Get to know Robby
What are you doing in school?
"I just graduated from Gettysburg College's Sunderman Conservatory studying Music Education, with a concentration in composition, but lucky for me, I'm still in school! This time, as a teacher working with the choirs at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, MD."
How long have you been singing in choirs?
"Well technically I guess I've been singing in choirs all my life. My parents were always in the folk group at my church, so I was too, but I never really got into reading music effectively and singing 'traditional choral rep,' whatever that means, until high school."
What is your favorite musical memory?
"Probably my first time in the Maryland All-State Chorus my junior year of high school. Spending that much time consistently around really good musicians made me realize that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, plus it’s where most of the members of our first mixed choir project met!"
Do you have any special talents or interests outside of music?
"I played a lot of baseball at DeMatha [Catholic High School] and with a few different travel teams, so that kind of consumed a lot of my life. I also played percussion at DeMatha and a lot of drum set growing up. Past that, I just spend too much time pretending I know what I'm talking about in pretty much every facet of life."
Who is your favorite composer?
"I could give you the musical answer or the nostalgic answer, but since the nostalgic answer is more likely to last, I’ll say Eric Whitacre. Is it basic? Absolutely. Would I be where I am without my high school choir director playing his Alleluia and subsequently going down a YouTube rabbit hole? Certainly not."
Who's your favorite non-classical musical artist?
"I've been bouncing around a lot lately, but recently I've been really into Oh Wonder. They've got a really unique, captivating sound and they like playing some pretty cool musical tricks every once in a while."
What song have you not been able to stop listening to?
"ypsilon by Ólafur Arnalds is really really cool. It just kind of surrounds you as you listen. That whole album is awesome."
What's your favorite thing about singing in Lux?
"Oh God, is everything an option? I don't know man. From a personal standpoint, everyone in the group is just awesome, both as a musician and as a human being. Like how many people under the age of 25 do you know that are constantly listening to choral music? I feel like at least half of that population is made up of Lux members. From a director's standpoint, we're just incredibly versatile. There are nine people I can think of just off the top of my head who have sung three or more parts, and have done it really well. That's invaluable in a chamber group like this. Everyone understands that we're here to make seriously good music, but also that we're just here to hang out and have fun as friends. The fact that we all understand both of those things allows for some really cool stuff to happen."
What's your favorite song you've sung with Lux?
“Definitely Sainte-Chapelle [by Eric Whitacre]. It was the piece that even made me or Tommy, or anyone else, want to do this project again, and as a mixed group. When I first heard it live, I went home that night and listened to it on a loop for literally three or four hours thinking about the story Whitacre was writing in the harmonies."
What's the most interesting fact about you?
"In high school, I won a national tournament with my Legion summer baseball team."
Breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast?
"Before I went vegetarian, I would’ve said breakfast for dinner. Now that I am vegetarian, I’d scream it."
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
"I’m a huge night owl, which is a great trait for a teacher to have. Most of my Lux planning happens when I should be sleeping."
If you could have a conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
"Arvo Pärt. I’ve studied his music a lot and there are a few things I haven’t pieced together that I’m dying to know."
Robby Napoli has enjoyed ten seasons with Lux. A graduate of the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College (B.M.E.), where he focused on his love of choral music while working with choirs of all all ages, he is currently the choir director at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, MD. At Chesapeake, Napoli teaches guitar and piano, as well as working with the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and award-winning a cappella group Evolve. On the weekends, he sings with the Choir of Christ Church, Georgetown. Aside from his work as an ensemble musician, Robby has also worked as a soloist, with credits including Alfred (Die Fledermaus), Samuel (The Pirates of Penzance), and solos in Handel’s Messiah and Haydn's Missa in Augustiis. As a composer, he has received many local performances and has been commissioned for multiple pieces for choir and for art song.
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