Briarcliff Teen a Musical Superstar

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John Alecci could play songs that he heard on the radio on the piano even before he started taking lessons at age 12. Photo Credit: Tien-Shun Lee
John Alecci could play songs he heard on the radio on the piano even before he started taking lessons at age 12. Photo Credit: Tien-Shun Lee

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – When John Alecci was a pre-teenager, he used to listen to songs on the radio or TV commercials and then play them with both hands on the piano.

"I've always had an ear for music," Alecci said Thursday.

Now a senior at Briarcliff High School, Alecci is a leader in the music arts. He directs and arranges songs for a student-run, all-boys acapella group called the Cliffnotes, is the president of the school chorus and he has played leading roles in the musicals Grease, Pajama Game and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Alecci has also been chosen four times in four years for the American Choral Directors' Association's Honors Choir and participates in the All-State choir, another honor's group run by the New York State School Music Association.

Alecci said he has been instrumental in growing Cliffnotes from a group of eight people in his freshman year to a group of 35 people during his senior year.

"I would hear them singing in the locker room and I would talk to them one at time," Alecci said. "I'd say 'You've got to join Cliffnotes. You've got a good voice.' Now we have two football stars, the captain of the lacrosse team and ninth graders singing in the group."

Aside from all his musical activities, Alecci has also been elected the president of Briarcliff High School and he plays on the varsity soccer team.

"I've always been a natural leader. People have seen my work with the Cliffnotes, and then you just run on a whim," Alecci said, of his decision to become president of the student body.

Alecci's father Donnie said his son began "freaking me out" from an early age by playing songs on the piano, so he put him in piano lessons with Cliff Carter, a Briarcliff High School graduate who has played with James Taylor, Art Garfunkel, Harry Connick, Jr. and other notable musicians.

Aside from singing, Alecci also dances and plays the drums, piano and ukulele.

"I'm pretty much set in what I want to do. I want to go to the Crane School at SUNY Potsdam and I want to be a music teacher," he said.

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