Family: Nathan Santos

In 1968, Rosendo accepted a faculty position at Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Rosendo with Erik and baby Nathan at their new home in Swoyersville, PA
Rosendo with Erik and baby Nathan at their new home in Swoyersville, PA
With Harriet and baby Erik in tow, the family relocated to northeastern PA, where he would live the remainder of his life.

Nathan was born on June 29, 1970 and has continued the tradition with an eclectic musical background. Beginning formal piano lessons at age 5, and progressively learning other instruments (clarinet / saxophone, guitar / bass, percussion) as well as voice, he performed extensively with his family, church choirs, National Federated Music Clubs, National Piano Teachers’ Association, High School ensembles and musicals, District and Regional Choral and Band Festivals, and rock groups.

He spent his undergraduate years at Wilkes University as a music performance major, studying bass with Gary Karr pupil, Perry Orfanella, and also vocal studies with Richard Chapline, Dr. Stephen Barton, and Helen Ralston. As well as university ensembles, he performed professionally with other organizations. Some include tenor soloist with the Scranton Singers’ Guild, Wyoming Valley Oratorio Society, and First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre, founding member of Cincopella (an a cappella vocal quintet), bassist for jazz and variety groups: Central City Nite Flight, River’s Edge, Polka Dynamite, and teacher / counselor / conductor at the Encore Music Camp of PA.

Beauty of Life” was written by Rosendo for Nathan to sing. This was performed by Nathan and Rosendo (piano) at a performance for an audience at Wilkes University in 1992.
I. Beauty of Life: Valley of Gold
II. Beauty of Life: Fragrance
III. Beauty of Life: Sea of Life

After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, he then pursued his Master’s of Music Degree at the University of Miami in Florida. At U.M. his focus was Jazz Performance, although he was a student of Dr. Lucas Drew (principal double bassist of the Florida Philharmonic) and performed with the university orchestra under the baton of Thomas Sleeper. Instruction was received gratefully and respectfully from Don Coffman (Jazz Bass, Jazz History, and Jazz Pedagogy), Rob Lussier (Jazz Arranging), Gary Keller (Jazz Improvisation), and Ron Miller (Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Composition, and Avant Garde Ensemble.)

He then moved to Johnstown, PA, to be with his wife, Kristen Shaw (also a very multi-talented educator and musician) a native of Reading, PA, and would perform and teach in the surrounding areas including central and western PA, Maryland, and West Virginia. For the next 20 years, he served as Principal Bass of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, regularly performed with Jazz In Your Face Big Band, Acousticity (acoustic rock trio), Soy Bomb (duo), Brex (jazz quartet), White Noise (a cappella quintet), and many other projects and freelance composition/arranging work. He served as Co-Director of Music Ministry at Westmont Presbyterian Church from 1999-2012.

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As an educator, he previously served on the faculties of Indiana University of PA, St. Francis University, Penn State University, Main Campus and the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. In 2012, he accepted his current position at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio as Director of Instrumental Commercial Music. Awarded the 2013-14 “Faculty Member of the Year”, he directs the touring group, DFX, which has visited areas throughout PA, Ohio, New York and North Carolina. He also has assembled the TU Big Dragon Band, directs the Concert Choir, and teaches various courses including Advanced Musicianship, Analysis of Music, Rhythm Section Methods, Pedagogy, Music Appreciation, and an interdisciplinary cultures course focused on the Canadian progressive rock band, Rush. He also teaches bass, guitar, and jazz piano, and is a primary piano accompanist for ensembles and students. He has actively participated in PMEA events including guest conductor for District Jazz Choirs in Districts 6, 8, and 9. He was a guest clinician in the PMEA 2012 State Conference in Hershey, PA, collaborating with respected vocal educator, Elizabeth Good, in a seminar entitled, “Cooking Up Some Vocal Jazz: Appetizers to a Full Course Meal,” and also in the 2011 State Conference in Pittsburgh, PA demonstrating the versatility of the bass.

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He has shared the stage with such notable performers as Bernadette Peters, Ben Folds, Joe Morello, Olivia Newton-John, Sherryl Milnes, Lou Christie, John Blake, Jr., George Young, Marvin Stamm, Scott Lavender, Mike Tomaro, Andy Narell, Dave Samuels, Five By Design, River City Brass, Steve Fidyk, Ed Soph, Jonathan Kreisberg, Carrie Tillis, and many others. He has been a pit musician in many musical theater productions for organizations including the Mountain Playhouse (Jennerstown, PA), and various high schools throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has appeared on several recordings including Family Arts Theatre, Terminal Degree, Stanley Chepaitis, Mark Weakland and Rachel Allen, which can be found on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

On August 29, 1998, Nathan and Kristen celebrated the birth of their first child, Ross Charles Santos. And on November 22, 1999, was born Ariana Lorena Santos.

Nathan with wife Kristen and children Ross and Ariana in December 2014.
Nathan with wife Kristen and children Ross and Ariana in December 2014.

For more information, visit his website at NathanSantos.com

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