That experience came just a few years after he had developed a love for music as a ten-year-old cancer patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While he was being treated for Hodgkin’s disease, a musician visited the children regularly to play acoustic songs and teach them how to play a variety of instruments.
“That was the first time when music impacted me to my soul and I thought this is powerful,” Scopoletti said. “During that hour, we didn’t feel sick. So I always took that away and now being able to go back and do those things for other children is really touching for me.”
Scopoletti, 37, now works as a professional musician who plays at hospitals and for other organizations, in addition to regular music venues, and aims to raise money for charities through his work.
This March 7, he will fulfill a life dream of playing at Port Chester’s Capitol Theater for the “Truth Concert and Charity Event.” The evening will raise money for programs close to Scopoletti’s heart – the Imerman Angels, which connects cancer survivors with patients, and the Natalia Crespo Eirin Foundation, formed and named in memory of Scopoletti’s childhood friend who died of brain cancer at a young age. The Foundation works to shape grant-making programs to projects related to brain cancer awareness and research, and to support families and individuals struggling with brain cancer.
Most recently, Scopoletti traveled to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital, and performed at the Ryan Seacrest Foundation’s media center, built in the middle of the hospital. The program is a larger version of what sparked Scopoletti’s interest in music when he was a Sloan Kettering patient.
After Scopoletti recovered from Hodgkin’s as a child, he maintained an interest in music while he pursued a sports career in high school and then college at Ohio University.
A broken leg ended his basketball career early and while in the hospital again, he passed the time honing in his guitar skills. He then left college to focus on his music. While building a career as a guitar player and singer, who plays self-described “perspective music,” Scopoletti was again diagnosed with cancer when he was 30 years old. The diagnosis of thyroid cancer came shortly after his first album was released. He underwent treatment and recovered from that cancer as well. Scopoletti maintains a positive attitude despite, or perhaps because of, the unusual hardships he experienced as a child and then as a young adult. Many of Scopoletti’s songs connect with his experiences being young and being sick, he said.
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“I think being 10 and being so young having to be in the hospital kind of set me up for life,” he said. “No matter what, I got through this when I was young so I can get through anything that comes my way.”
Scopoletti also recognizes the Blind Brook school district’s commitment to the arts during his time there (he entered the Blind Brook school district once Rye Brook created it’s own village, separate from Port Chester, in the 80s), and appreciates his local support system that came to seem him play when he performed music at any and every place in the Port Chester area that would have him.
In recent years, Scopoletti has worked with award winning producers and music directors to create soulful and soothing music, and with organizations that help cancer patients manage and cope with their conditions. He released his latest album, “Truth,” in January, 2012.
At the March 7 “Truth Concert and Charity Event” at The Capitol Theatre, which Scopoletti calls a belated album release party, he hopes to reach his audience on a personal level with uplifting music. He will perform with a 12 or 13 piece band and donate a portion of ticket sales to the two organizations mentioned above.
“I want people to listen with an open ear and open heart and take the songs in and maybe it will help the situation, whether it be relationship or health issues, hopefully it will get you through hard times you are going through.”