John Buccheri croons for his Island audience
This Annadale resident is still going strong after nearly 30 years in "the business"
Friday, June 04, 2004
By CAROL ANN BENANTI
Some people want it all. Competent and successful, they're folks whose lives always seem to remain in focus. Just plain luck? Perhaps. But then again, isn't luck the design of diligence and hard work? It's really all in the planning.
John Buccheri is a case in point. For the recording artist and composer, family values have always been a priority -- though some would say his M.O. is somewhat unusual in the wacky world they call "show business."
Buccheri? He's an ordinary guy who is extraordinarily humble, and who lets his impressive voice do the talking -- or -- make that the singing.
Fueled by the desire to have his marriage remain intact and to be there to watch his children grow into adults, Buccheri opted to pursue a musical career on a local level.
A DAY JOB
At the same time, he heeded the advice of his parents and landed a daytime job to, as he says, "have something to fall back on."
After a time he gained employment in the brokerage field.
"It was really the best of both worlds," explains the crooner. "It was really like having it all."
Eventually he climbed the corporate ladder and was promoted to vice-president of Merrill Lynch, while maintaining the position as co-owner of a musical organization.
Buccheri launched his musical career as a vocalist and band leader at age 15, when he established the six-piece band Celestial Scene.
His local parish priest gave the group permission to rehearse in the school basement and sing at the church's "rock masses."
He utilized funds he amassed in the entertainment business to support the cost of vocal lessons, in hopes of further developing his God-given talent.
Under Buccheri's watchful eye, the band's popularity grew, and with the passing of time it perfected a sound of its own.
Celestial Scene played gigs at banquets and supper clubs throughout the metropolitan area.
Music aficionados may recall Buccheri as co-owner and featured vocalist of the Joe Pastor Orchestras, a wedding-music company familiar to those on the club and wedding circuit, during the 1970s and 1980s.
His stint with the organization sustained him for more than 20 years in the business.
With the progressive changes occurring in the music business, Buccheri reinvented himself. In 1998 he created Passion Music & Entertainment Inc., an organization offering both live and disc-jockey entertainment.
It features his longtime friend and colleague, pianist Bobby Katz, and his son Michael Buccheri as deejay. It affords a wide range of musical packages, from a vocal-piano-deejay combination to a sophisticated 12-to-15 piece swing orchestra.
With the heavy demand for deejays alone these days, Buccheri's concept is few and far between.
"Music has changed so much. There's actually no place for people to hear what we do. It's extraordinary," Buccheri says. "But the baby boomers out there still enjoy live music. It's a treat."
Fast forward to 2001 and the seasoned entertainer's daytime job description translates into that of business analyst for Bloomberg LP's Media TV and Radio Syndication Group. Buccheri couldn't be happier.
With a career that spans more than 30 years in the music business, Buccheri still prefers to market his talent on a local level -- and chooses to perform right here on Staten Island.
"It allows me to spend time with my wife and family. I can still be a full-time husband and father. I've achieved a lot in my personal life as well," he says.
So impressive are his renditions by legendary song stylists like Frank Sinatra, Englebert Humperdinck, Johnny Mathis and Tom Jones -- not to mention his own original compositions -- folks often refuse to believe they're listening to Buccheri's voice.
They insist he's lip-synching, until they lend a closer ear.
Several years ago, Buccheri built his own recording studio in his Annadale home to serve as a means to record with his son, Michael Buccheri, 17, whom he regards as his recording engineer.
His CDs include: "Just For You," "From the Heart," "Buccheri, Live from Bocelli Restaurant," and "Words of Faith."
"Who needs Vegas? I have my own Island -- Staten Island," the borough he has come to know and love since 1974 when he made the trip over the Verrazano-Narrows with his family.
When not performing at celebratory banquets, Islanders can here Buccheri at Bocelli restaurant, Grasmere on Saturday evenings, and Waterfalls restaurant, Meiers Corners on Fridays.
Buccheri and his wife Sally, a registered nurse at Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, reside in Annadale with their children, Stephanie, a staffer in the technology operations division at Merrill Lynch, John, owner of Wheelie Boyz X-treme Cycles, Grasmere, Michael, who works as a deejay with his dad, and Salvatore who's a staffer in his brother John's business.
For more information about Buccheri, visit his website at www.passionmusicent.com or www.johnbuccheri.com.