Traveling brings music to performer’s ears

Paul Vacchiano, far left, stands with the other members of the a cappella group, C-NOTE.
Paul Vacchiano, far left, stands with the other members of the a cappella group, C-NOTE.

By Kaitlin MacRae

Although most students typically spend their summers vacationing and working, one Rider student has spent the last several summers touring up and down the East Coast as part of two a cappella singing groups.

Junior Paul Vacchiano began working with Cantaffappella shortly after graduating from Howell High School. The company is home to two separate a cappella groups: The RockNRoll Chorus and C-NOTE, which both perform rock songs.

The arts administration and fine arts double major said he became involved through a former high school teacher, Joe Cantaffa.

“I managed his ’50s and ’60s all-girl doo-wop group, Rebelletes, and performed and managed his a cappella group Rebel Yell,” Vacchiano said. “The year I graduated, Joe asked me if I was interested in helping him start a touring group that involved high school students from all over the New Jersey area. I have been working with the company ever since.”

Based out of Belmar, N.J., both groups have toured the East Coast extensively. RockNRoll Chorus has performed as far away as Disney World, as weall as on Live Nation stages in Virginia Beach and for an American Choral Directors Association convention at George Mason University. The group of high school students from across the state has even performed on MTV’s Total Request Live, which aired to a live studio audience and was first hosted by Carson Daly.

“They produce a full-length album every year and have had much success with them,” Vacchiano said. “Take A Second Look, their second album, made it to the last round of nominations (before the TV nominations) for the Grammy Awards.”

C-NOTE, which includes seven college students, has toured at the Hard Rock Café in Atlanta, Ga., and the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J., among other places. The group’s performances have included songs by Ben Harper, The Beatles, Journey, Sean Kingston, KISS and Rihanna.

Vacchiano tours throughout the year with the group. He says performing with the RockNRoll Show has become an important learning experience that he would not have been exposed to otherwise.

“My work with both C-NOTE and RockNRoll Chorus is invaluable to my work in the future,” he said. “The people I meet and the experiences I have had are training me in aspects that I would not get by learning in the classroom.”

Next summer, Vacchiano will continue working and performing under Cantaffappella.

“I love working with this company,” he said. “Being able to see the project grow year to year is really exciting to me.”

According to Vacchiano, the RockNRoll Chorus’ next album, Rounding Third, is due out in December.

To hear music from the RockNRoll Chorus, visit or check out the group on Facebook.

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