This is one of those messages that we all know we have to write at some point, but it’s never able to truly be prepared. My father passed away this week. He had not been well for quite a while and our relationship was strained. That said, I never lost sight of the fact that he was my father, my primary influence and in so many ways my hero. As I’m typing this, I’m listening to a wide variety of his recordings from albums he recorded in the late 60s with the Duquesne University Tamburitzans and in the 70s and 80s with his own band and so many other artists in his studio to the work we did together in the 90s and early 2000s. The breadth of his work is still astounding to me- amidst the fact that he also maintained full careers as a printer, record distributor/ retailer and event promoter. He did this alongside my mother, JoAnn and raised my two sisters (Christi and Katie) and I in a home that didn’t have all the trappings of economic success, but sure made up for it with a lot of unique life experiences. No family life is ideal, but I hope that all of my friends make an effort to see the best in the people in their lives and embody that in themselves.
That said, I work every day to be the best person I can for my children and fiance while enjoying the journey of life. I will honor my family legacy and the lessons my Dad taught me as I prepare to leave for 2 performances in the Netherlands on April 13 & 15 with an all-star group of musicians performing the Polkas that are the soundtrack of my formative musical years. Throughout most of his life, the love of music and travel (as well as food and the stories that surrounded these activities) defined most of his happiest experiences. He is now at peace. Thank you for all of your condolences.