Pax People: Nick Graziano, raising his voice loudly

Pax People: Nick Graziano, raising his voice loudly

Nick Graziano, facility manager with NAS Patuxent River Public Works Department, has sung in choirs for years.

Nick Graziano is getting ready to raise his voice in song, as the beginning of St. Maries Musica’s fall season is just around the corner.

“St. Maries Choral Arts has five singing groups and the one I’m with is called St. Maries Musica,” explained Graziano, facility manager at Pax River’s Public Works Department. “It’s an auditioned group with about 30 active singers.”

Having enjoyed singing since he was a child, Graziano captured the lead in his elementary school’s 8th grade musical and has been performing in some capacity ever since.

“I was in various school choirs and then in community and church choirs, even singing in the German church choir in the town where we lived in Germany for three years,” he said. “As far as joining Musica, my daughter’s friend joined and then encouraged her. I thought it’d be nice to join with her so we could have daddy-daughter time, so I auditioned just after last Christmas.”

Musica has two performance seasons – spring, where they can be seen dressed in formal attire generally singing songs from the 20th century – and fall, where they are most often found in Renaissance costume, singing carols and seasonal songs from several different time periods.

“We sing a variety of songs,” Graziano noted. “We might sing something like ‘Masquerade’ from Phantom of the Opera during a spring concert, but we might also sing an Indian song in native language. We also sang the national anthem at a Southern Maryland Crabs game, which was a lot of fun.”

In addition to Regency Furniture Stadium, the group has performed in the Maryland State House in Annapolis, at local restaurants and high schools, and at Friday concerts in St. Mary’s City, among other venues.

“Our choir director, TC O’Brien, is top notch,” Graziano said. “She’s one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s challenging, but fun; and everyone is up to the challenge.”

The group practices two hours every Monday night during the school year, but Graziano – who is labeled Base 2, the lowest vocal range – admits to adding several more hours of practice each week to keep up.

“There are at least five music teachers just in Musica, so you can imagine what a talented group it is,” he added, “I’m honored to be part of them.”

With 10 songs per performance and about five or six performances each season, it takes some effort to be ready to take the stage, but Graziano doesn’t mind. In fact, he looks forward to it.

“If you’re in the choir, you have to commit to attending 80 percent of the practices, but I can’t stand to not go, so I try never to miss,” he said. “I absolutely love the people, they really are like family.”

Ask Graziano to name his favorite performance and he’ll tell you last spring’s cabaret was “stupendous.” Ask him where he’d love to perform some day and he mentions the Kennedy Center or National Cathedral. Ask him what else he’d like to say about Musica and he extends an invitation to anyone interested in trying out.

“Singers of all talent levels are welcome to join, so come try out or bring your spouse or children; we always need more people,” he said. “You can find more information about all of the various choirs and their performances at www.smchoralarts.org. Also, there’s an audition coming up at Leonardtown High School at 6 p.m. on Aug. 15.”