By Hiba Samdani and Umar Samdani, Photography Editor and Co-T/E Life Editor Assistant principal Anthony DiLella is not a typical musician. He is proficient in not one, not two, but eight different instruments. The school administrator ignited his interest in the musical world from a young age. When he was in fourth grade, DiLella’s father...
By Hiba Samdani and Umar Samdani, Photography Editor and Co-T/E Life Editor
Assistant principal Anthony DiLella is not a typical musician. He is proficient in not one, not two, but eight different instruments.
The school administrator ignited his interest in the musical world from a young age. When he was in fourth grade, DiLella’s father inspired him to start playing an instrument. Over time, this passion drove him to play several musical instruments, including the trumpet, piano, guitar, bass guitar and multiple woodwind instruments.
“My dad was a bass player, and I would watch him play and I got interested,” DiLella said. “I went to a very small Catholic school [that] only offered piano lessons down in the basement of the rectory with an old piano that was out of tune, and then it kind of developed from there.”
Dilella has been a member of multiple bands. His most memorable experience was with the Lima Bean Riot. The band played four times a week, and DiLella was the lead bass player. One thing DiLella finds inspiring in these musicians is the devotion they show to their music.
“What I’ve learned about all the people I’ve played with, from the classical people to like the rock musicians, is that every single one of these people (is) extremely passionate about their music, whether it’s made up of three chords, or whether it’s a 30 piece orchestrated composition,” DiLella said.
For DiLella, musical inspiration comes from bands and singers he enjoys listening to. DiLella is especially fascinated with Wynton Marsalis, a trumpet player in the ‘80s and ‘90s. On the guitar, DiLella tends to play in a style similar to another popular rock band in the ‘80s: Guns and Roses.
“People will say to me that my solos sound very much like Slash from Guns and Roses. Well, Guns and Roses was the predominant band on the radio at the time so that’s all everybody heard and that’s all we ever wanted to learn,” DiLella said. A lot of my guitar licks, and a lot of the solos I play come from a lot of stuff from Slash from Guns and Roses, and it kind of sticks with you through life.
Dilella is not the only faculty member that plays an instrument for recreation. Music teacher Cassandra Hesse has a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Delaware. She has played a variety of different types of trumpets in multiple events around Philadelphia.
“It’s kind of crazy but I would spend several nights a week [playing in Philadelphia]. Tuesdays I would be with the mainline Symphony, Mondays I would be with the Philadelphia Wind Symphony. I also play in a brass quintet sometimes,” Hesse said.
Not only has she performed professionally, but she has also played with her elementary school music teacher Ronald Evans in the recent years. Hesse credits her interest in the trumpet to this music teacher.
“I got started in school with my elementary school teacher Mr. Evans,” Hesse said. “A fun fact is that I actually get to gig and perform with him. I’ve played a couple performances at churches and a couple other local spots with my elementary school teacher, which is kind of a crazy thing.”
Hesse enjoys the community aspect of music. She believes that both musicians and audiences can create an especially supportive environment.
“It’s the human element of everybody putting themselves out there and supporting each other and like playing in a way that makes people support each other,” Hesse said. “Music is the chance to be around other people and challenge each other and encourage each other.”
Spanish teacher Ryan Palmer is also very passionate about music. Palmer primarily plays the guitar, but he also knows how to play the piano and the harmonica. Similar to DiLella, the Spanish teacher’s family inspired him to start music from a very young age.
“I grew up in my musical family. We were always singing, and I was always entranced by the idea of playing music, especially my own music. My sister started playing the guitar and it seemed really fun. And so I kind of figured out after her,” Palmer said.
Palmer believes that music can be a unique form of communication. He appreciates certain instruments’ ability to convey unspeakable messages.
“I find that the music that moves me the most is usually the music that comes out of people’s hardest times. It’s communicating with someone else even if no one else hears it. So you might just be communicating with like your future self, or the present self,” Palmer said. It’s a way of communicating with feelings. The best music is probably the music that communicates the clearest message.”
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