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James Sturtevant Hacking Engagement
69 min2020 OCT 16
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141 Veteran Music Educator Robert Trocchia Takes us to the Mountaintop


In the fall of 1979, I was a freshman in a college dorm trying to adjust to my new surroundings. One thing that I’ve always done to ground myself has been to play the music that I love. I grew up in a small town in Southeastern Ohio that was not diverse. And yet, my musical taste was totally urban. I loved the Isley Brothers and the Brothers Johnson and Earth Wind and Fire. One transformational afternoon, I put on some of my jams, which inspired a guy a couple of doors down to walk to my room, pop his head in, and then joyously proclaim, “I can’t believe you're listening to these jams. I didn't think anyone on this floor loved the Isley Brothers.” That guy was Vince Trocchia and a lifelong friendship evolved from this initial interaction. In October of that magical year, Vince invited me to his house for dinner. I eagerly accepted. I was treated to a magnificent Italian meal and met Vince’s wonderful family. I was so intrigued by his dad Robert.Robert was the iconic local music teacher at Fairfield Union High School in Breman, Ohio. His choir from a small Ohio town:Performed in many of the great cathedrals in the western worldAppeared on nearly fifty TV showsAnd was named one of the top high school choirs in the United States.It was evident from the moment that I met him how much Robert loved his life. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future at this point, but his example impacted me. I viewed him as immensely rich. This evaluation had nothing to do with his stock portfolio.Robert is now 86-years-old. You would never guess that when you listen to his powerful voice. He seems exactly the same to me as he did forty years ago. When I learned that Robert authored a book about teaching, I knew that I had to get it and that I had to have him as a guest on this podcast. Mountaintop Moments is a wonderful book for any teacher, at any grade level, teaching any subject. Embrace the message of this wise sage!