‘Why we joined the union’

Kevin A. Virgilio

Volume 120, No. 6June, 2020

Kevin A. Virgilio

I joined Local 802 because it’s best way to connect with like-minded musicians who are willing to work together toward a common goal. I first started playing music in public elementary school in Pleasant Valley, New York. There were lots of kids in the music program there, and I was assigned to play the trombone (even though I had asked for cello or clarinet). I like to imagine I would have made a fine cellist, but I guess we’ll never know because I’m now way too busy to learn! I studied the trombone with Ronald Borror at the University of Hartford and with Per Brevig at Mannes College. I owe them both a great deal. After my formal education, I started playing with salsa bands to get out of my comfort zone while I looked for work teaching music. Since then, I’ve played with many different groups in countless styles and venues. Those experiences have inspired me to aspire to even greater musical heights. As my career continues, I hope to build myself and my sound with everything that comes my way so I can keep on moving! Making music has always been a retreat for me from the chaos of the universe. It’s a reward in itself, and it’s the only activity in my life that can always feel new and invigorating — more and more as the years go by. When the quarantine started, I embraced the opportunity to collaborate virtually with some talented musicians within my network on a fun new project. Using some experimental recording techniques and classical instrumentation, my friends and I are recording the vocalises of Marco Bordogni. What we have so far sounds beautiful! I also have two really great teaching artist residencies at Community School 61 in the Bronx and at Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies down in Chelsea. Their music departments are small, and I’m having a terrific time laying the groundwork for growth by starting choral, instrumental and general music programs for them. At C.S. 61, we’ve expanded the department to include two choruses, a bucket-drumming club, general music classes for the little ones, and a budding instrumental music program for the fourth and fifth graders.

— Kevin A. Virgilio