Get to know Robby
What are you doing in school?
"I’ve been working with the choirs at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, MD since 2019, teaching choirs, a cappella, piano, and guitar! I also sing with the Choir of Christ Georgetown in DC as well as some other gigging in the DC area."
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?
"Definitely Lux's second-ever public concert. We were experimenting with some staging for the first time, and there were a lot of personal connections to the music on that particular program. I still think that's one of the better beginnings to a concert we've ever programmed, save for maybe The Town Lay Hushed [from Winter 2019-20]. The feelings of excitement and anticipation before, during, and after those first two concerts were really indescribable."
Do you have any special talents or interests outside of music?
"Recently, I've been pretty into beat-boxing, although that's still musical. I played a lot of baseball at DeMatha [Catholic High School] and with a few different teams in high school and college, so that kind of consumed a lot of my life. 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 leading me down a YouTube rabbit hole? Absolutely not."
Who's your favorite non-classical musical artist?
"I’ve been obsessed with an EP called Desire Paths from a really inventive indie artist called Dwara. There’s a lot of fun modal influence from her time in India in her music, and there’s a really cool intensity to her music that draws me in. I also may or may not be arranging She (Part One) for my a cappella kids at Chesapeake…"
What song have you not been able to stop listening to?
"Green Jewels by Kriill has a really wonky sort of chord progression that I’m really into right now. On a completely different side of things I’ve also been really into Outlier by Snarky Puppy! The rhythmic play in the sax solo is so much fun, and honestly the whole album is a vibe."
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 great, both as a musician and as a human being. From a director's standpoint, we're incredibly versatile. There are nine people I can think of just off the top of my head who have sung three or more voice parts, and have done it really well. That's invaluable in a chamber choir like this. Everyone understands that we're here to make seriously good music, but we're also able hang out and have fun as friends. The fact that we have both of those things allows for some really cool stuff to happen both on stage, and hanging out after rehearsals, too!"
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 middle school I threw out the first pitch at a Nationals Game."
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."
A founding member of the group, Robby Napoli has enjoyed working with Lux since 2015. Having studied Music Education and Composition at the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College, he focused on his love of choral music while working with choirs of all all ages, and is currently the choral director at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, MD. At Chesapeake, Napoli works with the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and award-winning a cappella group Evolve, as well as teaching guitar and piano. On 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 local performances and commissions on pieces for choir and for art song.
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