Mr. Glenn DaGrossa

Mr. Glenn DaGrossa grew up in East Islip on Long Island and attended both East Islip and Islip High Schools. He has been an Art teacher here at Molloy since 2000. As most of us know, his talents are far reaching to say the least. On many afternoons you will find him in the teacher’s cafeteria playing some classical piece on his guitar, In Mr. Dougherty’s cave conversing with fellow sci-fi club members on their next video game tournament, in the music room teaching guitar ensemble, or in the art room at his desk helping students with their next masterpiece. But there is much more to his story than just that. Mr. DaGrossa began his guitar studies at the age of 7 and by the age of 16 was a guitar teacher at his local music store instructing students twice his age.

After high school, Glenn attended Nassau Community College where he double majored in Art, and Music under his lifelong mentor, Professor Stanley Solow. He had studied under Solow, now well into his 80’s as a young musician, and continues that relationship with three-hour lessons each week. What you learn from Glenn when he speaks of the professor is that every professional has a few select mentors throughout their career. This is especially true in the Arts. Glenn’s life has been blessed with great mentors. In addition Professor Solow, Glenn has studied or worked with some of the best names in the field; Bill Zito and Steve Leonard in the area of guitar studies, and Master Classes with Sharon Isbin and Christopher Parkening. He has also studied his craft with Ben Verdery and William Matthews. In jazz he has had the opportunity to study under legendary saxophonist Jimmy Heath and had a lifelong dream accomplished when he sat with Al Dimeola backstage at a concert and traded guitar riffs with the master when he was 19. The message he sends out is clear. Find your passion, work with the best in the field and practice until you, and your mentors are satisfied that you have made the piece your own. Success in anything in life requires sacrifice and commitment.

Glenn continued his training at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College where he received his BA in Music and Music Education. His minor was in Art. Today he continues his studies towards a Masters Degree in classical guitar performance with a graduate recital here at Molloy in late May 2009. Glenn started out as an art / music teacher in two Catholic schools, The Mary Louise Academy and then Our Lady of Grace elementary in Howard Beach. While there, he saw an article about Molloy going co-ed and he thought that there would be an opportunity at the school. He had tutored a student from Molloy and had a very positive impression of the school. He applied and started working in 2000 along with a number of new teachers including Eric Stolze and his teaching partner, Teri Burke.

His first impressions of Molloy were correct and his instinct to make the move here has paid off. When asked to sum up his work here he stated with ease - “The professional freedom to hone your talent as a teacher and an artist at Molloy has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I must not fail to mention the friends and colleagues I have made along the way.” He truly understands the bonds that Stanners have as a community of learners. He feels that it is unique in education today to have that spirit of support for one another.

This past summer Glenn participated it the wedding ceremony between his colleague Eric Stolze and his bride, Melissa, performing classical guitar at the ceremony. It was a “privilege for me to witness this miracle between these two friends and to play some small role in this major event in their life”. This is one way that he shares his gifts with the world.

Glenn is 3rd generation student of Andres Segovia student, a professional performer with his rock band Lazarus and his Jazz group Signs of Rain. He is releasing his 3rd jazz CD in which he had the privilege of recording with musicians from the Al Dimeola group and Al Jarreau’s band and his second from Lazarus to be released this Spring. They have opened for some of the biggest names in rock and will be playing in late winter early spring as the opening act for Dream Theater at Mulcahey’s in Wantagh. Glenn is an educator, artist, classical guitarist, jazz musician and rock star all rolled up in one. His passion for the arts and performance is clear and he lives it every day in every way possible. When asked to share his secret for success his answer was classic; practice, practice, practice. He often practices five hours a day to hone his craft.

In one last effort to tap into his creative mind I asked him his vision or dream for the Arts program at Molloy in the future. This time he asked for a day to think about it. When he came back his answer was not surprising. “_Well if I were to be selfish, it would be to have an Arts wing to the school where all fine art and music classes could take place. It would without a doubt be a lot easier on the legs. But my vision has always been constant, to use my knowledge and talent to inspire and educate. To be a positive influence to those of any age and more importantly, to as many Molloy students past, present and future. The loved ones in my life have guided me and today, continue to push me to be a better teacher. Professor Solow has been in my life for the last 24 years. I continue to not only learn from his knowledge of the discipline of the instrument but, from his wisdom from life. He is the driving force behind the shaping of not only my life as a performer but that of an educator and a person. All of which he has given me I could never repay.