88 Keys to Success
by Cate Murway

“Softly, deftly, music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind”

Almost every modern piano has 88 keys: seven octaves plus a minor third.
Vincent John Casmirri, aspiring pianist previously under the direction of Professor Gloria Galante, has earned Distinguished Honors, requiring a minimum of a 4.2 G.P.A., for his last semester at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem. He actually achieved a 4.375 G.P.A. At the culmination of his freshman year, he received a special award in almost every subject on Honors Night. One of his favorite pastimes readings includes the Harry Potter books, a series of fantasy novels by British writer J. K. Rowling.  A scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard, finds himself separate from and yet intimately connected to both worlds. "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Vincent’s resourcefulness and determination has never been hindered in discovering his talent and love of music despite his hearing impairment. He is an advocate of the “Mozart Effect” using innovative and experimental music methods which he feels “improves his listening” acumen.He thinks in music not just about music.  Currently a Settlement Music School student on Christian Street in Philadelphia, he loves classical music and “Sergei Rachmaninoff"s Prelude in C-sharp minor work is a favorite”. Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin’s piano works, among the most technically demanding for the instrument, are of such homogeneously high quality that they are all absolutely vital in his repertoire and the infamous Preludes are exquisitely beautiful examples to showcase Vincent’s budding genius. The music style emphasizes poetry, nuance, and expressive depth rather than mere technical display, perfect for Vincent. Claude Debussy 1862-1918 (born Achille-Claude Debussy) was among the most influential composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and Vincent, the Anthony Marchione musical scholarship recipient, had the opportunity to perform his popular piano work, “Clair de Lune” (Moonlight) for a HGP function. He also shared his talent when he performed a solo of the very widely known, “Fur Elise” by Ludwig van Beethoven at the Bristol Lions Christmas Chorus 2004 event and then in 2005, he played “Linus & Lucy”, the piano music from the Peanuts cartoon by Vincent Anthony Guaraldi, self-described as "a reformed boogie-woogie piano player". He was also a soloist at First Night Bristol 2006 & 2007 at the Friends Meeting House. St. Ann Parishioners enjoyed his night of Italian Music from Opera to Sinatra performance at their 100 Anniversary celebration. Vincent has performed at the West Chester University Harp Festival’s IX, X and XI and at Bristol Day 2004 and 2005. Last year, Vincent was a cast member in the musical “Grease”, based on the High School subcultures of 1950s America. He will play piano in this year’s production, the 1961 musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”.

“You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night”

He and his most supportive parents, owner of Seasons Embroidery Works, Inc. since 1993, Anne Denise [Favoroso], BHS ‘78 and Altuglas Market Manager, football linebacker Vincent Joseph Casmirri BHS‘77/ Drexel University BSME ’95 reside on Beaver Street. His late Uncle Charles Favoroso, Sr. was a Bristol Borough detective and his grandfather, Gasper Favoroso, [wife Patsy] a former Borough policman, is the retired police chief of Tullytown Borough. Late grandparents Richard & Betty Casmirri owned “Richie Casmirri’s New Rainbow” restaurant currently the location of Phinny Magee's Pub on Farragut Avenue.
This tight family unit with strong bonds exemplifies a thankful, loving family. When Vincent plays his 5’ Samick baby grand piano presented to him last Thanksgiving to replace his original used upright, he truly owns the room.  His secret to the most fundamental aspect of playing the piano, without the application of this secret nobody will ever learn to play the piano, is to practice! He shares his talents willingly at Borough events, Community Service Nursing Home visits and at the HGP liturgical events.

“Let your mind start a journey through a strange, new world
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before
Let your soul take you where you long to be”

Vincent earned the Presidential Scholarship for top scorers on the HGP Entrance Exam who had maintained a strong elementary school academic record, to attend the #8 High School of the Elite 40 in the Philadelphia Magazine’s 2nd rankings list of public & private schools. He exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, leadership, service and character and he was awarded the National Honor Society Scholarship. Because of his musical ability, academic excellence, school involvement and community service, he is a member of the international Tri-M Music Honor Society.
He and his dad, Father Association Board of Director member, proved “The experience of Holy Ghost Prep is more than an education; it is a process of development and formation” when the sophomores & their fathers worked together on September 29, 2006 at the Father & Son Service Day. They power washed, painted & repaired portions of the chain link fence at Liberate, a halfway house for women recovering from chemical addictions. Vincent is becoming a thoughtful, confident and responsible adult; beyond doubt an inspiration to other students to excel at music and leadership.

“Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar”

“To perform at the The Kimmel Center”, which opened on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, is a keen vision for Vincent. Architect Rafael Viñoly describes The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, named for West Philadelphia native businessman/philanthropist Sidney Kimmel, as "two jewels inside of a glass box”. The "jewels" are the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall and the 650-seat Perelman Theater. Looks like there will be a third!!  One of his self-proclaimed “dream schools” is The Juilliard School, located at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of New York City, founded in 1905 originally as the Institute of Musical Art. This music academy in America rivals the European conservatories and will prepare Juilliard students for the demands of the 21st century.

“And you'll live as you've never lived before”

Vincent’s goal is to become a leader in his profession, as well as achieve the highest artistic standards to exhibit the deep passion of his music that plays upon our hearts.

“Music of the Night” Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Lyrics: Charles Hart; additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe

To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted: e-mail vjmrun@yahoo.com

Vincent John Casmirri
Vincent's parents