When I was a toddler, I fell in love with music and began taking piano lessons. It may be difficult to imagine me, a 6’5 guy sitting on a piano bench with my feet dangling and having a difficult time reaching the pedals, but I assure you that it happened–I was tiny at one point. Fast-forwarding to my teenage/early adulthood years, I joined a traveling choir and had the pleasure of singing in Italy for Pope Benedict as well as touring throughout Europe. Upon my senior year of high school, I enrolled at Eastman School of Music and set out on my way to becoming a vocalist. I’ve met some amazing people, including Renee Fleming and her entire family, who are all talented musicians. Since those days, I have given up on my musical endeavors but it may surprise you that many of our members have not! So for this week’s blog, we have decided to feature some of our musically inclined Bar members.
Since the age of five, John Williams has been playing the piano. John, a former attorney with Thomson Reuters and its predecessor companies and a Board member of the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, enjoys playing the piano for Rochester audiences. He performs at local clubs, private homes, and senior residences, providing background music or giving recitals. John remarked: “It is a great joy to be able to share my music with others. Live music makes an event something special. Performing for all audiences, especially senior audiences, provides a unique opportunity to recall a memory through music.”
Mary F. Ognibene:
During the day, you will find Mary putting 100% effort into her career at McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. as a corporate attorney, but when the time comes to set down the law books and pick up a microphone, she is more than happy to oblige. She has a long music history, singing over the years in various chorales and fronting local bands. Currently, Mary has two local projects in play -a jazz standards duo and an indie group by the name of Never Events, as well as a third NYC-based project by the name of The Lovely Intangibles. The Lovely Intangibles, also comprised of Stephen Masucci, Michael Williams and Tony Mann of The Lost Patrol as well as bass virtuoso Jon Camp of Renaissance fame, issued its debut release “Tomorrow Is Never” last Summer to critical acclaim (eg. PopMatters; The Big Takeover). The Lovely Intangibles genres include rock, goth, surf and shoegaze. Together they continue to write new material and are in the process of recording a second release!
During the week, you can find Steven at Pirrello, Personte & Feder, but he is no stranger to night clubs and concert venues. Before law school, Steve attended SUNY Fredonia and obtained a degree in music. You could often find him playing live at clubs and events throughout the nation. At the age of 27, he entered law school but continued to perform outside of class. He played mostly acoustic back then; mostly electric since the late 1980s; and now about half and half. After graduation, he continued to perform while practicing law and averaged 75 dates in one year! Now, Steve books about 35 dates per year and plays lead and rhythm guitar, acoustic fingerstyle (that’s really his “thing”), and sings lead. On any night, you can find Steve practicing with his band, Time Bandits, which he started in the 1990s.
Jonathan, a vocalist and pianist, studied jazz piano at the Oberlin Conservatory with noted jazz pianist Allen Farnham, which led to a gig playing solo jazz piano in New York City. His big break, however, came with the Philadelphia-based Floyd Hunter Blues Band. That group often performed at national festivals, sharing the bill with such blues legends as B.B. King and Albert Collins. Upon moving to Rochester in 1997, Jonathan formed the Jonathan Feldman Trio, a jazz and blues combo that often performs at various legal functions in town. The group issued two well-received CDs, and its most acclaimed release, “Straight Ahead and Blue,” was recently made available on iTunes, where it has been downloaded by jazz and blues fans from around the world. Aside from discovering him at the piano, you can look for Jonathan at Empire Justice Center, where he is a senior staff attorney with the Civil Rights, Employment and Education Unit.
If any of you have hidden artistic talents — from music, to writing, to painting and more — please let me know, and maybe we’ll feature you in upcoming Bar View.
Thanks for checking in!