1) I grew up in a small town, outside of Syracuse, called Solvay. Over 100 years ago, my great grandfather’s brother started a meat shop in Solvay. Ascioti’s Meat Market is still there today and is famous for their meatballs. Back home, whenever I introduce myself most of the time I get asked “Are you Ascioti’s Meatballs?” This past summer a family from central New York came to the Chapel on a tour. I told them I grew up in Solvay and introduced myself… sure enough they asked, “Are you Ascioti’s Meatballs?”
2) I am a Toronto Blue Jays baseball fan. Why not the Yankees or Mets? When I was growing up, Syracuse had a triple A baseball team, the Syracuse Chiefs. The parent team was the Toronto Blue Jays, and my dad always took me to games. Most of the pros made a stop in Syracuse before heading on to Toronto.
3) Before going off to college and for most of my freshman year I did consider a calling to the priesthood. Fr. Mike Minehan was a good friend and gave me an application to the Syracuse Diocese as a high school graduation gift. We’ll see later, God always wins…
4) I moved to the Albany area to go to college at Saint Rose. As a freshman, I quickly found myself a good friend group. We would get together every morning to eat breakfast before going off to classes. One of the members of our breakfast group, Jimmy, would always sign up to do open mic nights and tell jokes, though I never found him funny. One morning toward the end of our freshman year, Jimmy told us he was going to NYC to try some of the comedy clubs. We all said, “Okay Jimmy, good luck, see you next week.” We never saw Jimmy again… wonder what ever became of him? I heard he moved to Los Angeles.
5) After graduating from Saint Rose, I enjoyed a 25-year career as a composer. I had the opportunity to work with many wonderful musicians during those years and was able to record three CDs. The highlights from my composing career include two performances at Carnegie Hall and I was one of the few composers granted permission to set the poems of Canadian Poetess Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale) to music.
6) One of my secret obsessions is following the life and career of Chef Gordon Ramsay. In 2012, my wife and I were selected to be on a taping of Hotel Hell at the Cambridge Hotel in Cambridge, NY. We had dinner in the hotel and were invited to stay overnight; we had many encounters with Chef Ramsay during the taping. Check out Season 1, Episode 3.
7) Before working at Siena College, I was a music teacher and religion teacher at St. Jude the Apostle School, Pre-k through 6th grade. The priest at the church asked me to do him a favor and help out for a year…it lasted 10 years.
8) My family and I love to spend time outside. Our favorite location is anywhere inside the Adirondack Park. Much of our time is spent kayaking and hiking. My older daughter, Melody, and I are working on hiking the 46 high peaks, we are halfway there at 23.
9) In 2017 I was able to visit Fontaine, Haiti through a group called the Friends of Fontaine. This group supports and does fundraising for St. Gabriel’s School in Fontaine and has a connection to Siena College. I had been a board member of the group and they were sending people to celebrate the first graduating class from St. Gabriel’s. It was a significant trip in my life.
10) God always wins… With the support of my wife and our two daughters, I was ordained to the Albany Diocese as a Permanent Deacon on September 5, 2020. I am currently assigned to St. Michael the Archangel Church in Troy. It is with gratitude to God that I participate in this ministry.