Peter at the 2015 La Honda Fair
by craig eddy
A Long a Winding Road Leads a New York Kid to La Honda
For Peter Giordano it was a long, winding, and interesting journey that brought him to La Honda. He doesn’t go into detail about his childhood in New York but describes himself as a street kid. He really didn’t have much interest in music until he was around 24 years old. At the time he had a job as a club manager, booking acts, and doing sound. Peter knew a couple of guitar chords so his musician friends kept encouraging him to sit in and jam. Peter eventually got up the courage to give it a shot, and he became inspired to learn and play more. To quote Peter, “after that first jam something in my brain snapped and I began practicing 12 hours per day”. Peter got into his first band, playing country rock and R&B guitar for Scott Free and the Getaways, and somewhere in there got interested in drums and percussion, so he began studying the language of rhythm. Peter toured around the Midwest for a while playing guitar in the 10 piece funk band called Sonrize. He also starting touring fulltime with a fusion band called Sweet Bottom, later renamed Oceans. He got this gig when their lead guitarist Daryl Stuermen got recruited into the Jon Luc Ponte band then went with Genesis and Phil Collins.
Being around such educated musicians in the fusion band inspired Peter to “go get literate”, so he went to University of Wisconsin where he took a major in music. Here he met his wife Deanna who is a dancer, actor, physical theater director, and Registered Movement Therapist who now teaches at Stanford. While studying at the University of Wisconsin, he also became the university’s recording engineer and studio manager. His last project in the mid-west was called Cross Currents, a multimedia music performance which told the history of the US through its music. That project presented the collision of music from Western Europe and West Africa that birthed the unique sounds of American music. The university faculty saw the Cross Currents show and asked Peter if he could turn the show into a class syllabus and teach a 3 credit survey. So Peter taught at as a lecturer at the University for 2 years.
After finishing his music major, Peter got another case of wanderlust. He left the Midwest, and moved to Los Angeles, where for the next 12 years he continued his musical journey. In LA he got a job as a recording engineer at Musician’s Institute (MI) and eventually worked his way up to Director of Production Studies. This job enabled Peter to meet many of LA’s music and media professionals. From here Peter got contracts with Colombia Pictures Music group doing A&R and music supervision for film. He also worked for the Disney Company as a Technical Director, and Universal Studios as a Creative Show Director.
After over a decade Peter started to burn out on the L.A “scene”. By a strange twist of fate and personal connection he was hired by a Silicon Valley hi-tech company to manage liaisons with HBO show research exploring new online entertainment concepts. Peter started getting more and more communications work in Silicon Valley because “they liked the way he told stories” This motivated Peter to move to Mountain View and start a Marketing and Communications boutique called ThruLine Media. After 10 years working in Silicon Valley during the madness of the hi-tech 90’s, Peter felt it was time for another change. He didn’t know exactly what changes to make so in the interim he played guitar for folks at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. A radiologist there noted the positive effect he was having on the patients and staff, so he encouraged Peter to help create a new Healing Arts Program at the hospital that included music, movement, painting, massage and meditation. These days Healing Arts programs can be found in many hospitals and health centers around the country.
Then in 1999 Peter had the vision to found StoryTeller Project (STP), an arts education 501c3 nonprofit that uses music and all the other expressive arts as tools and strategies to serve people with unique needs. This includes kids with special needs, incarcerated youth, people in cancer treatment, and other underserved populations. Under the auspices of STP, for the last 10 years Peter has provided music-based Healing Arts programs at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Using today’s digital music technology Peter plays as a one-man-band facilitating healing arts workshops in partnership with an Oncologist Nurse Practitioner. During this phase of his career, Peter also served as Director of Creative Arts at the Riekes Center in Menlo Park.
This sort of brings us up to date on Peter’s creative odyssey. He passed through La Honda a few times over the last 20+ years, and when it came time to move out of Mountain View he and his Wife Deanna decided to check out La Honda, and moved here 6 years ago. Peter didn’t come into town with his musical guns blazing, he sort of slipped in quietly and over the years it became apparent that he was quite an addition to the local music scene. One of the things Peter likes about the music he hears around La Honda is that it is an interesting cross section of various styles, played by a wide range of interesting musicians. When asked what he likes to play he said “what isn’t as important as how”. He says he loves playing “with people not at people”. It’s the interaction and musical communication with other players that is important to him. He describes Bill Seawrights memorial as one of those special musical moments when egos were put aside and the generous vibe fostered a “perfect shared, joyful collaboration”, even though there were lots of players involved, with up to 6 guitar players on stage at once.
Now as a full fledged La Hondan, Peter continues to direct StoryTeller Project. He is currently providing programs at the Camp Glenwood juvenile facility in La Honda, getting incarcerated kids into expressing themselves constructively through music and the arts. He also does Storytelling Project programs with veterans. Peter loves teaching and currently is doing some tutoring in music production, video editing, and multimedia design and production. Peter is also available for guitar and percussion lessons.
Peter and his wife might have slipped into La Honda quietly, but I sure am excited they ended up here. Peter can be contacted at email@example.com, and Deanna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org