Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I feel that my journey could inspire some young kids to follow their dreams.’


“My dad moved to out West when I was 5. My sister and I were raised by a single mother, living in two-bedroom apartments. We lived paycheck to paycheck. Mom died in 2009, the Friday before Mother’s Day. I was 33, and that was the pivotal moment in my life because it left a very large space. That is the thing that kind of transformed me from someone who was stuck in the past to someone who was really living more in the moment.

“I used that as a reason to live my life not like a tribute, but to honor her sacrifices, because she really never dated, never got remarried. She didn’t have any time or energy. She basically just did everything she could for us, so my life is kind of like a continuation of her life.

“I started traveling to Europe to see the Impressionist painters she had admired and never got to see. I made it my mission to see those things in person and to live life with less fear and more love. I was basically a lazy teenager, although I did show promise with my musical abilities.

“Since graduating college in 1999, I’ve been a middle school music teacher and the orchestra director. I’ve worked with thousands of students. Becoming a middle school music teacher was one of the decisions in life where I got lucky. Without teaching, without the kids, I’d be missing a big piece of my soul.

“Growing up, I was a lonely kid. I didn’t really have a lot of friends. I always fell back on playing guitar, playing piano, singing, listening to music. During the lockdown, I was doing livestreams on Facebook to raise money for Long Island Cares. I raised about $4,000 over eight weeks. I was featured on the News 12 concert series. I find cover songs that I like and kind of put my own spin on them. It really does touch people.

“Some people come up after a song and say they really needed to hear it. I’ve carved out a niche for myself as a performer. After 25 years of performing, I’m one of the top singer-guitarists on Long Island. I’m booked to play all over Long Island. I feel that my journey could inspire some young kids to follow their dreams. I always consider myself a work in progress, but I also consider myself a success story.”