For many students, leaving home to embark on the whirlwind journey of college is daunting. For vocal performance major junior Maria Floriano, however, Geneseo has always seemed like a home away from home.
Following her graduation from high school, Maria Floriano started studying musical theater at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. She then transferred to Geneseo and is currently a vocal performance major in the studio of Joan Floriano, her mother. Maria Floriano is also a member of the Geneseo Chamber Singers, under the direction of Gerard Floriano, who is her father.
Joan and Gerard Floriano, who met while studying at Geneseo, are part of the music faculty at the college. Joan Floriano, professor in music, teaches group and individual voice lessons to students, including Maria Floriano.
“Having Maria in the classroom has allowed me an insight into how the students work. I was worried that it may be difficult to be specific, but as we sit across the piano, we laugh for a couple of minutes while she fixes her hair and then get down to business,” Joan Floriano said. “She doesn’t take anything personally.”
Maria Floriano echoed her mother’s thoughts, recounting a moment during a Chamber Singers rehearsal where Gerard Floriano became overwhelmed by the music being performed and cried.
“Seeing my dad cry for the first time through music was a special moment, and it’s those times that make having [my parents] around so important,” Maria Floriano said.
Gerard Floriano has also conducted his daughter Katherine Floriano in many instrumental ensembles and has expressed the significance of having his family and work connected.
“[Having Maria in Geneseo Chamber Singers] just heightens the musical experience that bit more, to be sharing it with the students and your family together as one,” Gerard Floriano said.
Being taught by your parents could seem an impossible task, but it is one that Maria Floriano takes in stride. In fact, she believes that it has brought them all closer—a sentiment that is shared among the family.
Maria Floriano’s junior recital on Dec. 2 allowed her parents to sit in the audience and watch the culmination of work produced by not only one of their students, but also their daughter.
“We have always been super close, but we are now as close as can be and can share musical experiences like this together,” Maria Floriano said.
Joan Floriano agreed, describing how her daughter’s recital reflected their family’s values.
“To know your children as adults in a semi-professional educational environment is a different experience and moments like this we really treasure,” Joan Floriano said.
The Floriano’s are for many students, especially those who study music at Geneseo, an important part of college life and their musical journey, through personal and professional development and growth.
With the belief that music is an expression of oneself, Joan and Gerard Floriano captivate their students, and their efforts truly extend far beyond the music being taught.
It is clear that for this family the love, too, extends far beyond the classroom.u