Just 20 minutes before the Reflections Ensemble Concert at the Corbett Preparatory Community School of the Arts on Sunday, USF music composition graduate student Vincent Euliano said he was unsure how he would introduce the debut of his new piece to the audience.
“I don’t know if everyone is going to know about my history here,” Euliano told the co-director of the Community School of the Arts, Tom McColley.
Euliano said his latest chamber music composition, “Unravel,” is very personal.
“It’s really a parallel to me, my growth in pursuing my interest in music and how Corbett Prep shaped me as a person musically and non-musically,” he said.
McColley said he also noticed Euliano’s inspiration for “Unravel.”
“(At Corbett Prep) kids always get the opportunity to try and learn things rather than just learn about them,” McColley said. “I think he really appreciates the importance of a strong foundation, understanding traditions and being adventurous about going out and pushing things in different directions like what he did with ‘Unravel.’”
Euliano said the piece reflects his history as a musician by starting with a single note and expanding into a grander sound made by several notes with multiple melodies.
For McColley, Euliano was once that “cute and energetic” single note.
McColley said he welcomed Euliano as a student when he first walked through the doors of Corbett roughly 20 years ago. Corbett, a PK-8 private school, serves about 500 students in the Carrollwood area of Tampa.
“What’s neat to me is when I teach music to kids, I have no idea where it will ever take me,” McColley said. “It’s just a wonderful surprise for me to see someone that really enjoyed the creativity that music can bring them and pursue it to the depth that he has.”
His teaching eventually led him to direct a six-piece chamber ensemble for Euliano’s composition.
The ensemble consisted of three musicians from the Florida Orchestra, one from the Southwest Florida Orchestra and staff sergeant Adam McColley who plays trombone in the United States Army Band.
Adam, a childhood classmate of Euliano’s, flew from Washington D.C. to play with the chamber ensemble.
“He was my brother’s good friend,” Adam said. “It was so much fun playing it because it was a good piece and easy to put together. It was fun seeing him in another light other than my brother’s friend.”
Though Euliano has been involved in music since his days as a Corbett student, his behind-the-scenes work began in high school when he started to take interest in composition.
“It was really fun writing pieces for my rock band,” Euliano said. “We never took it seriously because we weren’t any good, but all of us decided to try and go to school for music.”
During his time at USF, he composed a piece that was selected by Vox Novus’ 15 Minutes of Fame competition. His composition, “Rousseff’s Dream,” was one of 15 pieces played by flutist Maria Carolina Cavalcanti in Rio de Janerio and New York City.
For Euliano, his dream job of composing was coming to fruition.
“The opportunity to create something that nobody has ever heard of is interesting to me,” he said. “It keeps you going when there are long hours.”
Upon graduating, Euliano returned to work on his master’s degree, and after reflecting on the experience he had at Corbett, decided to teach there as well.
“He just brings that passion, creativity and enthusiasm to each of his kids,” McColley said. “He’s just the kind of person you want to be around kids, influencing kids, and how they learn and think about music and life.”12