Spending time with Joe Marchio during the holiday season is a gift in itself. He’s a bit like Cape Symphony’s own Father Christmas – full of good will and good cheer, and exceedingly busy!
A wealth of talent, knowledge and skill, Joe came to Cape Symphony with undergraduate degrees in organ performance and religious studies, a Master of Divinity from the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music, and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the Boston Conservatory. If you’ve been to a talk before one of Cape Symphony’s Masterpiece concerts or had the pleasure of taking Joe’s online Program Notes class, you know him to be a warm, engaging and very interesting speaker.
He brings all that and more to bear in his role as Cape Symphony’s Assistant Conductor.
Joe was drawn to a career in music, and to conducting in particular, from childhood. “Even as a kid I was very impressed by conductors,” he says. “There’s so much involved. History, language… so much surrounds the music. It’s not just waving a baton!”
Outside Cape Symphony, Joe is well-known as Pastor and Music Director of the First Congregational Church of Chatham, and Music Director of the highly regarded Chatham Chorale since 2010. Founded in the 1970s, the Chorale now numbers about eighty talented singers, and has performed with the Cape Symphony Orchestra for many years at our Holiday on the Cape concerts. This season’s performances promise to be especially grand!
With his multiple important roles in the Cape community, you can imagine Joe’s holiday season is intense. How does he recharge? “After being out late for rehearsal, it’s great to crash on the couch and catch a bit of Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation! I never miss it.” For family Christmas entertainment, the Marchios love the vintage mainstays. “We adore the original Grinch and Rudolph. Anything Burl Ives, Bing Crosby… all the old classics are our favorites.”
Reflecting on the Christmases of his youth, Joe recalls his father, a New England Conservatory-trained tenor, singing “O Holy Night” and Handel’s Messiah. “I was really taken by all that at a young age,” he remembers. At 83, his father still sings “O Holy Night” every Christmas Eve. It is a cherished Marchio family tradition. “O Holy Night” will also be a high point of this year’s Holiday on the Cape concert program. A fabulous arrangement, with the full orchestra and guest vocalist Patrice Tiedemann’s gifted soprano, promises to be stunningly beautiful.
Family visiting from West Virginia will make this year’s holiday season extra-special in the Marchio house. “My Mom used to make sugar cookies with my sister and me at Christmastime, and we’d decorate them together. She’s continued that tradition with her grandkids,” says Joe.
Asked what he listens to in the rare moments he’s not working, Joe says “I’m learning to speak Italian! So that’s what I’ve got on in the car… Italian radio, anything spoken in Italian.”
If you run into Joe in the coming weeks, be sure to wish him Buon Natale!