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Mayo Center for Performing Arts
Music Student of the Month of November

Dan Santangelo
Mayo Music Student of the Month for September

By Lauren Fazzio

Each month, the Mayo Center for Performing Arts of Morristown selects noteworthy musicians in schools around Morris County.  In November, Hanover Park High School senior Dan Santangelo earned recognition for his excellence in and commitment to jazz performance.

Son of Deborah and Robert Santangelo of East Hanover, Dan Santangelo began playing the guitar in his freshman year, inspired by his father and his own love of rock music.  Last year, as a junior, Santangelo translated his rock knowledge into jazz and joined Hanover Park’s Jazz Combo. 

Director of the Jazz Band Combo, Andrew Stachow, convinced Santangelo to play bass in the band, and in doing so, Santangelo said jazz quickly grew on him.  He appreciates it for the “different technique and style,” and for the chance to express a “different mood” than he would while playing rock music.

“Dan has a great ear for music and a love for experimentation,” said Stachow.  “This is a great asset exploring any music, but most especially in the jazz idiom.”

“When Dan plays,” Stachow added, “you can feel the love.”

Santangelo’s peers felt the love at last year’s ParkFest, a “battle of the bands” performance at Hanover Park run by the junior class.  He had been on stage before, but that was Santangelo’s first time performing in front of his friends.  “I was able to show them what I can do with a guitar,” he said. 

Santangelo calls his guitar teacher of two and a half years, Vic Svorinich, his greatest influence as a musician. “He helped push me to learn new styles, and even helped me with the jazz audition,” Santangelo said.

Santangelo will apply to Ramapo College and the University of New Haven; at either school he would have the opportunity to study musical production and technology.  In the future he would like to work on the background music for plays or possibly help record with an artist.

Hanover Park has provided Santangelo with a jump start on this musical focus with its curriculum options this year.  He has taken music theory classes that he said helped “expand [his] ability to perform better” and quickly learn jazz.  This year, he also takes a music technology class that teaches him to create and edit music.

On November 5, the Mayo Center for Performing Arts held the Miles Davis Experience concert, a show meant to use jazz music as a lens to reexamine the history and culture of America in the 1950s.  It was at this performance, one where historical styles met a modern audience, that Santangelo received his well-deserved award. 

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