Jun 26, 2012 Stephanie Bouvia Uncategorized
Not many people can say they’ve performed in the presence of legendary American singers. But at only age 15, Nick Ziobro can say he’s done just that.
The Manlius resident performed at a gala celebrating the induction of Barry Manilow into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Saturday, June 16, in Carmel, Ind. There he sang in front of celebrities such as Clay Aiken, Andrea McArdle and Manilow himself.
Ziobro, who will be a junior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School in the fall, was granted this opportunity upon winning a national singing competition, after being selected as one of 10 finalists to compete in Indiana on Friday, June 15.
Ziobro said performing at the gala was a true “out of body experience.”
“I got a standing ovation, which was really, really awesome,” he said.
Ziobro said he decided to enter the annual Great American Songbook Vocal Academy & Competition after learning about it through his piano teacher, Tom Reitano. Ziobro said it was Reitano who got him interested in this style of music, specifically the music of Michael Feinstein.
Ziobro said he was considering entering the competition last year, but it was put on hold due to construction to the building in which the event is held.
“We put it in the back of our minds and thought, ‘Well this might be something nice to consider,’” Ziobro said. “We didn’t really expect anything to come out of it.”
But Ziobro and Reitano were in for a surprise.
The young singer placed first in the competition, and received $3,000 and an opportunity to perform with his idol, Michael Feinstein, around the country, including at his New York City nightclub.
Ziobro will also sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 23.
During the competition, Ziobro worked with performers such as Feinstein, Sylvia McNair and Sandi Patty on song interpretation, and how to connect the music with an audience.
“We really got the whole experience of what it would be like if you were a professional singer,” Ziobro said.
He performed two songs during the competition: “All of Me” by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons and “Here’s That Rainy Day” by the late composer Jimmy Van Heusen. Ziobro said he chose “Rainy Day” specifically because Van Heusen was a Syracuse native.
He said his experience working with the professional singers was amazing.
“I would’ve been happy if I lost; that’s how incredible of an experience it was,” he said.
Ziobro’s mother, Jennifer Ziobro, said her son has been singing ever since he could talk. And it’s something she and her husband have supported for many years.
Jennifer said she and her husband have four children, and she always hoped they would find something they love to do. For Nick, that something is music.
“Nick is going to do great. He’s a smart kid, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he definitely knows what he wants. That’s made it easy as a parent,” Jennifer said.
Watching her son perform in Indiana was an emotional experience, she said. Ziobro’s grandparents, who have also always supported his passion for music, made the trip to see him perform in the competition.
“To have my mom and dad experience that was very, very awesome,” Jennifer said.
But none of this would have been possible without the support of many people in Ziobro’s life, including his piano teacher, Reitano, Syracuse actor Bill Molesky and Cazenovia actor David Lowenstein.
Ziobro also takes classical voice lessons with Shawn Hebert, of Manlius, and has been training in dance at the Ballet & Dance Center for three years.
And although Ziobro has been training for many years, he says music is something that just comes naturally to him.
“Everybody has that for something, everybody’s really good at one specific niche, and I think mine is definitely music,” he said. “It’s just something that I’ve always loved, something that I’ve always wanted to be doing.”