About Walt & Music:
I have been fascinated with music my whole life, primarily composition. I write for myself and perform occasionally. Once in a while, I am asked to write something for someone/something else. I am able, at least sometimes, to write for an occasion, or write to spec.
I have performed for many local charities and fundraisers, most recently the One Guitar CD and Concert benefit for Maureen’s Haven at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall.
I think my music is pretty eclectic. I used to call it "FROJ" – an acronym for "folk, reggae, opera and jazz", but I am not doing anything very operatic these days. Maybe I should call it "FRAJ" Either way, it sounds better than it sounds.
the Alma Mater for Dowling College
In 2007, I co-wrote the Alma Mater for Dowling College with Olivia Marie, We Stand Taller. I definitely wanted something along the lines of Pomp and Circumstance. Lyrically, I wanted something that was truthful and positive, but not maudlin. So I went for a well-deserved sense of accomplishment without getting sappy.
Marie and I were honored at the premier performance of the song at Nassau Coliseum. Alas, my video camera didn’t work, but I got a coffee mug and memories.
"Writing a song is like catching a fish. You never know what you’re going to get."
Third place in the 2007 Dallas Songwriters Association annual competition (Pop/rock category)
A year earlier, my friend Dave challenged me to write a pop-rock song for the song market. He had me listen to a few Jewel and Avril Lavene CDs, which I liked. I don’t normally listen to that stuff, but it had some powerful hooks. I got a sense of what I would like to hear them sing and wrote Beautiful. I recorded the song with Dave and entered it in the 2007 Dallas Songwriters Association - annual Songwriters Competition. Beautiful placed third in the pop-rock category and is on my second CD, 14 Fish, 2 Bottles & a Shoe.
Island Songwriters Showcase
The Island Songwriters Showcase has been really important and helpful to my writing. I joined back in 1995 when I was writing and recording my first CD, Songs of Dunder. I’ve hung in there, gotten a lot of good advice and encouragement over the years. Perhaps more importantly, participating in this group has really focussed my ideas about what makes songs effective, moving and fun.
Over the years, several of my songs have won the ISS Song of the Month award. I think we should give out more awards because, the truth is, they cost nothing.
The Opera Years
I performed for many years (late 90’s) with Opera Pro Voce as a baritone. It was a great group of friends, led by Joy and Al Tepedino, and am fortunate to have been a part. What a workout!
I want to especially acknowledge the memory of my beloved voice teacher and friend, Gloria Hilborn.. Gloria was not only a wonderful teacher and a dear friend, but remains an inspiration and loving presence in my life. I will treasure my memories and my time with her always.
I was introduced to Gloria by another music teacher, friend and inspiration, Dan Slick, my high school music theory teacher who inspired everyone.
WRPI and music school
I studied music theory at SUNY Fredonia and electronic music with Barton McLean and David Tudor at iEar studios/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I also got quite an education at WRPI, the college radio station. Specifically, I auditioned about a hundred CDs per week from unknown artists around the country and around the world. Through that, I gained a bit of persepective on how the music industry views original artists very differently than the artists see themselves.
Tooly Look – Gone Tribe – Reggaematics
Artists and friends I have worked with along the way include the Gone Tribe, the Hold Outs, the Scoundrels, the Reggaematics, Tooly Look, Smokestack Lightning, Angels In Overdrive, the Scoundrels and the Blue Unknown.
I have written, or co-written, songs for a couple of Gone Tribe CDs. In 1995, producer Doug Morrow told me he was producing a blues project called the HOBO Project and had created a cast of Hobo characters with storylines, or backstories. He asked if I would like to write a song and I said sure. Since the CD was going to be blues, I decided to write an up-tempo, happy song, called This is the Good Life. It features some of the characters and romanticized the life of a hobo, which was very much in the spirit of the project.
Tooly Look – No doubt there are at least a dozen people who remember this obscure band I co-founded back in ancient times. Click here for the Official Tooly Look Web Page.
The Hold Outs – For those elite few who remember the Hold Outs, I have a special "treasure" for you. Brace yourself.