By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – Before entering senior year at Belmont University in Nashville this fall, singer-songwriter Vinny Bonina returned to perform at Hudson High School (HHS) where he graduated in 2013. Singing his original music at the HHS spring concert was one of several local gigs while on summer break.
He became interested in music at age 7 when his elementary school chorus performed “Proud to Be an American.” A few years later, he saw the animated film “Cars” and heard the Rascal Flatts rendition of “Life Is a Highway.” Then he travelled with his family to the Xfinity Center in Mansfield to see the band perform live.
“I got hooked on country music,” he declared. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do someday.”
Bonina continued singing with choruses up through HHS, where he joined the Chamber Choir and it’s a cappella group Camerata directed by Jeannette McLellan. He also committed to pursue music studies.
“I did better in school once I started chorus,” he noted. “I was one of the kids in high school who took every music class that was offered.”
Those classes were instructed by music teacher and band director Jason Caron. Bonina credits Caron for laying a strong foundation for his college studies.
“I have a solid base because I took the classes that he teaches,” Bonina said. “He helped get me intrigued by the music industry.”
Bonina also performed leading roles in the HHS musicals “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” cast by Kathleen McKenzie, director of theater.
“It was easy and fun to work with her,” he said. “There were some songs that I’d struggle to sing and she always encouraged me.”
After graduating from HHS, he majored in jazz performance at the University of Southern Maine. That year he taught himself how to play guitar and wrote his first song as a one-year anniversary present for his girlfriend. He transferred sophomore year to Belmont University, an environment he prefers.
“Belmont is a small Christian school, so they’re very strict when it comes to the norms of a college and parties,” he explained. “A party for me is just sitting in a room with kids making some music and having a few laughs.”
As he has done previously during college breaks, Bonina visited HHS in May to speak with and perform for students of the Chamber Choir. Afterward, he accepted an invitation to sing a song he composed at their spring concert.
Titled “You’ll Always Be My Sunshine” the song is dedicated to his maternal great grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease and passed away in January. Days later, his paternal grandfather died of heart failure. Bonina performed the song with the HHS students.
“They made me feel like a special guest,” he said. “I almost didn’t make it through the whole song without crying. When other people are feeling the song with you with the same emotion, it brings out even more emotion.”
Two weeks later, Bonina sang the national anthem for his fourth year before the Spirit of Hudson 5K Road Race and 1.5-Mile Walk presented by the Highland City Striders. Later that day, he performed at the 30th annual Hudson Community Fest. There, he sold and signed his recently-released “Vinny B: Let’s Get Crazy EP,” which includes five original songs.
After he graduates from Belmont University, where he’s majoring in commercial voice with an emphasis on the music business, Bonina plans to live year-round in Nashville and further pursue his career.
“Hopefully, next summer I can really crack down on my music career and get gigs in Nashville,” he said. “I’m taking baby steps one at a time.”
For more information about Bonina, visit youtube.com/user/SingRKid and find his Facebook fan page.