Singing at historic Fenway Park was beyond the bucket list for Bob Crescenzo.
“I don’t know how to describe it, but it was just such an exhilarating and positive experience and something I never dreamed of in my life,” Crescenzo said.
In the bus and motorcoach industry, Crescenzo is known for his insurance expertise. But the Lancer Insurance Co. vice president is also a talented musician and singer.
He gave a sample of his musical talents during last year’s United Motorcoach Association Safety Seminar when he was presenting from his home. During the break, he did an impromptu mini-concert on his piano. He followed up with videos on social media playing holiday classics on his piano.
When the longtime Long Island resident relocated to Boston, he decided to join a chorus. Out of the hundred choirs in the Boston area, he auditioned for the Highland Glee Club, which has been around since 1908. Crescenzo’s tenor 2 voice – down from a tenor 1 in his earlier years – is in demand, and he was invited to join.
“It’s a pretty traditional New England men’s chorus,” said Crescenzo, who joined more than a year ago. Many of the members have been singing for decades. “I was a little intimidated by the group because it’s a pretty formal group that’s primarily classical music.”
Varied musical selections
He credits the orchestra’s director, Sarah Telford, for taking the choir in a variety of directions that are anything but traditional.
In June, the group did a two-day concert with a rock band in Newton, Massachusetts. With a chuckle, Crescenzo recalled singing Grateful Dead songs while dressed in his choir uniform of a blazer, gray pants, dress shirt and striped tie.
She encouraged the group to audition to sing the national anthem at a Boston Sox game.
“This group had never done that, so we put together an audition tape and sent it in,” said Crescenzo, who attributes the group’s selection to both the tape and the influence of a few well-connected choir members.
The choir was selected for the Aug. 25 game between the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.
“The deal was we had to sing the Canadian national anthem and the Star Spangled Banner,” Crescenzo said.
Even for a lifelong Yankees fan, performing at the historic Fenway park was an incredible experience.
“It’s an old-time stadium in the middle of the city, and everyone – the staff, the vendors, the ushers – are the nicest people. It’s like going to a family event,” Crescenzo said. “They were just so accommodating.”
“They had a reception for us beforehand. They escorted us around and made sure we had water. It’s a pretty structured event because of television,” Crescenzo said.
Baseball is a big part of Crescenzo’s family life. His dad played on farm teams for some professional leagues, and his brothers played baseball growing up.
“We spent our whole lives at baseball parks and stadiums and games, so we’re a big baseball family,” he said. “So the idea of standing at Fenway on the field right behind home plate and to see that view was just unbelievable. But then to have the opportunity to sing these two national anthems, and the crowd was fantastic.”
“It was just such an uplifting and positive experience,” said Crescenzo. “As we walked through the stadium, people were thanking us.”
Music pulls people together
He was particularly touched by a 30-something Canadian fan in a Blue Jays shirt who told him, “You made me feel like I was home. It’s the first time since I’ve been in Boston that I felt like I was home.”
“He literally had tears in his eyes,” Crescenzo said. “That’s a great example of how music builds bridges. You have rival teams from two different countries just coming together and reacting to the music.”
He invited many family members and friends, including his bus family, former longtime UMA Board Member Joan Libby and current UMA Board Member, Mitch Guralnick.
“It was very nice to see someone you know singing at Fenway,” said Libby, who has gone to some of the group’s outdoor concerts.
His daughter, her husband, and their two children, ages 2 and 3, were in attendance, as was his nephew who came up from New York.
“Music brought us all together,” said Crescenzo.
“You just want to look around and take it all in, but you really have to focus on what you’re doing,” said Crescenzo. “Once that was over, and seemed to go well, then we got to relax and enjoy the game and hang out at the stadium. Even though the Red Sox lost in 10 innings, it was a great game. And just an indescribable experience.”