Written by Paige McAtee, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 05 April 2014 00:00
Local residents were seranaded by a classical Italian singer this past Sunday, at a performance at the Hicksville Public Library by Salvatore Chiarelli. Chiarelli sang popular and classical songs in both English and Italian while accompanied by pianist Ishmael Wallace.
Chiarelli performed traditional Italian songs such as “Speak To Me Of Love, Mariú”, “I Have But One Heart,” and “O Sole Mio.”
Chiarelli believes that it is his and Wallace’s calling to perform this type of music to as many people as possible. “We want to share the love of this music that we have with so many more people,” he said.
One of the members of the audience, Theresa Putnam, came to the event to hear one of her favorite genres of music performed live. “I find the music very relaxing,” she said. “I’ve always liked Italian music.”
Putnam enjoyed all of the songs Chiarelli sang, especially the song, “O Sole Mio.”
“I think he has a very nice voice,” she said of Chiarelli. “He also has a really good personality, which is important too.”
Although Chiarelli and Wallace have only recently started performing together, they clicked right away, according to Chiarelli. In addition to being a talented pianist, Wallace is also a composer and a baritone singer. “He’s the most talented pianist I’ve ever had,” said Chiarelli of Wallace. “He’s open minded, gifted, and loves all music.”
Chiarelli is a second-generation Italian who grew up on Long Island in Nassau County. He graduated from Seaford High School and went to college at Hofstra University.
Twenty years ago, Chiarelli decided to pursue his dream. “I went back to school, received a masters degree in music education, and learned how to be classically trained as an opera singer,” he said.
Chiarelli did not always have people believe in him. “I had a lot of people tell me ‘you’re past your peak, you’re not going to have a career,’” he said. “I didn’t listen to any of it.”
Singing is in his genes, as Chiarelli’s father is also a singer, and he knew that his abilities would allow him to make it as a performer.
The passion that Chiarelli has for classical Italian music inspires Wallace. “He has found something that people really need, and I don’t think we’re getting that much of,” said Wallace. “He made his own career doing it. He has not had to be dependent on anybody else, except on his own talent.”
Besides performing at libraries, Chiarelli also sings at dinner shows, restaurants, Italian clubs, charitable events and churches. His next local performance will be in Floral Park on April 27. In addition to singing at events, Chiarelli teaches music classes at public schools in Manhattan.
“I get a lot of joy pleasing people, and they give the joy back to me so much more,” said Chiarelli. “I don’t want to lose sight of having fun and enjoying it all.”