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Chris Carducci: News

BGSU Scholarship to be given in Chris' name - May 30, 2006

School of Music officials at Bowling Green State University have recently created the Chris Carducci and Robert Samels Memorial Voice Scholarship. The scholarship will be available for the upcoming 2006 Fall semester.

A Rising Star Lost - May 30, 2006

Monroe Evening News
Sunday, May 28
-Ray Kisonas

A Rising Star Lost:

The framed drawing of the stage at the New York Metropolitan Opera was more than a gift from father to son.

It represented a career goal, a vision. It was the place where Chris Carducci would one day sing before an appreciative audience on one of world's most famous stages.

"That was his dream," Ralph Carducci said.

Most who knew him and heard him sing believed Chris had the talent, the desire and the dedication to achieve his goal.

But that dream ended tragically last month in a muddy Indiana field.

Chris Carducci and four other students died on a foggy night when their Cessna six-passenger plane slammed into the ground nose first at 140 mph. He was 28.

Since then his parents, Ralph and Rainelle Carducci, both Monroe Public Schools educators, have tried to understand why and to seek answers that may never be found.

"It's almost like he's still away at school," Mrs. Carducci said. "You have moments where life is almost normal. And then it all comes crashing in. It's almost unbearable."

Her pain is somewhat eased by listening to Chris' voice. She listens to his CDs - loudly and often. And she watches his videos.

"It just helps me to see him," she said softly.

For Mr. Carducci, returning to his job as principal of Monroe High School is therapeutic. It helps him to seek normalcy in a world where nothing will ever be normal again. On his first day back to school, he was greeted by a large red banner the students and staff had made and signed. They were with him.

"I couldn't stay home," Mr. Carducci said. "The kids and the staff have been incredible. It helps me to see people. This is what I call my family."

Born Christy Bates Carducci on April 18, 1978, Chris and his brother, David, were exposed to music and theater while growing up. They also were exposed to sports since their father coached Monroe football for decades.

Chris, a 1996 MHS graduate, was on the football team during his high school days but played sparingly.

"Chris had his dad's talent, so he was in trouble," Mr. Carducci said with a chuckle.

But that didn't dampen Chris' enthusiasm or his understanding of teamwork. The Trojan Spirit Award was created in his honor and is handed out annually to this day.

Although he loved football, it was music that helped mold who he was. Mozart operas in Italian were his favorite. But he could sing in Russian, German and French also. He started as a tenor but became a baritone as his voice matured.

As a young boy, it was evident to the Carduccis that Chris had talent. He was either in first or second grade when he sang a solo in St. John Catholic Church in Monroe.

"You could tell he was a special kid," Mr. Carducci said. "The only thing he ever wanted to do was sing."

As he grew older, Chris continued to pursue a career in music. With help from teachers such as John Tyner, his voice developed, and it was clear that performing would be his life.

At Bowling Green State University, from which Chris graduated in 2002, he met and became close friends with Robert Samels, who died with him on the plane.

Last year, Robert, a prodigy of sorts, wrote an opera called "Pilatus" with his friend in mind. Chris was to play the role of Pontius Pilate.

"Robert was an exceptional person," Mr. Carducci said. "He was a modern-day Mozart."

At Indiana University, Chris earned a master's degree in music, and his career was accelerating. He had performed in operas all over the United States, and his future was bright.

He was supposed to play the lead in "Don Giovanni," his favorite opera, at IU this fall. And he didn't know it, but he was going to be offered a job by the Portland Opera Company in Oregon.

"They just loved him," Mr. Carducci said.

His personality and talent had quite an effect on those he befriended. And, in death, his name will live on at both schools where he honed his skills and left a lasting impression.

Officials at Bowling Green have created the Chris Carducci and Robert Samels Memorial Voice Scholarship. It will be available as soon as this fall.

And on the IU campus in Bloomington, family members of the plane crash victims will work together to create a memorial on campus dedicated to the five.

"The outpouring of love and concern has been overwhelming," Mrs. Carducci said. "To have a scholarship with his name attached is just incredible. To have his name live on is just a tribute."

"They appreciated his genuineness," her husband added. "There was a spark about him that everyone appreciated."

Since the accident, the Carduccis have relied on their family, friends and faith. Mr. Carducci said they visited the crash site, which is a three-foot crater in a wooded area about 100 yards from a runway. Their son David found the wrapper of some Ricola lozenges, the brand his brother always used. He kept it.

What exactly happened that night is uncertain. One possibility is the fog was so thick that the pilot, Georgina Joshi, an IU student, developed vertigo and could not differentiate up and down.

"My only hope is they never knew what was going on," Mr. Carducci said. "I just feel real empty."

Chris had flown with Georgina before, but Mr. Carducci can't help but wonder why they didn't just drive. It's the parent in him. They were coming from West Lafayette, which isn't that far from Bloomington. But he understands that they were young, and flying probably seemed like so much more fun.

The Carduccis' first-born is gone, and unless someone has experienced it, there is no understanding what a parent must endure when losing a child. There is overwhelming grief, and there is anger.

"It's out of order of the way things are supposed to be," Mrs. Carducci said.

But there is a legacy. And there always will be memories of that little boy who sang a solo in church that day and the grown man who could belt out Mozart in several languages like few others.

He was named Christy after his grandfather, who arrived on a boat from Italy in 1909. The grandfather's real name was Crescenzo, but they wanted to be Americanized, so they shortened it.

And, Chris told his father, when he made it to the big time, when he would bring the crowd to its feet at the Met, he was going to have a stage name. He was going to be known as Crescenzo Carducci.

Early Christmas Gift for Parents - December 17, 2005

Carducci graduated with the degree of Master of Music in Voice Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, much to the pleasure of Mom and Dad.

Baritone to perform at Central City - December 6, 2005

Chris Carducci has been selected as an Apprentice Artist for Central City Opera this summer in Colorado. His duties include covering Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Metropolitan Opera Award - October 31, 2005

Chris Carducci was awarded an Encouragement Award by a distinguished panel of judges for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition's Indiana District.
The honor included a cash prize.