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Retiree makes his own tune

After decades as music teacher, new project helps man continue to impart a love of music

Phil Wielewinski sings with "Me, Myself and I."

Phil Wielewinski sings with "Me, Myself and I." Submitted photo

Schenectady native Phil Wielewinski spent his entire life playing music. In junior high school, he started playing the trumpet and decided to continue his musical excursion by getting his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Ithaca College. Returning back home, he began to teach in the Colonie Central School District for 36 years up until the day he retired in 2000.

Yet, as a musical connoisseur, he couldn’t just drop music when he stopped teaching. So he took his passion elsewhere, focusing on the piano and singing to create his own unique act, “Me, Myself & I” as a sing-a-long performer for adults around the Capital District.

While the idea for “Me, Myself & I” pretty much came out of the blue, Wielewinski knew he wanted to keep playing and give back to the community, similar to his time working in the school music department. Since starting as a performer, Wielewinski has played free of charge at several senior homes in the area, the VA Hospital in Albany and Colonie senior clubs. He also performs monthly at the William K. Sanford Library at 629 Albany Shaker Road and will stop there next on Friday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. for an outdoor concert, weather permitting, or in the Stedman Room for a theme of “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.”

With more than 90 songs recorded, Wielewinski said he likes to perform a wide range of music, but stays away from heavy/hard rock. For his process, he finds songs he likes, including tunes by The Beatles, Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and even some Polish, Irish, German and Italian songs, and then transposes them to his keyboard. Through the keyboard, he can add drums and bass lines, making a fuller sound come from even just one person.

While performing live, he’ll play the track through the keyboard, playing over the piano parts and singing along. And, to add to the fun, Wielewinski bought a projector and screen for audience members to sing along with enlarged lyrics.

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