Insightful Linda Torchia
Did you ever hear of the Great Lake Sacandaga; "the Adirondack's best kept secret?" Well, meet Linda Torchia; singer, composer, lyricist and actress; "the second best kept secret!" How could this be? She moved to New York City armed with recommendations. She signed up for acting classes with Wynn Handman, Alice Spivak and Warren Robertson. She worked on her voice with Sue Seton, Herb Mayer and Laura Thomas. Eventually, she found work performing in Off Broadway showcases, television commercials, recording demos and playing small parts on soap operas including "Days of Our Lives" and "As the World Turns." She put together a cabaret act with arrangements by Tony Monte and Howard Hodge. She found an agent who booked her in small clubs throughout Manhattan. With that exposure she was invited to join the John Mical Big Band as featured vocalist. After two wonderful years with John's band, it came to an end when he lost his hard-fought battle to cancer. Linda continued singing as the featured vocalist with the Cal Ermey Moonlighters. A turning point in her career came one night at a rehearsal. Subbing on the piano was a very spry elderly gentleman with a white beard playing up a storm. At the end of the evening he walked over to Linda and asked "would you mind if I wrote an arrangement for you?" That gentleman turned out to be the renown Broadway Music Director and Arranger, John Lesko, who had recently retired. At their next meeting John waltzed in with not one, but three big band arrangements. He continued to write for Linda and often told her that she was the reason he had returned to arranging and conducting. Within a short time their relationship melded into a partnership with the creation of the John Lesko Orchestra. They performed at many different venues which ranged from "A Big Band Christmas" at The Emelin Theatre to parties and weddings at the Westchester Country Club and in between, concerts at Liberty State Park and the Westchester County Convention Center, to name a few. As busy as she was, Linda found time to collaborate with the young, brilliant jazz pianist and music director, Tedd Firth, to put together a jazz quartet. In 2001, in the aftermath of 9/11 she composed "This is Not a Dream," an anthem dedicated to the memory of that day. That song inspired her husband, Bert Torchia, to return to his musical roots as a composer. Encouraged by Tedd Firth and John Lesko's enthusiastic response to his music, Bert closed his studio after a long successful career as a performing arts photographer. He produced this CD with the assistance of Music Director, Jim Perry. Today his focus is on his composing and his wife who he often calls his "freaky computer geek." Surprise! When she has a minute, Linda is the Director of Information and Technology for the Commercial Real Estate giant, George Comfort & Sons, Inc. You know what they say, "Don't give up your day job!" On August 30, 2007, John Lesko passed away. It was completely unexpected. Just a few weeks earlier, the John Lesko Orchestra played a concert at the Kasschau Memorial Shell in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Our memories of John's exuberance, his endearing stories and his god-given musical gift, which he shared with those he loved, will be with us, always. We thank you, Mr. John Lesko. JIM PERRY: Music Director and Arranger, Jim Perry, is a graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music. He was invited to stay on as an arranging and saxophone instructor for the next two and a half years. He answered the "call" and found himself playing saxophone and arranging for the West Point Military Academy Band. During his service at West Point he composed several original pieces for Big Band and three vignettes for saxophone quintet which were published by Walrus Music. He is now retired from the Army and is a "free-lance" saxophonist and arranger. MUSICIANS: VITO SPERANZA-Trumpet; BILL ASH-Trumpet; JIM PERRY-Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute; DAN PATIRIS- Tenor Sax, Clarinet; DAVID LOY SONG- Tenor Sax, Clarinet; GARY MCCOURRY-Baritone Sax, Bass Clarinet; ROB HELSEL-Guitar; SCOTT ARCANGEL, BARRY BLUMENTHAL-Piano; LOU PAPPAS, BRANDON NELSON-Bass; TOM CUNANE-Drums, Percussion CD recorded at Sonic Park Studios in 2008.