CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Cortlandt musician Larry Del Casale has received the ultimate respect from his musical peers.
Del Casale, who teaches music at Peekskill Middle School and Peekskill High School, was recently nominated, along with Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima, for a Latin Grammy for Best Classical Composition for his recording of Micropiezas by Leo Brouwer.
Del Casale, a concert and classical guitarist, has been performing music his whole life, and has been teaching since 1987. He has performed at Carnegie Hall 12 times, and tours Europe regularly.
"It's great to have the recognition of your peers," Del Casale said. "We have worked hard over the years. The nomination was powerful. To win would be a great thing, but I don't know if it's going to happen."
The Latin Grammys will be awarded on Nov. 21. Del Casale promises a big celebration at Thanksgiving if he wins. Del Casale is also hoping to be nominated for a regular Grammy.
Del Casale said he was at Peekskill High School when Zoho Records, his record company, called and e-mailed him to tell him the good news.
Having taught at Peekskill since 2001, Del Casale has a group at the high school called Bossa Nova that regularly plays the Division Street Grill. He said his influences are his father, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Barbara Streisand.
"I had a band in my late teens and I never stopped," Del Casale said. "I've been doing music my entire life. I don't know anything else except how to wait tables. My father and mother loved popular music, they listened to good music. They didn't listen to bad music."
Del Casale is currently working with Barbosa-Lima and Mason Williams on a new version of Williams' Classical Gas.
Del Casale said he hopes to keep recording, and do more performing in the US. His big dream is to one day play Japan. But right now, his focus is on his students.
"We have a great chorus," Del Casale said. "They sound like Glee. It's a great life."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.