Music: My Other Life

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Listen to mp3 files of Fr. Dennis's music

Fr. D.'s unabashadly biased list of the top 10 popular albums, with honorable mentions

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I have always had a lot of interests, but music has always been my main "avocation." I love both listening to it and playing it. I play guitar and drums, sing, and occasionally write music. In none of the above would I consider myself professional, though I have sometimes gotten paid for performing.

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24/Seven Live on the Sarazen Student Union Patio, July 15, 2001

During the fall of 2000 I joined a new band called 24/Seven with two Siena graduates, Mike Murphy and Steve Wilson. We play both original and cover tunes, and currently have a setlist of about fifty songs, including several originals. Our first official "gig" was at Our Lady of the Assumption parish on March 22, 2001, where we played at a coffee house for the youth program.  We also played at the Grand Opening of the Sarazen Student Union at Siena on April 7, 2001, and performed for Siena College's Summer Orientation program during the summers of 2001-2004. We have released two CDs of original music, "New Day" and "Just a Thought," which are available for purchase at 24/Seven's website and at cdbaby.com, as well as through iTunes.

From 1994-1996 I was in a band called Petting Zoo, with a group of Siena students and (at various times) one to two other faculty members. I have also played in other bands, starting with a high-school garage-band called Blue Sinn (its leader, Kevin Holmes, loved playing the blues so we did a lot of that--at that time, I was the drummer). Later, I was a member of a folk band called Spring Fever during my first year of graduate school at the University of Chicago (by that time, I was a guitarist). I've also done a lot of singing and playing in church (which should come as no surprise!), and a fair amount of playing in a "coffee house" setting, both alone and with various partners, including my brother Anthony.

Over the years, I have been fairly heavily involved in liturgical music. In my early years as I friar I wrote a lot of church music, mostly settings for Mass parts and psalms. In the early 1980s, some of these were recorded on a demo tape, along with several songs by Fr. Anthony Fedell. Anthony, who died in 2003, was a professional musician whose compositions were renowned in Holy Name Province. To hear a few samples of this music, click on the MP3 link below.

As far as listening goes, I enjoy most types of music, including classical, jazz, and rock. As a child of the sixties, I continue to be intensely interested in rock and roll. I am not a big country music fan, though I am starting to be won over by such artists as Allison Krauss. Some of my favorite artists right now include the Dave Matthews Band, Guster, Blues Traveler, Marshall Crenshaw, Green Day [I guess I should be embarrassed to admit this!], the Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants, and a German group called Die Prinzen [the Princes; please note that all text on their website is in German, not English]. I still follow the careers of some classic rock and folk/rock artists like James Taylor, Paul Simon, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, The Roches, Bob Dylan, the late Roy Orbison, and the surviving Beatles (having been something of a Beatlemaniac in my life!) Lately I have been getting more hooked on "older" music from the 40s and 50s: early Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, big bands like Glenn Miller, etc.

There are two musicians who have had a special influence on me both musically and personally. They are Dr. John (Doc) Anello, and his son John Anello Jr., my best friend since the first grade. Doc Anello is the man who first taught me music, giving me clarinet lessons when I was in grade school (I never did stay with the clarinet--sorry, Doc!) Doc has released three terrific CDs of jazz and big band songs, "It Just Plain Swings," "Jumpin' Jive," and "A Swingin' Christmas Wish." The CDs are produced by John Jr., a jazz guitarist and composer who has cut several albums himself and has released two collections of his songs on CD. I highly recommend that you listen to Doc and John's music, which is available from Cexton Records, an independent jazz label that John Jr. has been running for many years. John also produces several other jazz artists. My favorite is "Beachfront Property," a vocal jazz ensemble in the tradition of the Manhatten Transfer.

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