Harvesting a Connection

A master carpenter guides his tools to find the true organic purpose of what was once dead to bring it back to life. Like a painter with a canvas, the carpenter transforms the piece of wood to an object that will provide joy to himself or others. Likewise, a songwriter repurposes experiences, highlights beauty, sorrow, ecstasy – to share his vision and bring an emotional encounter with his feelings and those of others. Anthony Aparo does the latter having been influenced by the former. His grandfather, a master carpenter, instilled in him hard work and a love for nature – love for the organic canvas that lies in front of every one of us.

Anthony is no stranger to music. His father is a successful recording artist and his siblings also create art through music. Classically trained as a cellist; Anthony also plays the banjo, piano and guitar. He understands the power of music and the influence the words of a song can have on others. He watched his father build a career in the recording industry and, although not glamorous and downright a very tough business at times, he knew early on he wanted to follow in his footsteps…yet he chooses to do it his way.

“I played in bands when I was in school but it wasn’t until one night when I was a freshman in high school that I decided to make music my life’s work. That night I was listening to ‘Harvest’ – a Neil Young recording my Dad used to play for me when I was little to help me go to sleep.” Anthony says he kept listening to the recording over and over again, countless times. The more he listened, the more deep feelings and emotion poured out of him. At that fateful moment, he knew he wanted others to feel the same way he was feeling. He would guide them with his songs and share of himself.

Conversing with Anthony, who is only 18 years old, I felt as if I was sharing life’s intricacies, joys and experiences with a very old soul; one grounded in truth, no pretentiousness. He talked about extending a hand to listeners so they can embark on a journey together. “I love the process of writing a song. It can be taxing on many levels, not only physically but emotionally. When I write songs, I need to be alone, isolated. The solitude allows me to reach my deepest, most intimate thoughts. The satisfaction of sharing my songs with others is very special.”

Anthony relives all those feelings and emotions every time he hits the stage and performs his music. “My relationship with those who like my music is very important,” he says. “Playing music provides a powerful outlet to create a very intimate connection with the audience.” He relates how gratifying it is when someone tells him that his songs have helped them deal with life’s circumstances; that his music has become the soundtrack of their life. That is a big responsibility and one he doesn’t take lightly. “When I’m playing for an audience, I want them to feel as if we are in their living room; the stage disappears and we enjoy the moment together. I share with them what the song is about. I try to make it special, personal; we are connected,” he says.

Anthony has now moved to Atlanta but relates how fortunate he was to live in the tight community of McDonough. “It influenced my writing. It was essential in shaping my creative niche.” When he moved, he missed the open land, the stars, and the people. Now he gets back to his roots by teaching music two days a week at the Hildreth Center.

My Dad once told me, “do what makes you happy and you will be successful.” Anthony says he loves his music and teaching, but investing in relationships, especially with the kids at the Hildreth Center, is the most rewarding. “I love every time one of the kids asks me a question and smiles after I give them the answer. It makes me happy — just like when I’m on stage, “it’s not about me, it’s about them.”