Name: Patrizia Cioffi
Where do you live? I’ve lived in Montclair for 57 years.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Glen Ridge.
How do you make a living?
I’m a professional vocal artist/teacher/musician. I also am a writer.
I’ve had many incarnations in the performing arts, beginning as the first business manager of the Whole Theatre Company, with Olympia Dukakis as artistic director, in the seventies. Olympia Dukakis was my first voice student! I also served as founder and executive director of the New School for the Arts/NJ Opera Institute, a non-profit for the performing arts, shortly thereafter.
The opera Institute bridged the gap between training and career entry for 5000 students annually. During that time I became a writer/reporter, arts consultant and panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts and NJ State Council on the Arts and served as an adjudicator, all for decades. Later, after working with arts scholars in Massachusetts and Florence, Italy, I settled into voice teaching and writing. I am the artistic director for a holiday concert and sing-a-long on December 11th.
Coffee, tea, or…? I love coffee and all kinds of teas with honey. I’m a seltzer and Prosecco appreciator, and I love a good Tuscan chianti.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? My perfect weekend is teaching, working on a music project, seeing my friends and family and cooking, doing my laundry and walking the dogs. I love the shore but don’t get there much.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? I must say that with the pandemic my restaurant choices have dwindled. Fascino was my favorite. Not sure it’s still here.
What’s on your nightstand? I have water bottles, my phone charging, I- pad and a house phone and remote. I adore movies, and all the smart TV apps especially Netflix. Not much time for it but I appreciate the choices.
What are you listening to? I listen to mostly classical music, opera, of course NPR is always on when I refer to the 50s-80s pop music for melodies and historical facts like “where did all the melody in pop music go?”
What are your current indulgences? I’m a culture vulture. I adore PBS, any era movie, writing a memoir
What talent you would most like to have? Diplomacy.
What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair (or your town)? The topography is very special. We have beautiful parks, shopping centers, small haunts to duck into for coffee.
The worst-unkept secret is we need more senior housing. We veterans of Montclair are a natural resource who know the old charming Montclair, the gentleness and kindness of this township which exists among many. The best kept secret is that we forget not to take what we have here for granted. Anyone who lives in Montclair is privileged.
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?
I hope people will say she was passionate about everything she believed in. Everything she did was in an operatic fashion. More was always better. I hope they say, “She was a good person, great vocal technician, an inspiration to her students and loved making music, creating performance opportunities for her singers and making professional connections so they could go onto a career if they wanted one.
She loved to work with international voices and made sure to encourage their heritage in music. She loved her family and animals. Cooked for the homeless and extended a helping hand to people who needed it. Never said no if it would help someone. She was a people and animal rescuer, a leader and a teacher. She was a bleeding heart for the oppressed. She really cared about so many things.”