The Whole Long Story
If you have stumbled accross this page, you likely are seeking more information about my musical path. The paragraphs below serve as a document of how I've gotten to my present place in life among others in the saxophone community.
My mother, father and three sisters all played piano. It was natural for me to study piano as well, although I never really stuck with it. Bugle, drums and clarinet were all instuments that came and went until I settled on saxophone in seventh grade.
It was Joe Pepin, my junior high general music teacher and band director who gave me the opportunity to try the saxophone at age 13. During one of his classes we were able to try out some instuments and it started from there.
Dom Cardullo gave me my first lesson at school. Shortly thereafter I was asked by Mr. Pepin to join the "Jr. Band" after school. I was honored and the following year I joined the high school band.
By ninth grade, I had shown an interest in catching up with all my buddies who started way back in fourth grade. Steve Assadorian was enlisted as my private teacher to help me 'catch up".
Lou Lombardi ran the high school band program but had suffered a heart attack around the time I began working under him. Mr. Lombardi's replacement was Jim Russo who captured my interest and inspired a more intense study of the saxophone. With Mr. Russo as my jazz band director and private teacher, I began to immerse myself into the addictive study of jazz and improvisation. His background as a jazz saxophonist and Berklee graduate propelled me in a direction that led to studying with Jim Odgren, also of Berklee.
After studying saxophone, jazz theory and improvisation with Jim Odgren, I entered formal study at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Although I sought to study with Joe Viola immediately, it wasn't until my second year that I had the opportunity to study with Joe. My time with Joe Viola was priceless.
Following two years of study at Berklee and playing locally, it was "on the road" I went with a showband out of Florida.
After three years on the road, I landed in Atlantic City where I had several years or great experience with some outstanding singers and bands in the lounges. A short period of study with saxophonist and teacher Larry McKenna continued my progress and kept me from stagnating in cover bands. Although the work was steady and the musicianship high, it was time to finish my education.
Bob Quaile, another saxophonist in A.C. introduced me to Tony Salicandro and several other prominent Philadelphia saxophonists. Through them, I set up an audition and resulting course of study at The University of the Arts.
Ron Kerber was my sax teacher and friend who pushed my study to new levels while at the University of the Arts. Doubling on clarinet and flute became more interesting and I studied flute with Tony Salicandro and clarinet with Gia Walton.
Ralph Bowen gave me some much needed insight along the way as well.
The path that I travelled was not the ordinary, however it led to becoming the teacher and saxophonist I am today.
Each person listed above added a piece to the puzzle that makes me who I am as a person and player. To all of them I say "thank you".
Skip Spratt – SaxShed.com