Remembering Dominic Gregorio
author: ethan butterfield | a&c editor
An unbelievable talent and a unique person / Jaecy Bells
Touching tributes paid to faculty member
In what was a deeply disheartening announcement recently, Dr. Dominic Gregorio of the Music Department has passed away. The shocking news was delivered on Mar. 5 via Facebook, to which the University of Regina community, as well as the Regina music community itself, responded by paying very emotional and heartfelt respects to Gregorio for, not only the work that he had done, but also the type of person that he was.
Kathryn Bracht shared sentiments of the same vein.
“Dominic was a wonderful colleague, teacher, artist and scholar, who clearly connected with his students and the community at large.”
I feel these comments sum up, at large, what the general thoughts of many faculty and student body members were thinking during this trying time. The uplifting side of things, though, is the positivity that was on display, instead of faculty and students focusing on the negative, there was a significant air of remembering the good times, rather than the bad.
Ethan Williams was one of many that remembered those good times,
“Dom was just such a positive force in the music department. I’m not a music student, I was only in choir for a couple of years, but the times that I worked with him, he was always so willing to engage and was such a light for the department. A lot of people have said he’s such a bright spot in the faculty and I definitely echo that. That’s the best possible way to describe him. He understood his craft so well; he was clear from the first moment meeting him to when I saw him for the last time, he was just so dedicated and so knowledgeable about what he did.”
Williams didn’t just remember the good times on a personal level, though, as he also recalled why Dr. Gregorio was so successful career-wise, as well.
“I think he really connected with students so well. He was able to elicit such great stuff from the choirs, and was really able to direct and conduct, and make beautiful art with what he had.“
Keeping on the subject of Dr. Gregorio’s career, it was certainly an inspiring one, to be sure. The amount of accomplishments that have been earned by Dr. Gregorio certainly do not define him, but what he was able to do has a professor, a conductor, and as an individual was certainly impressive. As listed on the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance website, In 2002, Dominic graduated Westminster Choir College Voice Competition Winner, in 2004, he won the Presser Music Foundation Award, from 2008 – 2010, he conducted the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles at the Association of Choral Directors, on a nationally televised holiday celebration, at the Hollywood Avalon Theatre, and at the Walt Disney Concert.
Dominic’s students and friends didn’t see his achievements, however, as much as how his actions, more than anything, defined the type of character he was. Musician Jaecy Bells knew this very well.
“Dominic came to the first performance I ever gave as a solo artist playing my own music at Stone’s Throw. He asked me to give demonstrations on the RC looper when people requested, even though he was fully capable of doing it himself, he would get me to join him so we could both improvise on a piece. I texted him frantically when I was recording my album, panicked about my vocals giving out, and he sent me back a ton of vocal exercises, video links, and Rick and Morty references. “
“Last year, he got in touch with me because he had found a scholarship that he wanted to nominate me for that helps artists who pursue music after post-secondary education (For perspective: I am not a music student; I took one class from Dom and stayed in choir, and the rest of his help was solely on his own time with someone outside of the music department). He wrote me a glowing reference letter, closing with ‘Living in Saskatchewan, there are few resources for her here to enable her to go to the next level. Jaecy is highly deserving and would flourish greatly from this opportunity. She is an old soul, light streams from her eyes, and she embodies a wisdom and groundedness beyond her years. She is so ready for this, and I cannot recommend anyone more highly.‘”
A memorial was held in Gregorio’s honour on Mar. 10 in the education auditorium.