $11,000 for local veterans in need through the performances. I was humbled to receive the 2010 Person of the Year in the Arts from the local newspaper and then the local Lions Club, but the most meaningful recognition came from my choir. At our final performance, my Long Island Voices choir gave me this plaque to commemorate the achievement. Long Island Voices has gone on to perform Dies Magna Requiem on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, and will hopefully be performing it again, with its new orchestration and final movement. Many of my singers have continued to volunteer to sing with me and for our veterans. That very first performance of Dies Magna Requiem and the friends who sang with me in that choir will always be very special to me.
“Greatest Achievement: My true happiness is my wife and our children”
Sometimes the music in your life presents itself through the spirit of the people around you. My family is my true happiness. They are the oxygen in the fresh air of the world around me.
I first sought happiness from within. Then, Melissa came into my life. Soon after, our lives and our joys became inseparable, and through that came the beauty of two remarkable girls, Zoë and Kiera.
“The journey continues!”
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