Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lippia05BRISTOL – "Come Fly with Me." That was the call that went out from St. Paul Catholic High School, which is using that theme and opening song for a musical fund-raiser featuring alum Steve Lippia on June 25.

Mr. Lippia, a 1974 graduate who now is a professional singer, describes himself as "a big fan" of St. Paul.

"It really kind of nurtured me and so many of my friends. There was a great sense of community, and I have friendships there that have endured to this day. I truly got an excellent education and the concert is a way of giving back," he said.

Mr. Lippia sings songs in a style he liked back in his high school days. He sings great American standards along the lines of those sung by Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra.

"I loved rock ’n’ roll," said Mr. Lippia by phone in an interview prior to his performance. "That was the music of my generation and I loved it. But part of me always liked standards, and I attribute a lot of that to my parents, especially my mom."

"Most of my peers looked at it [as] kind of cute or kind of funny; something your parents might have liked," he added. "In those days, if your parents liked it, it couldn’t be good," he said.

The St. Paul community recognized, even then, the talent of the teen who sang in the school choir, played sports and acted in dramatic productions.

"One of the best memories I’ve had with Steve [was] before we even went to St. Paul. We went to St. Thomas Junior High School [in Southington]," said Michael Butler, a member of the St. Paul school board who is one of six ’70s alumni who planned the event.

"We lived right next door to the school. We’d all be out there playing basketball and shooting hoops and Steve would be in my house with my father listening to the Big Band era. My father really understood that type of music and great bands from that day.

"[My father] told me that same night, I’m not sure your friend Steve will ever be much of a basketball player, but I can tell you that he’s gonna be a great singer one of these days," Mr. Butler recalled.

Mr. Lippia said that although he wanted a career in singing, his pragmatic side suggested a backup plan.

"The [entertainment industry] is very difficult and I particularly loved a style of music that was fading from popularity," he said. "So I set my sights on getting a degree, going to college and pursuing other avenues."

It wasn’t until Mr. Lippia was in his 40s that he made singing his full-time profession.

"He’s one of those guys who was discovered late but always had a raw talent and a great voice," said Mr. Butler.

"Not only is Steve a great talent; most people don’t realize that he is very generous in giving back to the school," he said.

Mr. Lippia and a 10-piece orchestra will start the show at 8 p.m.; a complimentary reception is at 6.

Tickets and information are available by calling (860) 584-0911 or going online to http://spchs.net.