While Christopher Macchio is a world-renowned tenor who has performed at some of the world’s most esteemed venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theater and the White House, he holds a special place in his heart for the diocese. of the Emmaus Center in Brooklyn.
The Manhattan School of Music Conservatory graduate has entertained presidents and kings and helped bring his religious music to the masses. Whether he interprets the great pop standards of legends like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, classical and operatic pieces by Mario Lanza and Luciano Pavarotti, or the more contemporary works of artists like Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Michael Buble, Macchio masters the art of bringing the music that matters most to him to a new generation.
Macchio attended Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Holbrook, New York, and first realized he could sing as a young man, but kept it a secret for most of his childhood.
He said that when he was 15, he had to take a choir class at Sachem High School in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, to meet public school requirements.
“The teacher asked us each to sing solo, and at first I refused,” Macchio recalls. “I was so scared to sing in front of people that I wouldn’t do it. But he took me aside at the end of class and asked me to sing him a song.
After singing The Fantasticks’ “Try to Remember,” Macchio said the teacher was impressed with what he heard, telling him he “had a gift from God and an obligation to share that gift.” Macchio took his teacher’s words to heart and his whole life changed from that moment on.
Macchio’s varied repertoire of songs includes everything from standards like “New York, New York,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That’s Amore,” and “The Way You Look Tonight,” to traditional Christian hymns like “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Ave Maria.” He is passionate about the music he selects.
“The point is, we all recognize that music has the power to penetrate the depths of the soul in a way that very few other stimuli have the power to do,” he said. “For example, dementia patients who don’t even recognize their own children might recognize a song from 60 years ago.”
He also believes that even when singing to an ostensibly secular audience, it’s important to show his faith in a public forum.
“I want people to know that I’m not beating your head with religious dogma, but there’s something so valid and so uplifting about these religious songs,” he added. “I tell people that I’m going to start my program with ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ out of respect for the origin of all the wonderful bounty that we enjoy.”
Macchio believes his God-given talent allows him to appeal to people’s emotions.
“That’s really what I strive to do, to move people, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually to the best of my ability,” he added.
Macchio was signed by EMI Records in 2011 and released his new albums on his own label, including the EP “Dolci Momenti” (Sweet Moments), the Christmas album “O Holy Night” and “O, America”, his most recent collaboration. with the New York Tenors featuring Andy Cooney and Daniel Rodriguez which features the single “I Won’t Turn My Back On You”. Macchio has also worked with Rod Stewart and famed composer—and record producer Andrea Bocelli—David Foster.
In addition to his sold-out concerts, Macchio will be featured in two upcoming films, an untitled film about the life of Mother Cabrini, starring Emmy Award-winning John Lithgow, and Don Q, in which he plays alongside another Emmy Award winner. actor Armand Assante.
Macchio said he felt a special connection to the Emmaus Center because he believed it had a mission to use art and culture to bring people to a place where they can rekindle or explore their faith.
“If I can play a role in crafting and curating a series of compelling enough experiences in this space over time, people will be eager to go there for something higher, for something more meaningful, more substantial,” he said, “so that when they come to the Emmaus Center, the hope is that they deepen their existing faith.
The Emmaus Center is a world-class performing arts theater located in the historic Williamsburg Opera House, which was built in 1897 and renovated in 2020 and 2021. Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello has a lot to do with the restoration and re-emergence of the 800-seat theater, which sits above Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church and located at 299 Berry Street in Williamsburg.
“I am so inspired by what Msgr. Jamie has accomplished with the center so far and what he hopes to accomplish in the future,” Macchio said.
“We want to schedule as many events as possible to promote the center and evangelize,” said Msgr. Gigantiello. “That’s why we want to include religious and cultural events as well as community events. So we put this event in October to really highlight Italian culture during Italian Heritage Month. And the Emmaus Center was a great place to do it.
Msgr. Gigantiello said Macchio had a fantastic voice and a large following.
“We thought it would be a really nice event to welcome and promote Italian culture and also to reach out to many of our Italian benefactors and the people who really help us at the center, as well as to introduce others to what the center must offer.”
Additionally, Msgr. Gigantiello explained that Macchio would be the main performer for the center’s upcoming Christmas show, which he said would include high-profile pop, rock and Christian artists.
“The Emmaus Center is a jewel in our diocese,” added Msgr. Gigantiello. “And we really want to see it as a place where people can encounter Jesus through the arts.”