If you’ve lived in Verona for any length of time, you know about the strength of Verona’s public school music program. What you may not know is what happens to those musicians after they graduate from Verona High School.
This year, VHS is once again sending students out to major in music at college. Some will go into music education, and some into performance, like Matt Tischio, who has been accepted into William Paterson University’s prestigious Jazz Studies Program. Sean McGinley wanted to combine two key interests, music and engineering, and he is finding a way to do so at a college in Pennsylvania. “I typed the words music, engineering and major into Google, and discovered it is a real major,” he says, with a touch of amazement still in his voice.
Last summer, after the Class of 2010 graduated, MyVeronaNJ.com wrote about what was ahead for several members of that class. We profiled a student headed to nursing school, a group going to hospitality school, and two young women who wanted international educations, one in the U.S. and one abroad. This year, we’ll be looking at students on career tracks and college plans that involve art, music and more. Bookmark the tag “Class of 2011” to read them all.
McGinley, who started singing in a church choir at three, learned to play the baritone horn as a Laning Avenue School fourth grader. He later branched out to guitar (performing with Where Eagles Dare at the “Cops & Rockers” show this past February) and percussion, but kept singing all the time, performing in musicals at H.B.Whitehorne, VHS and the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, where he starred as Judas in “Godspell” this past spring (that’s him above with Michael Hardenberg, also from Verona) and Tevye in “Fiddler On The Roof”. He also managed to find time for three sports and a rigorous schedule of science and math classes. “I guess I didn’t spend a lot of time at home,” he jokes.
The Internet turned up several colleges that offer degrees in music engineering, several of which were close to Verona. After college visits, applications and in-person vocal auditions, he was accepted at three schools and made his decision: York College of Pennsylvania. “It is close, it is affordable and it has great food,” quips McGinley, ever the hungry teenager. Turning serious, he offers heartfelt thanks to Barbara and Noel Piercy, Verona residents who are, respectively, the minister and director of music at First Presbyterian. “They gave me so much help in preparing my auditions,” he says.
York College’s four-year music engineering program can prepare him for working on a concert sound system or in a recording studio. If he adds courses in audio engineering, which York also offers, he could get into things like sound proofing or building the next great audio device.
There’s just one thing that could make this all better, confides McGinley, who was on the cross country and track teams at VHS. “I’d really like to throw javelin at college too.” And he may be in luck: York College has an impressive track and field program as well.
We’ll leave you with this video of McGinley performing “Sixteen Tons” at a concert last year, with Troy Locatell, Alex Eliasof and Michael Hardenberg.