Dr. Paul Salerni is an award-winning composer and Professor of Music at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Over the years, he has developed a musical collaboration with the esteemed poet Dana Gioia, former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
They've created an opera titled, "Tony Caruso's Final Broadcast" that takes place in a classical radio station on the last night of its operations as the management switches over to an easy-listening format. And Dr. Salerni has set a number of poems by Gioia--everything from a funny love song about an alley cat to a touching song he's newly arranged for the trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic. It's titled, "Prayer at Winter Solstice", performed by mezzo soprano Jessica Bowers and guitarist Oren Fader. Dr. Salerni spoke by Skype with VIA's Erika Funke about the way the song came to be.