Dominick “Dom” Amendum ’01 was interviewed by the News & Record about his call to do this year’s graduation commencement speech, which involves talking about his work as a Broadway music director. Dr. Joseph Di Piazza, professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, was also interviewed regarding his work with Amendum during his time at UNCG.

When Di Piazza discussed his time with Amendum, he mentioned the opportunity that the alum was given to juggle his piano studies with real-life lessons in conducting, vocal coaching and accompanying singers in the School of Music.

“When I realized that Dom was so multitalented, I was not about to require from him the usual route of hours and hours of daily piano practice,” he said. “We worked on technical and musical concepts but left room for more avenues to explore.”

Amendum added to this by saying, “the work I do goes directly back to the skills I learned there.”

His current resume features conducting music for the Broadway hits “Wicked” and “First Date,” as well as arranging and supervising music for a Seattle tryout production of “Secondhand Lions: A New Musical,” based on the 2003 movie.

The basis for his speech at graduation will be the idea of moving past fear in order to pursue careers. While he graduated from UNCG planning to work with a traveling children’s opera, he ended up facing career challenges.

“One morning, I thought, ‘I can’t do it. I’d like to think I have more to offer than this,'” he said. “It was either naivete or great confidence.” He withdrew and instead lined up a job as a music director for a small New York theater’s production of “The Student Prince.” But with that decision to move to New York, “There was a lot of fear and a lot of doubt,” he said.

“That became the theme of what I am going to talk about – how we all at times have fear and what I have learned about how to move past it and have a happy life and a full career,” Amendum stated.

This interview is only found in the the print version of the News & Record from May 9, 2014.