By Gabriel Spadaccini
The Renaissance changed the world between the 14th and 17th centuries. A new intellectual movement centered on our purpose in the world as humans brought us some of the most magnificent artwork, music and literature known to mankind. Italian artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo made bold statements in their art by focusing on perspective and the unexplainable beauty of nature, while composers Claudio Monteverdi and Giovanni Palestrina brought a newfound polyphony and
harmony to their compositions. Around the same time, Dante and Machiavelli were making people question their beliefs and re-evaluate the meaning of life through their writings.
Though this was many, many years ago, its profound effect on future generations is undeniable. The challenge to think outside of the box, and to simply ask questions, helped shape a new breed of humans. This impact can be felt within our modern music and arts community amongst a plethora of talented individuals of Italian descent. One of these talented individuals is Michael Delayo.
Michael, or Mike as his friends call him, is the bassist for up-and-coming progressive rock band Heartside and has been engaged in the Delaware music scene for years. He is in the process of completing his college degree in music theory at the Community College of Baltimore County while performing with the school’s jazz band throughout his studies. Mike is also an employee of Music & Arts, a retail music store with three Delaware locations that leads the country in the number of lessons it provides to enthusiastic children, teens and adults.
When asked how music has impacted his life, he explained: “When I was younger, I tried a lot of different sports and activities, but never found something that really fit or held my attention until I got into music.” He went on, “In playing music, I finally found something that I really enjoyed doing and was the right fit for me. It provides the ability to be creative and express myself; it’s very therapeutic.”
“It’s very important to look back into our family history,” Mike replied as he reflected on his Italian roots. “Understanding where our families come from helps shape us as people. It gives us passion and direction. It gives us something to be proud of.”
“When we understand where we come from, we start to understand the ‘bigger picture’ of what we’re trying to do as artists. I mean, look at all of the great Italian composers and writers: those are some big shoes to fill,” he said jokingly. “It’s really crazy to think that my distant ancestors were a part of the Renaissance, and how that has affected my life.” An important part of the local music and arts scene is being able to teach children not only how to play instruments, but also what it means to be a part of the artistic community. “Music for the younger generation is very important because it gives kids an outlet that isn’t harmful and keeps them out of trouble. Pretty much everything we see and hear on the news is something bad these days, so this gives them something positive to lean on,” Mike explained to me. “When they realize how much positivity can come out of it, it will help them spread goodness to their generation and help grow our artistic family.”
For those of us born in the 1990s, who have witnessed the explosion of technology and the drastic lifestyle changes that came with it, it can be discouraging when we are referred to as the ‘lost generation’ as there is so much potential to do good with our lives. The chance to create art, whether it is through music, painting, writing, what-have-you, is a chance to do good. It is a chance to inspire. It is a chance to continue a never-ending journey to help others. It is a chance to make our ancestors proud.
(Editor’s note: Gabriel Spadaccini is a musician and writer who works for iHeartRadio. He has a bachelor’s degree in media communications from Wilmington University and is also an alumnus of University of Delaware. He has been involved in the local music scene for years, playing multiple shows each month, and recently toured the eastern United States with his band.)