Now that a new year is upon us, I thought I'd write an overview of this past year musically to encapsulate the journey. February-March '09: Played the run of the show "Hot 'n' Cole" at the Kavinoky Theatre. With instrumentation for two pianos, Michael Hake and I played our fingers off on some awesome piano arrangements. April-May '09: Music directed the original musical "Bada Bing! Bada Boom!" at Musicalfare Theatre, for which I learned the accordion. That really made my brain work. Kind of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time! Lots of well-known Italian-American songs including "That's Amore." June-July '09: Music directed "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" at Musicalfare. Brought back by popular demand, the show was very successful and a lot of fun, especially the end of Act II when our onstage 8-man+ band kicked into high gear. In addition to music directing, I played the role of the Emcee and, yes, had to wear a short haired wig! July '09: Also during July, I vocal directed "Grease" for the summer youth program STAGE. It was really a great group of students and staff who were very supportive of me and my music. I had a lot of fun with them. July 5: Had a gig at the Friendship Festival at Riverside Park. Due to everyone's hectic summer schedules, had only one rehearsal with the bass player and drummer. Whew! In addition was joined by my brother Greg and cousin Josh on guitar, and my high school friend Jen on backup (and duet) vocals. July 20: Gig at the beautiful Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, which has amazing acoustics. The kids from "Grease" rocked the first few rows of the theater with their loud enthusiasm. A great night. July-August '09: Played Dan, one of the brothers, in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at Artpark. Favorite moment: The Megamix! (It was during this time that I accidentally stuck a car key in my eye and scratched my cornea. I learned a big life lesson on this one: Don't put a key in your eye; it kinda f***ing hurts!) Sept.-Nov '09: Music directed Jonathan Larson's "tick, tick...Boom!" for the Niagara University Theater Department. Great songs. A story that was kind of like hearing my own story every night. Dec. '09: Music directed a new musical for Musicalfare Theatre called "Crossroad Blues," full of classic blues songs. Worked with a great cast! So, in looking back at this past year of work, it has really been an eclectic and fun time. So many different styles of music, so many different settings and people. I'm very thankful that I have been given so many opportunities. Whether it was doing pop gigs of my own music or doing runs of theater shows, this past year has been full of emotion, family, friends and life. 2010, here I come! Happy New Year, everybody!!