by Len Lear
A musical marriage made in heaven. That is the pairing of Michael Greco, 32, and Angela Williams, 31, talented musicians who live in a fixer-upper in West Mt. Airy and who were joined in marriage on June 30 by the Rev. Alexander Houston at The Christian Church, 8044 Stenton Ave. Mike teaches choir, guitar and general music at Juniata Park Academy, and Angie teaches the same subjects at First Philadelphia Prep Charter School.
The pair of musicians met thanks to the dating website, OkCupid, and it could not possibly have been a more harmonious pairing. Both are graduates of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). Angie has a double degree in jazz voice and music education from Temple University, and Michael has an undergraduate degree from Temple in jazz performance and a master’s degree in music education from the University of the Arts. And they literally do make beautiful music when they play and sing together, as they did on their wedding day. But our interview with them last week had no strings attached:
•Mike, did you always want to be a musician?
“Yes, from the time I was 8 years old. I had been studying guitar privately and performing at Settlement Music School … My father plays drums.”
•How many online dates did you have before meeting each other?
Michael: “I went on about 10 dates and hadn’t made any kind of meaningful connection.”
Angie: “I went on two dates that hadn’t led to anything.”
•Where have you two performed separately and where together?
Michael: “Carnival Cruise Lines, Amsterdam Jazz Festival, The Kimmel Center, Dizzy’s Coca Cola, Heritage and various venues in the tri-state area as a wedding band musician.”
Angie: “The Kimmel Center, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Time Whiskey Bar, the CEC Recreation House and The Painted Bride.”
Together: “Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Time Whiskey Bar and Heritage.”
•How do you both enjoy teaching music?
Michael: “It’s very rewarding. I enjoy seeing my students progress in music and using it as a creative and emotional outlet. I have seen students grow so much within a few months, becoming more confident and well-rounded.”
Angie: “It is a joy. For some students, music is a sanctuary where they can truly be themselves in a safe space. It allows them to be creative, let loose a little and have fun doing it. As music educators, we get to see a different side of the kids.”
•Who are your own favorite songwriters and singers, past and/or present?
Michael: “I mostly listen to instrumental music without singers, but I like the Beatles, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Pat Martino.”
Angie: “Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Beyonce, Carole King and Corinne Bailey Rae.”
•What are your own favorite songs?
Michael: “My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane, “The Blank Page” by Frank Zappa and “Fool on the Hill” by the Beatles.
Angie: “Another Star” by Stevie Wonder, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” by Carole King and “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes” by Janelle Monae.
•What are your professional goals?
Michael: “I would like to continue making an impact on the community with music education by teaching privately and within the school system. I want to start recording and performing my original compositions to grow a fan base.”
Angie: “I want to continue growing as an educator, continually developing a strong music curriculum that is relevant and exciting to the students I serve. I would like to perform and write songs much more than I am right now. Hopefully I’ll find a balance soon!”
•Why did you choose to live in Mt. Airy?
“Mt. Airy is a diverse place with people from all walks of life. There are many creative minds here to form collaborations musically. There are still a variety of things to do, even though it’s quiet, and it’s only a train or bus ride downtown.”
•What is the best advice you have ever received?
Michael: “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. Work hard to develop it.”
Angie: “Keep on going, even when you feel like you can’t.”
•What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
Michael: “Grad school was difficult. UArts had a very intense and demanding music education program. Extensive research, writing papers, gigging and working as a private studio teacher was stressful. I’m glad I made it through; it has made me a better educator and musician.”
Angie: “Completing music school was tough. I think I was working four jobs and taking seven classes at one point. Finding the time to practice, complete course assignments, teach and work was a struggle. I also didn’t have the greatest self-esteem and often based my self-worth on my musical skill level at the time.”
•If you could meet and spend time with any people on earth, living or dead, who would they be?
Michael: “Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Stan Lee and Stephen King. I chose these people because I admire them. I would love to know what motivated them creatively.”
Angie: “Stevie Wonder. I have loved his great music since childhood and have grown to love it even more as an adult. I find his ability to bridge the gaps in his listening audience just incredible.”
You can reach Len Lear at firstname.lastname@example.org