FAIRPORT — Once inside the Marini home, it doesn’t take long to figure
out this family is serious about music. After all, how many places have
you visited where a 7-foot-long marimba occupies the living room?
Stick around long enough, and you’re bound to hear Nick Marini
playing that marimba or thumping away on his drums. Or perhaps it will
be A.J. playing the violin. Or Christopher, the piano or saxophone. Or
Cecilia, the cello.
These musical pursuits don’t come cheaply. A.J.’s Glasel-Berliner
violin is worth $6,500, and you can throw in another two grand for his
bow and case. Nick’s percussion instruments are also worth several
thousand dollars. All four children take private lessons as well.
Another big chunk of change is about to go toward travel expenses
when the family visits Italy April 9-18. There, A.J. and Nick will take
part in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra tour that will
include concerts in Milan, Bologna, Florence and Rome.
Such undertakings involve a considerable commitment of time as well
as funding. For instance, along with their RPYO affiliation, both A.J.
and Nick take part in numerous musical groups at Fairport High School.
And when it comes to practice, A.J. has been known to spend six hours a
day during the summer months perfecting his violin talents.
Yet this intense devotion seems to engender deep satisfaction,
rather than stress, among family members.
“Oh, I love it. I don’t function very well unless I have a full
plate of activities,” A.J. said. The 17-year-old added that music is
“something we’ve been doing so long, it’s kind of hard to think of life
“Concerts and rehearsals have become so routine,” agreed Nick, 16.
“I enjoy it a lot, really. When I practice, I don’t think ‘Oh, I’m
going to work.’ I look at it as a new challenge.”
Their mother, Janie, noted that dedicated musicians in general view
their craft as an outlet, not drudgery.
“It isn’t just work anymore. Once you get to a certain level, you
can just relax when you play,” said Janie, a longtime performer and
That being stated, a strong work ethic must still exist in order to
scale grand heights — a key point for A.J. and Nick considering that
both aspire to be full-time musicians as adults. “Talent will only take
you so far. The hard work is going to take you further,” Janie said.
The fruits of such dedication show up not only in musical
achievements, but in social circles as well. Nick said he enjoys the
camaraderie that exists among his fellow musicians, and A.J.
appreciates the volunteer assistance lent to the RPYO by adult
musicians in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The Marinis
volunteer their abilities as well; family members have often performed
for services at their parish, Fairport’s St. John of Rochester.
“For us, music is a wonderful family activity,” Janie said.
“Everybody goes to everybody’s concerts.”
The upcoming RPYO trip will be particularly special for the Marinis.
A.J. has been designated as the Italy tour’s concertmaster, meaning he
will lead the violin section and help lead the orchestra as a whole.
A.J. will also be the last orchestra musician to appear on stage; a
concertmaster’s entrance signals that the concert is about to begin.
While A.J. and Nick already have their sights set on performing
careers, it’s still too early to tell whether the same will hold true
for Christopher, 12, or Cecilia, 10. Nick said he also might pursue the
culinary arts. Either way, he appreciates his parents’ open-mindedness
about his career options: “They’re always encouraging me. They said ‘If
you want to go into something else, we’re behind you 200 percent,'”
A.J., however, remains firm on music, even though he’s also adept
with computer technology and would perhaps have a safer career path in
that field: his father, Claude, owns a computer company.
“A lot of people have been asking me, why not computer science?”
A.J. said. “The simple answer is, I’ve been doing music for 12 years —
for so long, it’s a part of my being.”