WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- From playing the drums at family clambakes to performing piano on the main stage, David Baranowski has always had a knack for music.
Anyone who has attended a Westchester Choral Society concert or rehearsal in the last 20 years has undoubtedly heard the work of Baranowski, the group’s esteemed accompanist. “I hope to be here for another 20 years,” he said. “Everyone is kind, I enjoy the music they sing and I’ve always enjoyed playing with them.”
Baranowski began taking piano lessons when he was six years old, but despite his clear talent, didn’t embrace music from the get-go. “I was like any kid," said Baranowski. "I wanted to play baseball instead of the piano. But when I got to high school, I started playing for the choruses and suddenly, it was very useful. And the girls seemed to like it.”
Some of Baranowski's first large-scale performances came at family gatherings. For instance, every year at his family's summertime clambakes, Baranowski played drums in a family band aptly named The Clams. The trio included David’s brother on guitar and their cousin on bass. “Our ‘Clam Dance’ song was a big hit,” he said.
Before graduating from high school, Baranowski became serious about his future in music. He hired a teacher, bought himself a baby grand piano and enrolled in SUNY Purchase.
After obtaining his master’s degree, Baranowski saw an ad about the Westchester Choral Society needing an accompanist. “I called [former WCS musical director] Lyndon Woodside from a payphone in the basement of SUNY Purchase and he said, ‘Come to a rehearsal and we’ll see how it goes,’” said Baranowski. “They were doing a Gershwin medley, and I must have done okay because Lyndon said, ‘This should work out fine.’”
20 years later, things continue to be more than just fine. Chorus members appreciate Baranowski's talent, dedication, and humor. “My piano teacher, a dour Russian, told me ‘If you don’t love playing, you’ll never make it because there are so many obstacles,’” said Baranowksi. “I don’t know if I’ve made it, but I just must really like what I’m doing.”
For more information on the Westchester Choral Society or to schedule an audition, call 914-285-9026 or click here.